My fascination with Houdini began in 1975 when I was hit with the double whammy of seeing the 1953 Paramount movie, HOUDINI, and watching the late 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 fine biography, Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls. I was hooked. Thirty plus years later and I am still on a never-ending quest to find out more about the “Master Mystifier.”
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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 (a yet unproduced Judd Apatow comedy about magicians), ABC, USA, and the WB networks. My first produced feature, Boot Camp, starring Mila Kunis (wouldn’t she make a great Bess?) was recently released on DVD. You can read more about my screenwriting whatnot here.
I started my first Houdini website, Houdini Lives!, in 2005 because, while I felt there were many terrific sites that cover the history of Houdini, what I wanted (and needed) was a website 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.
Now I've created this blog -- WILD ABOUT HARRY. Here I will go more in-depth on the latest Houdini news and my own research discoveries, and take advantage of all the latest nifty features offered by Blogger. It's just another way to keep up with all the latest Houdini happenings. Because I'm wild about Harry! And so are you.
|At Houdini's grave in 2005|
|Inside the remains of the original Water Torture Cell in 1999|
|With an original Houdini sub trunk in 2006|
|With Mrs. Houdini (aka Janet Leigh) in 1986|
|In the Houdini Seance Room at The Magic Castle in 2007|
|In front of Houdini's New York home in 2005|
|Exploring the Houdini Mansion in Laurel Canyon|
in 2008...and 1976
Published work on Houdini:
- "Guests & Ghosts of 278", Magicol No. 184, January 2013. COVER.
- "A Rendezvous with Houdini in Fort Worth", Magic Castle Newsletter, December 2012.
- "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.