Review Houdini

Discussion in 'Fame & Infamy' started by Doctor Omega, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was an Austro-Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breathinside a sealed milk can with water in it.

    In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who imitated his escape stunts.

    Houdini made several movies, but quit acting when it failed to bring in money. He was also a keen aviator, and aimed to become the first man to fly a plane in Australia.


    Legacy
    Houdini's brother, Theodore Hardeen, who returned to performing after Houdini's death, inherited his brother's effects and props. Houdini's will stipulated that all the effects should be "burned and destroyed" upon Hardeen's death. Hardeen sold much of the collection to magician and Houdini enthusiast Sidney Hollis Radner during the 1940s, including the water torture cell.[106] Radner allowed choice pieces of the collection to be displayed at The Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In 1995, a fire destroyed the museum. The water torture cell's metal frame remained, and it was restored by illusion builder John Gaughan.[107] Many of the props contained in the museum such as the mirror handcuffs, Houdini's original packing crate, a milk can, and a straitjacket, survived the fire and were auctioned in 1999 and 2008.

    Radner loaned the bulk of his collection for archiving to the Outagamie Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin but reclaimed it in 2003 and auctioned it in Las Vegas, on October 30, 2004.[108]

    Houdini was a "formidable collector", and bequeathed many of his holdings and paper archives on magic and spiritualism to the Library of Congress, which became the basis for the Houdini collection in cyberspace.[109]

    In 1934, the bulk of Houdini's collection of American and British theatrical material, along with a significant portion of his business and personal papers, and some of his collections of other magicians were sold to pay off estate debts to theatre magnate Messmore Kendall. In 1958, Kendall donated his collection to the Hoblitzelle Theatre Library at the University of Texas at Austin.[110] In the 1960s, the Hoblitzelle Library became part of the Harry Ransom Center. The extensive Houdini collection includes a 1584 first edition of Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft and David Garrick's travel diary to Paris from 1751.[111][112] Some of the scrapbooks in the Houdini collection have been digitized.[113] The collection was exclusively paper-based until April 2016, when the Ransom Center acquired one of Houdini's ball weights with chain and ankle cuff. In October 2016, in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of the death of Houdini, the Ransom Center embarked on a major re-cataloging of the Houdini collection to make it more visible and accessible to researchers.[114] The collection is expected to re-open within a year with a fully indexed digital finding aid.

    A large portion of Houdini's estate holdings and memorabilia was willed to his fellow magician and friend, John Mulholland (1898–1970). In 1991, illusionist and television performer David Copperfield purchased all of Mulholland's Houdini holdings from Mulholland's estate. These are now archived and preserved in Copperfield's warehouse at his headquarters in Las Vegas. It contains the world's largest collection of Houdini memorabilia, and preserves approximately 80,000 items of memorabilia of Houdini and other magicians, including Houdini's stage props and material, his rebuilt water torture cabinet and his metamorphosis trunk. It is not open to the public, but tours are available by invitation to magicians, scholars, researchers, journalists and serious collectors.

    In a posthumous ceremony on October 31, 1975, Houdini was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7001 Hollywood Blvd.[115]

    The Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, bills itself as "the only building in the world entirely dedicated to Houdini". It is open to the public year-round by reservation. It includes Houdini films, a guided tour about Houdini's life and a stage magic show. Magicians Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz opened the facility in 1991.

    The Magic Castle in Los Angeles, California, a nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts, as well as the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, features Houdini séances performed by magician Misty Lee.

    The House of Houdini is a museum and performance venue located at 11, Dísz square in the Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary. It claims to house the largest collection of original Houdini artifacts in Europe.[116]

    The Houdini Museum of New York is located at Fantasma Magic, a retail magic manufacturer and seller located in Manhattan. The museum contains several hundred pieces of ephemera, most of which belonged to Harry Houdini.



     
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  2. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    I have been obsessed with Houdini for years. He came from humble beginnings and made himself one of the most famous men ever. It's truly a tragedy that something like a burst appendix is what took him down, being in a time when something as simple as penicillin hadn't been discovered yet. I still love the fact that his friend Conan Doyle believed his performances to be aided by some spiritual forces, even as Houdini crusaded so hard against spiritualists and mediums. An absolutely brilliant man, if only encumbered by hubris.
     
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  3. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    I have never really studied up in great depth on his life, but, growing up I remember this biopic on the telly....







    and the other memorable aspect, for me, of his life that I always remember reading was this....


    Before Houdini died, he and his wife agreed that if Houdini found it possible to communicate after death, he would communicate the message "Rosabelle believe", a secret code which they agreed to use. Rosabelle was their favorite song. Bess held yearly séances on Halloween for ten years after Houdini's death. She did claim to have contact through Arthur Ford in 1929 when Ford conveyed the secret code, but Bess later said the incident had been faked. The code seems to have been such that it could be broken by Ford or his associates using existing clues. Evidence to this effect was discovered by Ford's biographer after he died in 1971. In 1936, after a last unsuccessful séance on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel, she put out the candle that she had kept burning beside a photograph of Houdini since his death. In 1943, Bess said that "ten years is long enough to wait for any man."


     
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  4. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Medium


    Arthur_Ford_medium.png


    Arthur Ford (January 8, 1896 – January 4, 1971) was an American psychic, spiritualist medium, clairaudient, and founder of the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (1955). He gained national attention when he claimed to have contacted the dead son of Bishop James Pike in 1967 on network TV. In 1928 Ford claimed to have contacted the deceased spirits of Houdini's mother and later in 1929 Harry Houdini himself.


    Medium

    Around 1921, Ford was a traveling Spiritualist trance medium who professed to be controlled by a spirit guide he referred to as "Fletcher." He eventually settled in New York City as pastor of a Spiritualist church. He developed a popular following, and in 1927 traveled to Great Britain. One of his lectures was attended by veteran Spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who enthusiastically told people the next day, "One of the most amazing things I have ever seen in 41 years of psychic experience was the demonstration of Arthur Ford."

    Ford was tested only once by the American Society for Psychical Research. He attempted to identify through psychic means the owners of objects (psychometry). He completely failed the test.

    Houdini messages

    Following her husband's death in 1926, Bess Houdini began attending seances conducted by Ford. Author Andrew Lycett suggests that Arthur Conan Doyle encouraged a "vulnerable" Bess to believe Ford's claims that he could contact the dead in order "to win an important victory for Spiritualism".[5] In 1928, Ford claimed he was able to contact Harry Houdini's deceased mother via his spirit guide "Fletcher." A year later, he claimed to contact the deceased Houdini himself and relay the full text of a secret message Houdini proposed to convey to Bess after his death. Bess initially endorsed Ford's claims, but later repudiated them.[6] Authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman speculate that Bess Houdini was initially supportive of Ford's claims due to the effects of alcoholism, and that she had romantic feelings for Ford. Others such as Milbourne Christopher speculate that the text of the message used a private code between Houdini and his wife that could have easily been broken by Ford or his associates using a number of existing clues.

    The magician Bob Couttie has noted that others had known the message so it was not secure. According to skeptical investigator Gordon Stein the "secret" code had actually been previously published in a book on page 105 of Harold Kellock's biography Houdini: His Life Story and it was likely Ford had read it. It was alleged by witnesses that Ford told the journalist Rea Jaure at her apartment that Bess had given him the code. However, Ford denied the allegation and stated that he had been "impersonated" at Rea Jaure's apartment by a paid imposter.

    Allegations of fraud

    After Ford's death in 1971, biographer Allen Spraggett and associate Rev. William V. Rauscher found what they believed to be evidence that the Houdini séance had been faked. They also found Ford's files: a collection of obituaries, newspaper clippings and other information disguised as bound poetry books, which they claim enabled Ford to research his clients' backgrounds. They also discovered evidence which suggested to them that Ford had faked a 1967 seance with Bishop James Pike in which Ford claimed to contact the bishop's deceased son. Psychology professor and critic James Alcock wrote that these revelations exposed Ford as a fraud, and skeptical investigator Joe Nickell has characterized Ford as "a clever fraud artist."

    Ford's biographer concluded "The evidence is disquietingly strong that Ford cheated—deliberately as well as unconsciously"
     
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  5. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    The tradition of holding a séance for Houdini continues, held by magicians throughout the world. The Official Houdini Séance was organized in the 1940s by Sidney Hollis Radner, a Houdini aficionado from Holyoke, Massachusetts. Yearly Houdini séances are also conducted in Chicago at the Excalibur nightclub by "necromancer" Neil Tobin on behalf of the Chicago Assembly of the Society of American Magicians; and at the Houdini Museum in Scranton by magician Dorothy Dietrich, who previously held them at New York's Magic Towne House with such magical notables as Houdini biographers Walter B. Gibson and Milbourne Christopher. Gibson was asked by Bess Houdini to carry on the original seance tradition. After doing them for many years at New York's Magic Towne House, before he died, Walter passed on the tradition of conducting of the Original Seances to Dorothy Dietrich.

    In 1926, Harry Houdini hired H. P. Lovecraft and his friend C. M. Eddy, Jr., to write an entire book about debunking religious miracles, which was to be called The Cancer of Superstition. Houdini had earlier asked Lovecraft to write an article about astrology, for which he paid $75. The article does not survive. Lovecraft's detailed synopsis for Cancer does survive, as do three chapters of the treatise written by Eddy. Houdini's death derailed the plans, as his widow did not wish to pursue the project.
     
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  6. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    :emoji_cry:

    At least she could get on with her life then.

    Odd how spirits never come through with the important stuff! :emoji_head_bandage:
     
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  7. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    That gets filed in the same spot as fortune tellers never winning the lottery. :emoji_unamused:
     
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  8. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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  9. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Houdini 1936 Final Official Seance

    This is an audio recording of the official final Houdini seance, which took place on Saturday, October 31, 1936, 8:30 p.m., on the rooftop of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood, California. Some of the key participants at the seance were Houdini's wife Beatrice (Bess), Dr. Edward Saint, Charles Fricke, two newspapermen, a past president of the California Spiritualist Organization, Hereward Carrington, Caryl Fleming, and William Larsen Sr.


    For those not familiar with this seance, here's the scoop. Before Houdini's death, Harry and Bess made a pact that the first to die would try to contact the survivor. If contact wasn't made within 10 years, the pact would be broken. Houdini promised Bess that if he died first, he would deliver a message in code and open a pair of locked silver handcuffs, among other things. As it turned out, Houdini did die first, on October 31, 1926. This recording captures Bess's final attempt to contact Harry. And for the record, the original recording of this was about 19 1/2 minutes. It included more introductory commentary by Edward Saint, complete with a rendition of Pomp and Circumstance, which Houdini used to have playing in the background as he walked onstage and greeted his audiences. In any event, I couldn't post the longer version because YouTube will not accept videos longer than 15 minutes.



     
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  10. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    The Master Mystery is a 1918 American mystery silent serial film told in 15 installments. The film was directed by Harry Grossman and Burton L. King and written by Arthur B. Reeve and Charles Logue. The film stars Harry Houdini, Marguerite Marsh, Ruth Stonehouse, Edna Britton, William Pike, and Charles Graham. Episode 1 was released on November 18, 1918, by Octagon Films.


    Plot
    Justice Department agent Quentin Locke is investigating a powerful cartel that is protected by The Automaton, a robot. However, it uses a gas weapon known as The Madagascar Madness.

    Cast
    Episodes[edit]
    1. Living Death
    2. The Iron Terror
    3. The Water Peril
    4. The Test
    5. The Chemist’s Shop
    6. The Mad Genius
    7. Barbed Wire
    8. The Challenge
    9. The Madagascan Madness
    10. The Binding Ring
    11. The Net
    12. The Death Noose
    13. The Flash of Death
    14. The Tangled Web
    15. Bound at Last; or, Unmasking of the Automaton


     
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  11. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    The Grim Game is a 1919 American silent drama film directed by Irvin Willat and starring Harry Houdini and Ann Forrest. The basic plotline serves as a showcase for Houdini's talent as an escapologist, stunt performer and aviator.


    Plot

    A gang of men frame Harvey Hanford (Houdini) for murder, and also decide to kidnap his fiancée. Hanford is quickly apprehended by the police and falsely imprisoned for the crime. Shortly afterward, Hanford escapes and pursues the men who framed him. The film unfolds as a series of Houdini's trademark set-piece stunts and escapes; his tormentors chain him up and imprison him on numerous occasions, only for Hanford to escape. The film concludes with a climactic mid-air collision following an aeroplane pursuit. Following the collision, Hanford is reunited with his fiancée.

    Cast
    Plane collision

    The famous mid-air plane collision was not scripted. It was a real accident caught on film over the skies of Santa Monica, California. Stuntman Robert E. Kennedy was doubling Houdini at the time. No one was killed, and the story was rewritten to incorporate the accident. Publicity was geared heavily toward promoting this dramatic "caught on film" moment, claiming it was Houdini himself dangling from the plane.

    Preservation

    Widely considered to have been a lost film, a complete print of the film was acquired by Turner Classic Movies from Larry Weeks, a former juggler from Brooklyn who had obtained his copy from the Houdini estate.

    Following up on a lead from Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of The Houdini Museum[2] in Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Grim Game was restored by Rick Schmidlin. TCM gave the restored version a world premiere as the closing film for their annual Classic Film Festival on March 29, 2015.[3] TCM premiered the film on October 18, 2015.

    Poster

    An original 1919 movie poster from The Grim Game was auctioned by eMoviePoster.com for $67,166 on December 3, 2013, a new auction record for any Houdini poster (movie or magic). The poster was purchased by illusionist David Copperfield.







     
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  12. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Terror Island is a 1920 American silent adventure film produced by Jesse Lasky and directed by James Cruze. It is a starring vehicle for illusionist Harry Houdini here costarring with Lila Lee.[1] This film listed as 7 reels by the AFI but two reels are lost/missing with only 5 reels remaining.[2] The film had the working title of Salvage.


    Plot

    Beverly West appeals to Harry Harper, the inventor of a submarine device for salvaging sunken vessels, to help her rescue her father from the South Sea natives who are holding him as a ransom for the skull shaped pearl that Beverly possesses. Also desirous of the pearl is Job Mourdant, Beverly's guardian, who kidnaps his ward and heads out to sea. Harry follows and saves Beverly when Mourdant throws her overboard.

    After the two parties arrive on the island, Harry is captured but escapes in time to see the natives thrust Beverly into an iron safe and throw her into the sea. Once again, Harry saves the girl, and finally procures the gems after struggling with a man in a diving suit. Harry then so impresses the natives with his magic that they release Beverly and her father and the three set sail for home.

    Cast
    • Harry Houdini as Harry Harper
    • Lila Lee as Beverly West, niece of Job Mordaunt
    • Jack Brammall as Ensign Tom Starkey
    • Wilton Taylor as Job Mordaunt
    • Eugene Pallette as Guy Mordaunt
    • Edward Brady as Captin Marsh
    • Frank Bonner as Chief Bakaida
    • Ted E. Duncan as First Officer Murphy
    • Fred Turner as Mr. West
    • Rosemary Theby as Sheila Mourdant, Guy Mordaunt's wife


     
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  13. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    The Man from Beyond is a 1922 silent film starring Harry Houdini as a man found frozen in arctic ice who is brought back to life.

    Plot

    A man named Howard Hillary is found frozen for a hundred years in the arctic ice and is thawed out and awoken. After his awakening he insists that a young woman, Felice, is his fiancée from a century before. Hillary is admitted to a mental institution, but later escapes and realizes that he is not in his own time and that Felice is actually the descendant of his own Felice from a century ago. Hillary joins her in searching for her father, who has been abducted.

    Cast


     
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  14. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Haldane of the Secret Service is a 1923 American adventure silent film directed by Harry Houdini. The film stars Harry Houdini, Gladys Leslie, William J. Humphrey, Richard Carlyle, Edward Boulden, Jane Jennings and Charles Fang. The film was released on September 30, 1923, by Film Booking Offices of America.[1][2][3]


    Plot

    "Heath Haldane (Houdini), son of a detective slain by a gang of counterfeiters, swears vengeance. He rescues a girl (Leslie) from the gang, but is thrown into river by them for dead, and escapes.

    "He rounds them up after many adventures, brings about their arrest, and discovers the leader of the gang is father of girl whom he loves." -- Motion Picture News Booking Guide (April 1924)

    Cast


     
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  15. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    The above five, according to IMDB. :emoji_alien:
     
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  16. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    This is listed on IMDB as being directed by Houdini, but some trivia notes.....


     
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  17. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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