Houdini’s Handcuffs

19 January 2022

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was a Hungarian-born American who became famous for his escapes from perilous situations and he used to challenge police forces to keep him locked up in one of their cells. On a tour of Europe, he became known as Harry ‘Handcuff’ Houdini. His escapes caught the imagination of the public – if he could beat the odds then anyone could. His repertoire included escaping from ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets (see Object 4) under water and a sealed milk churn full of water. Although famous and celebrated during his lifetime, it was only after his death that Houdini became a household name, still remembered by people all over the world. This was partly due to his devoted wife Bess (1876-1943), along with her PR savvy new partner Edward Saint, ensuring his name was kept in the public eye.

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