Dave Elman (1900-1967) was born David Kopelman in
He was inspired to research hypnosis because his father, dying of cancer, received pain relief from hypnosis which enabled him to play with Dave one last time.
Dave toured with a number of vaudeville troops, serving as a musician, a comedian, a bit player, and in several other capacities.
It was in this period that he began using the name Dave Elman because the extra three letters of Kopelman prevented getting better billing on theater marquees. In this period, he also was billed as "The World's Youngest and Fastest Hypnotist" because his research in hypnosis after his father's death had led him to discover means of hypnotizing subjects in mere seconds. This was an important discovery in the fast-paced world of the vaudeville circuit where slow acts bored audiences and were fired for that. It was several decades later that he realized that this speed of hypnotic induction also made hypnosis useful in medicine.
In the 1920s, Dave worked as a songwriter for W. C. Handy while still also playing as a jazz musician. This led him into radio, his primary career from the mid-1920s into the early 1950s. In 1937, he created the program "Hobby Lobby" which was carried coast-to-coast for over a decade—an unusual achievement for that era. He also created "War Bond Auction," a program which generated very large amounts of money for the war effort. He received many awards for this from the Government.
In 1949, he demonstrated his rapid induction methods and knowledge of pain control to doctor friends. As a result, he was asked to provide a course on hypnosis to physicians and dentists. He insisted that he not practice medicine but only teach the techniques of hypnosis. His students often researched further medical applications and reported these back to be described in the course. His courses on hypnosis taught more physicians this subject than any other teacher before or since. The audio recordings of the classes and his book HYPNOTHERAPY are regarded as classics in the field of Medical Hypnosis. (Courtesy of his son, H. L. Elman)