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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

elgranmago
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I just finished viewing, for the second time, a wonderful French documentary entitled "ROBERT-HOUDIN, UNE VIE DE MAGICIEN" (Robert Houdin: A Magician´s Life). It was produced in 1995. It presents the life of the "Father of Modern Magic" who lived between 1805 and 1871. He was indeed an extraordinary individual. Besides being a gifted magician, who elevated the art form and brought it to the greatest stages in Europe, he was also a scientist, inventor and great mind. He was a 19th Century visionary.

Not long ago I visited his home in Blois, France which has been converted into a magic museum. It´s worth seeing.

For anyone truly interested in the history of our art, I suggest examining the life of this special man.

Next year will be the 200th anniversary of his birth. I recommend that the date not go unnoticed.

José
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
Kjellstrom
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A review of Memoirs of Robert-Houdin:
http://www.mastermagic.info/articles.php?articleId=26
elgranmago
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Allow me to once again mention the fact that 2005 is a special year for all of us who love magic. We commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Robert-Houdin. As many of us know, he paved the way for a new era in magic.

Perhaps because I live in France, I have become interested in his important contribution to our art and passion.

As you might imagine, the French are preparing something big to mark the occasion:

The First European Conference on "Magic, History and Collections", Paris, June 10, 11 and 12, 2005.

http://www.magiefrance.com/cmc/homea.html

On Saturday, 26 November 2005, the "Fédération Francaise des Artistes Prestidigitateurs" is encouraging all the magicians of France to share their magic with others (put on shows, organize magical get-togethers, etc.). It will be the "National Day of Magic".

This is a fine initiative and could be emulated in other places.

I thought I would share this with my friends in magic.

José.
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
evanthx
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I'd heard a rumor that Fechner was going to put out a third volume of his biography...anyone have any idea if that's true or not?
Bill Palmer
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I understand that 2005 will mark the bicentennial of his birth. Will there be a celebration?
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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elgranmago
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Bill,

Have a look at the link I posted. It contains the program in France which includes some wonderful magic events and a visit to the Robert-Houdin home in Blois (now a magic museum) and to his final resting place.

I would be curious to know if in the U.S., the contemporary mecca of magic, the bicentennial will be remembered in any way.

José
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
irossall
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I may get tarred and feathered for saying this but I'll take that chance.
According to Houdini (and most Magician's know this) a number of Magical effects that Robert Houdin claims to be the creator of where in fact the creations of other's and Houdini did his best to see to it that credit was given where credit was earned.
Many or most of the Café' members have read "The Unmasking Of Robert Houdin) where Houdini states just what I have said.
With that said, Robert Houdin still deserves our respect and the contribution he has made to Magic and Magician's is invaluable and not to be dismissed.
Iven Smile
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elgranmago
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I am no expert on this topic but I thought the following point of view should also be taken into account. I believe Houdini´s contempt for the man he once admired so much has prompted much debate. It´s an interesting chapter of magic history. Others better qualified than I might care to comment.


"Hiding the Elephant : A History of Magic" by Jim Steinmeyer

"The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin was indicative of Houdini's mercurial personality and his love of challenges, but the vengeful tone of the book made it an embarrassment. Houdini seemed to forget how inspiring and literary the French magician's memoirs had been; he put it under a microscope and analyzed every phrase as history. A generation later it became apparent just how shortsighted Houdini had been.

Robert-Houdin, researchers now know, was a clever writer who authored his own books. Houdini, on the other hand, regularly employed ghostwriters to clean up his ragged prose, including The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. When his peculiar history was released, magicians thought the accusations were rich coming from Houdini-a man renowned for shameless self-promotion and a tin ear for the fine points of conventional magic."

José
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
The Magician
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Does anyone know if his two books are still on sale anywhere The Memoirs of Robert Houdin because I wouldnt mind getting my hands on a copy of these books
The Magician

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Clay Shevlin
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Jose: There are folks who question whether or not R-H wrote his own memoirs, as early as the year 1859, when the first edition of the English translation was published. FYI. Clay
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