The fact about Houdini teaching American soldiers how to escape German handcuffs needs a touch of clarification. While it is true Houdini taught soldiers how to escape German restraints, it's not quite right to say he took a year off to do so. Houdini never took a year off in his life. A quibble.
As to Houdini performing at the Tabor Opera House. The only Colorado appearances of Houdini listed in Koval's Houdini Research Diary are in Denver at the Lyceum Theater (1899) and the Denver Orpheum (1907/1915/1923). But Koval is far from complete, and while the Opera House is unsure of the exact date, Houdini's performance was witnessed by Theresa O'Brien who shared the story with tourists until her death in 1981 age 86. Houdini's performance is also remembered by stagehand Fred Reichle in the book, The Tabor Opera House - A Captivating History by Evelyn Livingston Furman.
|Evelyn Furman with Theresa O'Brien who saw Houdini perform in Leadville.
Photo courtesy The Historic Tabor Opera House.
The trap cut in the Tabor stage by Houdini could have been for the Water Torture Cell (which puts his appearance after 1912). Houdini required a trap in the stage in order to drain the cell after the performance. In fact, you can hear Frank Fritz say "water tank" in the clip, so the Pickers seem to know their stuff.
As with the airing of Houdini Unlocking the Mystery on H2 this week, is this another sign that HISTORY is looking to gin up curiosity about Houdini in anticipation of their upcoming Houdini miniseries? I expected to see Houdini show up on American Pickers, but I hadn't expected it to be this soon. I'm betting Mike and Frank are going to encounter the Master Mystifier again in their upcoming travels.
Thanks to Sharon Bland of The Historic Tabor Opera House for the information about Houdini's performance and the photo.