Friday, November 28, 2014

AHC separates Houdini facts vs. fiction

Houdini is the subject of a new episode of America: Facts vs. Fiction called "Masters of Illusion" (Season 2, Episode 8). The episode also features P.T. Barnum and premiered November 25 on AHC (American Heroes Channel).

The episode primarily debunks the myths that physical abnormalities aided Houdini's escapes (such as the ability to dislocated his shoulder), that he was trapped under ice during a bridge jump, and the belief that he died in his Water Torture Cell. However, their conclusion that the Whitehead punch did not cause Houdini's fatal appendicitis is still debatable.

Houdini is portrayed in the reenactments by James Christopher Crooke (above). The episode also features clips from Haldane of the Secret Service, The Man From Beyond, Terror Island, and Houdini (1953).

The show was well done and the focus on facts is a welcome change from the shameless myth-making of shows like Brad Meltzer's Decoded and, of course, that recent effort by our friends at HISTORY.

You can buy America: Facts vs. Fiction: Masters of Illusion as a download on Amazon.

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  1. Hmm, so just because some random guy ("Rob Williams, Famous Vaudevillian") says it's his opinion that Houdini believed in an afterlife, that settles it? Murky, murky.

    1. I don't know who Rob Williams is, but I thought he did okay. He's not a Houdini expert. I would have loved to have done this one. Seemed ethical. Certainly a step in the right direction.

  2. You should have definitely done this one! Rob Williams performs at Renaissance fairs. And his "conclusion" that just because Houdini's father was a rabbi that means Harry believed in an afterlife is, well, unwarranted at best.