Sunday, August 22, 2010

Houdini’s New Jersey workshop found

Yet another significant Houdini location has been uncovered by Patrick Culliton and shared on Kevin Connolly’s terrific blog "Houdini Himself".

This time it’s Houdini’s workshop located at 216 19th St, Union City, New Jersey. For details and a photo of the workshop today head on over to Houdini Himself.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Kevin's site is now offline, but you can see then and now photos of Houdini's workshop HERE.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hollywood home rumored to be Houdini residence for sale

A Hollywood home “rumored” to have once been a residence of Houdini is for sale. The 4 bedroom house was built in 1918 and is located at 1616 N. Curson Ave. between Sunset and Hollywood Blvd.

While Houdini is known to have rented a (now demolished) house in nearby Laurel Canyon while he made The Grim Game and Terror Island for Famous Players/Paramount, there is some credence to this being another residence.

In the well-researched book The Story of Hollywood, author Gregory Paul Williams notes on page 78 that “the renowned magician Houdini occupied a cozy craftsman in the Gardner Tract while acting in movies.”

The book doesn’t give an address, but this is a craftsman style house in the Gardner tract (and a beautiful one at that). The current owner, who grew up in the house, says his parents always told him Houdini once lived there.

UPDATE: Local Houdini expert Patrick Culliton tells me this was actually the house occupied by Bess Houdini and Ed Saint sometime after the 1936 Final Houdini seance. Says Patrick, “Houdini was never in that house. But old-timers told me of visiting Bessie and Ed at 1616 N. Curson.”

...make that Bessie Houdini.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sportswear banks on magic of Houdini name

Does this company really think I’ll buy their sportswear just because the label reads “Houdini”? Well, they’re right. I will. Here’s their pitch:

Everything Houdini stands for comes from how we live - and we live to play hard. The idea for Houdini first came to us when we were stranded in what most people would call an impossible situation, our backs against the wall. It was a do or die time. Everyone on the team knew that if se were going to make it down the mountain, we would need the skills and steel nerves of an escape artist to see us through. So, we called out to the best of the best: Houdini. That day his spirit came and helped us through. He's been with us ever since.

Check out the official Houdini Sportswear website.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LINK: This way to Houdini's House

Noted magic collector and historian David Stahl has traveled to Budapest Hungary in search of the original Weiss family home and other notable Houdini locations. David’s photos can been seen on Kevin Connolly’s terrific blog Houdini Himself. Click the headline above to visit Houdini's childhood hood.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Kevin's site is now offline and the title link is no longer active. But you can see images of Houdini's birthplace in THIS POST.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Mysteries of Myra novelization

The “long lost” novelization for the 1916 serial The Mysteries of Myra, for which Houdini served as technical consultant, has been restored and is available to purchase as a paperback or hardback from the NEW Mysteries of Myra website.

The novelization is co-credited to Hereward Carrington, a paranormal investigator and Houdini colleague who later published the book, Houdini And Conan Doyle: The Story of a Strange Friendship.

Houdini’s consultant credit on The Mysteries of Myra is generally considered his first real foray into “Hollywood” cinema.

New book to tell story of Marie Blood

Greg Edmonds, whose Ars Praestigium recently released the amazing new cold cast bronze bust of Houdini created by renowned sculptor Peter Close, tells us he is currently working on a new book that will tell the story of Houdini’s niece, Marie Blood. Says Greg:

“The book I'm working on is tentatively entitled Harry and Bess - Marie Hinson Blood's life with The Great Houdinis. We decided to aim the publication at the adolescent market because Marie was only days shy of her ninth birthday when Harry died, and because a portion of the book's proceeds will go to the Society Of American Magician's youth chapter, with which Marie was heavily involved. 
As you may be aware, after Harry's death, Bess moved in with Marie and her parents. Marie inherited Houdini's bedroom suite, and slept in his bed until she married Forrest. As a youngster, she frequently resided with the Houdinis in Harlem, and went as far as Detroit to appear as a "child volunteer from the audience" in Houdini's shows, something she did several times.
I put the project aside for several years for a variety of reasons, Marie's declining health and my own, chief among them. I am slowly getting the book together again, though. Over the last couple of months I've been gathering items from Jeff [Blood], and hope to include a good many photo illustrations in the work. I plan, at this stage, to publish the work through Ars Praestigium (we have a few others on hold as well), then attempt to shop it out to a big publishing house.”

This sounds like something very special! We’ll keep you updated.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

USQ presents Houdini musical, Aug 20-29

The University of Southern Queensland’s “USQ Artsworx” presents Houdini: The Man From Beyond, a musical theater celebration of the life of Houdini written by renowned Australian poet Bruce Dawe and local musician and composer Russell Bauer.

The production stars Chris White as Houdini and and Kristen Thompson as Bess. Guest director is Sue Rider. Designer is Carolyn Taylor-Smith.

Come marvel at the master mystifier!

Date: 20, 21, 27 and 28 August 2010
Time: 7:30pm
Matinees: 11:00am - Wednesday 25 August 2010

2:00pm - Sundays 22 and 29 August 2010

Venue: USQ Arts Theatre, Toowoomba campus
Duration: tbc
Rating: PG
Cost: $25.00 Adult, $20.00 Concession, $15.00 Student, $7.50 Child, $11 each School Group >20

Bookings: USQ Artsworx Box Office - 07 4631 1111 or

This project has been funded by the Regional Arts Development Fund which is a Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and Toowoomba Regional Council partnership to support local arts and culture.