Grand Strand magician travels the world to collect Houdini relics

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Halloween is just two days away, and October is National Magic Month, but one Grand Strand Society of Magicians celebrates magic and the history behind it, year-round.

News13’s Sabrina Shutters got an inside look at the little-known spot where Myrtle Beach illusionists meet and the expensive relics one Pawleys Island native collects.

A trip up a flight of stairs in one secret Myrtle Beach warehouse brings you inside the exclusive meeting spot where the Grand Strand Society of Magicians get together every month.

“I just love it,” said longtime magician and Pawleys Island native, David Tanner. “It’s magic!”

It’s embellished wall-to-wall, with original movie posters, dolls straight from the 1920s, and Tanner’s most prized possessions – the exact items magicians like Harry Houdini used in their acts.

“Sometimes I’ll fly out to the destination, and other times I’ll just buy them off the Internet,” he said.

But, how much are they worth? “It’s kind of classified,” Tanner laughed.

Tanner say’s he’s traveled the world and spent tens of thousands of dollars for the keepsakes, in auctions.

“It’s pretty competitive if you want the Houdini items. I also collect other magical artifacts from other magicians like Blackstone and Thurston, even David Copperfield,” he said.

Tanner purchased one of Houdini’s straight-jackets at an auction. He says it could’ve been used anywhere between 1890 and 1925.

Tanner’s favorite is Houdini’s magic wand that he picked up at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York City.

“I was determined not to come back without the magic wand. Needless to say, it got down to me and this other gentleman, and it was back and forth bidding war, and eventually, of course, as you can see, it’s obvious that I won the bid,” said Tanner.

He says keeping the history alive is just one of the tricks of the trade.

“It’s part of history, it’s just going to be passed on from generation to generation, but at the moment, I’m having fun with it, I enjoy it, it’s my passion,” said Tanner.

Tanner says Houdini’s straight-jacket he now owns could’ve been used anywhere between 1890 and 1925.

If you’d like to be a member of the Grand Strand Magician’s Society and want more information about where those meetings are held, contact Dave Tanner at (843) 222-2877, or visit him at the Broadway Magic shop he owns at Broadway at the Beach.

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