Houdini's Unmasking

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Houdini's Unmasking
AuthorJean Hugard
Publication Date1957
LanguageEnglish
 

Houdini's Unmasking originally appeared serialized in Jean Hugard's magazine Hugard's Magic Monthly (From June 1957 Vol 15, No. 1 to January 1959 Vol 16, no. 8).

It was written in response to Houdini's unflattering book about Robert-Houdin called The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin claiming that Robert-Houdin was not the originator of many of his tricks.

Hugard refutes many of Houdini's arguments point for point.

Contents

  • FOREWORD by Miibourne Christopher
  • INTRODUCTION by Jean Hugard
  • ROBERT-HOUDIN—HARRY HOUDINI
  • Chapter 1 - GENESIS OF HOUDINI'S -"THE UNMASKING OF ROBERT-HOUDIN"
  • Chapter 2 - THE REFORMS ACTUALLY CLAIMED BY ROBERT-HOUDIN
  • Chapter 3 -ROBERT-HOUDIN'S AUTHORSHIP
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 1: That Robert-Houdin did not write the books that have been ascribed to him.
  • Chapter 4 - THE ORANGE TREE TRICK
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 2: That Robert-Houdin's famous Orange Tree Trick was just a plain copy taken from an apple tree trick which had first been produced in 1730
  • Chapter 5 - ROBERT-HOUDIN'S STAGE SETTINGS
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 3: That Robert-Houdin was not the first to dispense with a huge display of apparatus on the stage, and that he was not the first magician to appear in ordinary evening dress
  • Chapter 6 - WRITING AND DRAWING AUTOMATA
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 4: That Robert-Houdin did not invent the writing and drawing automaton that he represented as his invention, but simply copied the mechanism of another writing and drawing automaton which had been invented many years before
  • Chapter 7 - THE PASTRY COOK OF THE PALAIS ROYALE
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 5: That Robert-Houdin falsely claimed to have invented the automaton known as The Pastry Cook of the Palais Royale
  • Chapter 8 - THE OBEDIENT CARD, THE CABALISTIC CLOCK, AND THE TRAPEZE AUTOMATON
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 6: That Robert-Houdin falsely claimed to have invented the Obedient Card, the Cabalistic Clock, and the Trapeze Automaton
  • Chapter 9 - THE INEXHAUSTIBLE BOTTLE
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 7: "According to an article published in L'Illusioniste' scientists to this day, in explaining the law of physics as operated by the use of air-holes in the inexhaustible bottle, refer to it as the 'Robert-Houdin bottle/ when in reality the honor of its invention belongs to some obscure mechanic or magician whose name must remain forever unsung by the writers of magic."
  • Chapter 10 - ELECTRICITY IN STAGE MAGIC
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 8: "All evidence points to the fact that Robert-Houdin merely improved on the tricks employed by Breslaw, Pinetti, and others among his predecessors in magic, by utilizing the newly found assistant to the magician, electricity."
  • Chapter 11 - THE ETHEREAL SUSPENSION
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 9: "But whatever the method employed by Robert-Houdin to secure the effects of 'suspension etherenne,' he was merely introducing a century-old trick, which other contemporary magicians were also exhibiting... Robert-Houdin alone was audacious enough to claim the invention as his own."
  • Chapter 12 - THE DISAPPEARING HANDKERCHIEFS
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 10: That Robert-Houdin did not invent the trick of the disappearing handkerchiefs which he presented at a command performance for Louis Philippe on November, 1846 at the court of St. Cloud, but was indebted for it to the hundreds of humble magicians who preceded him
  • Chapter 13 - ROBERT HOUDIN'S MAGIC SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 11: That Robert-Houdin's ignorance of magic was betrayed by his own pen
  • Chapter 14 - ROBERT-HOUDIN'S "MEMOIRS"
    • Houdini's Indictment No. 12: That Robert-Houdin's "Memoirs" were narrow in the extreme
  • Chapter 13 - INVENTIONS OF ROBERT-HOUDIN

Editions

  • first serialized in Hugard's Magic Monthly (1957)
  • reprint as separate book by York: Magicana for Collectors (1989)
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