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Ackerman was a theatrical agent, described by John Cutter as "the best in London". Cutter, an old friend of Ackerman's, arranged for Alfred Borden to audition for Ackerman as a reward for working out how Chung Ling Soo performed his fish bowl trick. Borden performed his act, using a bullet catch trick to "wake him up" at the end of the show, and got a booking at the Princes Arms.

Many years later, Cutter had Ackerman view the act of The Great Danton, Robert Angier, who had just returned to London from Colorado Springs. Angier performed "The Real Transported Man", disappearing under a cloud of electricity and returning to the auditorium from the back of the seats. Ackerman proclaimed that it was many years since he had seen real magic, and Angier would have to dress it up to disguise that. He then got Merrit to schedule 100 shows at The Grand Scala, and had him cancel the Moscow ballet in order to fit Angier in.

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