The news out of Grace Hospital 85 years ago today was not all bad. Only two days before the world had learned how Harry Houdini had been stricken after a performance at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. After an emergency appendectomy, the great magician was given little chance of survival by his team of four doctors, lead by the chief of surgery Dr. Charles S. Kennedy.
|Dr. Kennedy and Hardeen|
Houdini's brothers, Hardeen, Nathan, and sister Gladys all came to Detroit to be at his bedside (Leo was kept back for fear it would upset him). Bess, who was under care of her own physician at the Statler Hotel ("as a result of strain caused by the magician's illness"), received a hopeful telegram from magician Howard Thurston:
"Read Houdini is not worse. His splendid physique, free of alcohol and nicotine, with his natural fighting power, will be great aids to the physicians in his recovery. Sympathy from Mrs. Thurston and myself. - Howard Thurston."
Could Houdini escape from the clutches of death itself?