Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Challenges are coming!

Currently my New Houdini Chronology project shows listings for where Houdini performed during a given week along with select escapes, such as bridge jumps and jail breaks, and notable events, such as the Margery seances, etc. But I've now decided to "kick it up a notch" and include all the Challenge escapes that Houdini faced during his engagements. Here's a taste from 1906:

Sept, 24-30: Chase's Theater, Washington, D.C.
➤ Tues., Sept. 25: Challenged by Saks & Co. to escape packing case constructed on stage.
➤ Wed., Sept. 26: Challenged with Blackwell's Island Asylum straitjacket with leg bag and ropes.
➤ Thurs., Sept. 27: Houdini escapes "rope imprisonment in a chair."
➤ Fri., Sept. 28: Challenged by Knabe & Co. to escape piano case lined with zinc and screw-fastened.

Happily, Houdini's many challenges are well documented with handbills and newspaper advertisements. Of course, this means going back under the hood (and back into in a major way, but that's the fun!

I hope to have a fair amount of Challenges worked into the chronology when I offer my next batch of sample years.


  1. Fantastic! Those will be a great addition. Just seeing the proximity of dates and variety of challenges for the above engagement in D.C. gives a rather mind-blowing glimpse of what his day-to-day life must've been like on tour.

    1. Thanks, Tom. It crossed my mind to do this when I was first building the chronology, but it just seemed too overwhelming at the time and I knew it might just be an endless chain of packing case escapes. But now with the chronology base built, this seems very doable and even necessary. Even with the redundancies, it'll be cool to record all the different companies that crossed swords with HH. And it will offer fresh insights I'm sure.

    2. Really looking forward to seeing these!