Dai Vernon was one of the most influential figures in magic during the last century. "The Professor" mentored many of today's leading thinkers and performers and had a profound impact on how we approach magic that continues to this day.

While Houdini is probably the name most lay people cite when asked who was the greatest magician of all time, among magicians, surely Dai Vernon would be close to, if not at the top, of their lists.

Less known about The Professor was his skill with a pair of scissors and some black paper. The art of cutting silhouettes was another of Vernon's amazing talents. Not many of his images have survived but those that have command impressive prices at auctions.

 

We know from The Vernon Chronicles that The Professor relied on his silhouettes in the 1920s to supplement his income. "I was able to make it through some pretty thin winters because of the money I made cutting silhouettes on the Boardwalk" (in Atlantic City).

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that one his silhouettes is (or once was) hanging in the White House.