Monday, February 4, 2013

Quest for the "Pagoda Torture Cell"

Our friend Joe Notaro of Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence is branching out from his singular focus on The Grim Game and is investigating the classic 1953 HOUDINI via production files in the Margaret Herrick Academy Library.

In Part 1 Joe discovered details about cut scenes. Now in Part 2 Joe has uncovered correspondence related to the Water Torture Cell, or what the script called the "Pagoda Torture Cell." These reveal that the production was considering using Houdini's real cell in the film, but with modifications "so that our actor in the back doesn’t drown."

"Wait. Drown?"

This is, once again, some fine detective work by Joe, so click here to have a read at Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence.


  1. Problem I see with this is that the real cell was soooo tiny. They would have needed a Houdini size stunt man to fit inside of it.

    1. Good point. They probably would have discovered that problem once they shipped the cell to Hollywood.

  2. I remember seeing the Pagoda Cell in a film that starred Houdini's character. He escapes from the cell and emerges as the hooded assistant a la Doug Henning with an ax in his hand. I don't remember the name of that film.