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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Houdini and StraitJacket History (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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The Donster
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Does anyone have any History on Houdini and His StraitJacket. as in What Year it began etc.
KerryJK
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I think he first wrote about his initial Nova Scotia encounter with a striaghtjacket around 1908. The (cabinet based) escape bombed initially, until Hardeen suggested doing it in full view to let everyone see the effort involved.
The Donster
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Is there any way to present this to the audience making it exciting but not as a history lesson.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I would guess you mean he WROTE about that encounter in 1908.

Houdini was shedding a straitjacket in the late 1890s, before he performed for the Orpheum chain, or set sail for England.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
The Donster
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Its hard to say which is which helen is right about the cabinet thing and Hardeen and suggesting it. and Dr Stephen is Correct to on Houdini First seeing/viewing this at a insane asylum I beleive. back in the 1890's now if he actully first seen it back in the 1890's and began doing it in 1908 what took so long.
KerryJK
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On checking back, I found an account of him doing a SJ escape in Germany in 1901, so I stand corrected insofar as thinking the 1908 text marked the beginning of the escape, or for that matter it even being his first written words on the subject. The Nova Scotia encounter apparently took place in 1896, when Houdini was still a struggling magician.
The Donster
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I think in 1908 he did the milk can escape. for the first time. but any how so many books on Houdini are out there and so many are full of maybe Mis informed Facts. and I'm pertaining this to some other things besides the SJ.
MarkTripp
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1908 was the can as well

As I recall the set act then was jacket, needles, then the can.
The Donster
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Now we are getting some where. evreyone jot this Down I have not seen a order of tricks listed but would like to know what was performed etc.
KerryJK
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Suspended SJ <>1915
The Donster
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Anyone know Who Manufactured His SJ. or where did he Acquire them.
KingStardog
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The folks at Humane tell a much different story. A search on humane restraint will pull the article up. according to them Houdini failed the straightjacket challege on the courthouse steps.

Of course everybody has a story, don't they?
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Riley
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Don

If you want to know what Houdini performed, where and when etc., then I recommend you try and get hold of "The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary" by Frank Koval . .

Part 1 1895-1900
Part 2 1900-1905
Part 3 1906-1910
Part 4 1911-1915
Part 5 1916-1920
Part 6 1920-1926

Frank lists where Houdini was appearing, week by week, what he performed and other interesting stuff.
PM me if interested and I'll give you his details.

Regards

Riley
KingStardog
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Riley,

Is that the same Koval that does the antiques price guides? Those are great resources.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Riley
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Mike, I don't think it's the same man. Frank lives in the UK. I haven't seen him since David DeVal's funeral.
His research diary was in six parts, and is highly sought after. Odd copies turn up here and there at high prices. I did hear there was to be a single bound edition, but not sure if it happened.

Don: Haven't got Vol 1 to hand at the moment, but Vol 2 says Houdini certainly included the SJ during the performing week 8th-13th January 1990 at Keiths Theatre, Boston. (He probably used it before that, I'll check when I have a moment Smile).

Frank Koval researched a lot of newspaper reports from Public Libraries around the world. There are gaps in the info - but Frank leaves a space if he has no written proof of where and when.

Regards

Riley

BTW, I should just mention that I don't know all that much about SJ's Smile
The Donster
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Riley I think the Year is Mistaken I know darn well Houdini was not alive in 1990. maybe there is a typo. I'm sure it should read 1890.

Here goes a little bit I'm hoping of the article KSD is referring to. Sommer tells of one magician who had some difficulty with the standard jacket: Harry Houdini. ``I don`t know if it`s a legend or what, but the story is he came to town and challenged anyone to tie him up.`` While the distinguished escape artist wowed local farmers on the steps of the state capital, ``my great-grand father showed up with a straitjacket. He didn`t get out.``
KerryJK
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Quote:
Riley I think the Year is Mistaken I know darn well Houdini was not alive in 1990. maybe there is a typo. I'm sure it should read 1890.


You may also notice that part one of the Illustrated Research Diary as described above only goes back as far as 1895 (in 1890 Houdini was just 16 and cutting neckties for a living.. his magical career at that point was ahead of him, although his interest in magic and locks were well instilled). Since the entry described was from volume two, maybe the correct date is 1900 (it's easy to mistype a 9 instead of a zero).
The Donster
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All the Good Stuff is Over Seas Maybe I should Relocate. Smile
Riley
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Sorry guys, that should be 1900

I spoke to Frank Koval today on the phone. He has no plans for a second edition of his Houdini Research Diaries.

Helen is right about Houdini and his early history. To be honest I'd take most of Houdini's account of his "early history" with a pinch of salt (is that just a Brit. expression?).

Ah, well, I'll go now. I can smell Mama's home baked apple pies.... Smile

Riley
MarkTripp
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I think it is actually "a grain of salt" as in:

His story is worth a grain of salt.

From there the term seems to have adjusted a bit.

The meaning is clear in any case.
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