Water Torture Cell coming to L.A.

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby JohnCox » 02/17/11 12:07 PM

I just about lost it when Joan Lawton announced this at The Castle last night. Also the Jewish magicians exhibition sounds amazing.

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2011/02 ... to-be.html
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby JohnCox » 02/17/11 01:32 PM

And before someone asks, I'm assuming this is the Copperfield cell, but Joan only said it was coming from John Gaughan, even when I asked her after the talk. Maybe Copperfield doesn't want it out there that he's the owner for whatever reason.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/17/11 03:06 PM

I just spoke with John Gaughan and it is not Davids restored Upside Down (as HH used to call it) that will be at the exhibit: Joanie simply misspoke.

Johns is a reproduction that he made. This is the piece that will be at the exhibit.

The actual UD was all but completely consumed in a fire. A few original metal fixtures are part of the piece John built for Sid Radner (and some of the nails and other surviving bits rest inside the tank on display). David purchased the piece at auction in 2004.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5787
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby JohnCox » 02/17/11 04:22 PM

[censored]. Thanks, Dustin. I also just spoke to John and, yes, this is his replica, not the original. I'm not home so I can't change/correct the story. Pass the word. Sorry.

Still will be cool to see.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/17/11 04:42 PM

No worries. John's piece is still remarkable. And it is SO small! Even though Houdini was small, it's hard to imagine him upside down inside it while it's full of water.

Just the other day, John had a "modern" Water Cell in his shop he was working on for someone. The Houdini UD could fit inside it.
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5787
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby houdini's ghost » 02/17/11 05:50 PM

When John was restoring the Water Torture Cell after the Niagara fire, he called me and asked if I knew if there were two Water Torture Cells. I told him there were two with interchangeable parts.
Hardeen sold the working cell to Sid Radner. Apparently, the other cell had been cannibalized for parts.
Hardeen called Sid and asked him what spare parts he had, but, was never able to rebuild the second cell.
John made two identical cells. One included several parts of the original. The story I got was that in the second cell John built and has had since, there was one original part.
To see this Water Torture Cell is to see the restored original. I photographed them both and I can't tell one from the other.
houdini's ghost
 
Posts: 434
Joined: 09/24/08 07:23 PM

Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/17/11 06:48 PM

Hi Patrick--Based on you last post, there are two Water Torture Cells. One is owned by Copperfield and the other by John Gaughan.

Copperfield's cell is from scratch with some parts that remained from the original cell after the fire.

Gaughan's cell is also from scratch with one original part from a second cell that was owned and cannibalized by Hardeen to complete one original cell (the one that was eventually destroyed in the fire).

Gaughan's cell is going to L.a.

Is this right?
Leonard Hevia
 
Posts: 874
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Spring, Md.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/17/11 07:05 PM

"From scratch" is the wrong wording, but essentially you are correct (though I was not aware that John's had even a single original part).

Making it "from scratch" discounts the amount of research and work John put into the restoration. Because there were no plans, he used the surviving parts and photo analysis to get the size of the cell exact.

I suspect that's not how you meant it, I just don't want others to think that John whipped together a Water Torture Cell and said. "This is Houdini's."

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5787
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Master Payne » 02/17/11 08:39 PM

I was fortunate enough to see the original cell just a couple of weeks before the museum burned down.

It was remarkably tiny but still very interesting to see. Especially when you tried to imagine Houdini suspended upside down in the thing.

I still remember the stomach wrenching reaction I felt when I heard that the museum had been ravaged by fire.
The only way to become a good magician is to overcome why you became a magician -- Max Maven
User avatar
Master Payne
 
Posts: 75
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Seattle

Postby JohnCox » 02/18/11 01:17 AM

More of the original cell survived the fire than most people think. The entire frame survived. Here's a pic of me inside the remains in 1999.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_o_5Z3Zpfj0M/T ... mage_4.jpg
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/18/11 02:58 AM

Notice that the most important part--the top--is gone.
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5787
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby houdini's ghost » 02/18/11 12:17 PM

The vital metal parts of the top survived. I saw them in Niagara.
houdini's ghost
 
Posts: 434
Joined: 09/24/08 07:23 PM

Postby David Byron » 02/18/11 01:59 PM

JohnCox wrote:More of the original cell survived the fire than most people think. The entire frame survived. Here's a pic of me inside the remains in 1999.

Is that in Sid Radner's garage?
User avatar
David Byron
 
Posts: 51
Joined: 07/22/09 01:37 AM
Location: Baltimore

Postby JohnCox » 02/18/11 03:15 PM

David Byron wrote:
JohnCox wrote:More of the original cell survived the fire than most people think. The entire frame survived. Here's a pic of me inside the remains in 1999.

Is that in Sid Radner's garage?

I sent you a message.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/18/11 05:04 PM

houdini's ghost wrote:The vital metal parts of the top survived. I saw them in Niagara.

Patrick,

Yes...but I love a mystery. Isn't it true that they were swept up and dang near tossed in the garbage? I seem to recall hearing or reading something about that.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5787
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/18/11 07:09 PM

Hi Dustin--
By "scratch" I meant to say that Gaughan had to manufacture the missing parts. The wood parts he replaced are supposed to be from very old mahogany from Houdini's era. The metal parts were aged to make them appear a hundred years old. If Houdini examined the Copperfield cell, he probably couldn't tell the difference.

I'm sure it was tough to duplicate the cell without plans.
Leonard Hevia
 
Posts: 874
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Spring, Md.

Postby JohnCox » 02/18/11 10:52 PM

I heard something about Copperfield having the cell "aged" after he purchased it. Any truth to that?
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/19/11 03:56 PM

Copperfield had the cell taken apart and rebuilt after he bought it.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20590
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby JohnCox » 02/19/11 06:47 PM

Ironically, just a day before this news broke, I posted an article about how Richard Sherry had built a working replica of the USD which Dayle Krall will perform at an upcoming magic convention. Richard talks about how he made his cell, and even mentions how he worked in "finer details" of the original not found on John's cell.

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2011/02 ... entic.html
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/21/11 06:44 PM

John--There was an article in Magic Magazine a number of years ago that described the USD's restoration. Chris Kenner and other people on Copperfield's team helped to "age" the cell by giving the metal a patina look. The replaced wood parts are actually very old, as if they could have been original.

Photographs of the interior of the cell revealed a small eerie face that kind of resembled Houdini's.
Leonard Hevia
 
Posts: 874
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Spring, Md.

Postby JohnCox » 02/21/11 09:26 PM

Thanks, Leonard. You know, someone was just talking about that "ghost" photo at the Castle last Friday. I have an issue of Magic from '91 that talks about the first restoration (pre fire). Is that the article you're talking about, or is there a later one? If so, I'll have to track that down.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby David Byron » 02/21/11 11:36 PM

Magic (May 2005), 73-75, has a feature on the post-fire restoration.
User avatar
David Byron
 
Posts: 51
Joined: 07/22/09 01:37 AM
Location: Baltimore

Postby JohnCox » 02/22/11 01:26 AM

David Byron wrote:Magic (May 2005), 73-75, has a feature on the post-fire restoration.

Cool. Thank you, David. I will get that.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby JohnCox » 03/14/11 01:19 PM

For you USD fans. A photo of the original cell disassembled. This comes from MAGIC Nov '91.

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2011/03 ... mbled.html
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby David Byron » 03/14/11 01:42 PM

That must be the photo spread about which this post complains.

It would be great to see a schematic of a Collins lock. It's hard to grok the details from the wonderful but muddy photo of the damaged goods in Houdini-- The Key.
User avatar
David Byron
 
Posts: 51
Joined: 07/22/09 01:37 AM
Location: Baltimore

Postby JohnCox » 03/14/11 02:59 PM

Oh, interesting.

But I think you really need to know what to look for to get the secret from the MAGIC pic.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby JohnCox » 03/14/11 05:45 PM

JohnCox wrote:For you USD fans. A photo of the original cell disassembled. This comes from MAGIC Nov '91.

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2011/03 ... mbled.html

Hmmm...I've had second thoughts about posting this. It really does reveal the secret. I tried censoring it, but that just draws your attention to the section. I've taken it down.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/14/11 06:11 PM

Why are folks fretting over a set of stocks used for a trick that is so generally uncomfortable to set up and practice that most with any good sense would seek expert advice before even starting toward that item?
Jonathan Townsend
 
Posts: 6640
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby JohnCox » 03/14/11 06:14 PM

Magician's Code! ;)
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/14/11 06:40 PM

JohnCox wrote:Magician's Code! ;)


Penguin or elusionist?
Jonathan Townsend
 
Posts: 6640
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby Jim Riser » 03/15/11 01:12 AM

John;
How tall are you? You would certainly bump your head trying to work with the original UD. Thanks for sharing the photo. Did I see it in a magic mag sometime in the past? Seems familiar.
Jim
Jim Riser
 
Posts: 987
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ

Postby JohnCox » 03/15/11 11:11 AM

Jim, are you talking about the photo of me standing inside the cell remains? Yeah, don't think I would fit, and I'm only 5,10! That photo has never appeared in a magic magazine to my knowledge.

(If people are wondering what we are talking about, scroll down to the photos here: http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/p/about-me.html)
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA

Postby Necromancer » 03/16/11 10:56 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
JohnCox wrote:Magician's Code! ;)


Penguin or elusionist?


That was brilliant. Thanks, Jon.

Best,
Neil
Neil Tobin, Necromancer
Necromancer
 
Posts: 219
Joined: 01/22/08 01:00 PM
Location: Chicago

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/16/11 11:43 AM

David Copperfield has not contributed anything to the Houdini: Art & Magic exhibit in either New York or Los Angeles. The Water Torture Cell which appeared at the Jewish Museum in New York was a replica built by someone whose name I couldn't find out. The one in LA is the dupe John Gaughan built for himself at about the same time he restored the original.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20590
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby JohnCox » 03/16/11 12:27 PM

Thanks, Richard. Got that info and corrected the story not too long after I posted it. Maybe you can zap the word "original" from this thread title?

That replica in NY... I don't know, looks more like an artistic approximation to me. Really looking forward to seeing the John G replica here in LA.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry
User avatar
JohnCox
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 03/21/09 03:03 PM
Location: Studio City, CA


Return to Magic History and Anecdotes