Variety Hails Lance Burton’s Special on Houdini

The Lance Burton of His Day

Lance Burton teams with The History Channel to present a special two-hour program on our hero.

The special, Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery, premieres this evening on the History Channel.

The investigation into Houdini is not a new concept.   This is
well-trod ground but according to the very cynical Variety Magazine –
the defacto Industry Rag for the Entertainment Biz – says Mr. Burton’s
show is not just good, it could bring a whole new audience to Houdini.

You don’t often read such complimentary prose from Variety:

An auction of Houdini collectibles provides the excuse
for yet another documentary about the legendary magician that
nevertheless proves extremely interesting — an unsentimental portrait
capturing both his enduring influence and cultural importance in
turn-of-the-century entertainment.

Beyond a better understanding of the man, the various aficionados
who weigh in include the usually mum half of Penn & Teller, who is
shot in silhouette so as not to see him speak. It’s just one of the
nifty wrinkles in this unusually engaging specspec.

Although a Halloween-timed confection, docudocu also explores the
significance Houdini held for early 20th century immigrants (a point
alluded to in the book and musical “Ragtime”), offering symbolic escape
from their drudgery as they toiled in backbreaking jobs.

Blessed with an instinctive genius for marketing, his ascent from
poverty to vaudeville’s highest-paid performer burnished his
credentials as a populist hero.

Wow!  That is saying quite a bit.  The History Channel sums it up by suggesting, “Houdini
represents the kind of History Channel fare that if sold properly could
help bridge the gap to younger audiences — a program that entertains
without pandering or sacrificing its historical legitimacy.”

Frankly, we never tire of anything about Houdini.  But we also know
we love his story, myth, and legend precisely because we were hooked as
an elementary school student. 

That Mr. Burton, our era’s Master Magician, has apparently been able
to once again find a way to introduce Houdini to a new generation of
magic-lovers is perhaps a further testament his importance in our art. 

We’ll be watching tonight – flipping between Lance Burton and Criss
Angel.  It’s sort of the magic equivalent to the New Year’s football
bowl schedule.  It’s all good. 

Read the Variety article yourself here.
The show will air at 8:00 pm Eastern on The History Channel.

Variety article yourself here.
The show will air at 8:00 pm Eastern on The History Channel.


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