There is no shortage of film showing Houdini's suspended straitjacket escapes. It's possible he filmed every one of these outdoor stunts, which by my current count numbers 67! Much of this film exists in unidentified fragments. But what we have here is something very special. Not a second of this film has ever been seen before, and the location is....well, I will let you watch and see if you recognize it for yourself.
Okay, so this is Houdini's famous suspended straitjacket escape from the Los Angeles Examiner building on April 4, 1923. Houdini was performing at the nearby Orpheum Theater at this time. This was his second suspended straitjacket escape in the city (the first being in 1915). And before someone puts it in the comments, yes, this is the Pawn Stars straitjacket he's using this day.
|Front page coverage in the Los Angeles Examiner, April 5, 1923.|
What makes this footage extra special is the Examiner building is still standing. In fact, the building has recently undergone a massive restoration and now houses its first new tenant (ASU). In preparation for this post, I visited the site on Sunday and and took a few few pics. It looks great and I'd say this is one of the best surviving Houdini stunt locations. And now we have film from that day!
Thanks to Brad Hansen of Retro Cars Forever for his editing assistance. A playlist of these clips can be found on the WILD ABOUT HARRY YouTube Channel. And there's more to come!