Annemann was considered a strange figure in magic and, by all but a few, he was thought a genius in the methods of duplicating psychic or mental phenomena; he was a creative
thinker but always a reluctant and nervous performer. It was big news when advertisements for his full evening show appeared in the New York press. Annemann was to appear at "The Little Theatre in the Sky" atop the Chanin Building on New York's 42nd Street on January 26th and 27th, 1942.
The feature of the show was to be the famous Bullet-Catching Trick. A committee purchased, examined and marked a bullet which was then loaded into a rifle belonging to a spectator, a marksman, who had never met the performer. The marksman hoisted the rifle to his shoulder and took aim at the mouth of the performer who stood blindfolded on the opposite side of the stage with his hands behind his back. The commands, "Ready— Aim—Fire!" were given. A shot rang out and the performer dropped to his knees; there was a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth and then miraculously the marked bullet was seen to emerge from between his lips.
Over the years twelve magicians had lost their lives presenting this spectacular effect, and the magic fraternity spoke of the upcom-
122 ing Annemann attempt with strained anticipation.
It is easy to speculate that Annemann, too, felt the strain, not only of this trick and this show but of the other confused pieces of his life. He did not do the performance. On January 12th, a few miles away from the theatre, he locked himself in his room and committed suicide.
My grandfather was to be the producer of the Annemann show.
I mention this in case Kurt Vonnegut is planning another novel.
Was this article helpful?