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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Houdini Lecture (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cliffg37
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Wednesday I attended a lecture, part of a series called, "Inside the Golden Door; Jewish Life in America." There are five in the series, presented by California State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Schwartz. I only went to the second one which was on the topic of Houdini.

I did not advertise my skills or part profession going in. I sat like anyone else in the well attended lecture.

After the lecture I was talking with his wife and now telling her of my profession and memberships. She asked how I liked the lecture and I answered her very honestly. I said "I liked it fine. I could nit pick it apart if I wanted too, but it was fun."

The professor showed a video of Houdini getting out of a straitjacket. One was hanging one was on the floor from the Master Mystery. He talked about Houdini being Jewish and Bess not. He hit most of the points you might want from an hour and a half lecture. Unlike Patrick's lecture, there was no live demo. Had I known that going in I might have offered.

He got a few things wrong or left a bit out. If the bird shot jammed cuff incident happened, he left it out. I think it is an important part of what made Houdini who he was. The Mirror cuffs were not mentioned. He spent a lot of time defending the idea that Houdini was a spy. According to the professor only Houdini's strong Physical conditioning combined with his ability to dislocate his shoulders allowed the straitjacket escape.

Of course the worst of his poor research came through on Houdini's deaths which was absolutely from the stomach punch. No mention was made about insurance fraud or anything else.

Still, for a lay audince it was a fine lecture, and I am glad to know that lay people are still thinking about good ol' HH.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
John Cox
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Shoot. Wish I would have known about this. I would have liked to have attended. Thanks for the report.
Please visit my blog

WILD ABOUT HARRY
Ian McColl
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Hi Cliff, What was this lecture about?? Houdini and Jewish life?, Houdini being a role model for Jewish peoples? Or about Houdini and his life?, I don't understand. Sounds like this was a rehash of generalisations of Houdini and not well researched at all by Dr. Schwartz .
I thought a similar thing with the book The Secret Life of Houdini. I think the spy bit was the spin to sell the book as many of the famous stories read almost the same as reading Milbourne Christopher’s, Untold story. The letter lock handcuff story was same and no research which would have uncovered some great new material.
I have never read or heard anything in Patrick Culliton’s about Houdini being a spy.
Do you know the titles of the Dr’s other lectures.

Ian
Cliffg37
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Here you are Ian, this is the whole series broken down by topic, and yes largely it was a rehash, but a lay audience would not know that.

Lecture Series:

Inside the Golden Door: The Jewish Experience in America

This four part series focuses on the impact and experiences of American Jews from the Civil War to the present day. Taught by Dr. Don Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of History from California State University, Long Beach and the Executive Director of the California Council of History Education.

Abraham Lincoln: America's First Jewish President?
Wednesday, February 6, 7:00PM
Was our 16th president a member of the tribe? How can someone so wise, with a beard and a name of Abraham not be Jewish? This lecture will explore the possibilities.

Harry Houdini: America's First Super Hero
Wednesday, February 13, 7:00PM
This lecture will trace the life of Erich Weiss, his rise from poverty to international renown as Houdini -- the world's greatest escape artist and magician.

Jews, Hollywood and the Nazi Menace
Wednesday, February 27, 7:00PM
How did the moguls of Hollywood's film industry, particularly Jewish studio heads, react to the rise of Hitler and the persecution of Jews under the Third Reich? This presentation will examine the challenges the moguls faced and their responses to the Nazi menace.

Anti-Semitism in America
Wednesday, March 6, 7:00PM
The Jewish experience in the United States has ranged from open acceptance to overt hostility. This lecture will explore the history and extent of anti-Semitism in this country, as well as the response of the American Jewish community.

$10;$8/MVP per lecture or $36/$28/MVP for the 4-part series

For more information or to register, please contact Eve.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Ian McColl
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Quote:
On 2013-02-17 02:08, Cliffg37 wrote:
Here you are Ian, this is the whole series broken down by topic, and yes largely it was a rehash, but a lay audience would not know that.


Thanks Cliff, the Lincoln thing now has me wondering, what is the conclusion? Lincoln is one of those guy I admire.

I find it odd that someone is doing a lecture on a well researched topic and is likely to be a well respected individual and learned by nature of his title as DR. but only rehashes old out of date tales and legend. It doesn't matter that the audience are lay, in a way it's rude to put one over on them but not having researched and up to date material for the lecture. As a teacher you seem very dismissive of the lecturers responsiblity to the audience.
jay leslie
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In the world of corporate "edgutainers" their are many, many who read Zig Zigglar then regurgitate those ideas. The major difference is: they use magic and mentalism as illustrative points.

My opinion is these lectures fall in the same category, in as much as, he is probably reading readily-available books and practically quoting them but not so closely as to plagiarize.

Here is MY question. Why aren't any of us smart enough to do this? I've done a few lectures for universities and conducted a few classes in psychology, from a magicians point of view but it never developed into a real paying gig.

Whos this guys agent?
Ian McColl
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I agree with your statements, thanks for understanding where I was coming from with my thoughts. Just a shame there is nothing new for us all to learn from the Houdini lecture.
Cliffg37
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I do hear you Ian, and while I enjoyed the lecture as it was fun, I guess I went in with fairly low expectations. I really could not expect any earth shattering conclusions in this lecture, as I have probably read as much about Houdini as Dr. Schwartz has, and I know people like Patrick and John who have done amazing research. As to the others in the series, I have only seen the one, and so cannot comment. If you want me to comment on the failings of the professor, I don't feel that is appropriate. Take it for what it is worth, and old retired man does a presentation for a mostly ignorant audience.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
dave_matkin
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Quote:
On 2013-02-16 19:04, Cliffg37 wrote:
came through on Houdini's deaths


You trying to start a new theory? Houdini died more than once? Smile
Kevin Connolly
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Why not? He had two birthdays. Smile
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
dave_matkin
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Hey I never said two .....I just said more than one.
Kevin Connolly
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I didn't say you said two.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
dave_matkin
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Too true I didn't say two and I send my apologies to you for saying that you said that I said two when you didn't and neither did I.

Has that been cleared that up?

So........ Cliff ..... How many deaths are you suggesting? Kevin and I say definitely not two! ...... Bugger I've tarted it again!
Cliffg37
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Is he finished? there may yet be three or four to come...
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
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