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In 1918 Harry Houdini performed a single illusion that has been hotly debated ever since: he made a live elephant disappear on stage. How did he do it? The answer lies in this dazzling tale of invation, chicanery and keen competition that is the backstage story of the golden age of magic. Hiding the Elephant chronicles the race among history's most legendary conjurers to make things levitate and disappear. A master illusionist and captivating storyteller, Steinmeyer introduces us to the eccentric personalities behind floating ghosts, disembodied heads and vanishing ladies and takes us backstage to reveal the mechanics of their mysteries. He carries us to a time when Queen Victoria held private seances and all of England believed in magic.
Jim Steinmeyer has designed illusions for David Copperfield, Ricky Jay, Siegfried & Roy and Orson Welles, and for six broadway shows including The Beauty and the Beast. A consultant for a forthcoming BBC documentary on the history of magic and producer of a Channel 4 documentary, he is currently working on Richard Eyre's Mary Poppins and is a contributing editor of Magic magazine.