Diego wrote:To loosely paraphrase Dr. A.M. Wilson writing in THE SPHINX almost a hundred years ago:
"What do the those circus/sideshow feats of Houdini have to do with magic? How can handcuffs, straitjackets, or jailbreaking have anything to do with the artistry of magic as performed by Frederick Powell?!
When I hear some knocking David Blaine, I feel like I'm hearing Mitch Miller knocking Rock and Roll, (which is why Clive Davis got his job).
Yes, there are article(S) about David's latest stunt...anyone else in magic getting more/better press these days?
People paid 50 cents to watch me do the electric chair act in Ward Hall's sideshow, while David Blaine will be compensated in over 7 figures for this.
Bravo David Blaine!
Well said, Diego.
I think Blaine's stunts are very creative and, well, pretty amazing! They are also exactly
what Houdini would be doing if he were alive today. Houdini was firmly headed in this direction with the Shelton Pool Test and especially the Summerfield's Test
in the months before his death. The idea of seeing Houdini performing endurance tests, not escapes, would have become a regular event in New York City, just as it is now with David Blaine.
And the posters he creates for these are always beautiful.
David actually performed his (very unusual, buried in the ground) "underwater" test as a tribute to Houdini.
I represented Houdini's niece, Marie Blood in many of her first media and THE first magic convention at which she appeared, and went on doing so for 18 years. I've been gathering photos in recent weeks for her biography/work in progress "Harry and Bess - Marie Hinson Blood's Life With The Great Houdinis"
When David performed this stunt/endurance test, his creative team invited, and paid for, Marie to appear during his "performance," for lack of a better term, and comment in the media about the obvious comparison to Houdini.
She very much enjoyed the experience, and got to visit with old friends she'd known from her days in the Big Apple in the process. She met Uri G there, and had an interesting experience with him, covered in the book mentioned herein. I shared this story with my friend, the late Mario Truzzi, who then (with my and Marie's permission) passed it on to Uri who, I understand, "got a kick out of it."
Personally, I'm glad David's endurance test and other dangerous stunts are over. Frankly, I didn't find some of them terribly interesting, but I freely admit that a couple of them were quite compelling. If you've not done so, have a look at David's talk with the TED crowd on YouTube regarding his breath holding stunt (in) the water. If all he said was true (and I have no reason to assume it wasn't, but as we all know, prevarication is part and parcel with prestidigitation), the experience actually provided valuable information to medical folks (which I also used to be) as well.
Cheers - Greg Edmonds