Saturday, February 8, 2020

Ashley Drew discovers Houdini in Memphis (update)

YouTuber Ashley Drew has created a terrific video about Houdini in Memphis, Tennessee. I'm excited to see that The Commercial Appeal building, where Houdini reportedly did a suspended straitjacket escape on September 13, 1923, is still there. Enjoy this tour of Houdini's Memphis and don't be surprised if there's an Elvis sighting!

Another thing that excites me about this video is I actually did not know about Houdini's 1923 Memphis engagement, nor his suspended straitjacket escape! (I only knew about his 1899 appearance.) Ashley tells me her primary source was this 2014 article in The Commercial Appeal. I'm currently looking for confirmation--preferably an article from the time--but have so far come up short.

If anyone has or can find any accounts of Houdini in Memphis in September 1923, Ashley and I would love to see it!

UPDATE (1/4/22): I'm excited to have finally confirmed not one but TWO suspended straitjackets escapes Houdini made from The Commercial Appeal building in Memphis. The first was February 16, 1916. The second was September 13, 1923. Houdini was appearing at the Memphis Orpheum during both these weeks. Below is an image of the 1923 escape.

The Commercial Appeal, Sep. 14, 1923.



  1. didn't have an article? Thanks to Ashley for this find!

    1. Nope, they don't (yet) have The Commercial Appeal. But I have sent an email to the paper.

  2. That's a lovely video Ashley has done, thank you John for posting and Ashley for making it

  3. Great story, and I love the unobtrusive sense of wonder, appreciation and discovery in the narration, as opposed to the same old Houdini hype. Awesome work, Ashley, and thanks for sharing, John.

  4. Updated. Harry has been found. Twice!