As one of the greatest escape artists of his day, Zatara was approached by the young Bruce Wayne (under the alias "John Smith") who pleaded to be taught the magician's secrets. Even though "John" admitted he had no interest in becoming a stage performer, Zatara sensed the young man's need, and taught him everything he knew—including secrets he had never shared with any other apprentice or colleague.
Perhaps the only other person he shared as much with was his daughter, Zatanna. After his death, she "kept the old act going."
It is unknown if Zatara ever knew who "John Smith" really was, but years later, when Zatanna realized the identity of the Batman, and to what use he had put Zatara's skills, she told Batman that Zatara would have been very proud of him.
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