Source: Society Of American Magicians
Society of American Magicians National President Jann Wherry Goodsell proclaimed the week of October 25 to October 31 as “National Magic Week.”
For more than forty years the Society of American Magicians has been recognizing the anniversary of the death of Harry Houdini with a special “MAGIC WEEK” throughout the United States and Canada. Houdini, a past President of the Society, died at 1:26 p.m. October 31, 1926. He had been president during the previous nine years and was the Society’s most famous member.
Each year governors, mayors and other governing bodies throughout the country are requested to issue proclamations declaring the last week in October as National Magic Week, encouraging magicians throughout the country to participate in the activities.
The Society of American Magicians adopted the idea of National Magic Week as a way of promoting the Art of Magic by performing shows at orphanages, hospitals and nursing homes for those who would have difficulty getting to a theater to see a live performance. The members of the Society of American Magicians who participate in these shows find it a rewarding activity. Many people enjoy magic shows during this week that otherwise would not be able to do so.
The roots of National Magic Week go back over 70 years. Before there was a National Magic Week there was a National Magic Day. It began with a “Houdini Day” in the summer of 1927, less than one year from the death of Harry Houdini. A trophy in honor of Houdini, was presented by Mrs. Harry Houdini in New York City.
There were many other “Houdini Days” following, but it was not until 1938 that Les Sholty, a Chicago member of the Society of American Magicians, sought official sanction for a “Houdini” day. Mrs. Houdini sanctioned this and October 31 was proclaimed National Magic Day in his memory. The plan was formulated at that time to have free performances for shut-ins and handicapped people.
Many newspapers carried the story about National Magic Day and various magical societies kept the idea alive. The first radio broadcast about National Magic Day occurred over radio station KQW on July 20, 1938. Mrs. Harry Houdini participated in that broadcast and much publicity was generated by her friend Edward Saint.
In 1963 Edward Schneider, National President of the Society of American Magicians issued the first official “National Magic Day” proclamation. In order to meet the many conjuring activities and requests for TV and media stories, the “Day” was celebrated for almost a week. As the President of the local Assembly #22 in Los Angeles, John Zweers proclaimed the first “Magic Week” from October 25 to October 31. Due to many requests from other Assemblies wishing to do likewise, the “week” became official when John Zweers became National President in 1966 and the event was adopted in the national constitution.
Magic displays can be found at libraries, stores and malls throughout the country during National Magic Week. Since many Assemblies already do charitable work during the year, the week is publicized to highlight them and the great enjoyment their magic presents to the public.
When Magic Week is over each local Assembly of the Society of American Magicians is encouraged to compile their Magic Week activities in a book and submit it to the National Council of the Society of American Magicians where they are reviewed and receive recognition.National Magic Week is the Society of American Magicians and the magical fraternity’s way of sharing with others the wonderful art form that is deeply loved by those who participate in it.
The S.A.M. website: www.magicsam.com.