Archive for the 'TV' Category

Houdini, Illusionists 2.0 And Magic On TV [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on September 2nd, 2014

Up top we have James More from The illusionists 2.0 speaking to Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB (which is out of New Zealand). While the original line up preps for its North American tour (set to begin in November), the 2.0 crew is opening tonight in Auckland, New Zealand. Actually, given the time difference and all they are probably hitting the stage around the same time this article posts!

Houdini Part One premiered last night on History. If you missed it, it is on again tonight before Part Two (thanks to a massive storm and flickering electricity, I will be re-recording it). Overnight ratings are not out quite yet (the holiday will probably delay them until Wednesday), but the movie seemed to spark some nostalgia here and abroad. Time Magazine posted a slideshow of vintage Houdini photographs and The Derby Telegraph ran a story on Randolph Douglas, the Derbyshire teen who sold Houdini on the idea of upside straitjacket escapes.

Besides Houdini Part Two(which re-airs in its entirety on Saturday), there is a new episode of Wizard Wars tonight and America’s Got Talent will see performances by Mat Franco and Smoothini as they make their bid to join Mike Super and David and Leeman in the next round of competition. I do not know how y’all feel, but I am almost getting spoiled by all of the magic on television at the moment.

Speaking of Houdini, did anyone else catch Murray Sawchuck and Gay Blackstone on the special episode of Pawn Stars last night?

E! Online is reporting that Joan Rivers is making “small, but positive, steps” towards recovery. The pioneering comic and one time magician’s assistant remains on life support and in a coma.

Before Brody: Five Well Known Actors To Portray Houdini

Posted by Michael on September 1st, 2014

Adrien Brody is a well established actor and a bona fide movie star, but he is not the only famous actor to play Harry Houdini.

Houdini, who dabbled in acting, we be undoubtedly pleased to learn that two Academy Award nominated actors had portrayed him in film. Other famous actors also took turns playing the world famous magician.

When Houdini premieres tonight on History, Adrien Brody will not only be the latest actor to portray Harry Houdini, he will be the first Oscar winner to step into the role. In the build up to the two part film’s release, much has been made of the fact that Brody himself performed magic as a young man. Although some have suspected this was played up for publicity, his mother actually wrote of it in The Village Voice over a dozen years ago when Brody was in contention for the Academy Award. Adrien Brody may be the most decorated actor to play Houdini, but he is not the only well known actor to play the role, not was he the one in Oscar contention.

It is probably fair to say that Tony Curtis’ portrayal of Houdini, in the film of the same name, is the best known. In fact, some think that it was his 1953 film that cemented Harry Houdini’s reputation as the world’s greatest magician. It is definitely responsible for the wide misconception that Houdini died as a result of a mishap in his Chinese Water Torture Cell act. That is not the only liberty taken with the magician’s life by the film, which blurred over many of the man’s rough edges and mixed up the chronology of events, such as his adoption of straightjacket escapes. The public was not concerned by the film’s accuracy, though. They embraced the light hearted biography, particularly the love story between Harry and Bess, who was played by Tony Curtis’ real life wife (at the time) Janet Leigh. Houdini was Curtis’ first real success as a leading man and he would go on to long a successful career, even getting an Academy Award nomination (Best Actor) for The Defiant Ones.

More after the jump

Free Book AND TV Show Downloads And More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on September 1st, 2014

First up, CW 33 KDAF coverage of the Texas Association of Magicians convention down in Fort Worth this weekend.

Another summer weekend means a new book in the Conjuring Arts Free Summer Reading Club, and we think it may be the last (we do not know when the club will end this year, but summer is basically over for most of America). If it is this is the last free high quality PDF download, they are going out on a high note. Professor Hoffman’s Modern Magic, the book that arguably ushered in the modern era of magic, is yours to download free until next Sunday. Get it here!

We know iTricksters like free stuff so we have two more goodies to tell you about, both over on iTunes. The first episode of Penn and Teller: Fool Us (American version) is free to download as is the first episode of Wizard Wars. If you do not have SyFy (or, for that matter, a local CW affiliate), this is a great way to at least see what you are missing. Plus, it is always nice to have a little something downloaded for the next time you are stuck somewhere with nothing to do… We do not know how long these episodes will be free or if they are available outside of the United States.

The Daily Mirror reported late last week that Dynamo has responded to some of the criticism of his Shard levitation. He basically just Tweeted he was loving the speculation… and hash tagged the premiere date of his next series and WIRES. The next day the Mirror reported that he claimed on Sky News to only have uses the wire, a safety line, during windy rehearsals.

Houdini premieres on History in the United States tonight and the Wild About Harry blog is reporting that it will be seen on September 7 on Channel 4 in England.

iTricks hopes for the best for Joan Rivers, who at time of writing is on life support in a medically induced coma. She is one of the truly great ladies of comedy but one of her first paying jobs in show business was as an assistant to Kuda Bux.

Houdini Promo Blitz And The Book Behind The Biopic

Posted by Michael on August 28th, 2014

History’s two part biopic Houdini starts this Monday (Labor Day), and Adrien Brody is in high gear promoting the new film. We already covered his Today Show appearance earlier this week, but there have been many other appearances since. Yahoo Movies carried a Reuters interview with the Oscar winner. The Jewish Journal ran a piece partially reviewing the film and partially reviewing the magician’s life. has another interesting piece an Brody which even mentions his attempt to learn to manipulate locks with his toes.

For those interested in the source material for the movie, Bernard C. Meyer’s Houdini: A Mind In Chains: A Psychoanalytic Portrait is still available from Amazon even though it is out of print. At time of writing, used copies were available for as little as $3.50.

Adrien Brody Magic And Houdini Review

Posted by Michael on August 26th, 2014

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History’s Houdini premieres next week, with the first part on Labor Day and the second airing on Tuesday. Adrien Brody stopped by NBC’s Today Show to promote the show and even do a little magic. Perhaps more interesting is that reviews are beginning appear. The Hollywood Reporter is among the first, calling it a “fun but scattered biopic” and praising Brody’s performance as the Kings of Handcuffs. An interesting point in the review is that it mentions that the film uses animations to show how Houdini’s effects actually work, something which may rile up the magic community.

Houdini is based on the 1970s biography Houdini: A Mind in Chains: A Psychoanalytic Portrait by Bernard C. Meyer and it was adapted for the screen by his son Nicholas. It was directed by Udi Edel, whose film The Baader Meinhof Complex was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie’s soundtrack, by John Debney, is getting some praise and thanks to Yahoo Music, you can preview it here.

Mike Super Back On AGT, Murray On Wizard Wars And More TV News [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on August 26th, 2014

How much magic is on American TV right now? So much that we have an all TV themed Magic Bulletin today (and bumped some TV mini-series Houdini news into another post)!

Mike Super was eliminated from America’s Got Talent when the judges picked an acrobatic dance squad over him. Thanks to each judge getting to bring back an act, though, Super returns to the competition tonight. According to Super’s hometown paper the Observer-Reporter, Super owes his chance at redemption to Howie Mandel. Super will be on tonight’s episode along with magic duo David and Leeman. Next week will include Mat Franco and Smoothini.

Vegas News is reporting that Murray and Rob Anderson (above, getting attacked by a shark) will be among the contestants on tonight’s episode of Wizard Wars on SyFy. Be sure to watch and cheer on the two former iTricks Magic Week in Review guests.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website has a feature on Rick Smith Jr, magician and card thrower, and his pocking appearance on Stan Lee’s Superhumans. He will be on the September 10th episode of the H2 series; check your local listings.

Will Smoothini’s Bar Magic Play Big Enough With America?

Posted by Michael on August 20th, 2014

America’s Got Talent fans finally got their second look at Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini on last night’s show. He pulled two of the judges up on stage for a little close up magic, which left two of the other judges feeling a little left out. Of course, at this point, it is in America’s hands not the judges but did the camerawork play against him on his initial bill switch and closing production? Will Team Smoothini be strong enough to pull him through to the next round? We will find out tonight when the results air. The show will also feature a performance from three of The Illusionists (we do not have any inside information, but AGT alum Dan Sperry and Kevin James seem likely).

Also on tonight’s show each judge will select an eliminated act to bring back into the competition, giving hope to favorites such as Mike Super to return to the stage.