Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Houdini's Madison straitjacket escape then and now

Here's a terrific video from the Wisconsin Historical Society on YouTube about Houdini's suspended straitjacket escape in Madison on January 23, 1924. I especially like that they travel to the location today.


The video gives a brief glimpse at the story which ran in the Wisconsin State Journal the day of the escape. Below is a look at the full front page.

Click to enlarge.

It was during this same Madison engagement that an eyewitness claimed Houdini performed his Water Torture Cell in full view of the audience. You can relive that one via the top related link below.

Related:

6 comments:

  1. That photo at 1:45 is one of my top 5 fave photos.

    I have to wonder how many people walk right by these locations and 1. don't have any idea about the HH history (HHH?) there or 2. known and [gasp] don't even care.

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    1. I've found most people are pretty tickled to learn Houdini did an escape like this in their city. But so many have been forgotten. It's nice to see that changing.

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  2. Interesting how HH framed these suspended straitjacket escapes as police challenges. This is roughly the third time I've read about the police challenge aspect on WAH.

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    1. Yeah, I've discovered he presented many his outdoor stunts as challenges, either from the police or newspapers (or both at same time). Funny how that aspect of these has been lost to history.

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  3. Great video and front page (looks like an amazing picture of the event). Interesting to see that unusual headline style with Harry's escape directly under an unrelated headline as if it were a subhead. (BTW, John, in that glimpse of the old Orpheum Theater in the video, I think I noticed a trap door in the stage! Unless that was actually the orchestra pit ; )

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Houdini trapdoors are everywhere (and nowhere). :)

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