Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lee Terbosic recreates Houdini's straitjacket escape in Pittsburgh

Magician and escape artist Lee Terbosic successfully recreated Houdini's suspended straitjacket escape today in Pittsburgh, 100 years to the day that Houdini himself performed the same feat at the same spot.

Mayor Bill Peduto marked the 100th anniversary and named November 6, 2016 as "Lee Terbosic Day."

Lee did a great job publicizing the escape as "HOUDINI 100" and drew a large crowd. While maybe not Houdini-sized, the crowd was still much larger than we typically see for suspended straitjacket escapes these days. The escape was also streamed live on Facebook.

PennLive reports that Pittsburgh resident Richard Mehrenberg came to watch the escape because his father saw Houdini's original stunt in 1916. He brought along his son and grandson to watch. "It's tradition," he joked.

And even though Lee did employe what we call a straitjacket fail, it was still a well-staged escape and a great centennial tribute to Houdini.

November 6, 1916.

You can watch video of the escape at Lee Terbosic's Facebook page. The above photo of Lee in action is from Epicast TV.

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12 comments:

  1. Any idea on size of crowd? Any more pics showing same? Also, just curious, with today's litigious society, whether the city required a net for any permit, etc.

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    1. There was no net. In fact, they even let the straitjacket fall into the crowd. Don't know the exact size of the crowd. But you can see it in the videos on Lee's Facebook (linked above).

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  2. Sorry to see the obvious fail with arm placement. With such an easy straightjacket to escape from there really is no need to not allow it to be properly strapped on. The other disappointment is if you listen to the video the announcement as he is being raised above the crowd that this escape was being done higher from the street than Houdinis performance. Everyone from this magician, Copperfield and so many others try to place themselves over Houdini. Pretty sad this is the best they can do 90 years after Houdinis death.

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    1. Apart from the fail, I thought this was a pretty impressive event, and one that showed a lot of respect for Houdini. I didn't get a sense he was trying to "top" Houdini as, you're right, some other escapes artists tend to claim.

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    2. I don't think a lot of people realize that the height Houdini was at in the original photo is not the height from which he completed the escape. I remember reading that a steel beam was jutted out from the top floor of the building in 1916, which is much closer to the height that this stunt was completed.

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    3. That's an interesting observation. Which makes me wonder about the record for Harry's highest suspended escape. How high did skyscrapers go back then, and when was HH's last recorded suspended straitjacket escape?

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    4. Not sure what was the highest. I know he did 100 ft., but there might have been higher. As far as the last one goes, I speculated in that it might have been this one in 1925.

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    5. Great post, I had forgotten about it. Notice that HH is pretty low to the ground in the photo. Or is that an illusion?

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  3. Its easy to be negative and critical. It is true that the SJ was not a regulation SJ such as a Posey or a Humane Restraint which are made of a much thicker canvas and are very difficult to get out of. I know the jacket he used. The manufacturer claims it was made to resemble an original HH SJ which is probably why he chose it. Its true he employed the SJF method to grantee he could escape (and one other method that I caught) but anybody that can fill up the streets to celebrate a Houdini anniversary and keep HHs legacy alive and educate people about him is ok in my book. So I congratulate Mr.Terbosic. He proved that good publicity still works and people will still turn out to see something spectacular!
    Jack
    Houdiniandhardeen.wordpress.com

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  4. I agree that the overall effect, recreating Houdini's USD strait jacket, was very well done. The strait jacket looks like the Abbott's jacket that I used in the early 80's. It had a sliding sleeve strap. I've been performing the strait jacket escape for nearly 40 years and long ago switched to the Humane Restraint model. I allow my arms to be tied in a knot and just use a simple method to gain slack. I've also reworked the straps so that I can open the top one in back. I'm 67 years old and used the jacket in a show two days ago. Anyway, hats off to Lee !

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  5. It might have been an easy jacket to escape from but getting hoisted high up like that by your ankles is scary.

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