Showing posts with label Magic Detective Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magic Detective Show. Show all posts

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Episode 2 Magic Detective Show

Here is Episode 2 now online. Once you watch the episode, head over to the blog article which gives more information about Episode 2. Enjoy!

Episode 2 Additional Information

For the record, I love searching out the graves of dead magicians. Mainly because it's so darn hard to find the graves of living ones. On Episode 2, I showed three photos of graves of magic related people. The first was the grave of Anna Eva Fay Pingree. Anna Eva Fay was a phenomenon in her day. She was born Ann Eliza Heathman in 1851, just at the time that the Fox Sisters and the Davenport Brothers were making news as spiritual mediums. She apparently showed signs of having 'the gift' and was encouraged to move in this direction. Ann met a man who would become her manager and he taught her the actual gifts (the methods used by fake mediums).  They created an act where she would present 'Light and Dark Seances' on-stage for audiences. Among her interesting creations during the 'light seance' was the effect we know today as The Dancing Handkerchief.  Her 'dark seance' sequence was similar to the Davenport Brothers act, she would be tied to a chair inside a cloth cabinet and bells would ring, tambourines would play and other manifestation would occur.

Over the years she would move away from the seance aspect of the show and move more towards mentalism effects, all with a 'spirit' kind of theme to them. She retired from show business in 1924 and settled in Melrose Mass.

The next grave belonged to Mina Stinson Crandon, better known as Margery the Medium. She was the medium who The Scientific American Magazine was going to acknowledge to the world as being  a genuine medium and could really speak to the dead. Well, that is until Houdini got wind of this and he stepped in. Actually, he more than stepped in, he took over the investigation and an all out war ensued! Houdini had a special wooden box built to house Margery and prevent her from causing the manifestations to happen by her own hand. Her spirit guide 'Walter', who was her deceased brother, still spoke however and could be quite the salty tongued spirit.

Houdini successfully prevented the Scientific American Committee from awarding Margery with any sort of authenticity certificate.

She lived on Lime St in Boston and is buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery. The photo was provided to me by escape artist and investigator Norman Bigelow. Norm is currently offering a lecture about Margery and Houdini and other mediums.

Last up is a fellow who I've done a LOT of research on, William Henry Palmer, who performed under the stage name of Robert Heller. He was quite the performer. His show included not only magic, but mind reading and music. You see, Robert Heller was an accomplished concert pianist. The Library of Congress even has several of his pieces of sheet music in their collection.

Heller traveled the world presenting his magic. He actually was from England but his career really blossomed in America. One of his most popular feats was his Second Sight routine. This was an early version of what we think of today as mentalism or mind reading. Heller used multiple methods to read the mind of Haidee Heller, a woman he called his sister but apparently she was not. Incidentally, there is a wonderful story I read that happened between Robert Heller and Haidee. After the musical section of the show one night, he and Haidee got into a quarrel behind the scenes. She refused to come out for the Second Sight routine. So Robert Heller walked out and announced "Ladies and Gentleman, this is the part of the program where Ms. Haidee Heller comes out, except tonight she refuses to do so. Let's wait and see." He then quietly took a seat on the couch and began to twirl his thumbs not speaking a word. A few moments a red hot Haidee came storming out. Heller said "Ah! I thought so" and they continued with the show.

Robert Heller died unexpectedly in November of 1878. He was on tour in Philedelphia and had performed at the Concert Hall on Nov 26th, but showed clear signs of being ill. It was pneumonia and he died the next day. His body was sent to Machepelah Cemetery in Philidelphia and was placed in a vault there. Sometime later it was moved to Mt. Moriah Cemetery where he remains to this day.

Incidentally, these three folks were all connected in two ways. First they all had a connection to Houdini. Anna Eva Fay and Houdini were friends. Margery and Houdini were friendly enemies. Houdini re-discovered the grave of Robert Heller. Second connection is they all presented seances!

More Magic Detective News

Tomorrow, Friday Oct 12 my second episode of The Magic Detective Show will be up on Youtube.  This next episode  I'll be showing three different graves of magicians. For regular followers of my blog, you will have seen the graves, HOWEVER, there is something there that I teased about in one of my columns that you haven't seen. So tomorrow, go check it out.

Because my format is only 5 minutes long, I am not able to get in depth into things like I want. I do plan eventually to do longer episodes but right now I need to build the audience and get the interest going and frankly, 5 minutes seems to be about the standard for popular shows on Youtube. But I have added one feature. After the episodes, I'm adding a blog article with more in-depth information. Hopefully this will work to bring more people to the blog and also bring my blog readers to the show.

Finally, The Magic Detective Show & Blog now has an Official Facebook Fan Page. So if you are so inclined, please go over and 'Like' my page!

Don't forget to enter the Magic Detective History Contest going on this month! The contest ends on Oct 30th, 2012, and the answers will be revealed on The Magic Detective Show!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Episode 1 Additional Information

First, thank you to everyone who clicked over to watch my new The Magic Detective Show on Youtube! I really appreciate it. Episode 1 showed an escape gone wrong. The escape in question happened in Venezuela some time around the mid 1970s and featured escape artist Steve Baker.

Many of my younger readers and viewers may not be familiar with Steve, but from the late 1960s to the 1980s he was easily one of the most recognized and popular escape artists around. I can remember seeing him on TV all the time when I was a kid.

The escape that is featured on the video is called 'Trial By Fire'. It just so happens that another escape artist, Norman Bigelow, also has an escape that he presents called 'Trial By Fire' but though they share the same name, the escapes are very different. In Steve's version he is chained to a wooden post and surrounded by a canvas covered t-pee like structure. The t-pee is sprayed with a special flammable chemical and then set on fire. Steve has seconds to get out the chains and burst through the t-pee flames before he too is engulfed in the inferno.

He had presented the escape successfully before. But on this night in Caracas something went wrong! At this point I encourage you to watch the video if you already haven't. It's worth seeing, plus I explain what went wrong.

Now the good news, Steve still escaped. The bad news was he suffered from some pretty bad burns. There was also more bad news. He still had another escape to do. He was supposed to escape from a packing crate in front of a live audience. His hands were bandaged up, but he still submitted to the challenge and escaped! But it was such a struggle that his hands began to bleed and by the time he got out of the trunk, his bandages were soaked red with blood!

Also on the bill with Steve was another escape artist, The Amazing Randi. James Randi was another well known escape artist of the time, but he was slowly phasing out escapes and moving into the world of exposing fake psychics. His career as an investigator of fake psychics still goes on today. However, during his time in Venezuela, he too was there to present escapes. His first escape was from a locked safe on live TV, which is something he had done a number of times in his career. His second escape had him escaping from a straight jacket, but not in the normal way. They decided to hang Randi upside down from a helicopter and fly him all over the city dangling by his ankles! By all accounts it was quite thrilling.

If I'm not mistaken there is an audio recording that Randi did in the late 70s or early 80s that was put out by Martin Breese and I believe that he mentions his time in Caracas with Steve, and I know he also mentions an escape of his that almost went wrong involving a locked safe.

Now, just to keep the record straight, I mentioned Norman Bigelow and his escape also called 'Trial By Fire'. I do not know who created the name first. I have a feeling it was a name they both chose without knowing of the others creation. Bigelow was another of the big escape names in the 1970s. He was performing in colleges and went on to become a prolific writer on escapes and magic. One of his tomes had to do with the Death of Houdini and he put forth the theory that Houdini was indeed killed. I believe the name of the manuscript was 'Death Blow'. Lots of people talk about that possibility today, but it was Norm who really looked into it and developed the theory.

Norman Bigelow continues to delve into little know areas of Houdini's life even today. Though his views are sometimes controversial, he doesn't do these things to become popular but to expose the truths he thinks are still hidden in Houdini's life and truths he believes we all should know.

Now, as to Norm's version of 'Trial By Fire'. He would be handcuffed to a board. Running along the board is a trail of gunpowder which was set on fire. Underneath his hand is a large amount of gunpowder. He had only seconds to get out of the handcuffs before being badly burned. His escape was done out in the open with the audience watching him as he openly picked the handcuffs. A very original and very unique escape and presentation.

Speaking of original, his manuscripts are filled with ideas and concepts for escape artists and magicians. One of his ideas was used by David Copperfield in the 1980s and then featured on one of his Television Specials.

In the future I think I'll continue to add some additional bits of information about the various episodes because afterall, they are only 5 minutes long. Eventually, once the audience is built up, I'll move to a longer format. See you all on FRIDAY for another episode of The Magic Detective Show!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Magic Detective Show on Youtube!

FINALLY!!!!!!!! After months of delays, the first episode of The Magic Detective Show is online!
There is now a MagicDetective Youtube Channel, and I'd love it if you subscribed to the channel. I think I'm going to put together a 'blooper' video after a while so you can see some of the earlier attempts of recording the show. There are things I'd like to do that I can't because of the restraints of my camera. So season 1 will keep this format and if it's popular enough and I do a second season, I'll upgrade the camera and the look of the show.

If you are a collector or historian or performer with a cool piece of magic related history who would be willing to appear on my show, please let me know that also! You can reach me at:

Don't forget to enter the Magic Detective History Contest going on this month!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One Day Till -The Magic Detective Show

So after months of shoots and reshoots and restarts, the first episode is in the can, as they say. Between camera problems and just simply getting the time to shoot the show, it's been a challenge. I had expected to have this done MONTHS ago (like in January) but it never happened. But now I'm glad to say that the first and actually second episodes of the show are done.

The Magic Detective Show is a 5 minute look into the amazing world of theatrical magic history. We'll cover stories like the life, death and mysteries of Houdini, the first great American Magician Harry Kellar, we'll go in search of props and artifacts that belonged to great magicians and we'll visit with magic historians and collectors and much more.

The first episode of the Magic Detective You Tube Show will debut tomorrow, Friday Oct 5th at NOON Eastern Standard Time. It features an exciting escape from the 1970s gone bad!

The address to the Youtube channel is

Don't forget to enter the Magic Detective History Contest going on this month!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Magic Detective is Evolving

Coming Soon: The Carnegie Magic Detective Show. This will be a web-based show featuring Magic, Magic History and more that will air on my channel. Eventually, I hope to have regular weekly episodes, but it will take a while to transition into that.  Shooting video and then editing video is a slightly longer process than just writing this blog.

Taking this site from a blog to a video show has been in the planning stages for about a year, but implementing it is another thing entirely. All of the episodes will be fairly short, keeping with the Youtube content strategy. As time goes on and I'm able to build an audience I'll offer longer episodes. I've got a number of interviews lined up for the coming months and I'll probably post edited versions of those on the channel and then maybe offer longer ones at another time.

This BLOG will not be going away.  As much as I wish I could interview folks like Daisy White (she is a recent favorite, can you tell?), or HOUDINI himself, they just aren't available. So the blog works well to get their stories out there.

The first episode will contain a video of a near death accident with a famous escape artist. I'm not sure this footage has been seen in the U.S. and if it has, it's not been wide spread. I'll post Air Dates in the 'Coming Soon' box at the upper right hand side of the blog, and of course you'll be able to watch it right from this very blog or via the Youtube Channel. Stay Tuned!