Friday, August 19, 2011

When Orson met Harry

Check out the article, Bits of Coincidence, on Meredith Grau's terrific blog, L.A. La Land: Fame, Fortune, and Forensics. It tells the story of when Orson Welles as a boy met Houdini, and the life lesson he took away from the encounter.

Now, I knew Welles said he saw Houdini in his youth (commenting on how Houdini's show was filled with "German illusions"), but I've never heard this story of a personal backstage meeting. Of course, Welles was as much a teller of tall tales as Houdini, so maybe this didn't really happen (or maybe it wasn't Houdini). But, hey, it's still a cool story, so click on over to L.A. La Land and have a read.

Welles and wife Rita Hayworth perform The Houdinis Metamorphosis.

UPDATE: The above photo does indeed show Orson and Rita Hayworth performing the substitution trunk. This was part of Orson's USO Wonder Show. In the show Orson also performed Houdini's Needles.


  1. The February 2000 Genii magazine had a fairly long article about Orson Welles and magic, containing this anecdote. The article was written by Wynn Pierce Wheldon.

  2. Oh, cool, thank you, Eric.

    Heck, I should have checked my Ask Alexander before I posted this. :)