Blogcast #6: Houdini Optical Illusion on National Geographic Brain Games

By Tom Interval

In 2013, National Geographic’s Brain Games commissioned artist Pete Fecteau to create a Rubik’s Cube mosaic of the Houdini two-face optical illusion I made that year. I wrote about it at the time, and that’s the subject of today’s blogcast. Hope you enjoy!

Posted in Art, Audio, Mosaics, Multimedia, Optical Illusions, Patreon, Photoshop, Photoshop Art, Podcasts, Sculptures, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harry Houdini Born Erik Weisz 145 Years Ago Today

By Tom Interval

On March 24, 1874, Erik Weisz was born in Budapest, Hungary. After moving to the United States four years later, the spelling of his name would be anglicized to Ehrich Weiss.

From the early 1880s to the 1890s, young Ehrich, who grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, and New York City, became fascinated with show business, participated as a trapeze artist in a neighborhood five-cent circus as “Ehrich Prince of the Air,” took up running, and eventually read the book that would change the rest of his life: Memoirs of Robert-Houdin, an autobiography of the pioneering French conjurer who is often referred to as “the father of modern magic.”

Ehrich’s interest and skill in magic advanced, and when he was ready to perform publicly, he changed his name to Harry Houdini (the first name derived from his childhood nickname of “Ehrie” and the last name borrowed from his hero, Robert-Houdin).

Houdini got his first big break in 1899 and, by the early 1900s was internationally known as an escape artist. Throughout his career, he escaped from virtually every conceivable contraption known in that era and performed grand illusions such as making an elephant disappear.

Houdini devoted his later life to debunking both well-intentioned and fraudulent spiritualistic mediums. He died on Halloween in 1926 from peritonitis.

Happy 145th, Harry.

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Blogcast #5: Wild About Houdini Since 1975

By Tom Interval

Blogcast #5: Wild About Harry Since 1975 is live! I talk about John Cox, the creator of the most comprehensive Houdini-related website on the Web: Wild About Houdini. If you’re a Houdini, magic, or history enthusiast and haven’t visited the site, you owe it to yourself to do so. More about that in the video.

Posted in Books, Cannon, Chains, Collections, Digital, Escapes, Experts, Handcuffs, John Cox, John Cox, Letters, Milk Can, Movies, Physical, Podcasts, Straitjacket, Videos, Water Torture Cell, Websites, Wild About Harry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogcast #3: The Final Moments of Houdini’s Life

By Tom Interval

Blogcast #3: The The Final Moments of Houdini’s Life is now live on YouTube. About two months after Harry Houdini died, Bess, his wife, wrote a heartfelt letter to magic collector Edwin A. Dearn and his wife, revealing the last few moments of the legendary showman’s life.

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Blogcast #2: The Houdini Grave

By Tom Interval

Blogcast #2: The Houdini Grave is now live on YouTube. I discuss my 1990 visit to Houdini’s gravesite in Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Posted in Bess, Cecilia, Death, Dick Brookz, Dorothy Dietrich, Family, Gladys, Grandparents, Grave, Herman, Leopold, Machpelah Cemetery, Mayer, Nathan, Parents, Podcasts, Siblings, Theodore (Hardeen), Videos, William | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogcast #1: Harry Houdini’s Dad Fired for Not Speaking English?

By Tom Interval

Last June I wrote an article asserting that Harry Houdini’s father, Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weiss, was not fired by his congregation simply because he couldn’t speak English. I’ve decided to make that blog the first in a series of what I call “blogcasts”: reading select blogs aloud so they not only reach a wider audience but also are a bit easier to digest for those who are interested in the subject but don’t always have time to read. Not all blogcasts will appear on this blog because some will not relate directly to Houdini, but I hope you’ll also follow my other blog, which covers magic in general. Hope you enjoy Blogcast #1: Rabbi Weiss’s Farewell Sermon.

Posted in Audio, Bernard C. Meyer, Bess, Biographies, Books, Cecilia, Family, Gladys, Herman, kenneth silverman, Leopold, Letters, Life Phases, Mayer, Nathan, Parents, Podcasts, Siblings, Theodore (Hardeen), William, Youth, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern 2018

By Tom Interval

Each year I carve a different Houdini-themed jack-o’-lantern, so here’s 2018’s offering. If you’d like to carve your own jack-o’-lantern, I posted steps on my Interval Magic blog. Happy Halloween!

Posted in Halloween, Holidays, Misc | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment