Monday, December 19, 2016

Harry's WILD 2016 in review

It's time to wrap-up the year with a look back at the highlights of 2016.

January's 45 posts kicked off with a look back at what Houdini himself was up to in 1916. We then found a piece of Houdini's silent movie career at Beaver Falls. Rarities from Houdini's early career swept eBay and offered up a mystery. Houdini's long lost steel box and Milk Can resurfaced in Santa Monica. Houdini toured Texas and joined the Rough Riders. Duffy Hudson brought Houdini to Pasadena. Guest blogger Leona Preston shared her vision of The Last Séance while Neil McNally gave us his full reflection on the Mirror Challenge.

February (31 posts) took us inside 278 today. Houdini met Aleister Crowley, Doctor Who, the Wizards of the South, and had a showdown with Brindamour. We locked down the Guiteau cell and a found a pair of handcuffs Houdini left behind (or not). We also revisited Mysteries & Scandals and relived the details of Mama's death in Asbury Park.

Mrs. Houdini arrived in March (47 posts). Houdini & Doyle premiered in London. Palm Springs recognized Houdini the aviator while Jamy Ian Swiss shared a story that never has been told. The Cancer of Superstition was FOUND! Scarne remembered Houdini while we remembered his Flatbush years. Haversat & Ewing's "Houdini Birthday Auction" nabbed impressive prices. MUM celebrated our friend Dorothy Dietrich. Houdini again met Argamasilla and I reviewed the first episode of Houdini & Doyle. But the big question of the month; was Houdini toothless?

April (38 posts) saw The Real Ghostbusters busting Houdini. We pondered Houdini's electric chair and discovered the shocking truth. I met the new Houdini who showed off his, ahem, card skills. We all read up on Houdini the bibliophile. Washington D.C. celebrated a Houdini centenary and Potter & Potter held their mega Houdiniana auction. The month ended with a look at the curious case of an incomplete scrapbook and the real story of Houdini & Doyle.

The Fox series Houdini & Doyle dominated May (40 posts). I had the pleasure of live tweeting the U.S. premiere with star Michael Weston at Fox Studios, where I also made a stop at 278 of the west. I then reviewed and fact checked all 10 episodes of the series, and if you think that was a waste of blog space, I beg to differ. But there was more to the month than the fiction. The real Houdini threatened to sue the real Doyle. A forgotten assistant showed up in Yorkshire. Guest blogger Neil McNally took us inside the amazing Houdini Museum of New York. Bessie found herself Boxed. The S.A.M. rededicated Houdini's gravesite, and I offered up a detailed look at Houdini in 1900.

June (34 posts) kicked off with the release of a new Houdini biography in Spanish. David Merlini's major new museum, The House of Houdini, opened in Budapest. Hollywood mocked up Harry for Now You See Me 2. I explored whether Harry and Bess married in 1901 and shared The Greatest. Margery's seance kimono appeared in New York while A Regular Little Houdini appeared in Hollywood. Larry Weeks became "Houdini's Biggest Fan" for eternity and Hardeen challenged Clara Bow's "IT".

In July (34 post) we punched a new hole in the ice story. The Grim Game landed in Leeds. Williamsport honored their "Wild Man" and a photo from Medium Well Done materialized. Mannix visited the Houdini estate. I took a detailed look back at Houdini's escape from the Siberian Transport Cell and the theories of how he did it. Houdini then went poolside and planned to not go over Niagara Falls.

In August (34 posts) we discovered Tara O'Grady's "Ehrich Weiss Bible" along with the amazing story of how it came to be in her family. Houdini returned to the Edinburgh Fringe. The Shelton pool test turned 90. Chris Hardeen entered the ring, but it was Houdini & Doyle that suffered a knockout by Fox. Houdini feuded with A.M. Wilson. We got a nice look at Houdini's hands and found the location of his last publicity stunt. An imposter was revealed. Bess went Beyond and Back. We ended the month with a week at Tony Pastor's.

In September (40 posts) Wild About Harry got a new look, a new store, and new pages. Mark Willoughby shared his remarkable recordings of Edward Saint. We took a look back at the making of the Houdini Miniseries and did a deep dive into the transformative year of 1899. The Magic of Houdini arrived on Netflix. So did Houdini’s Girl Detective. Houdini hit the workshop -- now the "Houdini Studio" -- and spoke in Coney Island. Houdini pinball appeared in Las Vegas. And Houdini was a sight to behold on Hollywood backlots in 1919 and 1953.

October (40 posts) was all about #Houdini90th. The month was packed with seances and special events in New York, Marshall, Milwaukee, Colon, Austin, Danville and Budapest. The month also marked the 100th anniversary of the Houdini-Weiss exedra and the 40th anniversary of The Great Houdinis. A new French series kicked off with Metamorphosis. The Witch of Lime Street appeared in paperback. I reviewed Bob Loomi's Houdini's Final Incredible Secret. The Houdinis became Houdini. Fred Pittella inherited Larry Weeks' estate. Houdini shamed Congress and spoke in Austin. And I marked the 90th anniversary of Houdini's death by telling the story of the long lost Houdini-Hilliar code...and then revealed the code! Then, curiously, Houdini seemed to reveal it back to me. Believe.

Things did not slow down in November (40 posts) with news that 2017 would see a reprint of Houdini's Paper Magic and a new book by Wayne Alan. Appleton held a "Houdini 10k" run. Lee Terbosic recreated Houdini's Pittsburgh straitjacket escape. The United States elected a Houdini-like President and Houdini got Drunk (can you blame him?). An original Master Mystery poster sold at auction and Houdini's underwater battle surfaced. Olive Films released Houdini (1953) while Delta Bravo found Houdini's Harvard jump site. A confederate confessed. Houdini became "King of Handcuffs". The Secret Life of Houdini movie showed signs of life and the late Doug Henning remembered doing the Water Torture Cell.

December (18 posts) saw the Ehrich Weiss Bible arriving at its new home in Budapest. Potter & Potter again sold rarities in auction. Houdini learned the title of his movie and we got a peak at NBC's Timeless crew werk'in' on their Houdini episode. David De-Val reveled the secrets of Houdini cell escapes. Houdini had a mouse adventure. Bess joined the Mantell-Houdini Show and Jim Collins joined Hardeen.

Sadly, we lost some notables from the Houdini world; Irene Larsen, Abb Dickson, David Bowie, Elizabeth Swados, and Wisconsinite Gene Wilder.

This year I enjoyed giving talks at LILA, UCLA and The Magic Castle. Being included in the Houdini & Doyle press event at the Magic Castle was a real treat. I also enjoyed appearing on Beyond Reality Radio and doing an assortment of interviews with various media outlets and journalists for Houdini's 90th.

I will be taking the rest of the year off, but I'll see you all back here on New Year's Day for what I expect will be another WILD year. Thanks for all your support. Feel free to share your own 2016 Houdini highlights in the comments below.


  1. John Hinson great nephew of Bess and Harry HoudiniDecember 19, 2016 at 1:56 PM

    Have a great holiday

  2. Your amazing site continues to be the ultimate online resource for all things Houdini. Thanks for all you do. Here's hoping you have a wonderful holiday, and a healthy and happy 2017!

  3. Hear, hear Greg! WAH is definitely at the vanguard of all things Harry. Thanks to John for another fun and informative year at WAH! A toast to the new upcoming year...

  4. May I humbly concur. Many thanks John for your continued efforts,hard work and wonderful site. Here's to many more years. Thank you and happy holidays. :-)

  5. Johndini we love it and Houdini would be proud of your work, Enjoy your time off you deserve it...........

  6. What can I say that hasn't already been said? Looking forward to another great ride on Wild About Houdini in 2017!

  7. Amazing website and it was great meeting you earlier this year. I'm looking forward to 2017!

  8. Truly outstanding, John. I haven't had time to follow a lot on your site and social feeds these days but absolutely cannot wait to just sit down with a cup of hot cocoa, catch up until my eyes are red and my brain is filled to burnout capacity, and then do it again the next day. Thanks for keeping Houdini alive.

  9. Thanks for all the kind words everyone. Merry Christmas!

  10. My highlight's of the year 2016 would have to be adding to my Houdini collection from the many auctions. Then reading about it on this site, great work!! See ya next year.

    1. Well, I only report on the best stuff, so congrats! :)

  11. I noticed no announcement of any Houdini doozy headed our way for the New Year. Perhaps John is keeping his cards close to the vest for now.

    1. No real doozy in sight, but I'm sure we will get something major during the year. I have finished up my "Houdini in 1917" post and I'm pleased with it. These are fun to do because they are always an education for me. I start off thinking there isn't much to say about a year, but by the end I feel like it's the most significant year of Houdini's life!



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