UPDATE — August 21, 2014
Act One/Part One (15 pages) of “The Mask of Doctor Satan” will be posted this evening, at midnight PST. I will post the next parts (already half written) every seven days, unless the agents of Doctor Satan do something horrible to me. i am now in hiding, so I thing all is on track for a fun adventure fiction from 1938.
In the interlude before the curtain goes up, some nice old photographs of Harry Houdini. He has a cameo in the first part of “The Mask of Doctor Satan,” set when Houdini spent most of his time busting up fraudulent seace operators. Science vs. Magic is a theme. Houdini was an early pioneer of the art of modern promotions and publicity. He wrote the first playbook. Genius! Houdini! The Great Houdini!
Houdini was involved in a public altercation, over use of his name and/or mailing address, with different accounts about what happened. To clear up any mystery, Houdini reenacted the scene himself in photographs. I think Houdini’s official version reads like a Yiddish joke, just how he wrote it. He was perhaps the first real live daredevil master of everything, with “best in the world” in the newspapers right under his photograph, and he made sure the newspaper heard about it.
In 1925, seances were popular and became big money for the spirit mediums. Houdini got big headlines exposing fakers. He snuck into their seances, then exposed their tricks.
A group of professional magicians attempting to contact Houdini 20 years after his death.
The Great Houdini in his younger days, presenting a much more muscular, working class version of magic that was far more blue collar than white tie and tails. The art of the escape artist. The public ate it up. He was huge and is still remembered with great fondness, more than eighty years after his death.