Dorothy Dietrich Biography Society Of American Magicians MUM Final page 8

Dorothy Dietrich Biography Society Of American Magicians MUM Final Page 8


ORIGINAL UNEDITED VERSION. This is text of article for use by the visually impared.
Townhouse) said, "You don't want to travel. You are working here. Move into my house. We have lots of room." We lived there for a year. When we found a place to live, they begged us to stay. They were wonderful to us. They were business people, we were show business. We complimented each other.

  Were people getting used to a female magician by now?

  You know, I would still show up to shows carrying my cases and when they opened the door, they would say, "Hi! Are they going to saw you in half?"

  What made you decide to move out of NY?

  Show business was changing in NY. The performers union, American Guild of Variety Artists, wasn't as powerful as it used to be and agents were fading away to become producers who were taking larger percentages. We felt it was time to leave. It was getting too expensive to live in NY.
  We got a map and started drawing circles around NYC to see where to move. All of our connections were in NY so we didn't want to be too far away. Then we bought out of town newspapers. We weren't going to rent again. We wanted to buy something. One problem, we had no credit. All those years of renting and we had no documentation of our credit. There was no way we could get a mortgage. We had to buy something with our savings. The circles got bigger. When we found a possibility, we would call a realtor and visit the town. We would hang out in McDonalds and see what the people were like in that neighborhood. Some neighborhoods changed at night to scary, seedy places.
  The circles become even wider. Now Scranton, Pa hits the circle. We look at the Scranton newspaper and the front page crime was that somebody stole Joey's bike from his porch. The society page showed all the ladies that got engaged along with a half page photo of a new Eagle Scout. We wondered if this town was for real?
  We knew that Thanksgiving weekend we had no shows so we decided to spend the four days in A Scranton hotel. We called realtors to see if they would meet us and no one was working because it was the start of hunting season! We found someone who would meet with us the day before Thanksgiving. He gave us the MLS books and told us to stop by the office on Friday
and he would take us around.
  Scranton had a great vaudeville history and it was only two hours from Manhattan. We bought a building which was a closed synagogue which included the rabbi's house.
We moved all the leftover stuff from the Townhouse to the building. We drove back and forth For our shows. Then driving back one night during a blinding snowstorm, we decided to only do shows in Manhattan during the non snow months. We also instituted our Ultimate Solution- we raised our price.


  One night we decided to open some sort of venue in town. We knew a lot about Houdini. We collected Houdini. It was a natural progression to open a venue dedicated to Houdini.
  Eleven minutes away was another building that at one time was an ice cream parlor, then a grocery store, a bar, and a disco. Then it was going to be torn down. We bought it.
  The house needed 23 windows replaced and a new roof. The Houdini museum building was a wreck. When it rained outside, it rained inside. It was right off the highway and a perfect location on Main St. The ceilings were very high so a stage was possible. Party rooms and exhibit rooms were also here. We poured our show money into it and after a year, we opened it up for tourist season. We've now been open for 26 years.

  Who visits the museum?

  Everyone! Tourists, magicians, families, parties. We keep very busy. We have been written up in multiple magazines and books like Museums you've near heard of. We've won Trip Advisor awards and have become a very successful business.

Visitors hear a quality story about Houdini. The visit is typically 2 1/2 -3 hours long. They see rare film footage and then we take them through a guided tour of the collection. Then they watch a magic show ending with a pitch for items in the gift shop. We also host parties and Haunted seances.

  How long are you going to continue?

We are not going to live forever. We would like to pass this on to the next generation. For you to work a place like this, you need to be passionate about magic and Houdini. You also need to
be a family of performers who don't mind working day and night. We are not opposed to relocating to another city. If a community has a dead building to donate, and a historical society that can help put displays behind glass, that would be a start. Get a 100 year lease and support from the community and you would have your own Ultimate Solution. The museum is not a typical museum but rather an entertainment event. It should be treated that way.

  Dorothy is extremely grateful for everything that has helped her navigate through life. She admitted to me that she has many projects to do but doesn't have enough time to get to them all.
Recently, Dorothy and Dick donated their own money and time to fix up the Houdini Grave. Like Ninjas in the night, they, along with friend Steve Moore, went to the cemetery and replaced the bust along with other repairs and cleaning. They friended the cemetery manager and negotiated the agreement for the S.A.M. Endowment Fund to continue the repairs and maintain the gravesite. As Dorothy said, "We are not going to be around forever but the SAM will be around forever."

  Their current project is a Houdini themed Houdini Opoly Game due out this Summer which meticulously pays tribute to the great showman. (Contact the Houdini Museum for details.)
Whatever their next project, rest assured it will be important and we will be grateful. If you see Dorothy at a magic convention, go up to her and say hello. She loves to talk to everyone.
And for our current generation of magicians, thanks to this article, we were able to put Dorothy once again, on a magic magazine cover.

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