Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reel Mirror

Here's a December 6, 1998 issue of TV Times with a photo of actor Johnathon Schaech from the TNT TV movie Houdini that you don't typically see. What interesting is that he's holding the famous Mirror handcuffs. They look pretty good, but are they the real (or reel) thing?

I ran this past Mirror Handcuff expert Mick Hanzlik who says the actor is actually holding a Mirror replica made by collector Ian McColl. McColl provided handcuffs and restraints for the 1998 production. (You can read all about the various Mirror Handcuff replicas HERE.)

Despite this photo, the Mirror Handcuff Challenge was not in the 1998 TNT film. In fact, no biopic has yet dramatized this challenge. Might we finally see the Mirror Challenge in HISTORY's new Houdini biopic starring Adrien Brody?

Johnathon Schaech's Houdini is available on DVD via the Warner Archive Collection.

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  1. You know, Jonathan does resemble a young Houdini quite a bit. He and Harvey Keitel as the older version of Houdini nail it fairly close.

  2. As far as I know we are currently the only place in the world to see these Mirror Challenge Cuffs on a regular basis. We have the Ian Cuffs pretty much as shown, plus key in the picture. It has the shorter key with a a double locking Bramah style mechanism. We also have the Chris Bower Yale set as well. We also have the beautiful Mirror Cuff key made by Mick Hanzlik.

    We have several of Ian's other most famous Houdini cuffs on display. We have the Houdini French Letter Lock Combination Handcuffs, The Russian Manacle, and "The Séance cuffs". If anyone remembers the original or actual name for "The Séance cuffs" let us know as it has skipped our minds and do not have time to research this again. They are all beautiful and stunning. We do not have is the Houdini Bell Handcuff and do not know if one is available.

    We are very proud to be able to show these to our visitors and to be able to recount some of their stories along with displaying them.

    Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
    Houdini Museum
    First for 15 years at New York's Magic Towne House, now in Scranton, PA
    The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini.

    1. There are also photos of Schaech in Ian's Russian Manacle replica. I didn't know you had these on display. That's cool.

  3. John Hinson great nephew of Bess and Harry HoudiniDecember 7, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    I used to play with the real mirror handcuffs.when my grandparents own them,they sold them in 1972.