Houdini on Magic Paperback – Jun 1 1953
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About the Author
Morris Young is an associate professor of English at Miami University, where he teaches courses in rhetoric and composition, literacy studies, and Asian American literature." "
Walter B. Gibson was a prolific writer. His specialty included hobbies, magic and games. He created radio's most famous thriller: The Shadow, and subsequently wrote scripts for more than 2500 episodes and nearly 300 novels based on its characters. He served as the first vice president of the Magician's Guild of America. Gibson lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Top Customer Reviews
There's sometimes a jarring lack of continuity between the chapters because of this, and there are sections that seem only peripherally related to Houdini: sections about how various magic tricks are done. These sections were not written by Houdini himself, in his "voice" describing how he accomplished thus and so escape on a particular day (although there are a couple of examples of that in these pages). These long sections were merely the editors of the book describing how magicians of Houdini's time did various stock tricks. This knowledge in itself is invaluable and quite enjoyable, but it wanders from discussing Houdini.
I was looking for a direct view into the man and his thoughts on his art ... what I got was only periodic windows into that territory, stitched together with a couple of chapters that - honestly - felt like filler material meant to lengthen the book.
If you buy this book, you will enjoy it. You will gain valuable information about Houdini. But you won't feel his spirit in the pages as much as the title would lead you to believe.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
More than a book of magic tricks, this volume gives Houdini's perspective on the history of magic and tells about Houdini's efforts to expose the fraud being perpetuated in his day by spiritualists and mediums.
From my point of view as an amateur magician, my favorite chapter is number 6, "Houdini on Tricks." In this chapter, Houdini tells how to perform what became my best-loved impromptu magic trick, the Four Coin Assembly. It is perfect for those occasions when someone asks you unexpectedly to do a trick. The props -- a handkerchief, four coins, and two postcards -- can be borrowed. No preparation is necessary. The magician spreads the handkerchief flat on the table. The four coins are laid on top of the four corners of the handkerchief. Postcards are used to cover two of the coins. One of the exposed coins is picked up by the fingers of the right hand, its corner of the handkerchief is raised by the left hand, the coin is slipped beneath the raised corner, fingers are snapped, the right hand is removed, shown empty, and then picks up a postcard to reveal a two-coin assembly. The postcard is returned to cover those two coins. The second coin still on display is picked up by the right hand, its corner of the handkerchief is raised, the coin is slipped beneath the raised corner, fingers are snapped, and again the right hand is removed, shown empty, picks up the postcard, and reveals a three-coin assembly. The postcard is laid back down on top of the three coins. Then, with a wave of the hand over the card shrouding one coin, followed by a wave of the hand above the card screening three coins, the first card is lifted to reveal handkerchief only and no coin. The second card is lifted to show all four coins assembled in one place. Yes, this Four Coin Assembly requires sleight-of-hand, but the level of difficulty is easy. With practice, you, too, can perform one of Harry Houdini's favorite close-up tricks.
About the Editors. (1) Walter B. Gibson (1897-1985), a professional magician and writer, was hand-picked by Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Harry Blackstone, and Joseph Dunninger to ghost-write several of their magic books and exposés. Gibson came to fame in his own right under the pen-name of Maxwell Grant as the creator of The Shadow during the golden age of radio. Gibson wrote 282 Shadow novels and more than 100 books on magic, psychic phenomena, true crime, mysteries, rope knots, yoga, hypnotism, and games. Under the pen-name of Andy Adams, Gibson authored several mystery adventure novels in the Biff Brewster juvenile series of the 1960s. (2) Morris N. Young (1909-2002) was an ophthalmologist whose life, it seems, was devoted to the letter "M." His life-long interests were Medicine, Magic, Mnemonics, Music, and Marriage. He lived in Manhattan. His parents named him Morris. He Majored in chemistry at MIT. He served in the Military during WWII, reconstructing the faces of wounded soldiers. He wrote books on Mentalism and Mindreading. He collected hymn books featuring Methodist songs. Dr. Young's wife, Chesley, insisted that the most important M in Dr. Young's life stood for their Magical Marriage of fifty-four years.