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Letters


 

                                          Letters To and About Jon


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To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to certify, that we the relatives of Harry Houdini, do give permission to Mr. Jon Oliver, to act as
Houdini's successor.

Mr. Oliver has impressed upon us his skill as a magician and escape artist.

Based on the fact that Houdini was so much a part of our lives since we were born, we feel confident in saying, that
Mr. Oliver will do honor to the memory of Houdini.

John Hinson, et al


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On behalf of the United States Postal Services, I am pleased to inform you that serious consideration is being given
to the issuance of a postage stamp honoring Harry Houdini in 2002.

We look forward to the support and participation of the Houdini family as we move forward with this project. Until a
formal announcement is made by the Postal Service, we ask that you pleae keep all information regarding the stamp
strictly confidential. We will keep you apprised of our plans as they develop, including providing a copy of the stamp
design once it is finalized.

The Postal Seervice is enthusiastic about the possibility of recognizing Harry Houdini. If you have any questions,
pleae feel free to contact me at 202-268-4269.

Sincerely,
Kelly Spinks
Stamp Development

Dear Jon,

I want to thank you on behalf of the Houdini family, for proposing to the Post Office the issuance of the Houdini stamp.

We are very excited about this and looking forward to further development.

Your Aunt Ruthie


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This letter is to state that I as a relative to the magician HARRY HOUDINI, do hereby give permission to JON OLIVER,
to use my uncle's name in any publicity related to either himself, or in regards to any performances he takes part in.

Furthermore let it be known that my family has chosen Mr. Oliver to be Houdinis successor, and that my son JOHN HINSON,
will take an active part in Mr. Olivers performances.

Sincerely,
Vincent E. Hinson


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To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that Jon Oliver appeared here on this date, Dec. 17th, 1996, at the Holyoke Police Department,
25 Heritage Street, Holyoke, Mass.

He was stripped and searched by Capt. William McCoy and double locked in Antique Handcuffs loaned to him
by Sid Radner, previously belonging to HOUDINI and also standard Police Handcuffs. He was then placed in a
modern Jail Cell and also secured by Capt. McCoy.

Mr. Oliver was able to escape in less than 3 minutes.

These acts were witnessed by Capt. McCoy, Officers Jeff Cahill, Daniel Reardon, James Albert, Mr. Sid Radner
and a reporter from the "Hello Holyoke" Mr. Owen Donoghue.

Stephen F. Donoghue
Chief-of-Police


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Dear Jon,

After meeting you and seeing your escapes, I knew I had met a very special person.

The swiftness you escape from fine pairs of handcuffs is awesome.

I am surprised you aren't called the "Handcuff King".

Houdini would be proud of you.

I am delighted to have been part of your wonderful show.

Sincerely
Marie H. Blood
Houdini's niece!


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Dear Jon:

Dick, my husand, was put into emergency at the hospital, and for awhile, it was pretty serious. I won't go into
details, but he was a sick man.

We just looked at your tape last night. I know it will shock you, but it was the first chance since he came home,
to do so. I am very very sorry. I know the amount of time which has flown by.

The few glitches you mentioned in your letter were not serious. I have never yet seen a tape outside of those
professionally, that was really good. You should see mine from the magic show put on in San Diego, in which
Moi yu Miller and I participated, it is a shame!!!! but typical.

I won't comment on your writing of the UNION stagehands..it hurts to remember!!!

Your audience was truly enthusiastic, and you "went over" well, everything was received warmly.

I don't have any "comments" to give you, for one thing, I have never commented on another magician's work,
each of us is different, personality, presentation, walk, talk, looks, all of us are "individual". When you perform,
you move to your own "inner music"..talk, you talk to each individual a though he or she were sitting in a chair
facing you, you know that as well as I...

I thought you captured your audience from the beginning of your act! Unfortunate we could not see your face
too well, but you move gracefully and you have a good rapport.

I don't know whom you contacted as your assistants, your girl seemed pretty, only ONE tiny suggestion here...
her shoes "clacked" as she walked..just a tiny distraction..no adverse criticism.

Assistants, at least in our show, moved quickly on and off stage, always smiling, keeping the audience aware of
their good looks and making them feel friendly through their "participation" on stage, linking them (the audience)
to the magician and themselves by warm smiles, unobtrusively a part of them, watching magic as they are from the
seats in the audience..and just as "baffled" but apparently the magic makes them laugh and smile and happy
(NOT BY OVERREACTING)..just by warm smiles and looking at them, but I don't make myself clear!!!

You work well with youngsters..and your "victims" come willingly to the stage to "assist" you. Your rapport with
children is fine! Children "break" down your audiences with you..few can resist children, they are so natural and
warm.

Honestly, Jon, I cannot "criticize" at all..your act is fast, you seem handsome, as well as I can tell from your video..
you got your audience with you, everything seems smooth. I think you have worked hard, long and truthfuly..
judging your own self. Not easy to do!! Both Dick and I sensed your warmth and sincerity. We truly enjoyed it!!

You asked about the ancient old Vaudeville..yes, we were a part of it. We were not a Vaudeville act however, the
show was too big, too many people, it took three acts to present it in full. This was "legitimate" show..when we
cut down to movie houses, the show was drastically cut from three full acts, with two intermissions, to a one hour
show! Almost impossible to do. We had to work within a specified time in order to get both show and a movie. There
were times on holidays we worked seven and eight shows a day. Sometimes dad would cause an "overrun" when
an illusion "demanded" it..for instance, doing the "SAWING A WOMAN", dad handled volunteers from the audiences
very very well..and when the laughter would rise to a roar, people wanting MORE....well, it was hard not to revert
to the old days of "spinning" it out! However, it was very hard work, one of the things which caused my dad to have
his stroke.

Thanks for your generous remarks, and also the gift of the tape, our friend will enjoy it with us, Jon.

I feel uneasy, you have given me a status which I do not deserve, a status as a critic..but is almost impossible to
criticize another's talent, performance, personality, presentation. The mention of yur pretty assistant's shoe was
a small one, it just "distracted" in the tape, she is a lovely girl. She did not realize it!

Jon, forgive my late response. Dick was very ill for awhie, he is a strong type and so he got out of this illness too,
bleeding ulcers; not fun; but he looks fine and acts the same now!

Thanks to good luck, care, and inner strength, he will be fine!

I'll probably be driving west with him come the end of next week..will keep you informed.

I hope you are not disappointed, Jon. I am no critic, as I love magic, and I love those who perform it..magic brings so
much happiness!

You are good..you look good, dress beautifully, your carriage is fine, and you are a fine magician..an asset to us all..
in magic!

So there!
Jane
(Howard Thurston's daughter)


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To Whom It May Concern:

On September 13, 1989, Jon Oliver appeared at the City of Northville Police Department to demonstrate some
of his abilities at self liberation. He was stripped of his clothing and placed in a restraint using belly chains
locked behind his sides with double locking cuffs. Jon was then placed in cell #1 of the station cellblock.
Escape time was approximately 2 minutes!

Next Jon's hands were locked behind his back with Peerless hinged hancuffs, palms facing out. While we
watched, he slipped the cuffs from behind his back - much to our amazement. He was once again placed into
cell #1. This time escape took 1 minute and 30 seconds!

After both tests, Jon handed the cuffs back to an officer with the cuffs open and the double locks still on.

D/Sgt. David P. Fendelet
Ptls. James L. Marks
SPC Susan Hatch
Disp. Mark Perkins


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To Whom It May Concern:

Many years ago my family became tired of all the so called successors to HOUDINI, so we decided to do something
official about this. We chose the FIRST and only successor Houdini ever had. (Remember, he died very unexpectedly,
and his brother Hardeen only inherited the magic equipment, and had already established his own name in magic).

When we asked Jon Oliver if he would like this title, you should be aware that there were many reasons why we
asked him, but above all we felt he would honor Houdini's name and memory.

Last year Jon approached me with the idea of having the letter combination handcuff we had given him from the
Houdini collection reproduced. His idea was not to make a financial fortune off of this, but to do a proper commemorative
piece, that the many fans that Houdini still has, could cherish, and if they wished could handle as a working prop. Also,
this handcuff was picked because it is probably the most famous out of Houdini's history.

Both Jon and I agreed upon a few very important issues concerning the cuff.

First: Whoever made the reproduction had to be a true craftman, and after seeing the quality of the work produced by
Ian McColl, he was granted permission to do the work.

Second: We are extremely tired of all the so called exposes of how Houdini did his wonderful escapes. So much has been
spoiled by this, that we decided not to release the true combination that opens the locks. For over 70 years they have
remained locked and the opening word lost, but shortly after receiving them from us, Jon had them opened, and he is
so secretive he won't even tell us the word!

I do hope you enjoy this piece of history, and may God bless you all!

Houdini's niece
Ruthanne Hinson


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Please forgive the unseemly delay in this reply to your letter of some months ago. We completed a merger of our
company with another on May 1 and during the transition a great deal of mail stacked up in the Ohio office which
went long unanswered.

I was pleased to receive your letter and the photograph for my album. I have enclosed a signed print in return.
Being somewhat of an aviation history buff, I had read of Mr. Houdini flying from engagement to engagement in his
Voisin, but was unaware of his flying in Austrailia.

I do some public speaking and have often thought that a single (and unexpected) illusion would be a useful addition
to my presentations. If we have the opportunity to meet, I would enjoy your thoughts of what kind of illusion might be
appropriate.

I suspect that both of us have rather hectic travel schedules (I am frequently in Manhattan and on Long Island).
If you have a somewhat predictable schedule, perhpas you could send it to me and I could look for an opportunity
where our paths would cross.

In any case, I send you my very best wishes for continued success.

Sincerely,
Neil A. Armstrong


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Thank you for a most enjoyable and informative day. Our students were enthralled by your Physics program. The only
complaint is that you couldn't stay longer. Our teachrs were very impressed with your ability to communicate and your
expertise in working with students.

Your Physics Is Fun program played to a standing room only crowd. It was a tremendous hit with our teachers. The
parents were most appreciative that it was not only entertaining but a learning experience for all who attended.

I highly recommend the Physics Is Fun program!.

Sincerely,
Stephen W. Sargetnt
Assistant Principal
John Muir Elementary


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We are extremely pleased you have chosen Grosse Ile as the site for your performance "Houdini the Lecture"
on Friday, October 29, 1999. It truly is our privilege to have a person perform on Grosse Ile with your professional
skill and the unique talent similarly possessed by the late American legend Harry Houdini.

We have sent a confirmation letter to Ms. Blood updating her on compensation, accommodations and program
information. Details related to your compensation can be found on the enclosed attachment.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns related to your performance.

In closing, we truly appreciate all your time, efforts and considerations in making this a special event for the many
people planning to attend.

Looking forward to the show.

Sincerely,
Tim Rooney
Recreation Director


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HAPPY HOUDINI HALLOWEEN & WHO WANTS TO BE A HOUDINI HANDCUFF MILLIONAIRE
October 21 2007 at 3:54 PM

Happry Halloween everyone.

I am still in Detroit and am getting into the spirit of the season. The weather is gorgeous here and the trees are
showing their beautiful colors. I drove passed an old old cemetery and had to turn around to drive back to it.
It was really cool and saw some old grave stones dating back to before the Civil War. It has been a long time
since I walked through a pile of leaves like that. The place set the mood for what my night was going to be like.

I was invited to John Oliver's house and had never met him before. I heard about him from many cuff collectors
and knew he had a nice collection. Unfortunately, he is not much of a computer man, so he does not read or
contribute to this web site. I told him that he is missing out on so much, but more importantly, we are missing
out on all of his knowledge of cuffs, magic and Houdini.

My tour began with an introduction to the robot from Lost in Space. His is not the original, but an almost exact
copy that John personally handcrafted from the original blueprints. He researched many of the parts and located
some of the companies that made parts for it. He was able to obtain some of the specialized lightbulbs from the
original sources and had other parts custom made for him. I could go on about the robot for hours, but this is a
handcuff forum, so I will move on.

I will say that I thought the robot was going to be the highlight of the evening, but I was wrong...twice!

We went to the cuff room and there was jail/prison lock display that contained many pieces I had never seen
before. Unbelievable is all I can say. Balls & chains and Oregon boots was next. Then we got to the cuffs.
Boards and boards of them. Some common items and some rare pieces. Lots of rare plug leg irons, McKenzie
Mitts, Wisner, Berliner, and the original Houdini Letter Cuff. This is the cuff that John Bushey wrote about in the
Handcuff Annual.

I must have spent 2 or 3 hours looking at all the cuffs and had to ask John for a chair to sit on. We looked at more
and more items, including his traveling display boxes. They were all constructed of quality materials and packed
with goodies. John is a magician and escape artist by profession. He travels around the Michigan area and does
quite well. After my fill of cuffs (never thought that this could happen) I looked around to see what I did not even
notice what was behind me all the time. A room filled with Houdini stuff. Original posters, art work, newspaper
articles, furniture, cupboards filled with things. A condensed version of Houdini's house!

I then learned that the chair I had been sitting on the whole time was Houdini's. Unbelievable!

John wrote to the Houdini family years ago and became good friends...he is now pretty much one of the family.
He got to learn the things that probably will never be in books, unless he decided to write one himself. Over the
years he acquired all kinds of things Houdini. Dresser drawers, lamps, chairs, file cabinets, tea cup & saucer,
top hat, books, photos and 100's of other personal artifacts.


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Unbelievable! Jon even sleeps on Houdini's bed every night.

I could go on for hours about what I saw and what I learned. I might have to include this story in the 08 Annual.

Jon was very happy to share his time with me and allowed me to take these pictures and share them with you.

As I am writing this, I will see if I can make another trip and include this for a future article. There is so much info
to share.

I am including another version of Millionaire with this post.

Please answer to my email address and not here at the forum.

Your question appears below.
As your game show host, I will present your prize while which will be more photos from this fantastic collection.


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Thank you so much for doing such a wonderful job on the Holly Hotel Victorian Seance special event. In addition
to all the special effects you created, you gave this projecct over one hundred percent of your time and spirit.
You are a very talented and wonderful person to work with and without you; this event would not have been such
a success!

I feel that with your knowledge of the era, we were able to give the guests of the Holly Hotel an authentic
Victorian Seance. For the most part, other than one or two obnoxious guests, I was pleasantly surprised
on the reaction of the crowd. Many people came up to me at the end of the show to tell me how entertaining
the evening was for them and their guests. I am sure the owners of the Holly Hotel are also extremely happy
with the outcome of this week's special event.

I have enclosed a check for the balance of your fee, along with a bonus to help pay for the damage done to
one of your props. Please feel free to use me as a personal and professional reference at any time. I look
forward to working with you again in the very near future, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Kathy Krajewski,k CEP
Director of Marketing and Special Events
President of Double Exposure, Inc.

CC: Holly Hotel Management
Enc: Three checks


 

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