This is not the most flattering photo of Houdini, but it does capture an important moment 99 years ago today. This is Houdini after escaping shackles, including a 24-pound ball and chain, in the swimming pool of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on April 28, 1923. Houdini was taking part in a special event
marking the opening of the pool for summer. As it stands now, this is his last known outdoor water escape.
|The Wichita Daily Eagle, May 27, 1923.|
It's not surprising to see Houdini holding the iron ball aloft. Had he let it drop to the bottom, it would have almost certainly damaged the Ambassador pool. In fact, controlling this iron ball might have been the hardest part of the whole escape!
There is a photo in Master Magician with an older Houdini holding a ball and chain about to dive into a pool. Was this the after picture?ReplyDelete
Yes. Click on the first related link and you'll see that pic and others from this day.Delete
I always thought Harry looked un-Houdini like in that Ambassador Hotel diving board photo. His head and face looked blocky, and his body looked too thick. He may have been on the tail end of an eating binge.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I've always thought the same thing. But he did the Examiner bldg suspended straitjacket escape around this same time and looks fine in those pics, so maybe he was just a little bloated on this day for some reason.Delete
In the early 70s my family lived in a bungalow at the Ambassador for a month. Very strange to think that I swam in the same pool as Houdini!ReplyDelete
Oh, how great is that. :)
I used to go to the Ambassador in the '80s for a regular comic book convention. I loved exploring the hotel and having drinks in the lounge. But at that time I had no idea there was a Houdini connection. These pool photos were always misidentified as being San Fransisco in books. By the time I discovered it was LA, the Ambassador was long gone.