William Shatner, Houdini, and Conan Doyle

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/11/03 07:44 PM

On the website Trek Today William Shatner was quoted:
"Perhaps one of the most exciting projects I've got slated for this year," he told readers of his website, "is a play called 'Harry and Arthur' that I am to direct. The project developed out of an idea I had invented based on a meeting between Harry Houdini, the great magician, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the great writer. Although they had actually met, I fictionalised what happened during their meeting. That story became the basis of a book I wrote with my dear friend, Michael Tobias. We have now used that book as the basis of the play. The invention that I had created was that Harry Houdini was the great debunker of spiritualism and that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the 1920s' great spiritualist. The play is about the conflicts of their ideas, which is essentially the debate about life versus death."
Here's a link:
http://www.williamshatner.com/modules.p ... =0&thold=0
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Postby MaxNY » 02/15/03 09:01 PM

I must be loosing my mind, I swear this already had a quick run at some Off-broadway joint. I don't remember anything about Shatner, but remember telling Larry Weeks about this...a year ago??
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Postby Guest » 02/18/03 06:50 AM

The 1997 film "Fairy Tale: A True Story" also depicts a meeting between Houdini (Harvey Keitel) and Conan Doyle. A pretty good movie, as I remember. (The scene between Houdini and Doyle is only a minor part of the film.)
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Postby Guest » 03/28/03 10:22 PM

I'm currently reading a book called "Final Seance: The Strange Friendship Between Houdini and Conan Doyle" by Massimo Polidoro. He covers the relationship between Houdini and Doyle and includeds many items of correspondence between them. It's always nice to find books on historical topics that include a lot of primary source information.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/29/03 05:30 AM

I have a copy of the book Shatner refers to -- it's called BELIEVE. It's unreadable.
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Postby Brisbin » 05/13/03 12:48 AM

I was in the audience when Bill Shatner mc'ed the notorious Houdini/Halloween television special in Los Angeles. (The highlight of the show was Charlotte Pendragon's courage under fire, when the costume change in the sub-trunk didn't "come off as planned.") That's about as close as I want to get to seeing Shatner and Houdini. (Having said that, I do take perverse enjoyment in listening to William Shatner's album, "The Transformed Man." Nobody ever sang-spoke "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds," and "Mr. Tambourine Man" like Captain Kirk! :rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 05/13/03 07:48 AM

The invention that I had created was that Harry Houdini was the great debunker of spiritualism and that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the 1920s' great spiritualist.>>>>

I figured that was probably Shatner's idea. I wonder how he managed to get himself back to the early 20th century to get Conan-Doyle and Houdini to go along with it?

Burke
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Postby Guest » 05/13/03 08:45 AM

Kevin,
You need to watch more Star Trek to see how he goes back in time to talk to the two of them! :D
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Postby Guest » 05/13/03 08:51 AM

Kevin,
You need to watch more Star Trek to see how he goes back in time to talk to the two of them!
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat>>>

Of course! Duh! Hmmm...I wonder if slingshotting the Enterprise back through time and space cost more or less in adjusted Federation dollars than it cost George W. to take a fighter jet out to land on that carrier...

Burke
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/13/03 01:42 PM

Originally posted by KevinBurke:
Hmmm...I wonder if slingshotting the Enterprise back through time and space cost more or less in adjusted Federation dollars than it cost George W. to take a fighter jet out to land on that carrier...
According to my neighbor, who's the office authority on these matters, the Federation doesn't use dollars (or any actual currency) so Bush's flight would have to have "cost" more in dollars.

Probably didn't use as much fuel though...
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Postby Guest » 05/16/03 08:37 AM

Originally posted by Vic Brisbin:
I was in the audience when Bill Shatner mc'ed the notorious Houdini/Halloween television special in Los Angeles. (The highlight of the show was Charlotte Pendragon's courage under fire, when the costume change in the sub-trunk didn't "come off as planned.") That's about as close as I want to get to seeing Shatner and Houdini. (Having said that, I do take perverse enjoyment in listening to William Shatner's album, "The Transformed Man." Nobody ever sang-spoke "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds," and "Mr. Tambourine Man" like Captain Kirk! :rolleyes:
Having worked with Bill Shatner on a couple of occasions (special security for him and the rest of the cast, as well as one party in the consuite at one of the Trek Conventions years ago), I can say that he's a nice guy and a funny one as well.

But his albumn "The Transformed Man" HAS been outlawed by the Geneva Convention - the one at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that is!

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Postby Robert Allen » 05/17/03 08:41 PM

You guys obviously haven't seen the old film clip of Leonard Nimoy singing a song about Bilbo Baggins the hobbit while a bunch of people hop around in really disturbing suits, circa 1970. It makes the Transformed Man look like high art.
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Postby Guest » 05/19/03 01:11 PM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
You guys obviously haven't seen the old film clip of Leonard Nimoy singing a song about Bilbo Baggins the hobbit while a bunch of people hop around in really disturbing suits, circa 1970. It makes the Transformed Man look like high art.
Actually, I suffered through a live performance of Nimoy's as Sherlock Holmes in the Gilette play of the same name. Unfortunately, Mr. Nimoy, at the time, did not know the difference between a Bostonian accent (his hometown, I believe) and an English accent.

He did Holmes in a thick, nasal BOSTONIAN accent!

The whole thing was AWFUL except for the guy playing Moriarty - comic Allen Seuss of all people, from Laugh-In! He STOLE the show and scared the sweet bejesus out of the audience with his portrayal!

Made an awful evening somewhat more palatable, frankly. Seuss got three standing ovations, Nimoy got one (for being who he is). This was in about 1980, in Chicago.

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Postby Guest » 05/30/03 10:40 PM

Concerning Bob "Flim-Flam" Farmer's comment about Shatner's book "Believe". Willaim Shatner doesn't write any, that's underlined "any", of the books with his name on them. One of the best living fiction writers today, Harlan Ellison, has spoken about this on tv (not capitalized on purpose), radio, in interviews and to me in person at book siging years ago at a magic book shop called Aladdin's in Fullerton, CA. Harlan was signing his new book at the time "Angry Candy". 5 Bonus Points if anyone out there can tell me the name of the person who ghost writes for Shatner. HINT: his initials are R.G..Good Luck
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