Showing posts with label magician statue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magician statue. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Magic Detective Show Season 2 Episode 4

On this weeks episode I share some old Victorian Style Magic. The effect was known as The Magnetized Cards and is a very cool routine that uses cards in a none pick a card fashion. Also, I'll be showing another one of my magician figurines.


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Golden Age of Magic - In Bronze

I have posted many statues, sculptures, carvings, figurines and busts of magicians. But now it's time for the finest renditions of them all. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you 'The Masters of Magic's Golden Age!

This series of museum quality, limited edition bronze busts are the creation of Mike and Mary Elizalde. This whole project came about because Mike wanted some museum quality busts for his own magic collection. Mike funded the entire project and they were produced through Spectral Motion, the company that he and his wife own and operate. Spectral Motion is among the world's leading creature and makeup effects studios with over 50 films to its credit. Headed up by Academy Award Nominee Mike Elizalde and his wife Mary, Spectral Motion is known for its astounding cinematic effects and an unblemished record of reliability, believability and superb quality. Let's take a closer look at these incredible bronze busts. I'll post them in historical order. 

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (b.Dec 7,1805 d. June 13, 1871) Known to all of us as the Father of Modern Magic. He was the great French Conjurer who we still revere today. Inventor of many incredible automaton like Antonio Diavolo and the Fantastic Blooming Orange Bush.  Also, creator of incredible magic like the Ethereal Suspension, which in updated forms is still presented today. 

Another of his iconic creations was the Light & Heavy Chest, which was used not only to amaze and impress but also to stop a tribal uprising in French Algeria.  

A full size statue of Robert Houdin resides in front of the Maison de la Magie in Blois France.

Alexander Herrmann (b. Feb 10,1844 d. Dec 17, 1896)
The GREAT Herrmann is considered by many to be the first in the line of the famed Mantle of Magic. He was also a Frenchman, like Houdin, but made his fame here in America. Originally, he worked with his brother Compars, until he went out on his own. Compars Herrmann was equally as famous in Europe as his younger brother was in America. The Herrmann's had a Mephistopholean appearance that added to their mystery and intrigue.

Though he had a very mysterious appearance, his magic and performance was filled with comedy. He was also known to do magic off-stage in public places. Perhaps we should credit Alexander Herrmann with being the creator of 'Street Magic'!

Herrmann died suddenly on a train in 1896. His wife Adelaide took over the show and was joined by her nephew Leon, who also bore a striking resemblance to Alexander.

Harry Kellar (b. July 11, 1849 d. March 10,1922) Here we have the Dean of Magicians. So called, because he was the first 'Dean' of the Society of American Magicians. Harry Kellar was the first nationally famous American born magician. The second in line for the Mantle of Magic, though technically, it really started with him, though some do put Herrmann first.

Kellar began his career as an apprentice to the Fakir of Ava. He went out on his own for a short time and eventually went to work for the Davenport Brothers. When he had a falling out with one of the brothers, he left them and took another employee, William Fay, with him. They toured North and South America and were heading to Europe when a ship wreck ended their tour.

Kellar found his way back to the U.S. and rebuilt his show and went on to  have a flourishing career. He and Herrmann, though not friends, shared a secret that I will reveal a bit later in this article.

HOUDINI (b March 24,1874 d. Oct 31, 1926) The most famous magician in the world, who wanted to be known as an 'escape artist' for much of his life, and then as an actor, producer and later as an author and scientific investigator. Eventually, he would return to magic in a grand way with his Three In One Show of Magic, Escapes and Spiritualist Exposures. Houdini is likely responsible for inspiring more people into magic than anyone alive. I know my own push into magic came from discovering Houdini. 

The creation of the Magic Detective Blog, really has a lot to do with Houdini. There are 172 articles on the blog that are either about or that refer to Harry. The next closest is Harry Kellar with 32. He is an icon, a legend and the bust of Houdini created by Spectral Motion captures Houdini in all his splendor. He looks confident, proud and defiant. It's a fantastic image of the Master Mystifier.

Howard Thurston (b. July 20, 1869 d. April 13, 1936) 
If we talk of the Mantle of Magic, Howard received the Mantle of Magic from Harry Kellar in a ceremony at Ford's Theatre in Baltimore on May 16th, 1908. In all truth, it had more to do with Kellar selling his show to Thurston, but it sure made a great publicity campaign and a tradition that has continued up until present time.

I always thought Thurston was a great performer. But I never quite knew the whole story until Jim Steinmeyer published an incredible biography on Thurston called, The Last Greatest Magician In The World. It is a must read for anyone interested in magic or magic history.

Thurston had been making plans to pass the Mantle of Magic onto one of his associates, Harry Jansen, known professionally as Dante. There was never an official ceremony however because Thurston died suddenly.

Chung Ling Soo (b. April 2, 1861 d. March 23, 1918) 
I must admit when I first looked over the list
of people who were selected for bronzes, the one odd one was Chung Ling Soo, at least to me. He was born William Ellsworth Robinson and in all truth, his inclusion in this list is well deserved. Robinson worked for Alexander Herrmann. Later, he worked for Harry Kellar. Robinson was the 'secret' that I referred to earlier. He worked for the rival magicians before his own rise to fame. He was known as the most knowledgeable man in magic during his time. He played an important part in the success of both. 

Robinson also has a connection to Thurston. He allowed Thurston to show Leon Herrmann his version of the Rising Cards, and when it amazed Herrmann, Thurston publicized himself as 'The Man Who Fooled Herrmann'. The meeting would never have happened without Robinson however.

When Robinson went out on his own, he failed miserably. It wasn't until he came up with the idea of doing an Chinese after seeing Ching Ling Foo, that things really took off for him. So convincing was he in his performance that the public was unaware that Soo was really an American. They truly bought into the idea that he was Chinese. He even used an interpreter when he gave interviews. He is the only real life magician who gets a spot in the movie 'The Prestige'. He also had one of the most tragic deaths in the history of magic having been killed while performing the dangerous Bullet Catching Feat.

All of these busts are a little over 12 inches tall. They are made of bronze and are available for purchase. They were produced in limited quantities of 40, so there isn't a huge supply, but there are some that remain. They are all on display at the Magic Castle if you are interested in seeing them in person. If you want to purchase one of these wonderful works of art, realize you are not buying a mass produced bust from Target or Walmart. These are museum quality and exceptional pieces. If you are interested in purchasing one, and I really encourage you to consider this investment because once they are gone, they will be gone for good. Below is the flyer which has all the information for purchasing. You can reach them at (818)956-6080 or by email at

Special thanks for Mike and Mary Elizalde for providing all the wonderful photographs and for your great contribution to magic.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Even More Unique Magic Related Statues

I just love when readers contribute! Here are two images for magic statues that I've never seen. The first is a Tommy Cooper Jug.
Guild/Tommy Cooper Toby Jug.

Tommy Cooper Toby Jug Collectors Guild 1996/97 by Kevin Francis Ceramics manufactured by Peggy Davies Ceramics. This 9.5" Toby Jug captured the great man on stage, wearing his trademark red Fez , matching red socks and black evening suit with white shirt and bow tie, pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Tommy Cooper is one of the few magicians to have a life size statue of himself as well.

Next we have, a wooden figurine which is amazing. It's a female magician pulling a rabbit from a top hat. The figurine is the work of artist Ben Godi. This piece is made of wood as I mentioned, and has a run of 200. I read about the process on how he creates them and it's quite amazing. He begins by creating a unique hand carved figurine from wood. Then he has a machine that duplicates his figurine though he still has to go back and work on each of the 200 copies by hand to fix and imperfections and smooth them out. Simply amazing. This figurine is 9 inches tall and there are still some available if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Just visit his website And there are additional views of the figurine on the site, it's a wonderful piece.
Thank you to Christina from Luxembourg for the contributions!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Few Magician Statues

These photos come from the Collection of Bill King. Bill passed away a while ago and his stuff has been auctioned off. I have no idea what happened to these statues sadly, as I would love to have added them to my collection.

In the photo above there are two statues and in the center is an original Robert Houdin Mystery Clock. The statue on the left is actually Robert-Houdin and I recently saw one in auction for over $1000. The statue on the right is a little more common, though it was been reproduced. Bill King told me how to spot an original versus the copy. The bottom of the top hat on the originals was rounded and it's flat on the copys. I think the copys were authorized, at least I hope so, cause I have one :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

In Search of Magician Statues

 The surprise success of the various Houdini Bust/Statue blogs has me interested in doing something similar with magician statues and busts. I know there are a lot of them out there. I actually have quite a few. The success of the Houdini Bust blogs was because many people submitted photos that I was unaware of and thus helped to really enhance the photo collection.

So I need your help. I'm looking for busts and sculptures and statues/figurines of magicians to include here. If at all possible, if you could also include some information on the statues such as who created them, where the statue came from, what it's made of, and things like that. IF you know that is, if you don't just send me the photo.

Unlike the Houdini blogs which continued over several days, I'd like to gather up as many of the magician statue images and then present them all at once, or least keep the blogs to just a couple. I already did a blog a while ago on large magic statues which can be seen here.

So if you have anything, please send to

Friday, October 25, 2013

More Houdini Statues Continue to Come In

Here is a cool Houdini statue that sold on eBay. It has Houdini's name on the front, underneath the bust the number 1958 is printed. The bust stands 12 inches tall.

The next statue is very interesting, it's Houdini in a strongman pose. He is 6" tall and made of bronze.

Next is a 7 inch metalware statue of Houdini was that was apparently part of a "Legends of Magic"
series. It is signed by Jack Taves. I don't know if there were other 'legends of magic' or if it just stopped with Houdini.

Next is a very unique Houdini Bust. This is on the old Houdini property in California. The property is in Laurel Canyon and actually, was probably NOT Houdini's property at all. But it's been called that for years by residents and real estate people that it's now known as the Houdini Estate. Houdini expert, Patrick Culliton believes the property across the street is where Houdini's property actually was. John Cox and Patrick Culliton visited the Houdini Estate in 2012 and you can read all about it at

Special thanks to Joe Notaro for two of the images on this page. If anyone else knows of Houdini statues or busts which I've not featured and you have photos you're willing to share, please let me know at

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Houdini Busts and Statues!

Joe Fox has really gone the extra mile and provided me with some great photos of MORE Houdini Busts. Just when you thought you'd seen them all, a few more pop up!

First is the Collectors Workshop Bust called 'The Houdini Bronze'. The bust stands 14 inches tall, weighs approximately 15 pounds and rests on a polished wooden base. Many years ago, I visited Nick Ruggerio at the Collectors Workshop-Workshop. And he had one of these busts in the office. I remember holding it and hearing Nick tell the story of how they went about recreating the bust. It was a limited edition of only 18. As I recall it had a pretty hefty price tag at the time.

Next, we have an unusual bust that Joe Fox can't recall where he got it. But it's clearly Houdini
though not of the same quality and craftsmanship as some of the other busts. I'm wondering if this was maybe a plaster cast that was sold and people could paint them on their own. It has a similar look to the copper colored bust in the article
Houdini Busted!

It appears maybe to be a copy of a copy because some of the details are less visible on this particular bust. Though it could just be the white color, which makes it look like a white chocolate bust of Houdini......(that sounds rather cool).

Gary Frank, the magician and historian offered this Houdini bust a few years ago. It's 9 1/4 inches tall and weighs approx 5 lbs. It was limited to 200 pieces and the ad for the bust mentions it was the first in a series of magic busts. But I don't know if any others were created.

The final two don't actually fit into the category of BUST. But they are statues of Houdini. The first
one is a ceramic covered Beer Stein. I want to say the Fox Brewery from Appleton commissioned this but I'm not 100% on that. The one in the photo is Joe Fox's (no relation to the Brewery). Mine is in storage so I can't look at the bottom to read what it says. But it's a very cool. The stein is 9 1/2 inches tall and will hold 26oz of liquid.

 A companion item with the beer stein was a Bottle Opener with the same sort of design as the beer stein.

The final 'statue' was done by sculptor Mo Flint. His statue of Houdini in a Straightjacket is incredibly
striking and looks 100% like Houdini. I had contacted Mo when these were first announced and he was hoping to do other Houdini statues if these sold well. But I think the sale of these statues was a little disappointing. From what I've heard, the run was supposed to be 500 but only 250 were ever made. No other magic or Houdini statue followed.

A friend of mine who is an amateur sculptor created a Houdini statue for me many years ago. It was a statue made from the image on the left. It was an amazing statue. It stood a little over 12 inches tall and my friend put real chain on where needed. The reason I cannot show it to you know is ole Houdini in Chains committed suicide! One day he fell off the shelf he had been displayed on and came crashing into too many pieces to repair. Sadly, I never took a photo of the amazing piece of art, my loss.

*Special Thanks to Houdini Historian and all around great guy, Joe Fox, for sharing the above images from his collection!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Magician Statues

The recent article I did on Tommy Cooper got me wondering about what other magicians might have statues. So far what I have found is pretty bleak. My criteria for this is for outdoor life-size or larger than life statues. I am not including busts, as there are a number of these around and I plan to cover those in another upcoming article.

Siegfried & Roy
First up we have The Masters of the Impossible, Siegfried & Roy. Their massive bronze statue is outside the The Mirage Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. I believe it was erected in 1993 but I don't know who the artist was who created the work. I also am not sure it's actually a bronze statue or just a fiberglass statue with a bronze finish. I hope it's actually bronze.

Sadly, S&R have been off the strip so long and some only remember them for the accident. But at their peak they were wonderful performers and entertainment icons. I hope their statue remains for many many years to come.

In front of the Maison de la Magie in Blois France is this wonderful statue dedicated to The Father of Modern Magic, Jean Eugene Robert Houdin. He certainly deserves a statue and I'm glad to see that one was erected in his honor. However, I do not know the cost of the statue nor who sculpted it.

The museum behind the statue is said to be the 'house' of Robert Houdin, but I'm not sure that is the case. I don't recall the Houdin house being that large.

One thing is certain, the descendants of Robert-Houdin did donate the house to the town of Blois to be used as a museum to the great French Magician.
Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper, the fez wearing British comedy magician has a statue in his honor that stands in his home town of Caerphilly, Wales. Tommy Cooper died while doing a show LIVE on TV in 1984. Like all the performers in this article, he transcended the magic world and was considered an entertainer for the masses. His statue is made of bronze and stands 9ft tall. It was created by sculptor James Done at a cost of £45,000 which was raised by The Tommy Cooper Society in 2008.

Harry Collins
Harry Collins was a magician and spokesman for the Frito Lay Corp. He was also one of the first magicians to inspire Lance Burton and I believe he was also Lance's first magic mentor.

The statue stands over Harry Collins grave in the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. The statue appears to be a bronze casting and no idea who the artist was or the cost.

David Copperfield
The latest edition to the statues is one that was recently unveiled in August 2012 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. This bronze statue is dedicated to the 'King of Magic' David Copperfield.

This is the most unusual statue of the group because at first glance it might appear to be a giant bust of the magician. However, the lower part of the statue features sculpted images from some of David's most popular illusions, including Flying, Walking Through The Great Wall of China, Making the Statue of Liberty Vanish, The Lear Jet Vanish and Tornado of Fire.

It sits in front of the the theater where David Copperfield regularly performs in Las Vegas.

The big question I have is, "Where is the Statue of Houdini?" The sad answer to that is, there is NO statue of Houdini. The closest thing we have is his grave with the bust, but by the criteria I set above, that isn't quite enough. Let's face it Houdini deserves a life size statue! I know at one time the SAM led a concerted effort to the get a Houdini Postage Stamp which eventually paid off. Perhaps it's time to work on the creation of a Houdini statue.

There actually is/was a statue dedicated to the memory of Houdini, but it was of his Metamorphosis Trick which at one time was on display in Appleton Wisconsin. That statue is currently in storage while the city finds a new place to display it.

IF you happen to know of a magician statue that I missed, please let me know. I'm looking for more statues, NOT busts. I have a list of magic related busts that I'll be doing soon.