Friday, August 18, 2017

Film fragments show a Houdini pier jump

Recently I've been rewatching the many Houdini documentaries produced in the 1990s and early 2000s. In some of these you'll find bits of stock film footage not widely seen. One of those fragments is below. This comes from 1995's Houdini Unlocking His Secrets and shows Houdini leaping head first from a pier.


I don't know when or where this film was captured. It's only the third piece of film I've ever seen of Houdini doing a bridge jump, and the only one showing him diving in head first. In fact, and his landing doesn't look entirely successful.

Below is another fragment from what appears to be this same jump. This comes from the licensing website Historic Films and shows Houdini being manacled while laying face down. Flanking him are Jim CollinsJames Vickery, and an unidentified assistant, all in their stage uniforms. This amazing footage is followed by a quick shot of the same location above (pre jump).



If anyone has any ideas where this stunt might have taken place, please share in the Comments below.

Below are links to a few famous Houdini bridge jumps.

Related:

8 comments:

  1. Seems that many Houdini documentaries, though otherwise well made, are not careful to actual preserve some films that they may be handling for preservation sake. Wasn't there some complication with segments of Houdini's movies that are missing from the films now because they were used in some documentary special? Can't remember exactly what it was

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    1. In the collection of footage on the Houdini Movie Star DVD there are shots missing from his Paris film. Those bits and pieces can be found in The Truth About Houdini doc. According to Pat Culliton in this post, the filmmakers insisted on first-generation footage, so those shots were cut and somehow never put back.

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  2. This is cooler than hell,,,Ive never seen laying down to check restraints,,,just cool

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    1. I know. I love that as well. It's something that's been lost on some modern escape artists, the drama of being put INTO the restraints. We've all seen how Houdini would be pulled back and forth between two police men while being put into a straitjacket. Now here we see how he dramatized the shackling of a bridge jump. It feels sacrificial. Brilliant.

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  3. In the second fragment I noticed two sailboats with advertisements on the sails. The first one is for Lipshutz's 44 Cigars. The second is for Cinco Cigars. I found some information on these companies indicating they did business in Philadelphia in the 1900s. I looked at pictures of the Piers on the Delaware River especially Pier 3. I can't be certain without more research but I think Pier 3 is a candidate. It could also be any Pier along the Delaware and out to Atlantic City. If I can narrow it down I'll post an update.
    Jack

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    1. Great detective work, Jack! I'm wondering if this actually could be the 1908 Atlantic City jump. If you click the last link, you'll see he came up injured. The story was he hit a post underwater. But in this film it looks like he might have taken a hard face plant, so maybe that's what really happened.

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  4. That is possible. This Lipshutz's sailboat could have been in that area. Look at this pic of the sailboat:

    https://digital.librarycompany.org/islandora/object/digitool%3A54630


    Jack

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  5. Just amazing that after all these years we can link up two film fragments to come up with another Houdini bridge jump. THEN to be able to link this to a known bridge jump in Atlantic city AND find film evidence of a Houdini injury as per a newspaper description!!!!!!!! I live 90 minutes from AC. Is this pier still in existence? I know there is one directly behind Ceasers casino which is today a shopping mall.

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