Sunday Morning Video: Houdini and Spiritualism

Adrastos trivia time: I am obsessed with Harry Houdini, the greatest magician of all time and one of the founders of modern show biz. Here’s a clip from a documentary about spiritualism discussing Houdini’s efforts to debunk that bunkum. Why? Because it was bunk, not to be confused with Bunk Moreland:

Whilst looking for a Houdini video, I learned that Aaron Sorkin is writing the book for a musical about the handcuff king due to open on Broadway next year:

7 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Video: Houdini and Spiritualism

  1. m says:

    Houdini wasn’t a magician. He was an escape artist.

  2. adrastos says:

    Nope. He also did hand tricks and the full panoply of magic. He’s just best known for the escapes.

  3. Don’t think I knew that about the Sorkin musical. I’m starting to cool on The Newsroom but Mr. Beale and I saw Sorkin’s “The Farnsworth Invention” on Broadway a few years ago — it’s a play, not a musical, about the invention of the television — and absolutely loved it.
    Funny you should bring this up. For some reason I was researching Nikola Tesla on the ‘net today, we were talking about how he figured out a way to harness earth’s electromagnetic field or something like that and use some kind of oscillating thingiejabber and wirelessly lit lightbulbs 26 miles away. Wirelessly! So then I found out that JP Morgan financed Tesla for a few years to develop this technology and then just as he was near completion, Morgan withdrew his financing because he held a copper monopoly and couldn’t make money off of wireless electricity transmission.
    Job creators! Titans of capitalism! Ain’t they grand?
    Can you freaking imagine a world where we had wireless electrical transmission? I mean geez this was way back in 1900. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the idea that this technology has been lost.
    If I ever meet Aaron Sorkin I’m going to beg and plead with him to turn this story into a screenplay or stageplay. I find it totally fascinating.

  4. BTW, speaking of Houdini, did you ever see the 1997 movieFairy Tale: A True Story? Harvey Keitel plays Harry Houdini. Been a while but I recall it being pretty good.

  5. MapleStreet says:

    Speaking from memory, I’m wanting to say that Houdini had spent some resources in trying to contact a loved one. When multiple attempts via multiple mediums had failed, he went into debunking mode.

  6. adrastos says:

    @SB: Saw it like I see everything about Houdini. Hoping the Boardwalk Empire brings back Hardeen, Houdini’s brother as a character.
    @Maple;: It was his mother. One medium claimed to have contacted her but the spirit spoke English and Mrs. Weiss spoke Yiddish.

  7. joejoejoe says:

    Hardeen was president of the magician’s guild. I searched the NYT archives after I saw Boardwalk Empire.
    ‘Ragtime’ by E.L. Doctorow also features Houdini.

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