Houdini Rewritten

by Harry <Har7912@hotmail.com>


1. Did anyone see Pen Densham's television film "Houdini" Sun 6 Dec on Turner Network TV (TNT), starring Jonathan Schaech in the title role? While it was not produced with this archive in mind, there was a scene that could have been rewritten ...


21-year-old Ehrich Weiss ("Harry Houdini") and his brother, trying to sell their magic act to a vaudeville producer, befriend a pretty young singer (who would eventually become Mrs. Houdini), as she tries to sell her act.

After the tryouts, the producer corners the singer backstage, propositioning and pawing her. She is trying to escape. Ehrich and his brother, showing up unexpectedly, wish to break it up peaceably. When the brother puts a hand on the lecherous producer's shoulder to get his attention, however, the producer swings around, punches him in the nose, and snarls at them to get out.

A glowering Ehrich steps forward to distract attention from his brother, saying "I can take a lot of punishment." (He is well-dressed, as befits an aspiring stage magician at work.) The producer punches him twice in the gut to little apparent effect: Ehrich has become muscle-bound for his escape acts. The producer then punches him on the face, drawing some blood. Ehrich says, "OK, now it's my turn," and knocks the producer down with 3 rapid punches.

The angry producer orders them out of his theatre; he certainly won't hire their act.


[The line "I can take a lot of punishment" suggests all sorts of possibilities. For an M/M version, I would recommend making the producer less obnoxious, to create an atmosphere less charged with violent hatred, and more conducive to horseplay.]

21-year-old Ehrich Weiss ("Harry Houdini") and his brother, trying to sell their magic act to a vaudeville producer X---, befriended a pretty singer (who would eventually become Mrs. Houdini), as she tried to sell her act. [unchanged paragraph]

After the tryouts, Ehrich and his brother, arriving unexpectedly backstage, found X--- in some sort of confusing and heated conversation with the singer. Trying to intervene peacefully, the brother put his hand on the shoulder of X---, who reflexively swung around and punched him on the nose. A glowering Ehrich stepped forward and said, "I can take a lot of punishment."

X--- prodded him speculatively on his hardened gut ("Did anyone ever tell this kid he looks cute when he's mad?"), but then turned to the brother and made a sincere and convincing apology: he didn't mean to hurt him; it was only that he was startled. The singer backed up his statement that nothing especially sinister had been happening.

Before Ehrich could relax completely, however, X--- turned back to him. "So, you can 'take a lot of punishment' ..." He mildly poked Ehrich's gut; the muscles again were hard and unyielding. "That's a fine statement to make from someone who's wearing a board over his gut ..." (Ehrich blushed at what sounded like an oblique compliment, but where was this wierd encounter going?) "... So where can I punish you?"

Suddenly he reached around and slapped Ehrich several times on the backside. Ehrich blushed even more deeply. Embarrassment warred with a grin of amusement at this kookiness. The slaps, particularly at such an awkward angle, did not really hurt. If that's way this guy was going to carry on ... "...Hm," continued X---. "I forgot what I was supposed to be punishing you for."

"Are you quite through?" asked Ehrich, barely suppressing his grin.

"I guess so."

"Don't let me rush you. At this point it's not going to make any difference ..."

X--- saw the predatory gleam in Ehrich's eye. "If you say so ..." And X--- reached around the other way and slapped him some more. "Well, that's enough of that!" said X---, as he nonchalantly turned to leave the area.

"Wait!" said Ehrich. "You dropped your billfold against your desk."

X--- spun around to look. Instead of a billfold, he saw Ehrich's left foot squarely planted on a chair; before he could consider, he found himself pulled over Ehrich's knee, feet dangling in the air.

WHACK! A resounding noise in his ear was overcome by an even more insistent fire on his seat. "It isn't very wise to punish someone if you can't even explain the reason, now is it? I'll have to help you remember that for the future ..." A few more smacks followed, all convincing enough, though obviously not intended to be as hard as the first.

X--- found himself eased back onto his feet.

"Take down your pants."

"No, come on, this isn't necessary."

"But *I* think it is." And as Ehrich leaned forward with quiet menace, fixing his eyes with an evil grin, X--- decided maybe it was necessary after all ...

And, protected by nothing more than his underpants, he found himself dangling again over Ehrich's knee, getting a main course far more formidable than the earlier taste. Again the smacks were leisurely, but quite adequate for their purpose. As the heat and sting grew, X--- whimpered from each blow. As he writhed, he found himself short of breath and panting; a thorough beating was as exhausting as any regular workout.

Suddenly, he found himself back on his feet. Ehrich, gripping his shoulders, was looking into his flushed face with obvious concern. Whether or not X---'s thumping heart was audible, the panting obviously was. "Are you alright, Mr X---?" But, back on his feet, X--- was able to collect himself. "Yes [pant], I'll be OK. [pant] But leave me here [pant] to straighten things out. [pant] We can sort things out tomorrow. [pant]"

Ehrich and the others left.

* * *

The next day, Ehrich came by to apologize. The light pokes that X--- had given him certainly didn't justify the beating that he gave in return. "Don't worry about it," said X---. "I led you on, and anyways, the whole thing was so funny. Nothing is worth a beating like that," he continued, rubbing a sore part of his anatomy, "but it was *almost* worth it."

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