Houdini--the Key

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houdinisghost
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Houdini--the Key

Postby houdinisghost » March 21st, 2020, 11:21 pm

It has just come to my attention that the author of a fluffy little book about Houdini claims in his book that he paid me $295.00 for a copy of Houdini--the Key.
This bum paid me exactly what everyone else who has bought the book paid me: $195.00.
Ten years ago, I self-published Houdini--the Key. The price was $195.00 and because I never sold more than one copy of the book to anybody, I still have a few books to sell. And when I finally sell that last book, the price will still be $195.
I have had no negative comments about the book except in this cretin's book.
This jerk also made a great deal about how he couldn't find my rare and expensive book until he met me at the Magic Castle and I sold him the book. For $195. He handed me 10 twenties and I handed him a 5. But, in his book the cheap scud says he paid me $295.00. John Cox has had an ad on Wild About Harry for the book for years. If this sniveler had mentioned to John Cox or Jim Steinmeyer or David Copperfield that he was looking for Houdini--the Key by Culliton, they'd have made a phone call or sent a text and he'd have had his book in two days -- for $195.00 and postage. In fact, this foolish failure emailed me twice asking for an interview and never mentioned my book.
The readers of my book , at least the ones I've heard from, got something out of it.
But, this pudgy little podcaster doesn't seem to have, in fact, he really demeans my book in his book.
And saying he paid $100 more than he did -- and publishing the lie -- has brought the sales of the book to a near halt.
So, If anyone wants Houdini--the Key by Culliton, it is available. Same price as always.
How do I sue this guy?

Ted M
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Location: Madison, WI

Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Ted M » March 22nd, 2020, 12:32 am

5+ years ago in Dec 2014, houdinisghost wrote:
"I've only sold 20 of the final 113"
https://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=45589#p306963

Today:
"[...] saying he paid $100 more than he did -- and publishing the lie -- has brought the sales of the book to a near halt."

When an author apparently hasn't been able to sell 93 copies over five-plus years, I'd be pretty amazed if any reasonable person, let alone a court, would find anyone else at fault for diminishing that sales flow...

Roger M.
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Roger M. » March 22nd, 2020, 10:28 am

I think that kind of misses the point Ted.
The guy lied outright.
That's all that matters.

That it's vertical subject matter being shared in a very low volume and expensive book doesn't change the fact that a series of lies were told about the book and its author.
I don't think Culliton published Houdini - The Key to get rich, and he certainly deserves the ongoing respect of this forum regardless of what his sales volumes are.

Syd
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Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Syd » March 22nd, 2020, 10:42 am

I don’t know either of these authors. However, I am curious, isn’t there a chance that he just remembered it wrong? A lie is, by definition, the intent to deceive. Why would he lie about what he paid for the book? It’s an expensive book either way. Obviously he might very well have lied. But, not knowing him, or Mr. Culliton, shouldn’t we give him the benefit of the doubt, first? Maybe there is a backstory I don’t know.
Syd

Bill Mullins
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Bill Mullins » March 22nd, 2020, 11:37 am

Syd wrote: Maybe there is a backstory I don’t know.


Maybe there is. Maybe.

Ted M
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Ted M » March 22nd, 2020, 12:34 pm

Roger M. wrote:I think that kind of misses the point Ted.
The guy lied outright.
That's all that matters.


Over on Facebook, Patrick speaks of suing and claims that he has damages, but doesn't hint at what they might be.

Over here, he seems to claim reduced salesflow as the damages.

Hence my focus on that aspect.

Maybe Richard could offer Patrick a column to write in Genii? I seem to remember columnist Tony Giorgio blustering about suing people left and right; that element's been missing for some time.

houdinisghost
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby houdinisghost » March 22nd, 2020, 1:14 pm

Ted M, You haven't seen the book I'm complaining about and you haven't seen my book. Your opinion is worthless. This "writer" also demeans my service in Vietnam -- I don't need a lawyer to make him and Simonn and Schuster suffer.

Syd
Posts: 137
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Syd » March 22nd, 2020, 1:55 pm

houdinisghost wrote:I don't need a lawyer to make him and Simonn and Schuster suffer.


You are absolutely right. And if they have violated the law, and caused you damage, you have the right to seek the appropriate redress through the legal system. Be aware, however, that if they have not violated the law, giving you a legal cause of action, then a lawsuit might cost you in attorney’s fees (theirs) and other costs. Those costs may increase if a court were to find the action was brought in bad faith. I’m not saying whether you should sue or not; rather, be aware of all the potential consequences before an action is brought.
Syd

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 22nd, 2020, 2:18 pm

Ted, it's a tense time, so maybe you'll cool it a bit.

I can highly recommend Pat's book. It contains a lot of material on Houdini that has never appeared elsewhere. Pat's also a stand up guy.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

houdinisghost
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby houdinisghost » March 22nd, 2020, 3:23 pm

I will drop my lawsuit. These are tense times. I also missed the aspect of the thing that raised my ire.
Joe Posnanski wrote about me at length, he used a quote from me as the only content of the first page of his book; and almost everything he wrote about me is factually incorrect. That's one thing. He also describes my book, Houdini--the Key, very inaccurately. That's small stuff. What it's really all about is that in 1997 I self-published a set of books called Houdini Unlocked. I printed 250 sets. I started offering them at a pre-publication price of $160 and sold 10 sets each to dealers for a hundred a set. This guaranteed that my projection of at least breaking even was a bit off. When the book was released, I'd raised the price to $300 and the entire run sold out in three weeks.
For the next several years, Houdini Unlocked sold for crazy prices. Three sets sold at auction for over $3000 each (the auctions seemed suspicious to me). And i had kept one set. Every day for thirteen years I received emails from people looking for the set. They would usually add "are you going to reprint?" I would answer "No, but, I would like to rewrite book two The Secret Confessions of Houdini" -- that was the one about how he did his magic and escapes.
Finally, I tackled that book which was published in 2010 as Houdini--the Key. I resolved that I would have the book for people who could really use it. I decided that I wouldn't advertise it or submit it for reviews. I kept every book myself and only sold one to a customer. I have a list of everyone who has bought the book from me. I published at a price of $195.00 and that is what I have charged for every book I've sold in 10 years. That is what i will charge for the last books i have.
When Joe Posnanski said he paid $295.00 for my book, he was mistaken -- or he was lying. I have personal reasons to think the latter. When he found out that the book signing Simon & Schuster had arranged for him at the Magic Castle would be attended by me, Simon & Schuster pulled out.
At least I had the satisfaction of hearing that Posnanski and his publisher ran like rabbits.
And I have the satisfaction of knowing I didn't hoard the book or speculate with the book. I kept it available at a fair price for those who could use it.
I also have the satisfaction of knowing that a large number of my magic heroes love Houdini--the Key.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 22nd, 2020, 9:24 pm

Anything having to do with Houdini strikes a wonderful harmonious chord for me. The day I became hooked on magic (63 years ago, at age 6, when I went to the magic store in Brooklyn, New York), I - well, my mom - bought my first illusion, the Magic Milk Pitcher, and my first magic book, Houdini on Magic, which became the foundation of the show I soon started putting together.

And, I want to add that I agree with what I take to be the implication behind Richard's post, that we should be sensitive, empathetic and kind to one another, especially given what's been going on at this stressful time. But when it passes, and IT WILL PASS, why not always take that approach? Cuz after all we are, or should be, a brotherhood. And i don't mean that in the least to be sexist - just a generic term that expresses an ideal to strive for...

houdinisghost
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Joined: March 18th, 2013, 7:52 pm
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby houdinisghost » March 22nd, 2020, 10:03 pm

Houdini on Magic was my favorite book. When I was twelve I checked it out of the library again and again. Then, my Mom got it for me for Christmas. Later spent time with both Walter and Morris. And when Houdini's Fabulous Magic came out, I bought an advance copy. There have been so many great ones since, but, my book, Houdini--the Key, is in a class by itself.
Joe Posnanski will never be my "brother." Although, honestly, I think that in some weird jealous way he would like to be. He shouldn't have attacked my book, or me, and he really shouldn't have padded the old expense account by claiming he paid $100 more for my book than he did.
In his desperate push to get everything in the book wrong, he says things like "he played a roller coaster operator on Cannon."
One of the seven episodes of Cannon I acted in WAS called "Hard Rock Roller Coaster" but I played a cop named Ken somebody or other who gets the drop on the bad guys at the end of the show. And the Roller Coaster wasn't an actual roller coaster, but rather, it was the name of a rock group that was part of a jewel smuggling ring. Joe says I went right into Television from high school. No, no, no. After two years of study and training, an eleven week apprenticeship in Summer Stock and an eighteen week apprenticeship in Shakespearean repertory, and acting classes in and outside of college -- I got a day's work on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Houdini--the Key

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 23rd, 2020, 6:24 am

Houdinisghost Wrote: "Houdini on Magic was my favorite book. When I was twelve I checked it out of the library again and again. Then, my Mom got it for me for Christmas."

I can totally relate! Long after bedtime and into the night, I would read from the book with a little flashlight, day-dreaming, when I was supposed to be doing the other kind. I love the anecdote Walter Gibson recounted in the book's Introduction, about the time he drove Houdini to a magic meeting. Walter had a Model T Ford with a narrow front seat that could accommodate only two people. The door catches were awkwardly placed behind the elbow. When Houdini maneuvered around in the close quarters to try and open the door to exit the car, the catch was apparently stuck, and Harry couldn't get out. He then asked Gibson, "How do you get out this thing?" After Walter reached over and pulled the knob for him, Houdini started laughing. While he was unable to escape from a car, the irony had not escaped him.


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