Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LINK: The man who taught Houdini to make an elephant disappear

The Daily Mail has a very interesting profile of Charles Morritt, who made several illusions for Houdini, including his famous Vanishing Elephant:

While Houdini performed his illusions, Morritt spent World War I touring the provinces. One evening he appeared in Houdini's dressing room. "Of course," he said, as Houdini peered in the mirror, applying greasepaint for the stage lights, "if you really want to make headlines with your magic, you shouldn't bother with little tricks like rabbits and pigeons. Make an elephant disappear."

Houdini remonstrated that even if the necessary equipment could be devised, having an elephant on stage would hardly be practical.

"I've got a very efficient way to do it," retorted Morritt.

Click on the headline to read the full story at The Daily Mail.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Houdini handcuffs at Comic Con

A pair of Mattatuck handcuffs used by Harry Houdini are currently on display at the Profiles in History booth at the San Diego Comic Con.

The Con -- the worlds largest gathering of all things pop culture -- started on Thursday and runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center. Attendance is expected to top last year’s 200,000.

The cuffs are auction lot #664. Bids can be placed via eBay. Price estimate is $7,000 to $9,000.

The Mattatuck cuffs were first sold at Butterfields Houdini auction in Los Angeles in 1999 as part of the Sidney Radner Houdini Magical Hall of Fame collection.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jail time, fine for Houdini collection arsonist

The man convicted of burning a priceless collection of Harry Houdini memorabilia might have to conjure up $100,000 as part of his sentence.

Jarrod Frederick pleaded guilty to the arson charge Wednesday and said he would attempt to pay the money as part of his proposed three-year prison sentence.

Frederick is accused of destroying Dr. Randall Wolf’s collection of the magician’s memorabilia when he broke into an Indian Hill home on Dec. 30 and set a fire that caused more than $1 million damage.

Prosecutors said Frederick, who once did lawn work in Indian Hill and knew the area, was looking for an out-of-the-way place to smoke crack cocaine.

He went into the Park Road house, prosecutors said, and set the fire while attempting to light his crack pipe.

The proposed sentence would give Frederick a choice of serving three years and attempting to pay $100,000, or serving five years and paying none.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Dennis Helmick became irritated with Frederick when he asked a question about paying the money.

“I have absolutely no sympathy for you,” Helmick said. “I’m asking you to pay 10 cents on the dollar. If you don’t want to, OK, you’ll go to the penitentiary. You were the one who caused the loss.”

The judge will decide whether to accept the proposed sentence Aug. 21. If he does, Frederick would be expected to begin making payments for the first five years after his release from prison.

His attorney, Hal Arenstein, said the hope is Frederick will be able to pay something, although it’s unlikely he will be able to repay anything close to $100,000.

If he makes an effort, Arenstein said, he should be able to avoid going back to prison.

Helmick said insurance companies already have paid $500,000 to cover property lost in the fire and would likely pay much more.

“Do you want to tell me … why you have a right to screw somebody else’s life up?” the judge asked.

“I have no right,” Frederick answered.

“You seem to be doing it,” Helmick said. “Every time you decide to use crack, it was a conscious decision. Nobody held a gun to your head.”

by Dan Horn
Cincinnati.com The Enquirer

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

AICN reviews Death Defying Acts

The first review of Death Defying Acts starring Guy Pearce as Houdini and Catherine Zeta-Jones has appeared over at Ain’t It Cool News. While the review isn’t exactly glowing, the reviewer did note that some in the focus group he attended liked the film...so that’s something.

Click to read: Bobo Vision Wants To Escape From DEATH-DEFYING ACTS

Death Defying Acts is a “supernatural romantic thriller” that tells the fictional story of Houdini’s relationship with a Scottish psychic played by Zeta Jones. It will be released by The Weinstein Co.

Houdini Lives! on Amazon

First published in October 2006, Houdini Lives! by Al Blanchard and Adam Steinfeld is a fun fictional novel that finds Houdini alive and well and living in Miami Beach in 1966. Originally available only as an eBook or print on demand, Houdini Lives! is now available on Amazon.com.

It's 1966, and world famous magician, escape artist, Harry Houdini, did not die 40 years ago as people thought. He's has been in hiding from his political enemies and is planning a dramatic comeback. Who are these enemies from the 1920's, and why are they still trying to kill him? Can Stanford, the young, hip, up-and-coming magician, and his sultry assistant, Solea, save his life? A magician creates a world of wonder and asks people to believe in that world. It is the highest form of entertainment. What is Houdini's secret identity? Will this be his final illusion? Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare for a tall tale of murder, mystery, romance, and political drama. Houdini lives or dies is only a matter of time.

Purchase Houdini Lives! from Amazon.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pamela Anderson gets signed Houdini book for her 40th

Pamela Anderson received a twice-signed copy of Houdini’s A Magician Among The Spirits for her 40th birthday. The book was a gift from magician Hans Klok.

The former Playboy playmate and Baywatch star celebrated her birthday last Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas where she is currently assisting Klok in his show The Beauty of Magic.

Pamela is reported to have let former husband Tommy Lee and photographer David LaChapelle touch the signature for good luck.