Monday, February 15, 2021

Houdini's neueste Sensation!

Here's a terrific German newspaper advert from when Houdini was playing the Hansa Theater in Hamburg in December 1909. What I really like about this is it's as close to a poster for Houdini's Challenge Packing Case escape as we're ever likely to see. Doesn't take much to imagine how this could be turned into a full color lithograph. Even the headline, "Houdini's neueste Sensation!", later appeared on a German poster for the Water Torture Cell.

Altonaer Nachrichten, December 1, 1909

This is also an unusual ad in that the Challenge Packing Case escape was hardly "neueste" in 1909. Houdini had first performed it in Germany in 1902 and it became a regular part of his act from that point on. Along with the straitjacket, it was the challenge escape that enjoyed the most longevity, even making it to Houdini's 1925-26 full evening roadshow.


  1. This is wonderful! The deep dive into the German newspaper articles is paying off handsomely! The nailed packing case was indeed HH's bread and butter challenge escape. It was perfect and practical in many ways. I still don't really know the secret. Maybe it's in The Key.

  2. According to Google translate it says that Houdini is nailed and tied up in a unprepared wooden box. Before the eyes of the audience he liberates himself.