Sunday, December 21, 2014

A look back at Harry's WILD 2014


2014 was a year jam-packed with Houdini events and news and a very busy and exciting year for WILD ABOUT HARRY.

We kicked off the year with an interview with Karen Mann, the daughter of Jacques Price, and also took looks back at Houdini at the Hillstreet, his rough ride at Niagara Falls, and his 3 Shows in One. A major new Houdini documentary, The Magic of Houdini, hit TV screens in England, while another new documentary appeared in Germany. In February, Briggs auctioned the Houdini collection of Pat Croce. In March we enjoyed a Haunted Houdini Tour of Los Angeles, which included a ghost Houdini couldn't explain. And while we officially lost the possibility of a Houdini Broadway musical, we did get Nothing On Earth by the Axis Theatre Company in New York, and Flim Flam by the talented troops at the Malibu Playhouse.

Spring saw us discussing slicing a girl in Worcester, Houdini's film lab (then and now), punches by Pickleman and others, and what Houdini thought about being Buried Alive ("I like it very much"). In July we celebrated the 100 year anniversaries of Houdini's Battery Park overboard box escape and his Walking Through A Brick Wall. The NYPL showed us a never-before-seen Houdini poster, and Potter and Potter hosted a major auction of Houdiniana that included what we thought was his long lost Double Fold Death-Defying Mystery (turns out it was just on tour). We also discovered that Houdini had some Velvet Fingers.

Fall was dominated by the arrival of the Houdini miniseries starring Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly. The two-part movie played fast and loose with the facts and brought out some strong opinions. If only Ray Stark could have done it his way. In fiction, Houdini met The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes (thrice!), and we got three books offering revisionist versions of his death. We also met a Young Houdini, and took a fresh new journey under the pyramids. Back in real life, Houdini got a namecheck from The Pope (kinda), an important Bessie letter came home, and we learned that even Houdini can't escape the woes of commuting.

2014 also saw the sad loss of magician and escape artist Alan Alan, Houdini collector Larry Weeks, and Ragtime's first Harry, Bernie Yvon.

As always, attempts were made to contact the spirit of Houdini on Halloween, this time with seances in Danvers (the Official), Scranton (the Original), Las Vegas (the Annual), and the UK (the World Famous). I decided to mark Halloween 2014 with a look back at the Final Houdini Seance in 1936 with some unseen photos from the collection of our friend Mark Willoughby. And then there was that odd rain storm...

My own personal highlights were my Houdini event at Hollywood Heritage, a panel appearance at ScareLA, and interviews with On With Scott, NPR, The Chicago Tribune, and Ennyman's Territory. I also enjoyed my 50th birthday celebration in Houdini Seance Room at the Magic Castle.

Thanks to everyone for your support of this blog and your participation. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Barring any breaking Houdini news, I'll be taking the rest of the year off and will see you all back here January 1, 2015 for what I expect will be another WILD year for Harry.

3 comments:

  1. That's what I call a damn good year! Looking forward to another. Thanks for all the great work.

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  2. John Hinson great nephew of Bess and Harry HoudiniDecember 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    What a great year. Lets see what we can uncover this year.

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  3. The highlight of 2014 for me was the Potter & Potter Houdini Auction. I didn't win anything but was able to examine photos like Bess's 35 birthday party and get a glimpse inside 278. The other highlight was that collapsible spirit trumpet photo of Mrs. Cook that gave us another look inside 278. That photo allowed us to look at the outside hallway from Houdini's office rather than vise versa as is usually the case.

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