Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Montage of images and link description. Houdini Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More
Reference
Interview Transcripts | Further Reading

Ken Silverman on:
Houdini being the best

Ken Silverman
Ken Silverman As with any youngster starting into magic, it represents a certain amount of separation from the herd: "I can do this and you can’t." This is specific secret, arcane knowledge perhaps. And on the otehr hand, I have always looked upon Houdini's career and the career of any magician as escapism. And I don't mean that as a pun. It is an escape from a real world, a real world in which you are limited by the laws of nature. Houdini, you know, could stand no rivals. I mean, the idea that any magician could be considered greater than he was intolerable to Houdini.

Robert-Houdin was probably the most famous magician in history. Houdini, although he took his name from Robert-Houdin, then wrote a book trying to show that all the things claimed for Robert-Houdin were false: that Houdin had not revolutionized magic, that he had not even written his memoirs, that he was a second rate magician. A long list, trying to expose him as a sham. It’s the way Houdini treated anybody who could be regarded as a rival.

back to Interview Transcripts | next


Program Description | Enhanced Transcript | Reference

The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline | Gallery | People & Events | Teacher's Guide
The American Experience | Kids | Feedback | Search | Shop | Subscribe

©  New content 1999 PBS Online / WGBH

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: