Saturday, November 9, 2013

The strolling magician

This is one of Houdini's earliest newspaper notices. It appeared on the front page of the Chicago Journal on January 5, 1899, a month before he was discovered by Martin Beck. What I love about this is it's a remarkably understated and mysterious introduction to Houdini. Notice how it doesn't even specify any venue where he is performing. He is simply a "strolling magician" who stopped in at police headquarters, escaped all their restraints, and went away laughing. Who is this mysterious Harry Houdini? Where might this strolling magician appear next?


Thanks to Patrick Culliton for this one.

7 comments:

  1. Now THIS is my kind of strolling magician!!!! Sure gives new meaning to the term.

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    1. Hey, you know, it's not unlike David Blaine's Street Magic. Once again HH is way ahead of his time.

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  2. This is an amazing find. Mr. Culliton never ceases to amaze and surprise us.

    Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
    The Houdini Museum
    The Only Building Ever in the World Dedicated Solely to Houdini.

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  3. That's fantastic! This reminds me of a Houdini doc I watched years ago (don't remember which one) that showed what they claimed to be the first news clipping of Houdini. I can't remember the name of the newspaper, but it was definitely a publication in Holyoke (maybe the Holyoke Daily Democrat or something like that). It was a very short clipping as I recall. Gibson was on the documentary.

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    1. I think I might know what you're talking about. I believe Sidney Radner shows it. It's about a Holyoke police station escape. I don't recall if Sid said it was Houdini's first clipping, but he wouldn't be right if he did. There's the famous "Risey in the box" article and there are reviews of The Bros. Houdini as well.

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    2. Yes, it was Sid! That's the one. Thanks for the memory jog. Maybe the narrator said it was "one of the earliest" or something. Not sure.

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    3. Oh, Sid might have said it himself. :) But I think he might have said it was Houdini's first police station handcuff escape, which could indeed be correct.

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