About Me

"It's not right to say John spends every waking minute thinking about Houdini; he's a levelheaded guy with a job and a life. But it is right to say John would like to spend every waking minute thinking about Houdini." 

Hello, my name is John Cox, and I'm wild about Harry!

My fascination with Houdini began in late 1975 when I was hit with the double whammy of seeing the 1953 Paramount biopic, HOUDINI, and watching the late great Doug Henning perform Houdini’s Water Torture Cell live on NBC. Who was this amazing Houdini fellow who could escape from anything? The next day I went to the local mall and bought my first two Houdini books; the perennial Houdini on Magic by Walter B. Gibson and William Lindsey Gresham’s biography, Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls. I was hooked. Forty plus years later, I am still on a never-ending quest to find out more about the "Master Mystifier", with a collection of over 500 books and more than 2000 individual items.

As a teen, I dabbled in escape and performance magic and wrote articles about Houdini for my school newspapers. Inspired by Houdini skills as a self-publicist, I was able to attract newspaper coverage of my escapes and growing Houdini collection. I even appeared on the Toni Tennille Show where I did a straight-jacket escape. On weekends, I would haunt the bookstores along Hollywood Blvd. for Houdini rarities. I became a member of The Magic Castle on my 21st birthday...held in the Houdini seance room, of course! (I also had my 50th birthday there.)

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Along the way I met and learned from great Houdini experts like Manny Weltman, Patrick Culliton, John Gaughan, and Sidney Radner. I was also fortunate to strike up a relationship with Houdini’s niece, Marie Blood. As with the secrets of magic, there is still much about Houdini (and Bess) that is passed down via oral tradition.

After graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1990 (where I made a Houdini documentary as one of my projects), I became a professional screenwriter, penning projects for MGM, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks, ABC, USA, and the WB networks. (You can read more about my screenwriting here.) Today I work in Digital Cinema Quality Control.

Not surprisingly, I have a keen interest in Houdini’s film career, not only because it is my own profession, but I feel this is an area of his life that is under-researched. I've published two articles in MAGIC Magazine related to Houdini and film and appeared in the 1998 documentary, Houdini Exposed. I've also consulted on various Houdini projects for film, radio and television, and I give illustrated lectures on Houdini's life and career. I'm currently working on a definitive chronology of Houdini's life which I plan to publish.

In 2005, I started a monthly online Houdini newsletter. The following year I launched my first Houdini website, Houdini Lives! I expanded that site into WILD ABOUT HARRY in 2010. Here I keep up with all current Houdini news, auctions, book/DVD releases and cultural references. I also delve deeply into Houdini history, and in some cases have rewritten that history. In 2015, Houdini family members George Hardeen and John Hinson honored me in allowing WILD ABOUT HARRY to be called "The Official Houdini Website."

Yes, I'm wild about Harry! And so are you.

"John Cox is the loving and diligent caretaker of my grandfather's and great uncle's astounding legacy. Thanks forever, John. You're a true brother to me!" - George Hardeen 
"If you're wild about Houdini, you'll like this very well-done Houdini fan site." - Teller  
"Your WILD ABOUT HARRY site continues to amaze us all. I have no idea how you do it!" - John Gaughan

"If anyone is interested in learning anything about Houdini, it’s a wealth of information that you won’t find in a book. I learned an enormous amount from John." - Kristen Connolly
"Thank you for your continuing dedication to Houdini. Your blog is far and away the best Houdini resource in the world today." - Bruce MacNab 
"John is performing a service for us all by going the extra mile, past those first few Google result pages, to find the really obscure, undiscovered stuff." - The Mandala 
"A great resource for Houdini info." - Potter & Potter Auctions 
"You are a star." - David Copperfield  

With David Copperfield in the Copperfield Collection, 2018.

With Houdini (aka Michael Weston) at The Magic Castle, 2016.

With Bess Houdini (aka Kristen Connolly) and Tom Interval, 2013.

With Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz at The Grim Game premiere, 2015.

With Houdini's original sub trunk in 2006.

Inside Houdini's house in 2017.

Exploring the Laurel Caynon Houdini Mansion in 2008...and 1976.

With the remains of the Water Torture Cell in 1999.

With Bess Houdini (aka Janet Leigh) in 1986.

The "Houdini Enthusiast" in 1980.

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