At the time of his death, Houdini was president of the Society of American Magicians. Sunday's program included members of the Columbia Conjurers, the society's local chapter.
Three magicians who are members of the Society of Young Magicians, a youth group affiliated with the Society of American Magicians, took their turns on the black-and-red-draped stage.
Michael Luckhard, 16, entertained the audience with card tricks.
Christopher Yeates, 15, demonstrated what he called the "ancient mysteries of the Chinese linking rings." Christopher has been performing professionally for three years.
And Jake Friedman, the youngest performer at 13, who specializes in a combination of comedy and magic, presented an amusing rope trick. His new "assistant," a pair of kitchen scissors, ran into difficulties in cutting the rope that Jake had to correct.
Adult performers included Pockets the clown -- a k a Ellen Miller -- who was master of ceremonies, and her husband, Wayne.
Wayne Miller talked a trusting audience member out of a $20 bill and shredded it.
Of course, shortly afterward, it was magically reconstructed and returned to its owner.
Dean Turner, "Dean of Magic," and his assistant, Marthe Wright, closed the show with amazing feats.
The audience enthusiastically applauded the appearance of doves from an empty scarf during one trick. The doves were placed in a box, and presto, a large white cockatoo emerged.
But the highlight of the show was Turner's most thrilling trick: He cut his "lovely assistant" into thirds and reassembled her.
First, Turner helped Wright into a vertical box, inserted metal sheets to cut her into thirds and pulled the box apart into three sections.
Then, Wright -- who is a ballet instructor in Columbia when she's not involved in magic -- was reassembled.
The audience of about 100 people included many children in costume, who were encouraged to trick or treat in the village center after the show.
A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the Wendell Gibson Scholarship Fund, for scholarships to magic camps and conventions for young people.
Anyone ages 7 to 16, who has a serious interest in magic is invited to join the Society of Young Magicians. The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Faulkner Ridge Community Center in Columbia.
Information: Wayne Miller, 410-772-1241.
Bonita Glaser and Carl Segal are featured artists through Nov. 27 at Artists' Gallery in the American City Building on Wincopin Circle.
Watercolorist Glaser's "plein air" -- or outdoor -- paintings are titled "The Scenic Route."
The Kings Contrivance resident painted them on her travels through Maryland.
Harper's Choice resident Segal is showing a collection of photographs of animals in zoos called "Personality Plus."
Segal is a Columbia psychiatrist who says he combines his interests in photography and psychiatry "to depict the dignity, beauty and playfulness of animals in a naturalistic setting."
A reception to meet the artists will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
Artists' Gallery is open from 9: 30 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. Saturdays.
Trick-or-treaters who visit Shadow Lane in Hickory Ridge are in for a treat when they see the Halloween displays created by Sam Andelman and Marbury Councell.
Nine-year-old Travis Councell designed the traditional spider web and ghost display covering the Councells' front porch with the aid of his mother, Marianne, and brother, Luke.
Next-door neighbor Andelman had help from his staff at Nightmare Graphics -- a Columbia graphics design studio -- in designing and executing the "South Park" scene that covers his front lawn.
Andelman said it took three or four days for his staff to complete the project, and another three hours to set it up on the lawn.
"We gave out 25 pounds of candy last year," he said. "People come by the van-load."
Andelman has been creating Halloween displays for the past 10 years, but claims that this year's extravaganza is his last.
His sons are teen-agers, and they "aren't into Halloween like they used to be," he said.
Chess Club Champion
Scott Webster, a recent Wilde Lake High School graduate, won the 1998 Howard County Chess Club Championship last summer with a perfect 4-0 score.
Webster was ranked fourth entering the tournament.
Second place was captured by Owen Brown resident Robert Crouch.
Both are members of the Howard County Chess Club, which meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory on Johns Hopkins Road in Laurel.
Membership is free, although U.S. Chess Federation membership is required for rated events.
Information: club President Martin Ruther, 410-730-7261.
Free financial workshop
The Hickory Ridge Community Association will hold a free Financial Education Workshop from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 4 at Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in Columbia.
Nathan Pugliese of American Express Financial Advisers Inc. will discuss setting financial goals, reducing tax liability and asset allocation in today's volatile stock market.
Wine and cheese will be served.
You may have noticed a new byline on this week's column.
As the new community correspondent for west Columbia, I'm excited to have this opportunity to write about the happenings in our neighborhood.
Please let me know your news about the people and events that make our community special.
Call or fax me at 410-992-7511.
Pub Date: 10/28/98