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Resume


 

                                                    JON OLIVER'S RESUME


 

At the bottom of this page you can read the history of Jon's growth from 1976 to the present,
and gauge for yourself why Jon was named "The Only Successor of Houdini" by the Houdini family.
Jon met both Vinnie Hinson (nephew of Houdini) and Ruthanne Hinson aka "Aunt Ruthie" (niece of
Houdini) in 1975. His love and interest in Houdini started as a young teenager. Jon has an enormous
amount of Houdini's personal belongings, as well as handcuffs and locks. He is an active entertainer,
writer, TV personality, lecturer, builder, and collector.


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Book written by Jon Oliver in 1996. Not
only is he Houdini's only successor and
currently performing, he is an author and
is in the midst of writing a second book,
which hopefully will be completed in 2012.


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Jon played an instrumental part in
working with Ian McColl and Ruthanne
Hinson in getting permission to have
the commemorative "Letter Combination
Handcuffs" made to go along with his
first book on the subject.


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A Little History

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When Jon was seven or eight years old
he was given this toy magic box as a
Christmas gift. It was his inspiration for
all his dreams of being an entertainer, a
magician, and an escape artist. Little
did his cousin know back then how she
helped determine Jon's life, his loves,
and his amazing collections.


 

From 1976 to present, Jon has performed his "Upside Down Straight Jacket" over 200+ times, has done well over 100+
jail breaks, including out of John Dillinger's cell in Crown Point, Indiana, as well as his "Milk Can" escape. He has
escaped out of handcuffs more times then can be counted all over the country, in Mexico and Canada.

NOTE: Since 1984, Jon has traveled continuously in some entertainment form or other, from theater circuits to school
shows, averaging between 300 to 500 shows a year. The following is a list of things he has accomplished over and above
his regular performances.

Just to mention a few of his activities, Jon has been involved in various fund raisers, Juvenile Diabetes, American
Diabetes Association, various animal shelters, D.A.R.E, Optimist Club, Masons, Elks, Moose, Christmas for poverty
outreach programs, Native American reservations, performing for our military troops, and various religious groups as
well as other multiple groups and organizations. He is well known in the K-12 and various universities for performing at
assemblies and in science classes. There is no job too big or too small for Jon.

1976 - His first paid show was a birthday party, and he started advancing his career in other areas of entertainment.

1978 - He did his first of many years of performing for the Rotary Club picnics, and did his first jail break in Hazel
Park, MI.

1979 - The first year that he started touring high schools across lower MI.

1980 - He became the only living person to be displayed at Houdini's Magical Hall of Fame in Niagra Falls. He met
Vinnie Hinson, nephew to Houdini, and also Ruthanne Hinson, niece of Houdini in 1975. Jon also performed for the
Republican Party Presidential Fundraiser, and then again for their children. Had a private show for President Gerald
Ford and his wife, and was invited to entertain at a fundraiser for Ted Kennedy.

1981 - Jon started entertaining at military bases, mainly the Air Force and was the star of a seven person show
featuring him accepting challenges.

1983 - P.M. Magazine National gave him a spot accepting challenges to escape from a 250 gallon water tank.

1984 - He performed across Canada, starting at the Cleary Auditorim in Windsor, featuring the water cell. He also
started his first school show tour.

1985 - This was the year Jon was offered an open-ended contract for school assemblies through Mobile Education.

1986 - Asked to perform at the Tally Hall Mall for one month, and contract was extended for three years. He also
became part of the show "Puttin on the Strife" at Detroit Club Premier Center. Contract went from two weeks to
one and one half years. They also sent him to other clubs around the state.

1987 - Hired to promote Barbra Striesand's movie, "Nuts". Hired to do straight jacket escapes at various theaters,
upside down. Hired by Masons to do a single show. For next four years, I would do three to five shows a year at local
halls, including a two hour illusion show at their main headquarters.

1988 - Asked by Houdini family to be his one and only true successor. Hired to do a series of shows in Toronto hanging
from a crane in straight jacket release before thousands of Canadians. Also started doing handcuff excape from box
made by Alba Pellet Company and lowered off the end of the dock into the freezing waters of Lake Erie, and doing
the water cell escape.

1989 - Large three days worth of shows in Northville, MI., to celebrate his appointment to being named Houdini's
successor. Jay Marshall and John Hinson (Houdini's nephew) came out to be part of the big show.

1990 - Asked by Ground Round Restaurant to fly two times a month to Farmingham, MA. to teach their clowns named
Bingo.

1996 - Broke out of jail at Holyoak, Mass. Police Station -Houdini did first.

1998 - Started series of Houdini lectures at Magic Inn in Chicago.

1999 - Lecture series with Marie Blood.

2000 - Convinced post office to do a stamp honoring Houdini. Designed trick for Neal Armstrong, per his request.

2001- Series of Sci-Fi magic productions staring full size replica of "Lost in Space" robot that I made with help of
Doug Heins.

2002 - Offered 1,500 per week to put on white face and be a mime. Tour lasted one year.

2003 - Asked to put Houdini display at Lansing, Michigan, and lecture at the capital.

2004 - Did several theatrical seances as Dr. Eric Weisman. These were Victorian Era productions. The Holly Hotel
grossed over $16,000.00 the week I was there.

2006 - While on Mitchell 50, purchased portable jail cell built in 1856 which held the Dalton gang in Deadwood, Kansas.
Reprized my role as medium at Dodge Mansion for dinner theater. Ticket price was $75, per person. They had so
many requests that they added a second night.

2007 - Had a copy of Houdini's gibbit made by a locksmith in Appellton, Wisconsin.

2010 - Performed on very stage Jimmy Stuart started in Indiana, PA.

2011 - Jon is great with children and loves to perform at schools. The following are just a few extra performances he has
done this year:

  • Forest Hill Elementary School, Noblesville, IN - 5/10/11
  • St. Michael Elementary School, Sharonville, OH - 5/17/11
  • West Elementary School, Celina, OH - 5/19/11
  • Wood Creek Elementary School, Farmington, MI - 5/20/11
  • Northeast Elementary School, Jackson, MI - 6/3/11
  • Liberty Elementary, South Riding, VA - 6/6/11
  • Southern Elementary School, Racine, OH 6/13/11
  • Southern Elementary School, Racine, OH - 6/14/11
  • Poplar Creek Public Library, Streamwood, IL - 7/25/11
  • St. Bridget School, Abington, MA - 9/19/11
  • Jon continues to travel around the country expanding on his experiences and entertainment abilities, while living up to the
    Houdini reputation. He still continues his work with various educational programs, and the various organizations and
    groups with whom he has had relationships with throughout the years. He even found time to play in three scenes of a
    movie called "Mary's Buttons", a role he was made for, that takes place in an era he dearly loves.

    The real question is not "how does he do the Houdini escapes", it is how does he escape from the clock and need for
    sleep, as he continues to perform, doing lectures on Houdini, continues to write for the American Lock Collectors
    Association, continues to amass unbelievable collections of anything "Houdini", handcuffs, locks, as well as other
    collectable interests, restores cars, builds robots, writes, reads two or three books at a time (part of his 5,000+ book
    (collection), maintains a home, a personal life, takes care of all his array of animals used in his performances, and still always
    finds time for family and friends. Jon also finds time to show and explain all of his collections to those who want to inspect
    and enjoy them.

    Some people may take the time to learn "magic", but Jon seems to use "magic" to produce time - AND THERE IS
    ALWAYS TIME TO DO ANOTHER PERFORMANCE!


    Jon's Other Interests

     

    You cannot talk about Jon without including all his tremendously huge collections such as his collection of over 5,000 books,
    nor his love of building things such as the "Knight Rider" and robot from "Lost in Space", as well as many illusions. He is
    an ardent collector of so many things when it comes to the world of entertainment. We have just included a couple to
    marvel at.


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    Robot is well over six feet tall and can talk for over 3 1/2 hours without saying the same thing twice. He
    moves, and his arms can pull back and extend.


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    Photo on left

    To Jon Oliver - Magician Extrardinaire!!
    Best Luck
    Jonathan Harris
    "Lost in Space"

    Photo on right

    To Jon Oliver - Thank you and congratulations and with much admiration.
    Sincerely
    Ray Walston
    1997
    (Ray Walston was the star in "My Favorite Martian")


     

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