HPS202 Textbook Reading - Steinmeyer Ch1

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Course Code

of 1
Steinmeyer - Hiding the Elephant ch 1
Harry Houdini and vanishing elephant at Hippodrome
not sophisticated, designed to gasp, smile and write home about
terrible magician; operation take long, cutout box to show curtains from back of stage
but remembered as an escape artist, myth; not especially graceful but restless collection
of shapes, though want to be real magician
Robert-Houdin as Father of Modern Music; for Houdini at first magic world not like he
Davenport brothers act with spirits
Houdini’s act emphasizing freedom, mirror cuffs, Chinese Water Torture Cell
perfectionist, never fail escape
speciality in convincing everyone a near catastrophe
proudly associated with magicians, rivalry
Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, take apart onetime inspiration and namesake as fraud;
although Robert-Houdin clever writer, Houdini employ ghostwriters
East Indian Needle Mystery
successes lead him to deemphasize water tanks, stress “Grand Magical Revenue”
horrible magician, nowhere elegant
Howard Thurston as famous, almost more, but Houdini about creating legend and
making Thurston forgotten
everything Houdini was not
success from expressing love on stage
search world for wonders
levitation device, hoop over her, use children
Houdini’s elephant vanishing illusion real puzzle
secret perfectly hidden in plain sight but fail to impress audience
careful interactions of secret and performance, subtleties
magician as actor playing part of magician , battle of wits
audience welcoming to be deceived and fools