Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sherry and Krall perform Houdini's Water Torture Cell

Here's one we've been waiting for. This is video of Richard Sherry and Dayle Krall of Sherry and Krall Magic performing their authentic recreation of Houdini's original Chinese Water Torture Cell escape. The video was recorded on Houdini's birthday and commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the cell's debut in 1912.



16 comments:

  1. That was very interesting and instructive. An impressive achievement to recreate the cell and the performance. My only quibble is to ask why they don't show, after Krall has escaped, that the tank is still closed and locked. That seems essential to the effect.

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    1. Good point. I was expecting to see the empty locked cell as well.

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  2. In truth, this is a recreation of the cell but not of the performance. When Houdini performed this, he invited a committee onstage to inspect the cell and stocks, narrowed the ankle holes in the stocks with inserts (IIRC), made a big show of the safety precautions, had ladder-borne assistants topping off the tank, and (after a delay of several minutes) emerged from the ghost cabinet which was then removed to reveal the still securely locked torture cell.

    Houdini's performance was chatty and engaged the audience concretely; this video representation (though perhaps not the performance it records) is essentially pantomime. Also, this music is wholly different from the music Houdini used: Asleep in the Deep

    So this isn't, in most respects, a recreation of the performance at all. However, it is a cool performance in its own way, and the reproduction of the cell is gorgeous.

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  3. Thank you for your comments.

    The video that we have released is only a short compilation of different parts of the full performance and does not show numerous aspects included in the live performance. The full performance was over 20 minutes long and consisted of the aspects you mentioned such as having a committee examine the WTC before and after the escape. All of the sound was removed from the video and music was dubbed over for the video release but in the live performance the music used was Asleep in the Deep and we spent a great deal of time talking about the WTC and Harry Houdini himself.

    Cheers
    Dayle

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    Replies
    1. Ah, thank you for the clarification, Dayle. That's great that you used Asleep in the Deep. Congrats on this performance.

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  4. First off, the water cell is indeed beautiful. A true work of art.
    Second, this is not a performance. A dramatization perhaps, a nice video, more accurately a rehearsal. It is not one shot. It is multiple takes edited together to make a video. That's why you don't see the tank at the end. It doesn't matter, it wasn't a full escape from beginning to end to begin with.

    Watch the video again... This was NOT one take of a live show. Things keep 'moving' throughout the video. Any person with even amateur video knowledge can see that it is several takes edited together.

    I'm not stating this to take away from the tank itself or even the artistic nature of the video. But it is NOT a live, one take performance.

    In the music business, there is a quote...if you can't play it live, then you can't play it. One shot, beginning to end. That is a performance.

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  5. I like this video. I give it 7 out of 10. I would give it more if I had seen the cell revealed at the end of the video. I don't understand why Glen and David are so harsh in their comments. As she said it's a couple of minutes of a 20 minute performance.

    Love the blog.

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  6. Someone posted this in some forum and claimed that Dayle was never underwater at all. I don't what to say to them to convince them that she was really underwater upside down.

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  7. That's very interesting Anonymous. I've been told that Houdini had the same problem with detractors. What forum has this been posted on?

    Thanks.

    Cheers
    Dayle

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  8. Dayle was definitely underwater. And again the water cell itself, the video style, etc were all incredible. However, it was not one take in front of a live audience.

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  9. Dayle was clearly underwater. Someone is just looking to cause mischief. And, yes, people accused Houdini of the same thing. But anyone who knows the workings of the USD knows that you really are upsidedown and underwater.

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  10. A friend is having the water torture cell made from them can not wait to see it in person.

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