Unpublished 1992 Houdini Seance Photos

By Tom Interval

Official 1992 Houdini Seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, Canada

The Inner Circle at the 66th official Houdini seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, October 31, 1992 (clockwise from center): Sidney Radner, Dorothy (Kiamie) Young, Dr. Bernard Dolenz, Henry Gordon, Moira Thomas, Joan Higbee, Dr. Morris Young, Henry Muller, and Bernice Golden (Photo: Doug Johnson)

Doug Johnson, a photographer living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, attended and photographed the 66th official Houdini seance, held on October 31, 1992, at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, Canada. Almost 23 years later, Doug scanned more than 40 of his photos, negatives, and documents from that event and was kind enough to send them my way. I’ll share a few of them here, but you can view all of them in an album on my Houdini Magical Hall of Fame Facebook page. To my knowledge, these images have never been published before Doug recently brought them into the light. If you’d like to use any of them, please write to Doug for permission at silvedor@shaw.ca.

1992 official Houdini seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame

66th official Houdini seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, October 31, 1992 (seated at table, from left): Sidney Radner, Dorothy (Kiamie) Young, Dr Bernard Dolenz, Henry Gordon, and ? (Photo: Doug Johnson)

66th official Houdini seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, Oct. 31, 1992

66th official Houdini seance, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, October 31, 1992 (clockwise from left): Bernice Golden, Sidney Radner, Dorothy (Kiamie) Young, Dr Bernard Dolenz, Henry Gordon, ?, Moira Thomas, Joan Higbee, and Dr. Morris Young (Photo: Doug Johnson)

Seance press kit and the famed envelope containing Houdini's code

1992 Houdini seance press kit and the famed envelope containing Houdini’s code (Photo: Doug Johnson)

Props used at the 1992 official Houdini seance (Photo: Doug Johnson)

Props used at the 1992 official Houdini seance (Photo: Doug Johnson)

Front cover of the 1992 Houdini seance program (Scan: Doug Johnson)

Front cover of the 1992 Houdini seance program (Scan: Doug Johnson)

News release issued before the 66th annual Houdini seance, p. 1 (Scan: Doug Johnson)

News release issued before the 66th annual Houdini seance, p. 1 (Scan: Doug Johnson)

News release issued before the 66th annual Houdini seance, p. 2 (Scan: Doug Johnson)

News release issued before the 66th annual Houdini seance, p. 2 (Scan: Doug Johnson)

12_the_toronto_star_11.01.1992

Posted in Collecting, Death, Dorothy Young, Ephemera, Experts, Handcuffs, Handcuffs, Henry Muller, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, Museums, Seances, Sidney Radner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NPR Story: Unpublished Houdini Straitjacket Photo

By Tom Interval

Click to Enlarge

Houdini doing the suspended straitjacket escape from the Empire State Building. Click to enlarge. (Photo: Chris Shweie, Noah Sheridan)

This morning, NPR’s Pam Fessler interviewed a gentleman by the name of Chris Shweie, coauthor of The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York and collector of all things vaudeville. Shweie said he recently purchased this unpublished photo from a “celebrity Houdini collector” (David Copperfield?). Yes, that’s Harry Houdini escaping from a straitjacket—suspended from the Empire State Building! In all my years studying Houdini, I’ve neither heard nor read anything about him doing this stunt from the famous skyscraper, the tallest building in the world at the time. You can read the story and hear Shweie talk about acquiring this incredible picture on the NPR website here. I also tracked down the actual story in the New York Post, which you can read here.

Posted in Buildings, Collecting, Ephemera, Escapes, Photoshop Art, Straitjacket | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Houdini: Escaping the Womb 141 Years Ago Today

By Tom Interval

Harry Houdini, ca 1899 (Photo: Library of Congress)

Harry Houdini, ca 1899 (Photo: Library of Congress)

On March 24, 1874, magic’s most legendary entertainer was born: Erik Weisz.

Four years after his birth in Budapest, Erik and his family moved to the United States, where the toddler’s name was Americanized to Ehrich Weiss.

Around 1890, young Ehrich adopted the name Harry Houdini—”Harry,” from “Ehrie” (a family pet name), and “Houdini,” from Ehrich’s childhood hero, French conjurer Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

To see pictures of Houdini’s birthplace in Budapest (Rákosárok utca 1. sz., a street now known as Csengery utca), read my March 24, 2014 blog.

To learn more about Houdini, I recommend starting with this biography (probably the most accurate one so far):  Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss, by Kenneth Silverman.

In the mean time, be sure to toast Harry on his special day.

 

 

Posted in Misc | 1 Comment

Houdini Illusion Color-Changing Mug

By Tom Interval

Okay, so you have to check out this mug—one of the coolest out there (see the 1 min. 49 sec. embedded video below). Yes, I’m a bit biased since I’m the one offering it on the Interval Magic CafePress Store. However, I make next to nothing on these since I’m only the designer and not the actual manufacturer or distributor.

Long story longer, people like me who know a thing or two about graphic-design programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator can make original custom designs and upload them to websites such as CafePress or Zazzle, which distribute customized T-shirts, mugs, clocks, mouse pads, and more.

Anyway, my Houdini two-face optical illusion is now available on the very magical color-changing mug featured in the following video. Enjoy! (And while you’re at it, feel free to buy a mug to support creative artists like me. Wink.)

Posted in Art, Mugs, Optical Illusions, Photoshop Art, Products | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Robert-Houdin: Dec. 6, 1805

By Tom Interval

I meant to post this image on Saturday. On that day 209 years ago, the pioneering French conjurer, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, was born. Robert-Houdin is known as the “father of modern magic” and is the man whose name young Ehrich Weiss would borrow 85 years later to become Harry Houdini.

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, Father of Modern Magic, Dec. 6, 1805-June 13, 1871

Posted in Anniversaries, Robert-Houdin, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Memory of Harry Houdini

In Memory of Harry Houdini

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Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern 2014

By Tom Interval

For this year’s Houdini jack-o’-lantern, I wanted to make a scary version of Houdini’s face. It’s not perfect, but I think I’ve accomplished the scary part. Hope you enjoy, and Happy Halloween week (a.k.a., National Magic Week)!

Houdini Jack-o'-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Houdini Jack-o'-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

 

Happy Halloween!

Posted in Art, Halloween, Holidays, Sculptures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments