Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young's
WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR
Houdini's Fabulous Magic
Incredible escapes, fantastic sleight-of-hand-Houdini's most challenging performances are dramatically portrayed in Houdini's Fabulous Magic. Walter Gibson, co-author, was in close touch with Harry Houdini for a number of years before his death and worked with the master magician in preparing material for the book. It is with the aid of Houdini's own scrapbooks and notes that this book was written.
The spectacular highlights of Houdini's career are described-and explained-here. Included are the famous escapes: escapes from a padlocked milk can filled with water; from locked jail cells; from a water-filled Chinese torture cell while suspended upside down; from packing cases weighted under water. Again, in this book, Houdini walks through a brick wall, vanishes a 10,000-pound elephant and is buried alive. Once more, Houdini and his wife Bessie mysteriously exchange places in a locked trunk-in three seconds!
And Houdini the man is not ignored. His impact on the world in the early years of the twentieth century was enormous. He was a public hero who, in his own way, helped sweep out the cobwebs of nineteenth-century thinking. While doing so, he distinguished himself as a patriot, writer, collector of magic, aviator, movie idol, philanthropist, and crusader against fraudulent spiritualistic practices.
This is a technical manual for magicians, complete with illustrations and diagrams, but it is also an astute analysis of the best of Houdini's magic and a readable biography of a man who turned himself into a legend. It is a book for would-be conjurers, for professional necromancers, for those curious about the methods and means of one of the most enchanting men of the previous century.
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
Print length: 249 pages
This is a fascinating book. I have often wondered how magicians do their tricks and this book was very enlightening. Even just opening handcuffs, getting the keys or using other techniques, was very enlightening. Getting out of locked boxes, underwater escapes, and many other tricks are explained.
But there is more than just revealing techniques. The authors also write about the showmanship, how the audience is distracted in one direction while something important is happening elsewhere. We find out that Houdini evaluated the appeal of a trick and at times faced controversy over who owned a trick. There is also a brief biography of Houdini's life.
This is a great book for anyone interested in magic tricks and how they are done.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Authors
Walter B. Gibson (1897-1985)
Walter, a graduate of Colgate University, was a prolific writer including The Shadow novels under his pen name Maxwell Grant. For a time he was Houdini's personal secretary. Following Houdini's death, the attorney for the estate permitted Walter to examine many of Houdini's private scrapbooks and notes from which Gibson wrote Houdini's Magic and Houdini's Escapes. Houdini's scrapbooks, papers and other documents form the background for Houdini's Fabulous Magic. Also a magician, Walter toured with and wrote for magicians such as Blackstone (Sr.), Thurston and Raymond. He was a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American Society for Psychical Research, the Magician's Guild of America and the Magician's Club of London.
Morris N. Young, M.D. (1909-2002)
Morris, a graduate of M.I.T., Harvard and Columbia University was Director of Ophthalmology at Beekman Downtown Hospital in New York City. Aside from his numerous professional memberships, he was a member of the Society of American Magicians (to which Houdini had helped him join as a young man), the International Brotherhood of Magicians and a member of the Inner Circle of the Magic Circle (London). He was a founder of the Magic Collectors Association including their publication MAGICOL. Along with his wife Chesley, he established the largest private holdings on memory and mnemonics which now resides at the University of San Marino. Along with his friend John McManus, in 1955 they established the McManus-Young Collections at the Library of Congress, The University of Texas, Austin and the University of California in Berkeley. Morris' other book publications include Hobby Magic, Houdini on Magic (with Walter Gibson), Presto Prestige, Bibliography of Memory, How To Develop An Exceptional Memory (with Walter Gibson), The Complete Guide to Science Fair Competition (with John Stolzfus) and Radio Music Live (with John Stolzfus).
You can visit the website created by Morris N. Young's children, Charles C. Young and Cheryl L. Young: https://www.musicmagicandmore.com/
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)