Monday, April 30, 2018

The time Houdini swallowed needles...for real

One doesn't think of Houdini's East Indian Needle Trick as one of his more death-defying feats, but it apparently has its dangers. This comes from the November 11, 1940 Chicago Tribune, and is a story I've never heard before.

Click to enlarge.

Based on the description, this appears to have happened during Houdini's 8 week run at Princess Theater in Chicago in early 1926. A bad year for accidents!

Houdini wasn't the only magician to have a mishap with the Needles. In 1946 an amateur magician named Stanley McAuley garnered headlines when he swallowed a needle during his own performance of the trick. It took two operations to retrieve it.

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3 comments:

  1. One of the added pleasures of these newspaper gems you've been finding are "quotes" of Houdini's patter. His self-deprecating humor to counter-balance his public bravado could only endear him that much more to the audience.

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  2. See David Price, Magic: A Pictorial History of Conjurers in the Theater (1985), page 467 (A “Needle King’s” Accident) for one performance that ended in surgery.

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