Dear Sir or Madam:
In your most recent blog post, you commented that Harry Houdini was dead. I wondered why you would mention this well-known factoid. Were you just in need of space to be taken up or was this supposed to be real news for the “professional” magician? What was the point? Are there people who think Harry Houdini is not dead? Or were you being metaphorical and saying his legacy is dead? Or, maybe you were saying his spirit lives on but his body is dead and buried? Again, what was the point? Who else is dead that you should tell us about? I subscribe to Inside Magic to get the latest news not the late news. Did you hear that Lindbergh made it to Paris? He did, he flew solo across the Atlantic. That’s all. Pick it up, please.
It has been a while since we commented on the living or non-living status of Harry Houdini but your email reminds us that it is about time to again remind readers that Harry Houdini died at 1:26 on October 31, 1926 at Grace Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. The cause of his death was ruled an accident resulting from a blow received several days earlier in Montreal whilst reclining in his dressing room. Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow and surviving family. There is discussion of having yearly séances in honor of Houdini and to test the theories of spiritualism against which he fought so valiantly.
The Lindbergh news is not really magic related and so that was probably why we didn’t pick up on it – that is our bad and we accept the blame. Good for him. We hope his experience will be positive for all interested in flying.
Ironically, “Pick it Up, Please” was the title of our first top 100 hit in 1972. It was actually the B-side of “Don’t Litter, Bug!” but got much more radio play thanks to our great A&R man, Zanzo O’Hara. We peaked at 47 with the 45 RPM record and still receive royalties from it. It was sampled on Eminem’s Marshal Mather’s “The Way I Am” track on his groundbreaking “The Marshal Mathers’ LP.” Eminem said he loved the “funk and instructive tone to the bridge on our 45.” That was good enough for us. It was also used as the background sound for a movie about a carnival funhouse that is haunted by bad people. We don’t know why they used it. There was nothing funky or instructive about the scene in which it was used. A woman and man, each younger than 21, get on the ride and look at each other before the cart in which they are riding goes through the front “gate” of the fun house. They never return but part of their clothes return, albeit blood stained.