Times of London Consults Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks

{mosimage}Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks a/k/a
Johnny Bravo are more than friends and idols of the entire editorial
board of Quinlan's Inside Magic, they are world-renown experts in our
favorite subject in history, Harry Houdini.

We've written in past issues with glowing but accurate prose about their outstanding Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  The
museum, Mr. Bravo's lecture, and the lovely Ms. Dietrich's performance
combine to make a perfect day; appealing to magicians and non-magicians
equally. 

When the Times of London
needed experts to opine on the accuracy of the latest Houdini book —
complete with the obligatory new "Houdini Revelation" — it turned to
Mr. Bravo and Ms. Dietrich.

The Times hoped to test the "secrets" to be revealed in The Secret Life of Houdini when the book publishes on October 31st.  Could
it be Houdini was more than just your prototypical world-famous escape
artist, conjurer, flight pioneer, silent movie producer, self-promoter,
devoted husband, doting uncle, dedicated and mourning son, as well as
spiritualist debunker?

The Times relates that:

Two
American authors have suddenly announced that Houdini was more than the
world’s greatest showman. In their forthcoming biography, The Secret
Life of Houdini, William Kalush and Larry Sloman say he was a secret
agent; a spy.

They suggest that he gathered top-secret information in Germany when he performed there before the first world war.

They say he could have been involved in the surveillance of anarchists in Russia.

And
they maintain that without his services to international espionage,
Harry Houdini may not have become the star whose extraordinary exploits
are still the stuff of legend today.

We haven't had a chance to read the book so it is difficult to argue specifics.  But
the fact that The Times sought Mr. Bravo and Ms. Dietrich's opinion,
indicates there is at least some reason to doubt the authors'
sensational theories.

The Times quotes the couple on an important preliminary question:

Do
magicians make good spies? I put the question to John Bravo and Dorothy
Dietrich, two magicians who run the Houdini Museum in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. "Well, we certainly know a lot of techniques that are not
known to the general public," says Dietrich, who performs Houdiniesque
stunts herself, such as escaping from a straitjacket while hanging from
a burning rope 150ft off the ground. Both Bravo and Dietrich say the
Agent Houdini revelations are news to them. "It’s a possibility," says
Bravo.

"I know he did some experiments with
the navy and underwater survival techniques. And I know for certain
that he worked with our soldiers before they went to war, teaching them
how to get out of German restraints."

"You know what," says Dietrich, "the more you study Houdini, the more you learn."

We look forward to the release of this new book.  We know little about Mr. Larry "Ratso" Sloman  but recall that Mr. Kalush is the Founder of the Conjuring Arts Research Center and publishes Gibecière – a journal dedicated to the scholarly study of magic history. 

{mosimage}Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks a/k/a
Johnny Bravo are more than friends and idols of the entire editorial
board of Quinlan's Inside Magic, they are world-renown experts in our
favorite subject in history, Harry Houdini.

We've written in past issues with glowing but accurate prose about their outstanding Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  The
museum, Mr. Bravo's lecture, and the lovely Ms. Dietrich's performance
combine to make a perfect day; appealing to magicians and non-magicians
equally. 

When the Times of London
needed experts to opine on the accuracy of the latest Houdini book —
complete with the obligatory new "Houdini Revelation" — it turned to
Mr. Bravo and Ms. Dietrich.

The Times hoped to test the "secrets" to be revealed in The Secret Life of Houdini when the book publishes on October 31st.  Could
it be Houdini was more than just your prototypical world-famous escape
artist, conjurer, flight pioneer, silent movie producer, self-promoter,
devoted husband, doting uncle, dedicated and mourning son, as well as
spiritualist debunker?

The Times relates that:

Two
American authors have suddenly announced that Houdini was more than the
world’s greatest showman. In their forthcoming biography, The Secret
Life of Houdini, William Kalush and Larry Sloman say he was a secret
agent; a spy.

They suggest that he gathered top-secret information in Germany when he performed there before the first world war.

They say he could have been involved in the surveillance of anarchists in Russia.

And
they maintain that without his services to international espionage,
Harry Houdini may not have become the star whose extraordinary exploits
are still the stuff of legend today.

We haven't had a chance to read the book so it is difficult to argue specifics.  But
the fact that The Times sought Mr. Bravo and Ms. Dietrich's opinion,
indicates there is at least some reason to doubt the authors'
sensational theories.

The Times quotes the couple on an important preliminary question:

Do
magicians make good spies? I put the question to John Bravo and Dorothy
Dietrich, two magicians who run the Houdini Museum in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. "Well, we certainly know a lot of techniques that are not
known to the general public," says Dietrich, who performs Houdiniesque
stunts herself, such as escaping from a straitjacket while hanging from
a burning rope 150ft off the ground. Both Bravo and Dietrich say the
Agent Houdini revelations are news to them. "It’s a possibility," says
Bravo.

"I know he did some experiments with
the navy and underwater survival techniques. And I know for certain
that he worked with our soldiers before they went to war, teaching them
how to get out of German restraints."

"You know what," says Dietrich, "the more you study Houdini, the more you learn."

We look forward to the release of this new book.  We know little about Mr. Larry "Ratso" Sloman  but recall that Mr. Kalush is the Founder of the Conjuring Arts Research Center and publishes Gibecière – a journal dedicated to the scholarly study of magic history. 

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