Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bust. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bust. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Houdini Busted! Updated!

My previous article about the statues dedicated to magicians points out that there are no HOUDINI statues. However, there isn't a shortage of Houdini busts. It's not likely I'll get all of them captured here, but I'm going to try and get the top ones.

First up is the classic Houdini Bust that we all know, the bust on top of his grave. The original bronze cast of this bust resides in The Museum of the City of New York. This was the creation of sculptor John Cassidy of Manchester England.  After Houdini died, this bust became the property of the Hinson Family. Mr. and Mrs. John A. Hinson donated the bust to the Museum in 1958.

Copies of this bust have been part of the Houdini Grave Site since his death. Sadly, many of those copies were stolen or destroyed.

This plaster copy was recovered recently. It was believed to have been stolen from the gravesite in 1975. John Cox has a full report about the stolen/recovered bust at his site. This plaster copy now resides in the AKA Houdini display in Appleton Wisconsin.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Houdini Museum in Scranton PA, a fully restored bust was placed back on the grave site.  Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz are the curators of the museum. They are now the keepers of the grave site from what I understand.I accidentally left them off of here when I first posted this. My apologies to them because they deserve a huge thank you from all Houdini fans and magic fans for the work that they have done!

Without their tireless efforts there would be no bust on the Houdini Grave site today.

There have been various reproductions of this bust over the years in many different sizes. Some lack the quality of the original and even the look. But they are interesting none the less. One of the best was done by Collectors Workshop but I don't have a photo of the bust they produced. It was identical to the Cassidy bust.

These two busts were done by artist Joseph Juneau for the Houdini Magic Shops. The one of the left is called 'The Great Houdini' while the other one is called 'The Young Houdini'. 

They are cast in resin and stand about 10 inches tall.

Next we have the latest Houdini bust, this time by the artists at Spectral Motion. It's an expensive one, $2000.00, but the bronze cast version is breathtaking. They actually produced several busts of magicians, including: Harry Kellar, Howard Thurston, Robert Houdin and Chung Ling Soo.

I think I like this one the best out of all the various busts. It has a little more character to it and shows Houdini at a younger age. I do not think the HOUDINI bust is available any longer however.

Finally, I'd like to show this unique piece. I'm not sure it fits within the traditional bust format, but it is very cool. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name of the artist. I know there was talk of him making several of these in the future of other magicians, but I only ever saw this one. This particular piece is from my own collection.

There are a number of other busts of Houdini in different poses and styles. I'll post links to those below and if I happened to have missed any, let me know and I'd be glad to feature them here, or at least put the link up. has a very nice Houdini Pewter statue which can be seen here.
Sculptor/Artist Robert Toth has a very nice Houdini bust which can be seen on his website.
Sculptor Peter Close created this Houdini bust for this website
A company called features this bust, which they say only 50 were made but I don't see where it's available now.
This final bust is being sold by Apparently, it is a reproduction of a bust that Houdini himself owned.

I shouldn't have been half asleep when I posted this because I missed some stuff. I forgot to add the photo from the Houdini grave about and give Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz proper credit. Also, John Cox over at has posted an article about an old issue of Genii Magazine with a picture of a unique Houdini bust on the cover.

I just got this note from Dick Brookz and Dorothy Dietrich, "There was a small hollow olive drab dark bronze colored Houdini bust about 8" tall that I believe Bess herself used to make and sell or give out. It was similar but slightly different from the John Cassidy one. We have two or three in our collection.  We experimented in making these before we attempted the full sized ones.  We even sold them in the store for a while.  We may make some more when time permits.

The final large mold was made of expensive Platinum Silicon which should last 20 to 30 years.  We made several large busts out of different materials until finally we made 3 expensive statuary cement ones, with the best one destined for Houdini's grave site after it was sealed with a special sealer."

I wonder if the greenish colored one above is one of the one's that Bess gave out???

John Cox sent me this link of another Houdini bust, which might be one of the ones that Collectors Workshop put out in the 1990s.

Here is an image, courtesy of Joe Fox, of the Houdini bust that was given out to attendees of the Society of American Magician's Centenary Celebration. This was during the 2002 SAM National Convention. Only 1000 were made and I think it's rather small if I'm not mistaken.

this original article was first published on August 12, 2012

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!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Houdini and His Likeness

Courtesy of John Hinson, the Great Nephew of Houdini, we have another Houdini Bust. This time the Grand Daddy of them all. This bust was commissioned by Houdini in 1914 while he was performing in England. Sculptor John Cassidy created this amazing bronze bust.

This bronze bust was to be placed upon Houdini's grave when he died. However, a marble copy was mounted on the grave instead. Bess Houdini kept the bronze bust in her home and it was passed down to her sister when she died. The marble copy suffered a tragic end at the hands of vandals. But thankfully today, due to the efforts of Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks a new Houdini Bust sits atop the grave.

In 1958, John A. Hinson donated the bronze bust to Museum of the City  of NY.

Friday, November 29, 2013

An Early Bust from the Scranton Houdini Museum

Today's photos are a special treat from Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks. These show one of the early casts made during their attempt to recreate the bust to sit on Houdini's Grave. Look closely and you can see all the pits and imperfections which were later filled in for the final bust. This particular bust is made of solid polyurethane and was then coated to give the appearance of bronze.

The photos also contain a second bust much smaller. This is apparently a bust that Bess Houdini gave out. It's hollow, made of plaster and quite fragile.

Thank you Dick and Dorothy for sharing these images!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight and Houdini

Let me state for the record, it's doubtful I would ever have been interested in Houdini if it had not been for Batman. And, for me, there is only one Batman and that is Adam West. Sure Michael Keaton was pretty good, Christian Bale offers some unique twists to the character, but Adam West was the man.

When you're a kid, the 60s TV series BATMAN is not campy. It's cool! It's got action, it's got super heroes, it's got villians, it has it all. It's not until you're an adult that you see how campy the show is and frankly it's like a gift within a gift. It was an awesome show as a kid and it's a hilarious show as an adult!

Often the episodes ended in a cliff hanger with Batman & Robin in some sort of diabolical trap in which they had to escape from. When I saw the Tony Curtis Movie on Houdini for the first time, I only saw the scene with Houdini under the ice of Lake Michigan. It totally reminded me of an episode of BATMAN. Here was someone trying to escape. I had no idea Houdini did it first!

I've heard that Bob Kane was a fan of Houdini. I can tell you this, IF Batman were a real character, I can guarantee HE would be a devotee of Houdini as well. Houdini after-all made the escape act popular, he even wrote books on handcuff escapes and escapes in general. On top of that he wrote a book called "The Right Way To Do Wrong" which surely would have been in the Batcave Library, or at least in stately Wayne Manor's Library! And he'd probably have to go to Houdini's craftsman to have the Batcuffs made.

Perhaps instead of the bust of William Shakespeare, the creators should have put Houdini's bust there. I mean, come on, it makes more sense to hide a button to a secret panel inside the bust of the world's most famous magician MORE than it does to hide it inside the bust of Shakespeare!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Still More Houdini Statues and Busts

Just when I think I've found them all, more Houdini art shows up. In this case, I'm looking for sculptures and statues.

This first one I found on I'm including the location of where I found the image. It's apparently a custom made piece. Still, very cool.

This next bust was created by artist Peter Close. It had been available through however their site seems to be suspended. There is no telling what that means, it's the internet, so maybe their site was hacked, who knows. But the bust is an interesting one with Houdini in a straight jacket.

As I recall, the site offered some other busts of famous people, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But with the site down, I can't go back and check. Hopefully, it will be back up again soon.

Now here we have something interesting. A Houdini bust from across the pond, as they say. It comes from TheTwinsFX, through,
This is cast in resin and comes in two different finishes. It stands a whopping 21 inches tall. The website says it is limited to 100 busts and it also says the first run sold out. So maybe they are doing more than 100, or they cast less than 100 to start. At any rate, check their website for purchasing info.

Next up, a Houdini and Bess set. I think I might actually have these. I know I own something very
similar but they are in storage. I have no idea who made these and I'm sure they are no longer for sale. But they are an interesting addition to the Houdini bust collection.

There is an amazing sculpture and article featured over at that you must go check out. There are several photos of the piece created by sculptor  Mel Zapata. It's a truly striking piece of Houdini art.

The final one today was featured over at It's a sculpture by artist Victoria Mock. The piece has Houdini in a straight jacket sitting on a box. It's quite cool.

If you want to see more Houdini art, check out some of the past articles on the Houdini Busts.
I'm sure I'll be back with more!

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mysteries of the Houdini Grave

We are fast approaching another anniversary (Oct 31) of the death of Harry Houdini. I thought I'd take some time and share with you some information about his grave site. His grave has been in the news quite a bit recently due to the wonderful work of the Houdini Museum in Scranton PA. They have taken it upon themselves to restore the Houdini bust to the grave site.

Let's take a trip back in time. It's 1885 and Houdini's half brother Armin/Herman died of turberculosis. Young Erich offered up his entire life's savings ($10) towards his half brothers funeral. Herman had a typical shaped tombstone with a rounded top. Seven years later, Houdini's father dies in 1892 and is buried next to Herman in the Machpelah Cemetery in Queens NY. The father was given a tall pillar shaped tombstone as can be seen in the photo. Between the Weiss grave and the tree on the right is Herman's tombstone.

In 1913, Houdini's mother Cecelia Weiss passes away. Those familiar with the Houdini story know how this affected him and altered the course of his life. Cecelia was buried in this plot also. Cecelia's name was added to the large pillar like tombstone.

Houdini though was devastated. He visited the grave often and eventually came upon an idea of buying a larger family plot and erecting a monument to the family. This was called the 'exedra' which means resting place. The design however was done by a friend of Houdini's Oscar Teale.

Oscar Teale was an architect by trade. But he was also an amateur magician. He served as the fourth President of the Society of American Magicians and wrote a book called 'Higher Magic'. It's said that Oscar Teale was also Houdini's Ghost writer on a number of project including the tome 'A Magician Among the Spirits'. He designed the exedra for Houdini. The finale cost of the monument was $40,000.00. It was installed at Machpelah Cemetery on October 1st 1916.

One interesting addition to the exedra was the inclusion on each side of the monument of part of the original Weiss Grave. On the far left is the gravestone face for Cecelia Weiss. On the far right is the gravestone face for his father Mayer Samuel Weiss.

Another unique feature is the emblem of the Society of American Magicians which is in the center of the monument just below the bust of Houdini. Harry Houdini served as President of the Society for several years and was the current president when he died in 1926. I can't help but wonder if the emblem was added after Houdini's death. It wouldn't make sense to have it on there in 1916 when the monument was erected. There is one photo in the Silverman Houdini book which shows Houdini sitting on the exedra as it was being built. No circular hole is there for the emblem. So it likely was added later.

Houdini had his family moved to the new site and made arrangements for the rest of his family to be buried there upon their individual deaths. The only spouse however that was accorded a grave was Bess Houdini. Her name was added to Houdini's gravestone, but truth be told she is not there. Because Bess was Catholic and Machepelah was a Jewish cemetery, she was buried elsewhere.

Houdini did not want his brother Leopold buried there because of the personal feud they were having. Houdini felt that Leopold disgraced the family by marrying his brother Nathan's ex-wife on a few days after they divorced. But apparently, Leopold is there, though his gravestone is not. Houdini's sister Gladys is also buried there but her gravestone is missing as well. Those two stones were taken out to be repaired and have never been returned.

There are 9 Weiss's buried in that family plot; Mayer Samuel (1829-1892), Cecelia (1841-1913), Herman (1863-1885), Willie (1872-1925), HOUDINI (1874-1926), Nathan (1870-1927), Theo/Dash Hardeen (1876-1945), C. Gladys Weiss (sister) and finally Dr. Leopold Weiss.

But there is a tenth person buried in the cemetery that never is mentioned. Perhaps people have forgotten about her. Hannah Steiner, Cecelia's mother is buried there. Houdini had her disinterred and then placed next to Cecelia sometime between 1913-1916 as a 'birthday gift' to his mother. Strange, sure, but this was Houdini. There is a gravestone there which reads Grandmother 1821-1887. This was Houdini's grandmother, his Mom's mother. She is between one of the marble benches and Herman's grave.

Houdini paid for perpetual care of his family plot but the care stopped a long time ago. The SAM Parent Assembly #1 was originally taxed with the duty of taking care of the plot or paying for it's upkeep. But for reasons which remain 'cloudy', the Parent Assembly has not paid for upkeep in a very long time and has a strenuous relationship with David Jacobson who takes care of the cemetery. However, others, like the Houdini Museum, have recently contributed greatly to the gravesite and are responsible for the restoration of the bust which now adorns the site once again.  I do have a fear that Machpelah may end up like Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia, some day, and the magic community owes to the memory of the greatest magician of all time to care for his grave.

For those of you interested in a short guided video tour of the grave site, please visit the following link:
This video is from John Cox the man responsible for the incredible site Please watch the video because John shows the back of the exedra which is rarely seen. Enjoy!
Houdini Grave Today

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Houdini's Grave & More

If you've been following my blog, you know about the October 8th Heller Project to clean up the grave of Robert Heller. Thankfully, there are others in the magic community with this same passion. The very first to do this was Harry Houdini and now his grave is in need of some work. The Houdini Museum in Scranton has been working to make repairs and has restored the bust of Houdini. John Cox does a nice job of covering their efforts and in the link below.

WILD ABOUT HARRY: Houdini Bust Magically Reappears at his Grave Site...

In addition to this, the October 8th date for Hellers grave is right around the corner. It's going to be extremely difficult and will take more than one outing. It probably won't get finished this year. But we need to start it. Below is copy of the email I sent out to those folks who have volunteered to help with the clean up. If you are in the Philidelphia area and would like to help out, please contact me.
AND also, keep in mind, in the case of RAIN or inclement weather the event will be postponed.

 October 8th Clean-up of Robert Heller's grave

Time: from 8am - 1 pm
Date: Saturday Oct 8, 2011
Where: Mt. Moriah Cemetery,  6201 Kingsessing Ave Philadelphia, PA, 19142

What we need: Lots of garden, lawn tools. lawn and hedge clippers and trimmers, saws, shovels, racks, and pretty much anything you think might help get the job done. PLEASE be sure to bring gloves with you and come dressed for this kind of work. IF someone has a first aid kit, that might be a good idea to have handy for cuts and scraps.

Attached is a map of the cemetery and  the location of the Heller gravesite*. Hellers grave is in Section 135 plot 189. We will be working in an area away from most of the other volunteers. The Heller site is greatly overgrown so it's going to be a huge task to get it cleared. How much we can do in a single day is unknown, but at least we will be knocking a dent into it.

Inclement Weather:
The last two clean-up days at Mt. Moriah were called on account of weather. So IF it is raining on October 8th, this event will be cancelled. And in the event of cancellation, I'll let you know when it is rescheduled and hope you are able to make it.

Thanks for your help with this project.

*email me at for a copy of the map of the Cemetery or if you have any other questions.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Houdini: The Latest Bust

Another accidental find. This one though I believe is a piece of software or digital blueprint that you can put into a digital printer and print out a 3D version of this image. It's for sale, or the digital blueprint is. If there is anyone out there with a 3D printer and would be willing do print one of these for me, let me know. I have no ideas of cost to print, IF that is indeed what this is. Please check out the website and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Hinson Houdini Bust

This is a real treat. John Hinson, sent me this image of a Houdini bust that belonged to his grandmother. Unfortunately, he does not know where she got it from. I can say, I've never seen another like this one. So cool. Thank you John for allowing me to share this.

I can't wait to see what other Houdini Busts and Statues show up in the coming days!

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

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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Boston Globe Article on Ray Goulet

There is a great little article on Ray Goulet the magic collector, historian, performer and magic shop owner that appeared in the Boston Globe recently. You can read the article called Den of Illusion by clicking the link: Den of illusion

Ray's shop called Magic Art Studio can be found online at Within the walls of the shop is Ray's Mini Museum of Magic.. There are a couple Houdini items, including this unusual looking wall bust of Houdini.

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.