Houdini's Fabulous Magic was first published in 1961 by Chilton. Later editions came out by Bell Publishing and Barnes and Noble. Material for the book came from Walter Gibson's knowledge as a one time personal secretary to Harry Houdini as well as access he was given by the family attorney to Houdini's scrapbooks and notes following the magician's death. Additional material for the publication came from the personal collection of co-author Morris Young as well as other notable collectors.
Teller of Penn & Teller says: "I've loved this books for sixty years. My first copy was borrowed from the Philadelphia Public Library when I was fourteen, and I kept renewing the loan till I could afford to own my own copy. Houdini's Fabulous Magic has just the right blend of history, technical secrets, and romance to fire the passion of a young magician. Four pieces of the Penn & Teller repertoire were directly inspired by Houdini's Fabulous Magic--four times more than any other book in my library".
John Cox in his "Wild About Harry" website (Wildabouthoudini.com) and blog said of the earlier editions: Houdini's Fabulous Magic by Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young is the best forgotten Houdini book. I say that because when one thinks of books on Houdini's methods, one tends to turn to Houdini The Key by Patrick Culliton, The Secrets of Houdini by J.C. Cannel, or even Gibson's earlier work, Houdini's Escapes and Magic. Maybe because Fabulous Magic contains some reprinted material from the earlier Gibson book it tends to be thought of as a somewhat recycled work. But it's actually one of the very best books on Houdini's major feats and methods and maybe the best book for the layperson. It also contains historical tidbits that aren't found elsewhere. So let's remember it today!"
"Walter B. Gibson and Dr. Morris Young make an excellent team. Gibson knew Houdini and Young had one of the best Houdini and magic collections in the world (it's now in the Library of Congress). So Houdini's Fabulous Magic is packed with rare images on almost every page. It was certainly the best illustrated Houdini book up to that time. Also, for me, it feels like Gibson is finally willing to part with secrets that he had kept to himself "
The exciting new 2023 edition, under the masthead of Vine Leaves Press, will carry a forward by noted magic historian, founder and principal of Potter and Potter Auctions, Gabe Fajuri: