Saturday, February 23, 2013

Houdini captured

Nothing special about this except that I really like this captured moment of Houdini being prepared for a suspended straitjacket escape. Note how he's giving instructions to Jim Collins as he ties his ankles; the "To Let" sign behind him; and the sharp focus on the kids looking up at him, lucky enough to get this close to the action. And how about that guy on the far right in a full fur coat? Great stuff.


Here's a question; where and when did Houdini first perform the suspended straitjacket escape? Houdini's Magic Shop posted this as a trivia question on their Facebook page today and I admit I'm stumped (without getting up and going to the bookcase). First one to answer the question correctly in our Comments gets bragging rights!

11 comments:

  1. I believe it was Washington D.C.

    Pete

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  2. Hanging 45 feet off the ground from Minneapolis Eventing tribune office on Sept 29, 1915 according to Silverman

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  3. Digging out my Secret Life of Houdini it says I was incorrect. It says first time in Kansas City in Sept. 1915.
    Pete

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    1. Ha! You know, Kansas City would have been my guess. That's the city that jumped to my mind for some reason. But who is right? Kalush or Silverman? Minneapolis or KC? Both are Sept. '15.

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  4. Silverman's claim is better sourced. He's going by the an actual newspaper account of the escape in the collection of Stanley Palm. Kalush is sourcing an article about "Houdini's Latest Escape" by Will Goldston in the Oct 1915 The Magazine of Magic. Hard to say who is right without a newspaper account of the Kansas City escape showing the exact date.

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  5. Those faces looking up at Houdini in the front row look like young adults to me. Children would have probably been to small to look over the platform Houdini is using for this escape.

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    Replies
    1. That one kid looks like he might be in his teens to me. But, yeah, hard to tell. But anyone under 30 is a "kid" to me. :)

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  6. To me it's something to think about. All the hundreds perhaps thousands that watched Houdini that day, the ones we see standing up close in that photo, are long gone. Nothing remains but that photo.

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  7. BTW, the answer to the question of when HH first did the escape is becoming less and less clear. Koval notes a jacket escape in Kanas City on Sept. 6, 1914(!), a full year before. But doesn't specify whether it was suspended. Koval doesn't even show HH in KC in 1915.

    Houdini's Magic Shop hasn't yet offered up the answer. My bet is they are going to say KC in Sept 1915, but the proof of this is very sketchy.

    No surprise that Silverman goes with Minneapolis. That is the best sourced claim.

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  8. Christopher doesn't help us too much here either in The Untold Story. He mentions that the straightjacket exploitation feat was a success in Kansas City and Minneapolis along Houdini's western tour.

    I'd go with Professor Silverman for the moment.

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  9. Houdini's Magic Shop still hasn't given their answer. When you post a trivia question, isn't it kinda required that you eventually provide the answer? Although I've posted the conflicting info, so they might now be as confused as us.

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