Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Spying on Houdini

Our friend Tom Interval (Interval Magic) sent over this terrific story from the October 1946 Linking Ring about a man who witnessed Houdini escape from a cask of beer from a secret vantage point. It's pretty amusing -- although clearly Houdini didn't find it amusing one bit! I'll let the story speak for itself.

Click to enlarge.

Houdini was challenged by the G-B-S Brewing Co. to escape cask filled with Arrow Beer at the Maryland Theater in Baltimore on April 30, 1915 and again on April 27, 1916. I'm guessing one of these was the escape witnessed by Thomas Worthington? But what I'd really like to know is the identity of the disloyal assistant.

The Baltimore Sun, April 30, 1915.

Thanks Tom!


  1. Houdini was a teetotaler so im not surprised he didn't like the beer

  2. Worthington was not a fan of Houdini. From the magic of Baltimore blog spot:

    Thomas Chew Worthington III hailed from a prominent Baltimore family, his father a doctor at John Hopkins. A known eccentric and magical purist, he showed open disdain for magicians that did not take the practice seriously and was even known to pick fights! He was the first member to join the Demons Club, but left in 1923 to form the Society of Osiris after his increasing agitation at the club's lack of exclusivity, calling it's members "the Peeping Tom's of magic." He worshiped Howard Thurston, considering him the world's greatest magician and despised Houdini "I knew Eric Weiss very well, he was an egotistical ass. There was no love lost between him and me."
    He also would joke that the initials M.U.M used by the Society of American Magician's (which stands for Magic, Unity and Might) actually meant "Many Useless Magicians!" lol
    At his home in Baltimore, Worthington had one of the largest and most valuable collections of rare magical apparatus in the world which, just prior to his death. he gave to the Ringling Brothers' Museum in Sarasota, Florida.

    1. Oh, wow, that is excellent. Great find. Thanks.

      He sounds like a trouble maker! :p

    2. You're welcome! I'm also wondering about the identity of the assistant that betrayed HH. According to Silverman he bragged that he never made a mistake in choosing assistants. This one went awry. I'm wondering about the identity of the individual who spied on HH backstage.