About Me

"John Cox has become a one-man aggregator of all Houdini news on the web, as he creates original content, links to the works of others, and exploits the power of social media to spread the word far and wide. [He] has put together a fascinating site for fans of Houdini and magic history, and John is performing a service for us all by going the extra mile, past those first few Google result pages, to find the really obscure, undiscovered stuff."
- The Mandala, March/April 2012

Hello, my name is John Cox, and I'm wild about Harry (Houdini).

My fascination with Houdini began in late 1975 when I was hit with the double whammy of seeing the 1953 Paramount movie, HOUDINI, and watching the great Doug Henning perform Houdini’s Water Torture Cell live on NBC. Who was this amazing Houdini fellow who could escape from anything? The next day I went to the mall and bought my first two Houdini books; the perennial Houdini on Magic by Walter B. Gibson and William Lindsey Gresham’s biography, Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls. I was hooked. Forty years later, I am still on a never-ending quest to find out more about the "Master Mystifier", with a collection of over 500 books and more than 2000 individual items.

As a teen, I dabbled in escape and performance magic and wrote articles about Houdini for my school newspapers. Inspired by Houdini skills as a self-publicist, I was able to attract newspaper coverage of my escapes and growing Houdini collection. I even appeared on the Toni Tennille Variety Talk Show where I did a straight-jacket escape. On weekends, I would haunt the bookstores along Hollywood Blvd. for Houdini rarities. I became a member of The Magic Castle on my 21st birthday...held in the Houdini seance room, of course! (I recently had my 50th birthday there.)

Click to enlarge

Along the way I met and learned from great Houdini experts like Manny Weltman, Patrick Culliton, John Gaughan, and Sidney Radner. I was also fortunate to strike up a relationship with Houdini’s niece, Marie Blood. As with the secrets of magic, there is still much about Houdini (and Bessie) that is passed down via oral tradition.

After graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts (where I made a Houdini documentary as one of my projects), I became a professional screenwriter, penning projects for MGM, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks (an unproduced Judd Apatow comedy about magicians), ABC, USA, and the WB networks. My first produced feature, Boot Camp, starring Mila Kunis, was released in 2009. (You can read more about my screenwriting here.) While I still write the occasional script, today I work primarily in Digital Cinema.

Not surprisingly, I have a keen interest in Houdini’s film career, not only because it is my own profession, but I feel this is an area of his life that is under-researched. I've published two articles in MAGIC Magazine related to Houdini and film, and I appeared in the 1998 documentary, Houdini Exposed. I've also assisted on Houdini projects on film and radio. I also give illustrated talks on Houdini's life and career.

I started my first Houdini website, Houdini Lives!, in 2005, and expanded it into WILD ABOUT HARRY in 2010. While there are many terrific sites that cover the history of Houdini, what I felt was needed was a place that kept up with current Houdini news, auctions, book/DVD releases, and cultural references. It’s amazing just how active the world of Houdini remains so many years after his death.

Yes, I'm wild about Harry! And so are you.

"Your WILD ABOUT HARRY site continues to amaze us all. I have no idea how you do it!" -John Gaughan

"If anyone is interested in learning anything about Houdini, it’s a wealth of information that you won’t find in a book. I learned an enormous amount from John." - Kristen Connolly

"Your website is really a wonderful resource. I appreciate the work and time you put into it."  - George Hardeen
"A great resource for Houdini info." - Potter & Potter Auctions


With Houdini's original sub trunk in 2006.

With Houdini (aka Michael Weston) at The Magic Castle, 2016.

With Bess Houdini (aka Kristen Connolly) and Tom Interval, 2013.

With Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz at The Grim Game premiere, 2015.

With the remains of the original Water Torture Cell in 1999.

With Bess Houdini (aka Janet Leigh) in 1986.

At Houdini's New York home in 2005.

Exploring the Laurel Caynon Houdini Mansion in 2008...and 1976.

The "Houdini Enthusiast" in 1980.

With Houdini.

Published work on Houdini:

  • "Houdini - A Confection of Fact and Fantasy," MAGIC Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 2, October 2014.
  • "Conjuring Houdini's Lost Spiritualism Scrapbook," Magic Castle Newsletter, August 2013. (Read)
  • "Guests & Ghosts of 278," Magicol No. 184, January 2013. COVER.
  • "A Rendezvous with Houdini in Fort Worth," Magic Castle Newsletter, December 2012. (Read)
  • "RKO 589: Discovering Hollywood’s First Houdini Film," MAGIC Magazine, Vol. 20, No. 6, February 2011.
  • "The Great Escape: Hollywood’s Long Struggle to Bring Harry Houdini Back to Life," MAGIC Magazine, October 2006.
  • "Ray Stark & Hollywood: Searching for Harry Houdini," Mystifier, Vol. 6, No. 1, First Quarter 1996.
  • "Houdini Lives - Part 4: Houdini on the Market," The Magician Again, Oct 1980.
  • "Houdini Lives - Part 3: It Even Baffled Houdini," The Magician Again, Sept 1980.
  • "Houdini Lives - Part 2: WHO-DINI," The Magician Again, July/August 1980.
  • "Houdini Lives - Part 1: The Bridge Jumps," The Magician Again, June 1980.
  • "Houdini's Death Great Illusion," Forty-Niner, October 1979.


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