Sunday, July 6, 2014

Alan Alan passes away at 87

English escape artist and magician, Alan Alan, has passed away at age 87. Alan was born in November 1926, just days after Houdini's death. He died in hospital in England on Friday.

Alan is credited with inventing the burning-rope suspended Straitjacket Escape, which has been used by many escape artists. In 1949 Alan performed for Pathe newsreel cameras a buried alive stunt billing himself as Houdini II. The stunt went wrong in an eerie echo of Houdini's own near death accident doing buried alive in 1916. (You can view the Pathe report here.)

Alan appeared in a number of television magic specials, including David Copperfield's first TV special in 1978. He was proprietor of Alan Alan's Magic Spot on Southampton Row in London until the mid 1990s. In 2006 he was honored by The Magic Circle with the coveted "Maskelyne" award for services to British magic. Genii magazine profiled Alan with a cover issue in July 2009.

UPDATE: Read Alan's obituary, "Alan Alan: The British Houdini" at This is Cabaret.


  1. Many of his escapes were punishing to do, far more courageous than he was given credit for.

  2. Note the STRAIT-JACKET Alan is wearing.

    It is the SAME style jacket as used in the 1953 "Houdini" film.

    Abbott's Magic Co. made & supplied the jackets for the film (Abbott's still had a Hollywood, Ca. branch, during the filming of the movie. George Boston was the store manager.

    The Magic Circle has on display one of the Paramount "Houdini" strait-jackets.

  3. ...looking again at the photo--- I can tell from the background - that the above strait-jacket escape took place IN The Magic Circle...perhaps in the early 1960's, on the day that Davenport donated the jacket to the Magic Circle.

  4. I did indeed noticed that it was a Curtis movie jacket. I didn't know Abbott's made them.

  5. Notice in the photo how Alan is duplicating the well known Houdini poster where Harry is on his shoulders in a straitjacket while a guard peers through the bars of a small window:

    Scroll down a bit and you will see this poster.

    1. Hey, it didn't occur to me that that is what he's doing, but you're right!