|EhrichWeiss the Champion Runner|
Episode 5 of The Magic Detective Podcast is up and ready to download. I had recently been searching through various podcasts for ones about Houdini. And my search sadly ended with none I could recommend. Actually, there was one, by The Bowery Boys, that wasn't too bad. But I felt that overall there was not a good solid podcast that covered Houdini properly. So I decided to go ahead and begin a series of podcasts about Houdini's life.
This first episode is more a Starter Guide to Houdini and covers his early years up until his marriage to Bess. I rather enjoyed the research on this because there were things I wasn't sure about that I was able to put into perspective. The research into his birthdate, or should I say 2 birthdates was amazing. One thing I left off, was an opinion I have regarding births during those times. I have done a LOT of ancestry work and after having scoured hundreds of Census records, I can tell you that dates of birth change often, as do the year someone was born. This was the case at least in the times before 1940. Usually the year is the thing that changes the most, it may change by a year or two. But the one thing that doesn't change are the places people are born. In that, Houdini is unique. Before 1900 he claimed to be Austrian, after 1900 he claimed to be from Appleton Wisconsin. And he even put this information on legal documents.
While doing the research I read an interesting piece about Houdini's days training as a boxer in Milwaukee. I included that in the blog, and I found that information in the Houdinifile.com
The main part of the podcast stops at the arrival of Bess Houdini, who in essence ends the run of the Houdini Brothers. I had a chuckle as it's often a love interest of some kind that breaks up a group. But in the case of Bess, she was extremely important to Houdini's future and I will cover that in a future podcast. And Houdini's brother Theo, was not totally at a loss, as Houdini put him to work as Hardeen, and later working for his Film Development Corporation.
The podcast finishes with a CRAZY piece of information I found in an old Linking Ring Magazine from October 1971. The article was titled 'Somewhere West of Budapest, Somewhere East of Appleton' and was penned by magic historian and collector Robert Lund, who was also the curator and owner of The American Museum of Magic. The article deals with Houdini's claim he was born on April 6th. Among the various things discussed in the article are a letter from Gladys Weiss to Bess Houdini, and a statement made my Leopold Weiss about his brother. It's definitely worth listening too.
There will be another Houdini Episode following this one. I don't intend to cover his entire life in this fashion, but I'd like to have a couple episodes that give a good overview of his life. I hope to have the next episode up in a couple days, as I have something important I'd like to promote. Here is the link again for Episode 5.