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Magic History

This page lists links and presents articles that discuss the rich history of the magical arts.

Magic History: Rameses the Egyptian Wonderworker
Rameses, the "Egyptian Wonderworker," was a prominent illusionist of the Edwardian era. He toured Europe and America and performed in the very first "Royal Variety Performance" for the King and Queen of England. Despite his success, Rameses is little known today.

New Windows at the Disneyland Main Street Magic Shop
Disneyland's Main Street Magic Shop features new Houdini-themed windows. The new windows seem to cover every aspect of Houdini's career including: escapes, exposure of mediums, his films, King of Cards and more. There are some cool props as well copies of his letters and posters, which you can view in this image gallery.

Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age
In conjunction with the traveling exhibition "Houdini: Art and Magic," the Skirball Cultural Center developed a companion exhibition, "Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age." This is a must see exhibit for fans of magic history.

Famous Magicians in History
It's said that all artists stand on the shoulders of those who came before them. All magicians owe a debt of gratitude to these famous magicians from history.

Harry Houdini
Arguably, the most famous entertainer of all time was a magician. Harry Houdini, who died some 80 years ago, is still a household name today. Try to name a contemporary of Houdini from an era that lacked televisions, video and DVDs. Perhaps today, only Charlie Chaplin can compare.

Doug Henning
In the 1970s and 80s, Doug Henning was not only the best known magician in the world, he is often credited as reviving magic as a popular theatrical art form. Sadly, he left magic at the height of his career and died in 2000 at the age of 52.

Harry Blackstone Sr.
In the 1930's, Blackstone was the most popular magician in North America - a rival to Houdini late in the escape artist's career, as well as to Thurston. His professional career spanned some 65 years.

A mid-nineteenth century artist who is fondly recalled as "the father of modern magic," Frenchman Robert-Houdin was a decided force in magic. His professional magic career only spanned some 11 years, but his influence on magic was timeless.

Book Review: Essential Robert-Houdin
I’ve been reading this weighty, 600-plus page book for weeks. While I wasn’t initially sure how much this book would appeal to those who aren’t magic historians, I found it to be a fascinating read. And what really surprised me was the fact that Houdin writings and advice from some 150 years ago are still relevant today.

Review of Early TV Magic
If you want to watch magic as it appeared during the early days of television, youÂ’ll enjoy this three-disc DVD set that offers some five hours of footage. The collection includes appearances by Blackstone Sr., Norman Jensen and Gerrie Larson, as well as shows that include: "The Great Merlini," "Mandrake," "Mr. Magic" and "Fun with Felix."

Modern Spirit Photos
These modern day spirit photos were provided by Dr. Taff in conjunction with the release of "Shutter," a film from Fox.

The Mysteries of S. W. Erdnase
While researching his new 10-disc DVD set, "The Expert at the Card Table: Artifice, Ruse, and Subterfuge," Geno Munari, President and CEO of Houdini's Magic Shop, delved into the mysteries of author, S.W. Erdnase and revealed some new findings.

Cups and Balls-Not in the Pyramids?
Some consider the cups & balls to be the oldest recorded magic trick, apparently depicted in paintings on the walls of Egypt's pyramids. According to magic historian Bill Palmer, we now know this to be a myth.

DVD Review: "As I Recall..." Slydini
This excellent DVD set is a tribute to the great Slydini. You get to see many of his classic routines that include "Coins Through the Table," "Paper Balls Over the Head" and more, and learn them from Cellini, the noted street artist and Slydini student. Other students perform their favorite Slydini effects and recall their experiences with the master. This is a worthwhile DVD.

Remembering Houdini
After he being punched in the abdomen a week earlier, Harry Houdini dies on Sunday, October 31, 1926 at 1:26 PM. For the great showman, Halloween seems a fitting day to die, and this date is now remembered as “National Magic Day.”

Harry Blackstone and Memoirs of an Elusive Moth
Near the twilight of Blackstone's illustrious magic career, a young dancer named Adele Friel was hired to became a part of his touring illusion show. Friel ended up playing an integral role and her book, "Memoirs of an Elusive Moth," offers an intimate and insightful first-person account of one of America's best known magicians.

Top Magic Stories of 2010
A new season of "America's Got Talent" that promoted magicians on a national level, turmoil on the Las Vegas magic scene and Doug Henning receiving a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame. These are just some of the biggest magic-related stories of 2010.

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