Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More Houdini like Escapes - straitjacket, milk can- flattery to the master


Just when I thought it was safe to turn around without running into another inventive Houdini fan, I stumble across two rather fascinating cases. One successful, the other not quite so much.

(Via Yorkshire Today)

One stunt that Harry Houdini failed to pull off apparently was escaping from a milk can filled with Tetley's bitter (a type of ale)- he was overcome by CO2 fumes, and his assistants had to drag him out before he completed the stunt. However, 37 year old Paul Cheesbrough from Todmorden, England claims to have trumped Houdini with his own escape from a Milk can filled with cold water. Much like Houdini, the milk churn was padlocked from the outside, and his hands and feet were bound on the inside. But wait a tick, despite the fact that this article runs under the headline "Great Escape Act Outdoes Houdini", I do believe I've missed something here- didn't Houdini routinely escape from a padlocked Milk can filled with water? Now, Cheesbrough is undoubtedly a larger man than Houdini (who was quite small), which could make things more difficult. But in this case, the temperature of the water doesn't even matter because he was wearing a wet suit. The point, in this case, (despite the headline) is that Houdini was challenged by Joshua Tetley and Son in the Empire Theatre in Brigate, Leeds. Cheesbrough was challenged to do his stunt by the Leeds Magical Association, for their 10th annual day of Magic. The stunt itself was a difficult one, as the displacement of the water inside the can eliminated his air supply. He did, however, manage to escape within 90 seconds, which is impressive. Not many people can match the master, even if they're not outdoing him.

Which leads me to my next tidbit- this guy. (Via Cincinnati Enquirer)

Illusionist Phil Dalton, while doing a show for an elementary school in Cincinnati, didn't have such good luck. He tried Houdini's famous straitjacket stunt- he was suspended 90ft in the air, with his legs shackled, but with one major exception. The ropes had been soaked in Diesel fuel and set on fire.

Despite the fact that he had gone to great lengths to test the burning time of the ropes beforehand, a slight pick up in wind sped up the incineration as he was attempting to escape. He still managed to escape within 2 minutes and 44 seconds, but not before one of the three ropes had burned all of the way through, and a second most of the way through, leaving him dangling precariously on a single rope. Dalton, who does a variety of other types of stunts such as sawing himself in half or pulling snakes out of hats, doesn't intend to do this particular stunt again any time soon.

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