Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harry Houdini - Grave

 This is by far the ultimate in magic graves. It's beyond grand and probably out of place in a Jewish Cemetery. But it's all Houdini. In 1916, Harry Houdini decided have a massive marble monument built for the family plot he purchased at the Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, NY. He had his father and mother and older brother Herman moved to the family plot.

The entire Houdini family is here, with one exception, Bess, his wife. She is listed as being buried here but she is not. Because Bess was Catholic, she is in a different cemetery. There are two graves that have no tombstone, apparently the stones need to be repaired and have remained unrepaired for a long time. Those graves are of Leopold and Gladys.

Recently, the Houdini Museum in Scranton PA took it upon themselves to have the bust recreated and restored to the gravesite. The original has been destroyed by vandals and then a duplicate was later stolen. Suffice to say the Houdini grave has not been treated kindly over the years.

It should be noted that Houdini started the tradition of the 'Broken Wand' Ceremony. This is a ceremony conducted after the passing of a fellow magician. A magic wand is broken to signify that their earthly magic has passed on. As far as I know, the Broken Wand Ceremony is carried out every Halloween at the Houdini Gravesite by the Parent Assembly #1.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Carter The Great - Grave

Charles Joseph Carter, better known as Carter the Great was born in 1874 in New Castle Penn. Along with his credentials as a magician, Carter was also a lawyer, he ran an entertainment agency, he was a producer and a journalist running his own entertainment trade magazine for a period of time.

Instead of fighting over the same showbiz crumbs in America, Carter eventually decided to take his show on the road, well actually on the seas and perform around the world! He toured the globe 7 times, though I am not sure the seventh tour was officially completed as he died in while on tour.

The link above give a little more detailed account of his life than I am giving you here. If you'd like a fantastic account of the life of this world traveling performer then you'll want to locate a copy of Mike Caveney's Carter Book. It's simply fantastic. The information comes direct from Charles Carter's scrapbooks and notebooks. The stories are out of this world.

In fact, I'll share with you one quick story that I also mention over at my other blog. At the end of one of Carter's tours overseas, he tried to book passage on a new ocean liner. He was denied passage however because there was no available storage for his props. It seems some very wealthy people had booked passage on this ship as well and took up most of the available storage. It was a good thing too because that ship was the TITANIC!

Charles Carter died while on tour in Feb of 1936. He is buried in the family plot in Calvary Cemetery in Queens NY. The photo below is provided by Richie Magic. I'll try and post another photo of the entire tombstone if/when one becomes available.
photo courtesy of Richie Magic