Friday, April 12, 2019

David Copperfield conjures Houdini's library in Las Vegas

It appears David Copperfield has finished restoring Houdini's bookcase from 278 and has installed it inside his International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas. I've been seeing pics on social media of various magic friends standing in the magic spot, but this one from Scott Wells of The Magic Word Podcast gives us the best look yet.


David acquired the lone surviving bookcase from 278 and had a matching one made to recreate the two side by side cases that once stood in Houdini's library. The books David has put inside also belonged to Houdini. There are a few other goodies one can spot in the above pic (which you can click to enlarge). There's a blowup of the photo of Houdini himself in his library that guest are able to recreate. You can also see a portrait of Houdini that recently sold in auction just behind Scott's head. Also notice the original straitjacket lithograph to the far right (David's big one).

Below is a photo of me with the bookcase as it last appeared inside 278 (moved from the back library to the front parlor). It was fun to recreate the famous pic there and then. But leave it to David Copperfield to conjure up the illusion of Houdini's actual library.


Thanks to Scott Wells for allowing me to share his pic. CLICK HERE to listen to podcast I did with Scott back in 2007.

UPDATE: Magician Steve Cohen has shared an even clearer pic on his Twitter.


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12 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Just perfect.

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  2. Is there a crack in the glass showcase next to Scott's right shoulder?

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    1. I hadn't noticed that. Shame to think it was cracked in transit. And that presents a dilemma. Does one replace the glass, or keep Houdini's original glass and seal the crack.

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    2. The first magician I saw posing in front of the bookcase was Eric Decamps. He must have been standing right in front of the crack since it was not visible. Then I saw the photo of Julie Eng posing at the bookcase and the crack was suddenly visible. I say cut a new piece. Not every single piece of Houdini item can be absolutely original. The USD is almost entirely a copy anyway.

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    3. I saw one before Eric and before the books were in place and the crack was there.

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  3. With the old books and the old cups, etc., inside, it really looks like it's living in Houdini's time again. Marvelous. (What effort it must've taken to get that case out of 278 without destroying it.)

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  4. I seem to recall Chris Kenner mentioning that they were making an attempt to identify the actual books in the famed photo, and getting them reunited with their shelf to the greatest degree possible.

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    1. That was the idea. Hopefully they accomplished this. But so many of HH's books went to the Library of Congress.

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  5. I'll say one thing for sure: David Copperfield has certainly been both industrious and respectful at collecting the things Houdini used, owned, performed with and treasured. It is wonderful that these things survive, even if they survive in a private collection. So much is lost and destroyed as time goes by just because folks don't think they are important. I'm glad David Copperfield understands what is important and has the ability to acquire it as well as restore and display it properly. It is a legacy to the world of magic. Thanks, David! Thanks to you, John, for sharing these with the rest of us.

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