Thursday, December 21, 2023

48 Years Ago Today, Media blitz begins on The World of Magic TV Special


It was 48 years ago today, that the press began to appear about a little show on NBC, called The Wold of Magic, starring newcomer Doug Henning. Local TV Guides all over the country had articles about the upcoming special, many with behind the scenes photos. And from what I've seen, some of them with information which was incorrect. Specifically, some of them had Orson Welles listed as one of the Special Guest Stars, but he would be replaced late in the game with actor/dancer Gene Kelly. 

The NBC Special would be broadcast LIVE on the evening of Dec 26th, 1975, and the magic world would never be the same again. 

I will go more into the special in a few days, but for now, enjoy the special commemorative poster that was created for the Special.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Houdini Milk Can Poster Breaks the Bank!


A recent Potter and Potter Auction featured a Houdini Milk Can Escape Poster. This poster dates back to 1908 and was produced by Russell-Morgan Lithos of Cincinnati & New York. The poster depicts Houdini inside the can with a view of him submerged inside. The live audience never had a view inside the can but this artistic depiction helps to convey the cramped confines of this dramatic escape. On top of that, there are the words, "Failure Means a Drowning Death". 

Originally referred to as The Galvanized Iron Can Escape, it was the creation of Montraville Wood. Houdini, debuted the escape at the Columbia Theatre in St. Louis on January 27th, 1908. He had previously been pressure from the theatre manager to produce something people wanted to see, as his handcuff escape act was not pulling the crowds. Too many imitators cooled the desire to see such acts. So Houdini brought out the big guns, The Galvanized Iron Can Escape. Over time he would use it in many different ways. He would fill it with Milk as a challenge from a Dairy, or fill it with Beer as a challenge from a brewery. Over time he would add a wooden box in which the milk can was placed inside and yet he still was able to escape from everything!

I've written a longer piece about the Milk Can Escape which you can read here.

This particular poster came from Houdini's basement on 278 W 113th in NY.  The auction estimates were between $40,000 and $60,000. This poster with buyers premium sold for $180,000.00

Below is a photo of the Columbia Theater where Houdini debuted The Milk Can Escape!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

SAM Hall of Fame To Have New Exhibit in 2024


The Society of American Magician's Hall of Fame will be opening a year long exhibit in 2024. They will be at the Whittier Museum in Los Angeles. It appears that back in 2012, the SAM Hall of Fame had an exhibition at the Whittier and it frankly looked great. 

The Hall of Fame contains props, posters, even some illusions from magicians of yesteryear. I saw a Brooks Trunk with the initials H.B. on it, so I'm wondering if that once belonged to Harry Blackstone. I've also seen some Le Grand David posters. One thing you can say about the Le Grand David folks is they knew how to create incredible magic posters! I know, I've got them all, and then some, lol. 

But among the rare items are some SUPER RARE Houdini items. One or two handcuff displays are under lock and key (no pun intended) in a glass encased room. 

From what I understand, the Hall of Fame is searching for a permanent home, but when not on display it remains in storage. I truly wish they had a permanent home, because these things deserve to be on display for all to see. 

The exhibition has a soft opening in early January and then the official grand opening date is Jan 27th, 2024. The Whittier Museum is located at 6755 Newlin Avenue, Whittier CA. 

Below is the exhibition room. Obviously, things are not set up YET. But it's going to be a wonderful exhibit when it's done. For more info.