Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, November 24, 2023

Houdini Water Torture Cell Christmas Ornament - Available NOW!


Dan Wolfe over at Smokey Mountain Magic puts out a series of magic related Christmas Ornaments each year. This year, among his offerings is the Houdini Water Torture Cell. This is an awesome piece and quite affordable. 

Also this year is an Origami Box Illusion, a Bottle of Grant's Black Cherry Soda from the popular Tricky Bottles effect, a tiny Wiz Kate trick that Chalet used to produce, and that tiny Christmas tree is a trick that Dan sells, where the star appears magically on top of the tree. These are all non working miniature versions.

Below are the other new ornaments for this year. And he still has a host of previous  years ornaments available, like the Shadow Box, ZigZag Lady and more. Go to to order yours TODAY!!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas with Houdini

Houdini loved Christmas. A simple google search for Houdini and Christmas will unveil a multitude of different Christmas Cards and Christmas Greetings from Houdini and Bess. One of my favorite things that I discovered about Houdini was he also loved to work during the Christmas holidays. To set the stage, this was a time of year when a lot of Vaudeville acts went home to celebrate. And traditionally, the Vaudeville houses saw a decrease in attendance during this time too. But Houdini, never turned down Christmas work. In fact, the Vaudeville theaters loved Houdini because he was such a draw and his appearances over the holidays was just the edge they needed to bring people in.

It's true Houdini was Jewish. But I know a lot of Jewish people who enjoy Christmas. As a dear friend once said to me, "my family and I LOVE to get gifts, so yes we celebrate, and we have a Christmas tree and everything!".  I'm told that there is a photo of Houdini and family with a Christmas tree in 278, his home in Harlem. But for some reason I can't seem to locate it at the moment. At any rate, Houdini certainly celebrated and enjoyed Christmas.

I think my favorite of the Houdini cards is the one below. It's a classic and I've loved it since the first time I saw it years ago.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas and Houdini

I've heard from a number of people that say they find it odd that Houdini celebrated Christmas. He was after all the son of a Jewish Rabbi. Yet, he clearly did have cards/postcards that wished people a Merry Christmas. He married Bess who was Catholic and she no doubt celebrated Christmas.

While scouring through hundreds of newspaper articles over the last few days I saw something kind of interesting. I found brief write ups in the theatrical section of newspapers during the month of December about who was going to be appearing at the local theatres.  Apparently the crowds were traditionally low because of the holidays. Guess who was always working during the holidays? Houdini! And several papers mentioned that Houdini would be very helpful to bring in people. He was a guaranteed draw.

Christmas has always been a duel holiday from what I have discovered. Originally meant as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the day also fell upon existing celebrations by different cultures. These various traditions merged into one holiday called Christmas but there appears to be a religious celebration and a separate cultural celebration. For Christians the holiday involves all the traditions, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus and so forth. For non-Christians, they may also enjoy various parts of the holiday like Santa, the Christmas Tree, decorating, exchanging of gifts and so on but not observe the religious aspects.

One thing very interesting about the holiday is it's always been wrapped up in controversy. First, the early Christians were actually against it.  The holiday was even banned in parts of Colonial America. Today, we find political correctness  and Christmas not mixing too well. Some groups and individuals have complained about having the word Christmas used on govt. calenders, others want Nativity Scenes banned on government property. Some groups even want to ban Santa Claus, though in his modern incarnation he is hardly a religious figure. And others have actually pressured retailers to remove the word 'Christmas' from displays and advertisements. Apparently it's ok at the moment to use the words 'happy holidays', at least until someone complains about that. Oh, and then there are a few christian groups out there actually still protesting Christmas because it isn't in the Bible, so it should not be celebrated. It's gotten a little ridiculous  if you ask me.  But as I mentioned, Christmas has carried a bit of controversy with it since the beginning.

My guess is Houdini enjoyed the secular side of Christmas. Believe it or not, there was a time when saying 'Merry Christmas' to someone was just considered a pleasant greeting. Sending Christmas cards and notes has always been known as a gesture of kindness and friendliness. I tend to think Houdini stood on the side of "Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men" which is a good sentiment any time of year. So to all my readers out there, Merry Christmas! And if you celebrate a different Holiday, may those celebrations be joyous as well. And if you don't celebrate anything, Happy Nothing, I guess, lol, or better, have a nice day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Wishes

"I heard him exclaim as he drove out of site, 
Happy Christmas to All, 
and to All a Good Night!"
I hope you all have had an enjoyable time reading my blog in 2011. It's been a lot of fun writing and researching the various articles. I have had the good fortune of meeting lots of fellow magic history fans along the way. I'm always glad to hear from folks, so anytime you want to drop me an email please do.

The Carnegie: Magic Detective Blog will be taking a short break from now until the first of the year. However, there is a 4 Part Article that was written by HOUDINI in 1907, which will appear here next week starting on Monday. Not sure if it appeared in print anywhere else, though it's possible.

Thanks for reading my blog and special thank you for making December 2011 the BEST month for my blog since it started! I'll see you all Next Year! (with some very special surprises)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Holidays from Houdini

Here is a wonderful image, courtesy of the Boston Public Library. It is from the Houdini scrapbook compiled by Quincy Kilby. The scrapbook covered the years from 1904-1926. I've seen this image before in books, but didn't realize there was a slight colorization to it, though that might have been added by Kilby.

Houdini was Jewish, but he obviously celebrated Christmas or at least had no problem sharing the greetings. He had a number of images like this over the years. I'm not sure if they were actual cards or postcards. The one above has a crease down the center, which makes me think it may have indeed been a card. Kevin Connelly has a another image by the same artist on his blog, check it out.
It appears that Bess Houdini kept up the tradition after Harry had died. The above is an image from 1935 and came out of the Library of Congress Collection. The image has a crease in it, so I'm wondering if it was actually a card and we are seeing the inside of the card. If that is the case, then I've got no idea what the outside of the card looked like. However, it could just be a nice holiday greetings on Bess's stationary which is more likely the case.

One thing I found interesting on it were the three addresses for Bess. The Payson Avenue NY address is where the Rev. A. Ford Seance was held. I'm not familiar with the address on the far right and the lower one is obviously her California address.

I can't help but wonder if there are more unseen, Houdini Christmas cards out there? At the rate things have been showing up this year, I'm sure a new one will turn up soon.