The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini

The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini

by Bruce MacNab

Paperback(First Edition)

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Winner, Best Atlantic Published Book Award

Shortlisted, Canadian Regional Design Award

met-a-mor-pho-sis: a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.

In May of 1896, a young magician from New York City joined the cast of the Marco Magic Company and embarked on a summer-long tour of eastern Canada, including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was during this excursion that Handcuff Harry AKA Harry Houdini first showcased the talent that transformed him from a small-time conjurer, who performed for pennies in dime museums, into the world's most celebrated escape artist. When he wasn't performing on stage, Houdini was barnstorming through the streets of every town and city he visited, astounding onlookers in police stations, hardware stores and hospitals by freeing himself from the clutches of every restraining device strapped or wrapped around him.

In this absorbing book, enriched by rare, period photographs, Bruce MacNab recounts a fascinating but shockingly untold chapter in the career of the man whose name is still synonymous with the word magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780864926777
Publisher: Goose Lane Editions
Publication date: 10/26/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bruce MacNab grew up in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and attended the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology. Since then, he has worked as an author, carpenter, craftsman, tutor, and teacher. He has long been fascinated with the story of Harry Houdini. His articles have appeared in the Beaver, the Chronicle Herald, History Today, and other magazines and newspapers. Bruce MacNab now lives in New Ross, Nova Scotia, a region steeped in the mythology of Oak Island and Prince Henry Sinclair. The Metamorphosis is his first book.

Table of Contents

Foreword Patrick Culliton 11

Prologue 13

Introduction 17

Part 1 Setting the Stage

Chapter 1 Houdini 101 20

Chapter 2 Working on the Railroad 34

Chapter 3 Nova Scotia Bound! 44

Part 2 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Chapter 4 Houdini Lands in Canada 54

Chapter 5 Handcuff King 64

Chapter 6 Opening Night 72

Part 3 New Brunswick

Chapter 7 Footlights and Fog Banks 80

Chapter 8 The Maniac Cuff 94

Chapter 9 A Household of Wrecked Minds 100

Chapter 10 Port City Problems 110

Chapter 11 Marco Loses His Buttons 120

Chapter 12 A Change of Programme 128

Chapter 13 Houdini Meets the White Mahatma 134

Chapter 14 Deception at the Dufferin 144

Chapter 15 Svengali and Trilby Take on Saint John 152

Chapter 16 Off With Her Head 160

Chapter 17 Riders in the Storm 170

Chapter 18 Secrets for Sale 176

Part 4 Halifax, Nova Scotia

Chapter 19 Hoodwinked in Halifax 186

Chapter 20 Anniversaries and Adversities 194

Chapter 21 I'm in the Jailhouse Now 202

Chapter 22 Countdown to Curtain Time 210

Chapter 23 Entertainment for the Few 218

Chapter 24 Try, Try Again 224

Chapter 25 Disaster at the Academy 232

Chapter 26 Marco Loses His Magic 240

Part 5 Houdini the Headliner

Chapter 27 Redemption 246

Chapter 28 Tied Up in Truro 256

Chapter 29 A Magician Among the Hillers 268

Chapter 30 Where Mystery Sets Sail 278

Chapter 31 Cursed in Chignecto 282

Chapter 32 Natural Phenomena 292

Chapter 33 Barnstorming 296

Chapter 34 Houdini at Hickman's 302

Chapter 35 City of Jailbreakers 310

Chapter 36 Homeward Bound 318

Epilogue The Rest of the Story 323

Acknowledgements 343

Notes 347

Selected Bibliography 353

Index 357

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A definitive masterpiece of describing the early travelling life of the world's greatest showman in magic. An explicit 'diary' of Harry Houdini during his first Maritime-Canadian tour, filled with details unlike any other historical documents previously published! Exciting and brilliantly written!" — Coral and Peter Reveen, hypnotist, magician, performers, The Man They Call Reveen

"This is a book that will wow the magic world. Not only does it contain a wealth of never-before-published photos, but Bruce MacNab has drilled down into a relatively unknown period of Houdini's early life and uncovered facts, incidents, and artifacts that rewrite Houdini history. This is one of the most important books ever written about the great escape artist. It's also just a wonderfully told story. A standing ovation for The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini." — John Cox, creator of Wild About Harry

"This is a terrific book. After reading The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini, I was left amazed by all the new details, photos, and juicy tidbits Bruce MacNab has uncovered. This book is well researched and a must-read for anyone interested in Houdini." — Dorothy Dietrich, The First Lady of Magic, founder/director of The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA

"No other performer captured the attention and entertained an audience during the vaudeville era as did Houdini. Bruce MacNab has done an amazing job in researching and sharing new information in his book The Metamorphosis. While Houdini toured with Marco the Magician for twelve weeks in 1896 throughout the Maritime provinces, he learned skills in the art of suspense and marketing that helped shape his career and made him the legend he is today. As the proud owner of one of Houdini"s original Metamorphosis trunks, I am sure Houdini would agree that the book deserves a standing ovation." — Roger Dreyer, CEO, Fantasma Magic and Houdini Museum, New York

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