HOUDINI GIVES ORPHANS TREAT AT ST. PAUL'SFamous Mystifier Entertains 850 Inmates of Saint Paul's Orphanage. Keeps Them in Laughter–Opens His Whole Bag of TricksEight hundred and fifty little hearts beat as one, bewildered and amazed, as Houdini, the world-famous mystifier, dumped his bag of tricks at Saint Paul's orphanage yesterday afternoon in a special entertainment arranged for the kiddies under the auspices of The Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph. It was an entertainment the kiddies will not soon forget and the afternoon likewise will linger long in the memory of Houdini.The standing room only sign was hung out on the door of the auditorium long before Houdini made his appearance. Practically every orphan at Saint Paul's was in the auditorium, and all anxiously awaiting the coming of the mystifier, who is appearing this week at the Alvin Theater in an entertainment featured by the exposing of methods employed by mediums in spiritualistic séances. Houdini is at home with an audience of children and for their entertainment he has a special brand tricks, mystery and illusions.
Children Cheer HoudiniWhen Houdini in the auditorium yesterday, the children rose and cheered him. He was introduced to his youthful audience by father H.J. Gilbert, superintendent of the orphanage. The mystifier made a short address on magic, pointing out to the youngsters at no matter what is done, it is accomplished by trickery–and that alone.Calling for two assistants from among the audience for his egg trick, two tiny tots, hardly reaching to Houdini's waistline, came forward. While they held an apparently empty bag, Houdini drew forth an egg. A moment later he put the egg back in the bag and asked his startled assistants to draw it out. But the egg was no longer in the bag. They searched every nook and corner but no sign of it. Then some youngster in the audience yelled that the egg was not a real one but one that "folds up." The others voiced their approval of this suggestion. Houdini was amused. Into the bag went his hand, out came the egg and in full view of the audience he crushed it. The youngsters were too bewildered to move.
Tots Get TreatAfter running through his bag of tricks. Houdini came to his very best one, the stunt where a large receptacle is shown to the audience empty and then, after making a few magic passes it is showed again, this time filled with candy. At the conclusion of the trick Houdini passed the candy out the youngsters, who loudly proclaimed the performance and invited Houdini to be sure and come back again next time he appears in Pittsburgh.
It's pretty wild to see Houdini doing the Egg Bag. This is a basic store bought piece of magic that even I did as a kid (badly). However, the Egg Bag seems to have been one of Houdini's go-to tricks. He did it at the first annual Magicians' Club banquet in London in 1914. It was even sometimes featured in his "3 Show in One" advertising as one of the show's highlights. I guess in the hands of a master...
Below are some more accounts of special shows Houdini did for children.