Saturday, November 13, 2010

Houdini speaks in 1970

One of the most fantastic finds in the world of magic was the discovery of six Edison Wax Cylinders containing recordings of Harry Houdini’s long lost voice. Below is an article from the Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1970, reporting the discovery.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The famous six wax cylinders are now part of the David Copperfield collection.

A question to my fellow Houdini nuts... Has anyone ever heard recordings of the remaining cylinders (said to contain a poem read in English and German by Houdini and his sister Gladys)? If so, how can this nut get listen?

You can listen to the available Houdini voice recording HERE.


  1. I'm just as curious as you are. I'd love to hear the rest of them. I just had my headphones on full blast, listening to this one for the gazillionth time, ha ha.

    I really like your new blog by the way. The top banner startled me, and I had to stare at the detailed image of his eyes for a while before continuing.

    I really appreciate and respect the amount of time you put into all this. -Leo

  2. Thank you, Leo. I really love knowing there are people out there enjoying my site. Sometimes I'm not sure if anyone is looking at it. ;)

  3. Wow, his voice is nothing like I imagined it would be! It even had a germanic tinge to it.

    Greg Manwaring

  4. Is this the first time you've heard this recording, Greg? Cool. I'm glad to have brought this too you.

    I remember back in the 70s, before this recording became public, the late great Manny Weltman played it for me over the telephone. That was my first hearing.

    You know, Houdini did a lot of radio late in his life. Is it possible some of those recordings exist tucked away in radio archives? Or was everything done live back in those days?

  5. Ah, that recording never gets old (although it's too bad this version has the last second or so clipped off). I first heard it on Bob King's still-extant some 11 years ago, which is about how long I've been a Houdini nut. :)

    I wish someone would release a recording of the remaining cylinders---I, too would really like to hear the poems, as well as Gladys' voice.

  6. I hear you, Beth, I'd soooo love to hear the rest of these recordings.

  7. Has anyone reported having asked David Copperfield whether he'd share recordings of them? Sometimes a knock is enough to open a door.

  8. I haven't worked up the courge. You do it, David. I'll wait here at the curb. :p

  9. David Copperfield, PLEASE release the remaining cylinders! Please? Please with sugar?

  10. i have only heard the water torture cell ones. jay marshall of magic in owned them at one time



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