Have you been?
Are you experienced?
Have you gone to Appleton, Wisconsin? Have you seen the sacred ground where young Erich Weiss and his family moved after leaving Budapest, Hungary and where his father Mayer Samuel Weiss served as rabbi for town’s reformed Synagogue?
Have you seen the Houdini Museum in this bucolic hamlet? It is truly a magical experience. You can walk the streets where young Erich walked and see the Synagogue where his father served until supplanted by a younger Rabbi.
Soon, you will be able to learn the secret to Houdini’s most famous effect, The Metamorphosis. That’s right, you’ll be able to see and crawl through the trunk and learn the secret of the effect that fed Houdini and his brother, Hardeen, and later Houdini and his beloved Bess.
In Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, author Jim Steinmeyer praises Houdini for improving the illusion by lightning quick work.
Houdini seemed pretty proud of the speed at which he and Bess performed the effect.
All the apparatus used in this Act is inspected by a Committee selected from the Audience.
Mons. Houdini’s hands are fastened behind his back, is securely tied in a bag and the knots are sealed, then placed in a massive Box which is locked and strapped, the box is then rolled into a small cabinet, and Mlle. Houdini draws the curtain and claps her hands three times, at the last clap of her hands, the curtain is drawn open by Mons. Houdini and Mlle. Houdini has disappeared, and upon the box being opened She is found in his place in the bag, the seals unbroken and her hands tied in precisely the same manner as were Mons. Houdini’s when first entering the bag.
Just think over this, the time consumed in making the change is THREE SECONDS!
We challenged the World to produce an act done with greater Mystery, Speed or Dexterity.
Respectfully yours, THE HOUDINIS.
The Outagamie Museum in Appleton will offer a display taking away the mystery of the effect in their new presentation set for June 2, 2004 “A/K/A Houdini.”
According to one report, the presentation will allow children to crawl through the trunk and encounter the use of the gimmick that permitted the effect to occur.
Say it ain’t so, Joe.
First of all, our name is not “Joe” and yet we must admit it is so.
But Joe, why would they do this? After all, who would care more about Houdini than the Outagamie Museum? After all, this museum owes its existence to Houdini’s fame.
Is it not true, Joe, that The Metamorphosis is still performed by many of our best Magicians, including the Pendragons? This effect is not some delicate artifact of history; to be examined only under the watchful eye of a curator. It is not dead but living. It is not King Tut’s burial sarcophagus or Van Gough’s ear. Why would the museum expose an effect used by real, live working magicians? They must have a reason.
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