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"houdini meaney" Discussed on Kickass News
"So that's totally untrue and yet included in the movie movie Yeah and I and I understand it because it's such a good story that you want to film it. You WanNa put it on you know and they did include it as as included a lot of other myths by the way and then minister is but it's but it's wonderful to see and you know to have not only you know his wife and and his friends and other people sort of invent these legends about him like the probably. Everybody has heard the legend that houdini would get Outta straitjackets by dislocating dislocating. His shoulder. Right that is. That's like a big Houdini. It's totally untrue. And and but it was. It was something people said while Houdini meaney was alive and Houdini loved it. He loved that people because he didn't actually come up with that somebody else did and and they said. Is it true Mr Houdini that you escaped by Dislo. The escape by dislike any of your shoulder and Houdini was like I'll never tell right. I mean he'll he he just played it off and and yeah I mean he created so much of his own myth but he really did inspire other people to add chapters to it and and some of the most famous chapters are not Houdini inventions engines. There there are other people who came up with now. I WanNa talk about Houdini. Early days. you say in here that he overlapped with and worked with a lot of sideshow performers early on and some of these acts are pretty funny. What were some of your favorites? Well my favorite one is is one that again. Maybe a myth but it's one that Houdini specifically really Talked about and that was a woman whose entire act was getting bitten by rattlesnakes. And and that's wall. She would do. She would like go on stage. She I have the rattlesnake Like a rabbit and kill it like that was that was like to sort of like the this is a rattlesnake and then the rows think would bite her and she'd be fine and like she would do this multiple times and I thought well that's first of all. Well what a talent right now yes to to be able to get bit by rattlesnakes continuously But that's that's where he was. That was the world that he lived in. You know he lived Dan the world where they would have cowboy ban the the cowboy who can play piano that would be an opening act or Houdini would open for him. I I mean. This was at a time when Houdini was was was really unknown so so he would do these things for people who had odd. You know the the bearded lady and the giant man and you know these kinds of sideshow performers but also all kinds of weird. I mean it was really fun. My one there's A. There's about a two page section in the book that you've you alert alluded to where I just listed off a bunch of these you know wonderful crazy the yodelers and and and and people that You know one person like there was somebody he got into a fight with that. We bought a gun. I mean this was it was such Chubb Ragtag Dangerous. You know world that he lived in and he was making no money and he was just basically trying to figure out how to how to you you know even stay on the road because he he had one great track which has metamorphosis where he would he would have a partner who will get locked into the trunk and and tied up and then and then put in a bag and then put in a trunk and then Houdini would say count with me one to throw no. Houdini would with start in. Excuse me he would start in the trunk and then his assistant would go kalemie. One two three and on three the assistant would disappear and Houdini would would appear in in their place and and and you know it was a big Big Hit for a while but you need more than one trick to sort make a living at this thing so tried all kinds of stuff. He tried comedy. He tried music he was he was trying to be an actor. I mean he tried all sorts of stuff because he he was running out of Running out of real estate I guess on on his on his magic stop until the point where he almost quit where in eighteen ninety eight. He tried to sell all of his secrets secrets and and nobody bought. And that's that's where he was. He was at a point where he was a magician. WHO nobody even wanted to secrets? And and and Surrounded by all of these sideshow performers. So then what was the big break for Harry Houdini to but but the biggest break for sure was very shortly shortly just months after he. He put out his Cadillac to sell all of his tricks. He he went back on the road. And it was kind of finishing out a couple of of you know Previous engagements and he was in Minnesota. And a man named Martin back who was a a big a big guy in Broadway. I mean in Vaudeville advil. At the time he he was someone who owned who the orpheum circuit there were theaters called orpheum which they're still signed today. And I think there's still a Martin Beck Theater on Broadway. Isn't there that that is correct later. On after after the whole Houdini Seen Martin Beck built the biggest brought Vaudeville stage in in in history on in New York and you know it was the palace theater and it was gonna be this this larger than life thing and to this day There's there's a Martin Beck Theatre in New York. So he was. He was a big guy he was still he was still a developing. You know he wasn't. He wasn't the 'cause later he become the biggest guy in Broadway but he was still big and he came to see Houdini and thought he saw something. He was as a talent scout and he was a very talented guy and finding new acts and he. You called. Houdini went to dinner with Houdini. And Bass's wife and said I'm going to be with you. Drop the magic. The magic is not working for you. Do you your birds and your cards and nobody cares. Everybody does that but stick with the handcuffs stick with the escape like that is your ticket get is is people are so taken by your ability to escape from any situation. That's your future and Houdini rebelled at that. At first he was a big big magic fan. You know his name is he named himself after after the Great Magician Robeiro don where he added an eye to the end of O'Donnell and became Houdini so he he didn't WanNa do it at first but then he realized I have no money. I've jobs it's Martin Beck. And he he started to do it and almost instantly became a bit of a sensation. Which is you know just tells you that? He was obviously very good at what he did and he was great showman and he just needed a break and Martin becky from the break. The second one is is about a year later after a very successful tour on on Vaudeville. He went to England. Basically with nothing no bookings No reputation he went to England because he'd seen a couple of other people make it big there and through. His sort of personal genius is his ability to to promote himself like nobody ever had and And a few good escapes. He became the biggest thing in Europe and then came back to the states. And and you know at that point became you know maybe the biggest star on Vaudeville and I think that this is the time when he gets introduced to soar Arthur CONAN doyle right. It is right around that time crowds of kind of surprised to read that. You're not very interested in Houdini. Later battles to expose the phony spiritualists than his relationship with doyle. Why not what's not to love about that and yeah I do love it? I just don't love it the same way that I love the magic. You know the to me. The the the point of this book was always about this about wonder. And and you know I talk about the spiritualism of bit and a little bit about his his fight with Arthur Conan conon doyle and and you know Dini's the very famous Time that WHO that Arthur CONAN doyle's wife did a seance to try to connect Houdini with his late mother. Who is his his life and you know she was? She was the most important person to him in his life right and and and then she wrote this long letter that she said was from. Houdini is mother and it had a cross at the top of it and who. DV A a father was rabbi so basically putting across on the top of a rabbi's wife. Is Houdini thought. Wow this isn't super real. And and undoubtedly had some impact on him and his later fights with with spiritualism but I I wanted to tell some of that story. 'cause it's important but I didn't I feel like for me because this is such a personal book and and and it's such a such a fun opportunity to to tell great escape stories and tell stories stories about magicians today and magic today and all of that that I didn't want to veer too far off course and I felt like spiritualism was just a little bit out of bounds for me. Well the Houdini was a consummate master of publicity and he had this thing where he would invite the police or lock makers or everyday people in every town that he visited to actually challenge him to escape say their local jail or safe etcetera. What were some of the more exotic challenges that you love? Oh I loved so many of them because every town was different you know he he would like he would go to Pittsburgh and then the Nurses Association would had an escape where they tied hide him to a hospital bed right. So it's like you would go to a beer You know a a place where a beer distributor wanted to put him inside of milk canned filled with beer a year and he would go to mention the football that he had to escape from in Chicago and and You know everywhere he went. It was something different and and and and you know. His only sort of exception was that he said you had to give me twenty four hours with whatever contraption you you built or whatever handcuffs you plan on using so that I can. You know. Make sure that they're legitimate. Of course what he was saying was so that me and my team can configure out how to get out. I mean right so so lots and lots of boxes. That was the big the big thing people would create boxes and they would do super long nails. AOL's so that there was no way for him to hammers way out or they would you know put inside of a glass case. He was put inside of an envelope was put inside of a mail bag. I mean it's so it's so funny to think that you know something like this could survive now but but there he was and it was very personal. That was I think a big part of his of of his huge success was this was. This was before everything right as before radio much less television or or any kind of social media so so he came to your town. It was a big deal especially after he got six was successful and then he would say hey be near the newspaper office office downtown at noon and I'm going to hang upside down from five stories above the ground and escape from a straitjacket and it's free it's totally free. It's just come downtown. And thousands and thousands and thousands of people would come and they would see Houdini do that and of course you know. This was all promotion for people to come news shows. But that's why more people saw Houdini than anybody of his time because he would come and not just perform warm on stage which was one thing but he would do. These bridge jumps where he would jump into the river off off of bridge while wearing handcuffs or he would do this buried alive escape or he would do this You know. The the upside down Straitjacket escape and that was just to promote the name of Houdini and and so you know he he. He was undoubtedly seen by more people than ever. I think any performer had ever been seen before. We're going to take a quick break. And then we'll be back with more with Joe Poznansky when we come back in just a moment. Today's episode is brought to you.