(Expanded 12-16-12) More comments on that “M-U-M” article about Professor Hoffmann . . .

The article by Harry Houdini which I discussed here and here reads mainly like a “research” paper drawing on assorted published works.  Basically, it seems to me mainly like a rehash.

The likely source of many of Houdini’s basic facts in the article is “How I Became a Conjurer,” an interesting article by Professor Hoffmann that was published in The Magician Annual 1908-9.

I am not certain of the source of the information on Hoffmann’s final illness.  I believe that Eddie Dawes, in his book on Stanley Collins, mentioned that The Magic Circular contained such information in late 1919, and Eddie may have quoted or paraphrased some of that information.  (I seem to remember from that work of Eddie’s that Hoffmann had suffered a fall and was confined to bed.)

In Latest Magic (page 222), Hoffmann mentions that “failing energy and failing eyesight warn me that my day is over, and that ‘the night cometh, wherein no man can work.'”

It would have been nice if Houdini had mentioned Hoffmann as an inventor of card games.  The article does mention “patience games,” but I think that was an allusion to The Illustrated Book of Patience Games.

—Tom Sawyer

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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