Monday, August 27, 2012

Magicol, No. 183

The new issue of Magicol (No. 183) has arrived, and as always there's something in it for us Houdini nuts.

This issue is all about the joy of magic posters, and as you can see from the image on the back of the magazine (right), The Houdinis Metamorphosis poster is covered. Dr. Bruce Averbook selects this as his "dessert island" poster. "It gives me chills," he writes.

The "Houdini For President" poster is also featured in David Ben's terrific article on poster values. Something Gabe Fajuri writes about a Herrmann poster also applies here: "You know you're famous when your posters advertise who you are, not what you do."

The 43rd Magic Collectors Weekend in Chicago is also covered. It includes a nice mention of my own Houdini talk along with coverage of the big Friday night Houdini presentations by Arthur Moses and William Pack.

You can subscribe to Magicol at


  1. It's interesting that on this poster Houdini was already advertising himself as the King of Handcuffs. The poster was printed in 1895. That was four years before Martin Beck showed up and Houdini began to focus more on escapes.

  2. I'm not sure I accept the 1895 date. I think this poster might have been 1898, around the time of their second tour with the Welsh Bros.

  3. It might be an accurate date. According to Professor Silverman in Houdini!!!, when Harry was part proprietor and manager of the American Gaiety Girls, he performed the Sub Trunk with Bess using borrowed handcuffs from the audience instead of the usual rope to tie the wrists. This happened in Manchester, New Hampshire in November 1895, and may have marked the first time Houdini publicly performed the handcuff escape.

    Houdini followed this up by demonstrating his skills with handcuffs at police stations in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He did it again when the company moved on to Worcester and then Holyoke, Mass. Did he have the Metamorphosis poster designed and printed immediately after these demonstrations? He had time to do it before the end of 1895. The poster has handcuffs laid out on the floor in front of the Sub Trunk.

  4. Good points. I guess this poster could have been made up around the same time as King of Cards, which is also dated as '95, I believe. And I agree with your original observation that it's wild Houdini was already using the "King of Handcuffs" billing this early.