Friday, January 4, 2013

Discovery Channel shooting Houdini documentary?

The Sun reports that Irish escape artist Steve Spade won a "priceless" pair of original Houdini handcuffs from a U.S. film crew shooting a documentary about Houdini for the Discovery Channel in Dublin.

The crew challenged Spade to perform "Houdini's famous 100 foot of rope escape" and was told he could have the handcuffs if he escaped in 60 seconds. Spade made the escape in record time and won the cuffs, which according to the article were "issued in Paris in 1906 and are signed by Houdini's brother Theo Hardeen." The crew reportedly purchased the handcuffs at an American auction along with authentication paperwork.

Nice story, and quite a prize for Spade, but what I find most intriguing is the revelation that Discovery is doing a new "Houdini documentary". This is the first I've heard about this.

However, as Spade was asked to do an appraisal on the cuffs, it's possible this is just a segment for one of Discovery's many auction/pawn/pickers-type reality shows. I'm not even sure Discovery makes traditional documentaries anymore.

Still, this is one I'll be tracking.

Steve Spade with his Houdini handcuffs (The Sun).

UPDATE: As I suspected, this was a reality show. Read and watch: Houdini handcuffs on Baggage Battles.


  1. Don't believe the story for a second but those look like a nice pair of Mattatuck cuffs to me although they could be Towers.

    1. Yeah, it does feel like a bit of a PR piece for Steve. I wouldn't have bit except for the revelation of Discovery doing something on Houdini. Now if we could just find out what it is.

    2. Those are Towers not Mattatucks. I'm always up for a new Houdini documentary.

  2. Enough of these Tower cuffs were sold at the Ratner auction a few years ago that such an award is possible. I believe every article sold was accompanied by a manila colored "Authenticity" card signed by Ratner. Even if a cuff was purchased at the auction, the card could be easily substituted with a different pair and at best, the card would assume that only Hardeen had the cuff. As the years go by, the card guaranteeing that Houdini ever laid eyes on the particular piece dwindles away unless it is a one of a kind item.