Houdini was an Amazing Publicist for Himself Back in the 1920’s, But How Would He Feel About Today’s Social Media and Other Free Digital Publicity Methods?

The Downside of Digital

We’ve all heard the negative side of social media, where because of how someone represented themself or others portrayed them, leading to outcomes like suicide, reputations ruined and even trouble with the law. Social media is a touchy thing. On the one hand it provides an opportunity for promoting people or products, while on the other hand it can turn on you quickly in ways you might not expect.

Simpler Times?

Houdini did what he did during a very different time. Essentially there was one media, the local newspaper, and one way to succeed as a performer: get booked in bigger and bigger theaters. Although he did have negative press at times, overall, the method of gaining an audience was a pretty basic one. He would do something to attract the public to come out in throngs to watch him do a publicity stunt.

Get ‘Em to Tonight’s Show

Publicity stunts he did for an ever-growing crowd included escaping from a straitjacket while hanging upside down, he would do a publicity stunt locally, such as hanging upside down in a straitjacket hanging, escaping from it as the crowd gathered. And once triumphant, getting out the word he would be appearing at a particular theater that evening.

Everyone is the Media

How might Houdini use digital media if he was alive today. Some say he would take cues from influencers but innovating beyond that making it his own. He would probably use all the tools, hire others to do them for him but watching them very closely. And so on. There are those who believe Houdini would have a hard time of it today because now everyone has access to being the media themselves. How could he compete with that?


In his day only certain people who did outrageous and compelling things like he did would get written up in a newspaper. There was only so much room. He would get the publicity while others would not, so he rose up above them. I personally believe he would innovate. Come up with approaches that transcends whatever people are doing to promote themselves on social media.

WizNYC (The Wizard Of New York City) presents a Preview of a Project Under Consideration: Houdini’s Marketing Secrets Unlocked for Magicians and Mentalists Only

Hello and welcome magicians, mentalists and curious members of the public…

Due to Oaths Taken as a Member of a Magic Society, WizNYC Wants YOU to Know that No True Secrets Can Be Revealed in this Email, 

I wanted to be very upfront about the fact that no magic or marketing secrets are going to be featured in what you are about to read. The truth of the matter is that there will likely be those who are not magicians or mentalists who will see this page. That, in tandem with this being only for magic or mentalism entertainers, means a certain amount of holding back secrets, respecting the oath many of us took as a part of being sworn into our magic or mentalism societies and organizations. But it is not our aim to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Hasn’t Harry Houdini Already Been Analyzed Enough in Terms of his Marketing Secrets?

Yes. Absolutely. Many magicians and magic historians have taken a look at the methods that Harry Houdini used to publicize and advertise himself. He did so by using an ever-evolving methodology that was so effective, that even though he died on Halloween in 1926, he still the most famous magician in the world today. So, if others have already looked at his life and work from the standpoint of him having been a brilliant marketer magician, what can there possibly be left to talk about?

How did He Do it?

How did he get so much attention? Why has his celebrity remained intact and is and is still flourishing in these modern times?

He Had Fewer Marketing Tools

In order to market himself, Harry Houdini did not have at his disposal the internet, search engines, social media the metaverse and much more. Yet he succeeds beyond expectations.

So, with All of Our Latest Tools Being Available, why is Houdini Still the Most Famous Conjurer in the World?

Okay, okay. We have to give props to David Copperfield, because he comes closer than anyone else has in recent times. He is not only a great performer, but like Houdini, Copperfield understands the importance of honoring achievers of the magic arts and its creators. Just as Houdini had a vast collection of magic memorabilia, so does David. His new book “David Copperfield’s History of Magic” is now available and features Houdini items and more.

Will the Globe’s Best-Known Prestidigitator Please Stand Up

Otherwise, it is slim pickings when it comes to finding a deserving entertainer who could be called the “Most Famous Magician. This is in part due to how many magicians, although though having skills and talent, tend to imitate rather than innovate. The problem is that Houdini’s publicity strategies when utilized by most magicians, is done so in a literal way, by imitating Houdini’s publicity stunts including remaining underwater for long periods of time, have been buried underground for days, or remaining visible for days in a box many stories up in the air. These wizards, rather than looking at the underlying principles of what Houdini did as a showman, merely mimicked him.

Original Thinker

Houdini was an original thinker and creator. He was always one step ahead of his contemporaries who also sought to promote themselves. Houdini recognized the importance of technology as representing present day trends of great interest to the public. His interaction with technology included being secured on the wing of a flying plane before they were common place, appeared in motion pictures when they were just emerging, and much more. He spotted early on trends that were gaining momentum, then rode the waves.

Here’s a question: “If Harry Houdini was alive today would he be able to promote himself up to the equal fame he had back in time?”

My answer is “yes” I believe so. Because if he was someone accumulated in the elements of what we have presently, there is no doubt in my mind that he would innovate and be a step ahead of all. My guess is that he might not even with escapes and such. He would spot the trends, get in early and make a stupendous impression.

What is the Purpose of this Post?

It is the preview of a project under consideration which has not yet been determined it will be made public. It is intended for magicians and mentalists only. Though, there is a possibility that, if released, it will be accessible to other trusted entertainers and entrepreneurs who would be sworn to secrecy. If the project continues to evolve offstage and we are comfortable about others seeing it, may lead to publishing it.

Stay tuned, because if new news occurs, we’ll be talking about it. Either way:

Magically Yours, WizNYC.