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“Houdini Day” Says that Busting Fake Psychics is Just One of the Reasons Houdini is Famous

He is Still a Household Name

Harry Houdini escape artist and magician is one of the most famous, or the most famous, magician of all time. Some wonder why he is still a household word now even though he died nearly one hundred years ago. One thing is for sure, this man had a passion for magic.

“Why is Houdini so famous?” is a Question asked by a Houdini Fan

In the early 1900’s far before there being tool to promote with such as social media or even video streaming, a young man, calling himself Harry Houdini, captured the public’s imagination. Houdini acquired an international stature that even now nearly one hundred years after his death on October 31, 1926, continues.

October 31 is a Part of the Houdini Legacy

October 31st is known to many of us as being Halloween, but it is also known as National Magic Day or as seen on a United States postage stamp, “Houdini Day.” We here at HoudiniDay.com, take great pride in being the official website for Houdini Day. So, we felt that if anyone was going to try to answer the question “Why is Houdini so famous?” we were obligated to do so. You will note that we did not ask “How did Houdini become so famous?” but rather “Why is Houdini so famous?”

Internal and External

There is a big difference between asking “How?” and “Why?” This because when you ask “How?” all you really need to do is to put together a collection of elements or in this case a chronology of steps. Steps that it took for Houdini to achieve fame and then evidence that years after the original fame breakthrough, evidence that his fame continues. “How?” as a question tends to be an approach of gathering components that are looked at externally. Whereas asking “Why” is not external at all.

Why is He so Famous?

When you ask “Why?” you are seeking to uncover something that is not external but rather internal. And posing the question of “Why is Houdini so famous?” consists of trying to unravel why the name “Harry Houdini” is just as relevant today as it was a century ago.

You Can Learn a Lot by Reading Books

Clearly, we cannot conclude here in a short HoudiniDay.com blog post as to “Why is Houdini so famous?” as it is an overly complex subject and one that writers have tried to get to the bottom of in hundreds upon hundreds of books, articles and more. And over the years I have read many of those books, articles and more.

A Fan of Houdini

So, I am being a long time Houdini fan will try to analyze why I am a fan of Houdini today and why I first became a Houdini fan at age 8 which was a little over 50 years ago. I figure that by figuring out what has kept me a fan of Houdini for over 5 decades may give some insight into why others are fans as well. Because even if you do not join a fan club of a celebrity or public figure, you can be a fan.

Keeping His Name Alive

I believe that fans of all kinds whether they are fans because they inspired in a positive way about a person or are gripped by a fascination for someone from the dark side, this continued and renewed fandom going from generation to generation is vital to keeping a name like “Harry Houdini” alive.

Father Figure

So why am I a fan of Houdini’s who is the only celebrity I have ever been and continue to be a diehard fan of? It started at 8 when my parents decided they were hippies and moved myself and my 3 siblings into a very cramped traveling hippie truck. One of the keyways that I was able to cope with this chaotic and inconsiderate action when it came to us kids, was by reading biography after biography about Harry Houdini who in many ways became a father figure for me taking the place of my biological, bullying, and uninterested in father I was stuck with.

Houdini had a Father Figure Too

I saw a kinship with Houdini when reading about him because in many ways he too seemed to see as a father figure someone other than his own biological father. Before Houdini named himself “Houdini” he became first interested in doing magic through reading about the famous French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin. In fact, it was by borrowing from the last name of Jean-Eugène the name “Houdin” which upon adding an “i” became “Houdini.”

Houdini and His Fascination with the Occult

But even if it did not start as seeking a father figure, people all over the world have their own personal reasons why they are drawn to Harry Houdini today. Some say it was because Houdini was a real live superhero who could escape from anything he was bound with. Still others are intrigued by the very understandable fascination Houdini had with wanting to be able to communicate with those who we love who have passed. For Houdini, because he was a magician and understood how tricks were done, desperately wanted to believe that afterlife communication was possible and even offered a large reward to any spirit medium was able to do so. No one collected the reward because Houdini, through magic tricks, was able to duplicate any feat that a medium did who claimed to talk to the dead.

Magic Tricks

A through line for Houdini was his own mother who when she died left a big gap of sadness for Houdini driving him to want to reach her from beyond the grave. This never happened and no psychic was ever able to collect the reward because any examples of their so call spiritual powers were achievable by Houdini using the principles of magic tricks.

A Fascination

I now live with my wife and our daughter a few blocks away from where Houdini’s wife spent the rest of her years after her husband died. The incredible thing is that I did not know this when we bought our condo. Also, I am now a member here in New York of the specific club that Houdini was the president of that is part of an international magician’s organization. And even though I have since learned that Houdini was probably not the nicest person to be around, he remains an inspiration to me, and I imagine he always will.

The Marketing of Magic and Community

Houdini’s Impact

There is no doubt that Harry Houdini is the best-known magician in the world, even many years after his death in 1926. How did he become so well known? What was his promotion secret?

The Secret of Marketing

How did Houdini become an international escape artist and magician? He was a superb, world class marketer. He had an intuitive knack for conjuring up publicity stunts that the media of his time and the public could not resist. He would design and implement magical and death-defying experiences such as gathering tens of thousands of audience members, outside in a metropolis. They were drawn by such stunts as the visionary escape artist in a strait jacket, hanging upside down, somehow able to escape followed by the cheering of the crowd. And of course, at such events publicity assistants would mill around while passing out flyers announcing Houdini’s live theater performance coming up later in the day. These kinds of awareness building approaches would inevitably lead to sold out crowds for the evening’s show.

To this day, he remains a household name, and why?

WORD OF MOUTH. Tactics to build word of mouth through grabbing the attention of the public and taking them on a spectacular and emotional ride, leading to them wanting more of this wonderful feeling. This resulted i the viewers desire to see Houdini’s live magic and escape shows. In following this formula, Houdini inspired awe to such a degree that word of mouth was the logical outcome. This included people talking about the miraculous journey they had undergone first seeing his outdoor escapes and then going to Houdini’s shows. And the sharing extended to year after year of family telling family, as well as friend sharing with friend, their intrigue of this performance artist, Harry Houdini.

Post Death Promotion

Even after death, Houdini continued to receive ever building word of mouth. A prearranged wonderful and attention getting publicity stunt was carried out by the late performer’s wife, Bessie. She was seeking out psychics, asking them to divine through their mystical abilities, a code word arranged with her then living legendary husband. Although he had debunked many so-called psychics during his lifetime, Houdini still wanted to believe that mediums were real even though he could recreate any “cosmic” cosmic” demonstrations made by spiritualists to prove their powers were real.

Yianni Stamas Talks About the Significance of December 28 in Relation to Houdini Day and the 4th Day of Christmas

All Hallow’s Eve

I am on a Holiday and should not be writing this, but I am doing so anyway. Cannot help myself, I guess. There is no question that Halloween is my favorite Holiday. Not because of the ghosts and ghouls but because it is “Houdini Day,” the day that the greatest magician of all time passed to the great beyond. Honoring Houdini on Houdini Day is important. But today is still 307 days until Houdini Day (October 31), so for the sake of this post we are going to want to explore other aspects of the meaning of today’s date.

It is for the Birds

Today is also the 4th Day of Christmas, the day of the 4 calling birds. The funny thing is though, when you dig into is a bit deeper you uncover that all these years you have been singing “calling birds” when the reality is, it started out as “colly birds. A lot of times when depicted on holiday cards the 4 calling birds are being warm and fuzzy when they began as being crows.

Looking Forward

Well, at least in this noticeably short post we have explored something festive in keeping with the holiday spirit. But I still look forward to a day upcoming that its distance away if measured in months is exactly 10.0931. Happy 2021 everyone!

Celebrating Houdini Day

A Day Soon Upon Us

Yes, it is 2020 on a Wednesday, looking forward Saturday which is Houdini Day. It is an honor to be writing for the official Houdini Day website and blog, if only because of our name. The photo above shows Houdini in the center, as he always. Although some did not like the magician, no one ever questioned his place in the very center of American magic.

Channeling the Master of Magic

On Saturday evening we will do what we always do which is try to communicate with Harry from beyond the grave. Hopeful that we will make that contact, we move forward. Even Houdini while alive doubted the existence of supernatural powers, yet there seemed to always be a part of him that wanted to believe.. If we believe, will we connect with him, the day of his death October 31st?

Houdini Would Not Understand

Apparently Houdini was not a very nice fellow. There are stories of him competing and name calling he used to somehow further his fame. And it worked for him. His name lives on all over the world. But let’s take a look at what it must have been like to have had to deal with him. I am honored to be a member of the first chapter of an international organization, for which he was president for several years. I know I’ve gone into this before, but it is a great paradigm for living with criticism, meaning those who had to interact with him at meetings.

I’ve been a member of the same chapter for only three years, but during that time everything was copesetic. There have been fights for power to become president that I  was in the loop for. A resolution was achieved for the moment but the feelings live on. I imagine that our dear Harry must have just snapped being president because that was the only position that made sense to him in the early 1900’s. Our president today is a wonderful person who works hard and is inclusive.

There has been today a post on the very new Home Business Achievers in the eLearning department. It looks at Nike’s “Just do it” and does a touch up job making the fresh phrase: “Do it anyway.” Personally I’ve had a problem living “Just do it anyway.” I have initially followed the mantra “Just do it anyway,” and have done thinks like publishing an eBook on magic and initially having great results in the number sold as well as in the first two days becoming the number 1 status in marketing. But I got one bad review and I couldn’t handle it. I removed the book immediately. A humble eBook that could have had a place in a certain section of magic. If he was alive, Houdini would not understand.

Houdini Pre Social Media

Hook ‘Em In!

In the photo above,  the man in the circular shape is is of course Harry Houdini. Houdini was not only a great magician and escape artist in the early 1900’s, he was also a remarkable marketer. He knew how to use what at the time was an effective way to market: publicity stunts. This can still be used today but not likely to have the same impact. You see, this was pre television, cable, internet and more, so people gravitated to live entertainment. Houdini’s stunts were done in public places such as hanging upside down and escaping from a straight jacket. This stunt would lead to flyers being passed around to the gathered crowd announcing his live performance later in the evening.

Go After Individuals Who are Motivated to Buy

How does this link to social media? The connection is the need to get the prospect excited in finding something they desperately need, much like the gaping gatherings viewing Harry. With social media you need to know exactly what you want your viewer to do, or your paid ads worthless. For example, you could want the prospect to click on your Facebook ad about a free marketing video. When the prospect clicks, she or he is taken to video that promotes your services while at the same time has a benefit for them that motivates them to watch the video in the first place.

Get ‘Em Excited

In our example we want the future customer to watch the video to become informed. There might also be an offer for purchasing your product and/or joining your newsletter that means you get their email. With their email you can always sell to them later. Remember, just like Harry Houdini did with his crowds many years ago, you’ve got to rev up your future customer!

Houdini is a Part of the Whole Shebang

Merging

We are thrilled to announce that all of the various awards projects inherited by DIYdigi.com are going to be a part of the whole shebang to be celebrated on Houdini Day which is of course on October 31st, the day of Houdini’s death in 1926. Said Marketer Magician “Big Apple Awards and Houdini Day are joining forces with USmakeadifference and going to be the “go to” celebration for those making a difference i New York City and beyond!

Across America

“US Make a Difference” in its very title is encouraging members of the US (United States) to make a difference in their communities. And many are across America despite the challenges that currently exist.

Much to See

Keep your eyes open for more!

Houdini Could Not Escape Death But His Legend Lives On

The Houdini Legend

Houdini had the reputation of being able to escape from just about anything, but he could not escape death. He died on Halloween, 1926. But his death market not the end, but just the beginning of the build of his brand. He in life had been able to get hold of fascination by his audience and it was really “the people” who built the Houdini legend.

The Psyche of His Fans

Houdini has been the topic of many movie, documentaries and blog articles. It seems as if his name multiplies in terms of notoriety, daily. He is truly a viral success and all because he caught the public’s interest many years ago. His career was amazing from a marketing point of view in that he was always able to tape into the psyche’s of his audience.

Superhuman Ability

This brings up the question, why was Houdini so popular and what did he represent? To the various individuals who he performed for over time, saw him as a kind of superhero, able to escape from police handcuffs, walk through walls and even make an elephant vanish. The word is among some magicians was that he wasn’t a great conjurer but he was a terrific showman and he learned early on to give members of the public what they wanted: superhuman ability.

Looking Forward to the Next National Magic Week

National Magic Day

 

The most important magic day in the history of prestidigitators is on October 31, which aside from being a part of the “All Hallow’s Eve” fun, is the date of Houdini’s death, also known as National Magic Day.

 

Houdini Day

 

This was made a reality in 1938 when a member of the Chicago Assembly of the Society of American Magicians sought out Mrs. Houdini who at the time was living in my neighborhood in Manhattan, NY. Mrs. Houdini sanctioned the October 31 observance and it became “Houdini Day” which is of course the name of this website.

 

Communicating with Spirits

 

Houdini Day is the day that sadly, Harry went to the great beyond and we of the Society of American Magicians are suspending our disbelief as we try every Halloween through a séance to communicate with the spirit of this great escape artist and conjurer.

 

The Next National Magic Week

 

Also, Magic Week is celebrated during the week that Houdini passed away. For example, as of this writing, National Magic Week will next be celebrated starting on Sunday, October 25th, 2020 and running through to Saturday October 31, the date of H.H.’s death.

 

Helping Others

 

Houdini Day and National Magic Week is a time period that magician’s give back by the community through performing for sick children in hospitals who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to attend a magic show. Hence, the magic show is brought to them. Happy National Magic Week!

The Women in Houdini’s Life

The Women in Houdini’s Life

Houdini was one of the greatest marketers of all time. He impacted the world in so many ways. His life was like a series of work concentrated periods, much like a painter or sculptor. One of the most important influences for Harry Houdini were the women in his life: his mother and his wife.

Illusion Versus Reality

Houdini’s dream was to make his mother proud and to take care of her. This was one of the greatest motivators he had throughout his life. And even after she died, although he was a magician who peddled illusion for a living, his greatest hope was to contact his mother from beyond the grave.

Houdini Day

Bess Houdini, Harry’s wife, helped him throughout his career in many ways. She started out as his assistant and in later years represented his home life. While still alive Houdini and Mrs. Houdini agreed on a code so that whoever was to die first would try to contact the other, with the code authentication as proof of contact. Harry Houdini died first and absolute proof that he contacted his wife was never made. Houdini died on Halloween of 1926 which became known as “Houdini Day” the name of the website you are reading from right now.