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Houdini’s Escapes and Magic

EHoudini's Escapes and Magic, by Walter Gibsonditorial review of  Houdini’s Escapes and Magic, courtesy of Amazon.com

buy-from-amazon The secrets of the greatest magician of them all are revealed in this new one-volume edition of two classic long-out-of-print works, Houdini’s Escapes and Houdini’s Magic. Prepared by Walter Gibson after Houdini’s death in 1926, from the magicians private notebook and memoranda, and with the assistance of his widow, Beatrice, and his friend and attorney, Bernard M. L. Ernst, then President of the Society of American Magicians, these books provide the most complete description available of Houdini’s feats and how he performed them. In effect, these are the books that Houdini himself would have written, if only he had lived long enough. Here are the details of the spectacular illusions: Walking Through a Brick Wall, The Spanish Maiden Escape, The Milk Can Challenge, and many more such marvelous feats. Special topics covered in the first volume include rope ties and chain releases, underwater escapes, and box, trunk, barrel and coffin escapes. In learning about his escapes, the reader will also learn about Houdini himself. As Melbourne Christopher, America’s foremost illusionist, writes: “It will soon become apparent to the reader that though Houdini was daring, he never took an uncalculated risk. He would not accept a challenge unless he was sure he could meet it. He was physically fit, an athlete and a strong swimmer . Yet his assistants were poised to rescue him if he didn’t surface on schedule from an underwater box. A dozen less careful performers would have been drowned or seriously injured because they attempted this feat without sufficient knowledge or without taking necessary precautions. The second volume on Houdini’s magic includes sections on impromptu tricks for close up performance; card tricks; slate tricks; message-reading and second-sight tricks; platform tricks; stage illusions and special effects (including a mid-air vanish and decapitation act); tricks that Houdini used to duplicate the effects of fraudulent mediums in his anti-spiritualistic campaigns and finally the notes Houdini made on the magic of the great Harry Kellar. All magicians, professional as well as amateur, will welcome the republication of these two classic books.

WALTER GIBSON, after completing Houdini’s Escapes and Houdini’s Magic, turned to fiction writing, creating the famed mystery character of Lamont Cranston, also known as The Shadow. Under the pen name of Maxwell Grant, he wrote novel-length stories for The Shadow Magazine for more than fifteen years. These novels were adapted for The Shadow radio program and today they are being reprinted in paperback and hard-cover editions. Under his own name, Mr. Gibson has written The Master Magicians and many other books in the fields of magic, games and the occult.

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