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Profile of rlkaiser
It's nice to be here. Thanks for having me.
I'm a journalist living in Appleton, Wisconsin, the town where Houdini lived for a few years as a boy, and I have some questions about him. The things I'm wondering might sound trivial, but it's my experience as a writer that the best way to bring someone back to life in a very vivid way through the written word is to focus on the things that made him or her human. So here's what I want to know:
1. Where did Houdini buy his clothes or have them made? What were his preferences as far as fabric? How much did he pay for them? Where did he buy his shoes and what size were they? What sorts of shoes did he prefer? How did he dress when he was casually attired? DId he like to buy clothes or was he frugal, wearing the same clothes for years and years? How about his socks? Anything unusual about those?
2. His morning routine. Did he spend a lot of time combing his hair? It looks like it might have been a bear to comb -- very coarse and thick. Was he vain? Did he spend a lot of time in front of the mirror in the morning? Did he comb his hair and shave and get dressed before eating breakfast or after? What did he like for breakfast? Did he wear cologne? What kind? DId he shave every day? How often did he get his h aircut and where and by whom and how much did he pay for a haircut back then? When and why did he start parting his hair in the middle? What suit was he buried in? Did Bess buy it new just for the occasion or was it one he had had for awhile? What did it look like? Where was it bought? Did he read the newspaper in the morning? Which one? Did he read it while eating breakfast? How many hours a night did he sleep? Did he and Bess share a bed or sleep in separate twin beds? What was his home office like and where was it in his home?
If anyone knows any of the answers to these questions or any other small matter pertaining to Houdini that would help humanize him in a piece of writing, please let me know. I would appreciate it very much.
Many thanks in advance.
Fantasy Knight
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Profile of Fantasy Knight
Rlkaiser, Hello and wow, those are some very personal questions, which are the kind you have to sorta hear the answers from the mouth of Houdini himself. But seeing your not going to able to do that id say your in for a long haul on this one.
Now I can offer you a few things here not sure they will help or not, but back when I was a kid I was given a project in school and it was to be presented to the class as a speech. Well I was given the topic.. living or non living person reconized in the world for something she or he did. Well growing up and my grandfather being the son of a magician he had made me do it on Houdini and so the speech I wrote was based on things that I found out and was told from my grandfather. Now luckly for me I live in canada and about 2 hours from Niagara falls and back then the Houdini magical hall of fame was still standing before it burned down.
But heres what I can tell you from things I had been told from Mr. Henry Muller at the museum, Houdini was said to have looked like he slept in his cloths, but he did show up at conventions and in most pictures wearing a three peice suit. He had long curly hair and keep his face groomed well, My grandfather said he made a lot of money for them days but liked to spend it just as fast on his exspensive collections of books and paintings. Now as for knowing what type of fabric and such you might be able to find this out one or two ways, David Copperfeild bought what was left in the remains of the fire at the museum and has most of his personal belongs I'm sure he could tell you something from just looking at it. Then theres James Randi he was a consultant at the museum so he might be able to help that is if hes still even around.
So not sure that was much help but hey I tried and its a start.

Rick Anderson
Grew up near one of the greatest minds in magic the late Stewart James, in a town called Wallaceburg just 15 mins from Courtright where James could be found, time and time again he would inspire me to always be creative and just love all magic.
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Profile of InventorRu
On page 162 of The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman it talks about his appearance leaving a lot to be desired and how little regard he held for his attire.I've also read somewhere of Bess complaining that he didn't wash very well or often.I think it might be in the same book but cannot just find it.
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You can always hope Houdini finally breaks through from the other side some Halloween...may be only way to get some of those questions answered.

Is Houdini museum in Appleton still around? That may be place to start. If I remember correctly he donated his library to the Library of Congress..if there's any journals or correspondence there, that might be a start.

Good Luck
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Profile of grebo236
Contact Peter at He has a lot of Houdini's personal items and may know some of the answers to your questions.
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