Saturday, January 5, 2019

Houdini hangs at the Palace

It was 97 years ago today on January 5, 1922, that Houdini did a suspended straitjacket escape from the famous Palace Theater in New York City. This would mark his third and final outdoor stunt in Times Square. And as always with his New York stunts, he ran afoul of the police.

Below the original advert for the stunt, a terrific photo of Houdini in action, and the New York Herald's amusing account of the escape told from the point of view of the police officer who served Houdini with a summons when he came back down to earth.

New York Daily News, Jan. 5, 1922.

The New York Herald, Jan. 6, 1922

To give this some context, this was at the start of Houdini's return to the Keith's vaudeville circuit after spending two years making movies. So this was Houdini getting back up to his old tricks, literally!



  1. I was especially delighted to read this post this morning, having walked by The Palace just yesterday, staring up at the obscured facade, and of course thinking of Houdini playing The Palace! Loved the hilarious NY Herald article above ("a form-fitting asylum lounge suit"!!) but I was struck by the fact that the Knights of Columbus was the beneficiary of the wager. The agent Pat Casey who engaged in the "bet" must've been a K of C (certainly his is an Irish Catholic name) and Houdini, having married into a Catholic family, must've been more than pleased! I live a few blocks from The Palace, and there's been a K of C in a building across the street from me for decades - certainly longer than I've lived here - and it makes me wonder if it benefited from Houdini's straightjacket escape! As always, history is alive. Thanks for another great post.

    1. I love that you were looking up at the Palace yesterday on this anniversary. Was it around 12:30 by any chance? Maybe you were having a psychic moment!? :)

    2. Ha! It was a bit later, but not much later in the context of 97 years!