Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Houdini in the New York Daily News

Yesterday the New York Daily News ran a nice article about the Houdini grave restoration project to be undertaken by the Society of American Magicians and Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton. Even though you can read the online version HERE (and also watch a video of S.A.M. President Kenrick "Ice" McDonald at the gravesite), there's still just something satisfying about seeing Houdini in newsprint.

"When I pass on, I would rather have one line in the press than a one-hundred dollar wreath."

Thanks to Dorothy and Dick at the Houdini Museum for the alert and this image.

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  1. Here is the original article we sent to The Daily News. It gives a detailed story. This is part one. See below for part 2.
    Houdini Grave site restoration project.

    Ice McDonald, Magician & First Black President of S.A.M., and Dorothy Dietrich of the Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA Sets Restoration of Houdini Gravesite in Motion
     The Houdini Museum recently restored Houdini’s destroyed bust at his cemetery, and has been made caretaker of the grave by the management of the cemetery. 
    The directors of The Houdini Museum in Scranton PA Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz are collaborating with the National organization of The Society of American Magicians for funding to repair and restore Houdini’s resting place in Glendale Queens, NY.   Houdini was the longest presiding president of the Society of American Magicians, which is over 100 years old. Houdini was responsible for its growth world wide. Current President of the S.A.M., Ice McDonald, along with Dal Sanders, Phil Matlin, David Bowers, and the entire board of directors of the Society have made this possible.  The directors of the museum are on the committee of the Society and provide help and guidance in this regard.

    There are several projects under way. The plan has several stages. It starts with a thorough professional cleaning of the large granite monument. This is already contracted and will be completed soon.

    Another important  part of the restoration is the repair of the Mosaic logo of The Society of the American Magicians. Several tiles are showing wear and several are missing. This is a very important part of the project. Mosaic artist Kim Hogan is doing research now to find the right glass to perfectly match the missing mosaic tiles.

      Plans are at hand to restore the mosaic of the SAM at the grave site.  Dorothy Dietrich and The Houdini Museum  have been working on plans for the past several years to restore of two destroyed grave stones at the site or Houdini’s brother Leopold and sister Gladys.  Houdini was the longest presiding president of the Society of American Magicians, which is over 100 years old. Houdini was responsible for its growth world wide.

  2. Putting it all up for the historical record.
    Part 2
    Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum of Scranton took on the responsibility of looking after the grave, largely with money out of their own pockets (and sometimes mowing the lawn themselves).

    Now the S.A.M. has voted unanimously to resume financing the maintenance of the gravesite. National President Dal Sanders writes in the December 2013 issue of M-U-M:

    "Harry Houdini is an icon as revered as Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. He is not only a magical icon; his gravesite bears the seal of The Society of American Magicians. That seal is our brand and we as a Society should be proud of protect it. This gravesite is clearly our responsibility and I'm proud to report that the National Council unanimously voted to maintain Houdini's final resting place. In addition to this, I have appointed North Atlantic Regional Vice President Eric DeCamps to establish and chair a committee that will oversee the maintenance of the Houdini gravesite and be a contact for those who wish to visit the site and pay their respects."

    ICE McDonald, the newly elected National President of the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) along one of the Society’s Senior Officers David Bowers early October visited the gravesite of world famous escape artist Harry Houdini. Plans for the huge restoration process has begun at the Machpelah Cemetery in Queens.
    The visit to Houdini’s gravesite was be especially sentimental for ICE who on July 3, 2014 made history by becoming the first African-American National President of the S.A.M. in the organization’s 112 year history. Houdini was also a national president of the S.A.M. from 1917 until his death on October 31, 1926. Founded in 1902 The S.A.M. is the oldest and most prestigious magic organization in the world. They have promoted the ideals shared by Houdini and more than 47,000 others world-wide who have held membership in the society. Their mission is to promote an environment for the worldwide magic community that fosters fellowship, preservation of the magical arts, ethical standards, education and personal growth.
    “It brings me joy to visit the great city of New York, and an honor to attend the Gravesite of one of magic’s greatest treasures, the Honorable Past National President of The Society of American Magicians, Harry Houdini” states ICE.