This post is now retired.
But you will still be able to enjoy the story of Houdini in 1899 with the publication of my upcoming book.
- The strolling magician
- Ebay auction dates first Houdini 'nude'
- Discovering Houdini's Los Angeles Orpheum
- LINK: Houdini, Martin Beck, and Herrmann in Cincinnati
You know, in doing these "deep dives," I always feel like I get a new perspective, not just on the particular year, but Houdini's career trajectory in general. In this one, I realized that his great breakthrough might have been when he discovered the attention getting power of getting naked! #KardashianReplyDelete
Wonderful details, otherwise lost to history, about the beginnings of Houdini's career. Thanks, John!ReplyDelete
The May 20 Columbus KS Daily Advocate says "Charles H. Barton, traveling salesman for a Boston firm, made a wager of $100 last night with Houdini that he has among his samples a pair of handcuffs from which the magician cannot extricate himself without the aid of a confederate. Houdini promptly covered the bet and furthermore agreed that he will remove the cuffs in full view of the audience. The test will be made during the performance at the Pavilion theatre tonight. Houdini has never yet failed to release himself from any handcuff placed upon him."ReplyDelete
Is this the earliest known challenge? Do you suspect that Barton was a plant?
No, Houdini was doing challenge handcuff escapes as early as 1895, I believe.Delete
It's interesting to note here the HH did the escape in full view of the audience. He did that more often than we think.
I wonder if "in full view" was actually a small tri-fold screen that HH would kneel down behind to exhibit his handcuff escapes on stage.ReplyDelete
Excellent John! Love the deep dive into a single year. Nice to see my little discovery about the contract in there.ReplyDelete
That post aged well. Fascinating.ReplyDelete
When M. Christopher's Houdini bio came out, it had references to the 1899 articles in the San Francisco Examiner, so I went to the downtown main branch of the S.F. Library, where they had the actual newspapers, bound by the month(?) to stay on a shelf. I was able to see the actual clippings, (one filled half a page). That was as high tech as it got decades ago, but great to see articles that only few like Christopher had seen. Can't recall if there was a copying machine in that dept. or big enough to copy the entire articles.ReplyDelete
That is very cool. Must have been a thrill. The images are fantastic. (I take it you navigated here from my latest newsletter "Extra" showing the rope ties article?)Delete