Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Houdini hangs with Franz

The Facebook page for Houdini Unlocked, the new traveling exhibition from Appleton's History Museum at the Castle, shared this image yesterday. It has me excited for a few reasons. First, I've not seen it before. Also this appears to be Houdini's suspended straitjacket escape in Washington D.C. on April 19, 1916. I just did a post about this escape and said I had never seen a photo. Well, I have now!

But there's another aspect to this photo that has me excited. You can clearly see Franz Kukol among the men (he's in the bowler hat and holding a camera). This is two years after Franz was supposed to have left Houdini and returned home to Austria to serve in the military. Just further evidence that he did not leave. It's also interesting to see that he's still sporting his Kaiser Wilhelm-style mustache. This is the only time I've ever spotted Franz in any photo or film of a suspended straitjacket escape.

According to the great Patrick Culliton, Franz remained with Houdini to the end using the name Frank Williamson. You can catch up on that story via the related links below. And if you want to see film of this escape, check out my Patreon.

For more information on Houdini Unlocked visit the official website.

1 comment:

  1. This is an important photograph! It proves without a doubt that Kukol didn't leave. Patrick was right all along, but I didn't doubt him. It's still a mystery as to why he went under the radar around 1914.