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Ken Silverman on:
"the master publicist"

Ken Silverman
Ken Silverman Houdini was a fabulous publicist. I mean, it certainly is one of the reasons why we still remember his name. He learned a lot from the circus, especially the technique of sort of plastering towns with posters. Houdini went into a city, I mean, he’d take 10,000 posters and they’d be up on every lamp post in town. He really studied advertising. He bought a lot of books on the history of advertising. He got to know early advertising men. One of his close friends was the guy who invented the advertising jingle. And Houdini adopted every means thinkable. I mean, he had decals made of himself. He had tens of thousands of promotional booklets, tens of thousands of posters, all kinds of giveaways and endless stories that he gave out to the press. He wanted to be sure that his name was always on the front page.

He got to know the leading publishers, newspaper publishers in the world. Some of his closest friends were the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, and the publisher of the New York Times, Adolph Ochs. They were both pall bearers at Houdini’s funeral. They were often at his house for dinner. And it didn’t hurt his publicity campaign to have those people on your side.

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