Sunday, April 17, 2016
This past weekend, my assistant Denise and I presented a sort of recreation of Houdini's act for the ObscuraDay 2016 event called Houdini Escapes DC. We gave it a sort of modern spin, in that the escapes were done quicker than Houdini might have presented them. But we used music from the era and even one track that Houdini himself used. We had our Victorian garb on and plenty of handcuffs to delight the audiences.
The whole idea of an escape act really comes out of the Victorian era. Some of the first folk to present escapes were the fake mediums/spiritualists. Magicians then took the methods they used and adopted them to the world of magic. The first person to ever present a handcuff escape was a man named Samri Baldwin who was known as The White Mahatma. Harry Kellar the greatest magician in America at the dawn of the 20th Century, was known for his ability to be tied up, free himself and then return to the tied up state. Kellar learned this technique while being employed by the famous Davenport Brothers. Harry Houdini of course took the escape act in directions it had not known by taking on pretty much any sort of restraint available.
In addition, we will feature the escape from 100 feet of rope and one or two of the following: The Steel Straitjacket, The Challenge Belt, The Glass Head Box, Sack Escape, Escape from Old World Stocks, and more.
We are searching for a 'dangerous' escape to add as well. Right now, the Glass Head Box is probably the most dangerous. This box fits over my head and can either be filled with water or left air-tight. The water fill has been problematic in the past because of the way it has to be filled.
Keep watching for more updates on the escape act!