Welcome to Bob King's Houdini Tribute

Houdini News

New Houdini Stamp to be issued by USPS,
Houdini's stolen gravestone bust recovered on Long Island, NY,
LTW's "The Great Houdini" knocked them out,
HoudiniTribute.com receives kudos from "Entertainment Weekly",
Magician David Blaine reincarnates Houdini's buried alive stunt,
see photos of Magic Circle's Houdini Exhibit in London,
Photos of "Houdini: The Musical", in Orlando,
from TNT's "Houdini" see EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS of this movie's locks and hardware,
read Ian McColl's (the movie's hardware re-creator) exclusive report,
TLC's "The Greatest Magician - Houdini"
TV Guide's "Houdini Lives" article,
learn the fiery fate of the Chinese Water Torture Cell,
hot Houdini tidbits and some Houdini Trivia.

New Harry Houdini Stamp to be Issued July 3, 2002
David Copperfield to Dedicate Stamp at Magicians Convention.
Harry Houdini, America's most famous escape artist and magician, will return to the spotlight July 3 in New York City when the U.S. Postal Service issues a new commemorative postage stamp in his honor. The Harry Houdini stamp will be dedicated at a first day of issue ceremony held in conjunction with the SAM (Society of American Magicians) 2002 Centennial Convention in New York. David Copperfield, hailed as "the greatest illusionist of our time," will join David Solomon, vice president, Area Operations, New York Metro, Postal Service, in the dedication of the stamp. The Houdini stamp will be available at the ceremony and at New York post offices starting July 3. It will be available at post offices across the country beginning July 5. If you would like more information, click to see the informative and interesting article USPS dedication plans for the new Houdini Stamp.

Purchase Information from The Houdini Family
The Houdini family has created a set of 3 Houdini cachet's (first day covers) along with a special announcement card in honor of the new Houdini stamp coming out July 3rd, 2002. They are a limited edition totalling 520 of each. They will be available July 3rd when the stamp is dedicated. We are planning to sell them in complete sets only (3 first day covers plus the announcement card). Each owner of a full set will be listed as the registered owner on the Houdini website (provided they give permission) created by George Ford. The website address is www.Houdiniana.com.
The sets are available at $22 per set during the dates of the SAM magic convention in NYC (7/2 - 7/7). Beginning 7/8/2002 when the convention ends, their regular price will be $29 a set. Emails dated 7/7/2002 and before will be honored at the special convention price.
I am aware of 2 other first day covers being offered, SAM has one and USPS has the other. Neither of these is similar to the Houdini family cachets limited edition.
People interested in pre-convention sales should give me an email requesting a full set and which limited edtion number they are interested in buying. Numbers 1 - 99 are reserved for convention attendees. Several other numbers between 100 - 520 are already sold. Let me know your preference and I'll reply via email if it is available.
Interested buyers should send payment to:
Houdini Family, P.O. Box 26953, Rochester, NY 14626
Personal checks or money orders only please.

Jeff Blood,
Grand Nephew of Houdini
E-mail Houdini Family at Houdinifamily@aol.com

2001 Houdini Stamp Unveiling,
The United States Postal Service issued a new Harry Houdini Stamp coinciding with the 100th anniversary on the Society of American Magicans (SAM). Magician Lance Burton and actor Tony Curtis unveiled the new commemorative postage stamp. For more information, click to see the USPS article unveiling the new Houdini Stamp.

Police Recover Stolen Houdini Bust Houdini Bust
(New Hyde Park, Long Island-AP) -- Police say they have recovered a bust of Harry Houdini that was stolen from the late escape artist's graveside nearly 20 years ago.
Nassau County Police say the two-and-a-half foot bust was found inside the Long Island home of Stephen Chotowicky.
Police say they had obtained a search warrant for Chotowicky's house -- and found the bust along with newspaper articles about the theft of the statue on August 15th, 1983.
Chotowicky had called police to file a complaint, saying that his son-in-law had stolen some tools.
Police say Chotowicky's son-in-law proved that he did not steal the tools. But during the investigation, he told a detective that his father-in-law had the bust.
The bust was apparently taken from Houdini's gravesite in Machpelah Cemetery in Cypress Hills, Queens.
The gravesite is a gathering place for Houdini fans, but has been vandalized several times over the years. It was restored in 1996 with funding from magician David Copperfield.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-03-09-02 0452EST

"The Great Houdini" - London Theater Works
Click to see photos from the show of Jim Bentley and the cast of "The Great Houdini".

Alan London was Executive Producer for the theater production entitled "The Great Houdini", and he reported that theater goers "are totally in love with the show". It was presented thru May 30th, 1999, at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood under the direction of Chris Pechin and Jerry Vasilatos. It starred Jim Bentley as Houdini. Jim was the magical technical director for Jonathan Schaech on the recent TNT "Houdini" movie special. Jim also has recently appeared as Houdini in the "The Greatest - Houdini" on The Learning Channel (see below). If you would like more information, please feel free to E-mail Jim Bentley at jbmagic123@aol.com or E-mail Alan London at cardtricks@londontheaterworks.com .
More information can be seen at their London Theater Works WEB site.

HoudiniTribute.com cited in "Entertainment Weekly" magazine
HoudiniTribute.com was recently featured and graded in "Entertainment Weekly" magazine's Internet Supplement - and we received an "A" - Yippee! (and LOTS of new visitors discovering Houdini!) The April 9, 1999, issue featured Keanu Reeves on the cover - NOT Houdini - shucks! Click here to see the magazine article.
We were also selected as a site-of-the-week on EW's on-line version of their magazine "Entertainment Weekly Online". Thank you to "Entertainment Weekly" and Lois Alter Mark (I'm glad SHE thinks our web server is fast) for writing such a wonderfully kind article. There's only one person behind HoudiniTribute.com and it's a pretty thankless job, so when someone notices the ol' Tribute on a national level (or even when someone leaves a comment in our guest book), in my eyes that's pretty spectacular! Thanks, Bob King

Magician Buried Alive in Trick
06 April 1999
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) A 25-year-old magician was buried alive Monday in a see-through coffin where he vowed to remain for a week in a stunt first dreamed up by legendary escape artist Harry Houdini.

Magician David Blaine said he prepared for the stunt by learning to put himself into a deep trancelike state. He said he also spent four days a week living in a coffin in his living room.

``It's not a trick. It's not an escape. It's not an illusion,'' Blaine said. ``It's kind of like a test of one's own will.'' He said he would use the time to explore his mind. ``I'm going to learn a lot about myself.''

Houdini died in 1926 before he could perform the stunt. (not true!... He actually escaped from a buried coffin... Bob)

Blaine, a goateed magician known for his levitating and sleight-of-hand tricks, has a network television special scheduled for next Monday - the day he is scheduled to be dug up from 6 feet under.

Inside the coffin, Blaine will have no food and 3 to 4 tablespoons of water a day. Fresh air will be pumped in. Blaine said he fasted for six days before being buried, and a plastic container and tube will take care of the remaining necessities of life.

He'll have 6 inches of head room and 2 inches on each side. On top of the coffin sits a three-ton water-filled tank. Visitors can look through the tank's water to get a glimpse of Blaine lying in his coffin.

There's a panic button in case of an emergency, a crane to quickly remove the water tank, and round-the-clock medical personnel.

``I think he's crazy,'' said Holly Reich, who was among the throng near the Hudson River watching the ``burial'' - which was strange even by New York standards. ``I mean, how morose is this? Yet I can't seem to turn away.''

Houdini Exhibit in London, England Magic Circle Houdini Exhibit
Click to see our information on the Magic Circle's Houdini Exhibit. The exhibit was created by Mick Hanzlik and David Berglas. The display has recently been redesigned. It's in a cabinet about 5 feet x 4 feet x 3 feet deep, and contains a half scale working Chinese Water Torture Cell, complete with water, bubbles and a moving Houdini! It also has an original straight jacket as used by Tony Curtis in the 1953 "Houdini" movie (Mick says it's getting very brittle and is cracking in parts - he's working on arranging its restoration). It also contains copies of photos, a few cuffs and locks etc.

Hanging just above the exhibit is an exclusive Houdini picture that was painted especially for the exhibit at the Magic Circle. There have been 500 limited edition prints made.

If you are a Houdini book collector, you may also be interested in a book exchange. Mick Hanzlik claims the biggest library of Houdini related books in the UK, and he has a few duplicates. Mick, a locksmith, gives lectures on Houdini in the UK, and performs magic and handcuff escapes.
E-mail Mick Hanzlik for purchase information for the Houdini limited edition print or if you are interested in his book exchange. Click for the Magic Circle's web site.

HOUDINI: The MUSICAL Houdini: The Musical Jessica Rush (Bess) and Chris Iannuzzi (Houdini)
The Music Meets The Magic!
Jessica Rush as Bess & Chris Iannuzzi as Houdini
Chris Iannuzzi as Houdini
Jessica Rush as Bess & Jennifer Lustig as Marie Hinson
Chris Iannuzzi as Houdini
ORLANDO, FL - LPD Productions recently presented Houdini: The Musical, which thrilled and delighted standing ovation audiences, at The Disney Institute. The show is a two-act musical biography presenting the life and times of Harry Houdini and his wife Bess, and was offered in a modified black box style at this Backer's Audition.

This all original stage production Stars Chris Iannuzzi as Harry Houdini with Jessica Rush as Bess in an epic love story following the rise of Houdini from obscurity to the heights of international stardom. Along the way, this twentieth century legend is seen as a magician, escape artist, illusionist, husband, friend and lover. The relationship between Harry and Bess serves as a foundation for the strength and determination that makes Harry a living icon. Their love endures long after Harry's death as Bess continues to seek out Harry in a closing scene that promises to be unforgettable.

Houdini - The Musical is comprised of twenty-one original works, most of which are offered, with as many illusions and escapes, that once again bring the magic that was Houdini back to thrill audiences and sweep them away to "Our Grand Victorian Age". Composer Louis P. Daniels and Librettist Andre Hoogeveen have developed the story and songs for nearly four years, carefully researching the man that has come to epitomize magic.

LPD Productions spotlighted a talented group of Central Florida performers; many borrowed from the ranks of Disney Entertainment.

TV HoudiniHoudini vs. Houdini photo submitted by Paul C.
TNT has filmed "Houdini", (working name Houdini-Believe) a two hour made-for-television movie. Click to see a review by Greg Baerg of the film and information on its Hollywood premier.

Click to go to TNT's "Houdini" page. "Houdini" was written and directed by Pen Densham. The title role is played by Johnathon Schaech known for his performance in "That Thing You Do".

The escapes were coordinated by Jim Bentley with Johnny Thompson acting as magic consultant.

Exclusive Pictures of Actual Locks etc. used in TNT's "Houdini"
Much of the hardware for this movie was re-created by Australian locksmith Ian McColl. See the "Houdini Tribute's" EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS and report from Ian McColl regarding his background and his task of re-creating the handcuffs/padlocks/restraints/chains for this TNT movie. Remember - you saw them here first at "HoudiniTribute.com". Don't forget to bookmark us!

Click Here to visit the web site of Ian McColl, the Australian locksmith who re-created nearly all the hardware for this TV production.

And if it's handcuffs you want - Click Here to visit Yossi's site featuring Ian McColl's handcuffs along with a zillion other manufacturers of handcuffs/restraints - lots of pictures and information.

TLC Houdini
The Learning Channel recently presented "The Greatest Magician - Houdini". It featured a wonderful performance by Jim Bentley (Johnathon Schaech's escape coordinator in TNT's "Houdini") as Houdini. Click to go to TLC's descripton of the show. Stop back for pictures and information from the show!

The Learning Channel is also recently presented "The Mysteries of Magic." There was a very brief segment on Houdini with magician Kellar.

Dec. 2, 1998 Jonathan Schaech as Houdini
Jonathan Schaech (TNT's Houdini) appeared on "The Regis and Kathie Lee Show". After a humorous and entertaining interview, he performed the Siberian Chain Escape. Barely one second after Regis held his jacket to cover Jonathan's chained and padlocked hands, Jonathan reached up with an already freed hand, raised the jacket and joked to Regis to hold the jacket a little higher.
I'm sure his stunt advisor, Jim Bentley (and a Houdini of his own right), was be behind the scenes ensuring everything would run smoothly!
Jonathan Schaech - 1
Jonathan Schaech - 2
Jonathan Schaech - 3
Jonathan Schaech - 4

A New Houdini Movie? New Houdini Movie?
Look for breaking news on this movie!! 1/99
Columbia Pictures Entertainment, a division of the Sony/Tristar group, is rumored to be negotiating for David Duchovney to depict the infamous magician.

Paul Verhoeven (Director, NOPE - he's out - SEE BELOW); Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson (Screenwriters); Gareth Wigan, Amy Pascal (Producers); Marykay Powell, Alan Marshall (Executive Producers). Premise: During one of the master magician's performances the trick he is performing goes horribly awry. Recovering from his brush with death, Houdini finds himself starting to believe that some sort of higher power protected him. As he starts upon his personal quest to find an answer as to what lies beyond death's door he begins to cross paths with those that prey upon the bereaved seeking consolation. Soon after, Houdini begins to debunk these spiritualists claiming to speak with 'the other side', all the while still striving to attain an answer to his original question: is there life after death?

The mystery surrounding the life and death of the greatest magician that ever lived would make a fascinating picture. But with the track record of this long-stalled project (10+ years in the making), it just might need a little bit of magic to get it greenlighted. Here's hoping Verhoeven's replacement and Cruise are just that. Cruise has long sought out a project that will allow him to play a magician.

"Houdini" needs a helmer as director Paul Verhoeven has quietly disappeared from "Houdini," the Rastar biopic at Columbia. "Houdini's spiritual life was all about his mother when she was alive and when she was dead, and I just couldn't solve that and make it a commercial movie," said Verhoeven, who worked months with "Nixon" scribes Stephen Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. Said producer Ray Stark: "Although we think Paul is a wonderful director, we decided to go our separate ways and have been talking to a number of directors since that time."

Houdini TV Series?
Danny DeVito's Jersey Films has teamed up with a multimedia designer to develop a spooky, syndicated TV series inspired by the life of Harry Houdini. The multimedia firm, Creative Capers, is developing computer games and related merchandising products to tie in with "Houdini." The two companies previously joined forces on another syndicated TV project, "Titanisphere," a science-fiction work.
Latest comments (5/20/99) on this effort from Jersey Film's Aaron Brown, "Our TV division is still in the works, so our small screen development slate is as of yet unsettled."

Houdini Hall of Fame Burns
Houdini's Wish Granted as Chinese Water Torture Cell Burns Houdini eyes
Associated Press
30 April 1995
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario -- Amid smoke and mystery, one of Houdini's last wishes has been granted. Whoever did it may find himself locked up tighter than the escape artist ever was.

Fire swept through the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame on Sunday, destroying many of the magician's artifacts, including the famed Chinese Water Torture Cell.

Thanks to Mick Hanzlik for obtaining these photos courtesy of The Niagara Falls Review.
The Fiery Night The Niagara Falls Review photo
The Morning After Sid Radner - Houdini Historical Center photo

Houdini had asked that his memorabilia be burned rather than sold for profit. But his brother Theo (aka. Hardeen) inherited the tricks after Houdini's death in 1926 and sold the collection to a man who then sold it to museum owner Henry Muller.

Fire officials said they suspected arson.
Bob's Tidbit - Rats - I visited this Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls arcade/tourist area where this was located a year after this happened...

Who Fooled Houdini? Dai Vernon
Most recently, according to book titles, it would seem as though Dai Vernon is the man who fooled Houdini. But although that may be accurate, it isn't the whole story.

The truth is, several people fooled Houdini. If you will read up on encounters other magicians had with Houdini, his strongest personality trait known among fellow magicians was his vanity. Many have reported that although Houdini was a great escape artist and showman, his performance of magic left something to be desired. Even Orson Welles told of Houdini vanishing an elephant at the Hippodrome---two men moved the large box on stage, the elephant entered the box, Houdini showed it empty, and then twenty men moved the empty box offstage!

For some reason Houdini could not stand to be fooled by other magicians, and would pull a Rumplestiltskin-type tantrum when anyone fooled him. Because of that, he was the unwilling and unfortunate butt of hundreds of pranks, and it is reported that often his wife, Bess, was in on the attempts to fool him and provoke his infamous temper.

Eric A. Fogal wrote: Dai Vernon once billed himself as the man who fooled Houdini, an advertising ploy previously used by Howard Thurston "The man who fooled Hermann". Nate Leipzig also did so but did not advertise the fact. Both were card tricks. Dai Vernon used a double lift and a double backed card to facilitate deception. I am not so sure they "fooled" Houdini. He simply asked to "let me see that again". Ok.. Ok.. so in one case he asked to "see it again" 5 times!

From Vernon Chronicles 4 (subtitled "He Fooled Houdini") page 131, Vernon relates the Ambitious Card story. After eight repeats, Dai's good friend Sam Margules said to Houdini "Harry, admit it--- you're fooled!" Harry would never admit that anyone could fool him but Dai had a letter from his wife, Bess, in which she stated that Harry had stayed up all night worrying about that trick.

Houdini was understandably protective of his position as the World's Most Famous Magician, and he often went to great lengths to distance himself from the other magicians of his day. His strong ego and rather cold relationships with other magic entertainers made him a natural target for their sarcasm. In fact, Dai Vernon, later to be regarded in the late 20th century as a master close-up magician, was widely regarded as "The Man Who Fooled Houdini". Whether Vernon actually stumped the great magician is irrelevant; the claim was a reputation-maker for Vernon.

Bob's Tidbit - Houdini's wife was the godmother of Dai Vernon's child.

DICTIONARY OF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY, published by Gale Research. Volume # 178 is BRITISH FANTASY AND SCIENCE-FICTION WRITERS BEFORE WORLD WAR I, from which this anecdote is taken.

Houdini was doing a show in Blackburn in 1902, where as a publicity stunt he escaped from Blackburn Jail with relative ease, embarrassing the local constabulatory. They complained to William Hope Hodgson, who attended a performance of Houdini's and accepted his challenge that whomever could bind him in such a manner from which he could not escape would receive a cash prize.

Hodgson as we know was a physical therapy specialist, and he 'scientifically' binds Houdini to allow minimal play of muscle, even making him cry out in pain at one point. After 35 minutes, Houdini asked that the bonds be loosened slightly, as they were cutting off his circulation. Hodgson refused.

Houdini, his clothes torn and his arms and wrists bloody, finally escapes after two hours, to the cheers of the crowd, pronouncing Hodgson's treatment of him the cruelest he'd ever received. The crowd almost lynched Hodgson, who escaped himself to the nearby police station.

Houdini a No-Show at City Hall Seance, Again
By TRUDY TYNAN Associated Press Writer
Nov. 1, 1995
HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) - The table was set with black linen, handcuffs and a bust of magician Harry Houdini. But the guest of honor was a no-show.

The master escape artist, who died of appendicitis in Detroit on All Hallow's Eve 1926, never said he could come back from beyond the grave.

And, to date, his spirit has steered clear of his official annual traveling seance.

Houdini's widow gave up early, declaring, according to legend, "Ten years is long enough to wait for any man."

But his fans haven't.

Clasping hands around a table, about 300 Houdini buffs from as far away as Dallas and Seattle crowded into City Hall Tuesday night and listened as a medium opened the seance by ringing chimes three times to call Houdini's spirit.

It was only fitting that the traveling seance return to the candlelit ballroom of City Hall, where a century ago, the 21-year-old Houdini performed his magic in December 1895.

"Police Entertained by a Stranger Who Unfastens Any Pair of Handcuffs Put on Him," blared the next day's edition of the Holyoke Daily Democrat.

"That was his first real mention in the press," said Sidney Radner, a master magician who now owns most of the surviving Houdini memorabilia.

"He was one of the greatest showmen of all time," Radner said. "Just look around. Sixty-nine years after his death he can still fill the hall. That's a showman."

Stolen Photo - June 3, 1992
A signed and inscribed photograph of Harry and Bess Houdini was stolen from the John Hay Library at Brown University. Contact: Jennifer Lee, (401) 863-1511

Old Movie(s) Starring HoudiniOld Houdini Movie
The Man From Beyond Staring Harry Houdini
Directed by Burton King in 1921

You can purchase this silent film, more Houdini videos and other merchandise as well from the Houdini Historical Center. Stop by and check out the museum shop. You may also request a free copy of their complete catalog, or order items by calling (920) 733-8445, ext. 100

Houdini Statue
At the IBM Convention in L.A. there was a new limited-edition, bronze statue of Harry Houdini displayed. The website to purchase it is http://members.aol.com/legend980/index.htm

Here's a look...
Houdini Statue

Copyright 1998-2016 by Robert R. King