escapes, fantastic sleight-of-hand-Houdini's most challenging performances are
dramatically portrayed in Houdini's Fabulous Magic. Walter Gibson, co-author,
was in close touch with Harry Houdini for a number of years before his death
and worked with the master magician in preparing material for the book. It is
with the aid of Houdini's own scrapbooks and notes that this book was written.
spectacular highlights of Houdini's career are described-and explained-here.
Included are the famous escapes: escapes from a padlocked milk can filled with
water; from locked jail cells; from a water-filled Chinese torture cell while
suspended upside down; from packing cases weighted under water. Again, in this
book, Houdini walks through a brick wall, vanishes a 10,000-pound elephant and
is buried alive. Once more, Houdini and his wife Bessie mysteriously exchange
places in a locked trunk-in three seconds!
Houdini the man is not ignored. His impact on the world in the early years of
the twentieth century was enormous. He was a public hero who, in his own way,
helped sweep out the cobwebs of nineteenth-century thinking. While doing so, he
distinguished himself as a patriot, writer, collector of magic, aviator, movie
idol, philanthropist, and crusader against fraudulent spiritualistic practices.
is a technical manual for magicians, complete with illustrations and diagrams,
but it is also an astute analysis of the best of Houdini's magic and a readable
biography of a man who turned himself into a legend. It is a book for would-be
conjurers, for professional necromancers, for those curious about the methods
and means of one of the most enchanting men of the previous century.
Vine Leaves Press
length: 249 pages
a copy of Houdini's Fabulous Magic on
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.
About the Authors
Walter B. Gibson
Walter, a graduate of Colgate University, was a prolific writer
including The Shadow novels under his pen name Maxwell Grant. For a time he was
Houdini's personal secretary. Following Houdini's death, the attorney for the
estate permitted Walter to examine many of Houdini's private scrapbooks and
notes from which Gibson wrote Houdini's
Magic and Houdini's Escapes. Houdini's scrapbooks, papers and other
documents form the background for Houdini's Fabulous Magic. Also a magician,
Walter toured with and wrote for magicians such as Blackstone (Sr.), Thurston
and Raymond. He was a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American
Society for Psychical Research, the Magician's Guild of America and the
Magician's Club of London.
Morris N. Young, M.D.
Morris, a graduate of M.I.T., Harvard and Columbia University
was Director of Ophthalmology at Beekman Downtown Hospital in New York City.
Aside from his numerous professional memberships, he was a member of the
Society of American Magicians (to which Houdini had helped him join as a young
man), the International Brotherhood of Magicians and a member of the Inner
Circle of the Magic Circle (London). He was a founder of the Magic Collectors
Association including their publication MAGICOL.
Along with his wife Chesley, he established the largest private holdings on
memory and mnemonics which now resides at the University of San Marino. Along
with his friend John McManus, in 1955 they established the McManus-Young
Collections at the Library of Congress, The University of Texas, Austin and the
University of California in Berkeley.
Morris' other book publications include Hobby Magic, Houdini on Magic
(with Walter Gibson), Presto Prestige,
Bibliography of Memory, How To Develop An Exceptional Memory
(with Walter Gibson), The Complete Guide
to Science Fair Competition (with John Stolzfus) and Radio Music Live (with John Stolzfus).
can visit the website created by Morris N. Young's children, Charles C. Young
and Cheryl L. Young: https://www.musicmagicandmore.com/
Advance Praise of the Book
of Penn & Teller says: "I've loved this books for sixty years. My
first copy was borrowed from the Philadelphia Public Library when I was
fourteen, and I kept renewing the loan till I could afford to own my own copy. Houdini's Fabulous Magic has just the right
blend of history, technical secrets, and romance to fire the passion of a young
magician. Four pieces of the Penn &
Teller repertoire were directly inspired by Houdini's Fabulous Magic--four
times more than any other book in my library".
Cox in his "Wild About Harry" website (Wildabouthoudini.com) and
blog said of the earlier editions: Houdini's Fabulous Magic by Walter B.
Gibson and Morris N. Young is the best forgotten Houdini book. I say that
because when one thinks of books on Houdini's methods, one tends to turn to Houdini The Key by Patrick Culliton, The Secrets of Houdini by J.C. Cannel,
or even Gibson's earlier work, Houdini's
Escapes and Magic. Maybe because Fabulous Magic contains some reprinted
material from the earlier Gibson book it tends to be thought of as a somewhat
recycled work. But it's actually one of the very best books on Houdini's major
feats and methods and maybe the best book for the layperson. It also contains
historical tidbits that aren't found elsewhere. So let's remember it