Chain Defies Houdini

Last week, we looked at a couple famous photos published of Houdini surrounded by Girls.  As promised, this week, I am sharing one that has rarely been seen.

HH Human ChainHoudini, whose stage specialty is breaking out of things, with equally conspicuous success, broke into the movies, and had no way to break out. He can wriggle free of handcuffs, steamer trunks and packing cases, but here is a chain that defies him. Seemingly he is suffering no pangs of humiliation.

Anyone care to take a guess when this photo was taken?

Surrounded by Girls (and Rabbits)

H A P P Y  E A S T E R !

Road Show Assistants

Above is one of the famous images of Houdini surrounded by girls (and rabbits) who performed in his road show. Can you identify any of the assistants in the photo? Which one is Dorothy Young? Bragging rights for anyone that can identify all of the assistants in the photo?

There is also a famous image of Houdini surrounded by the Christie Girls that can be seen here at John Cox Wild About Houdini site.

Next week, I will post a rarely seen image of Houdini surrounded by 9 girls that you won’t want to miss.

Is Hardeen Full of Ice?

Like Houdini, his brother Hardeen has a story about Ice.

Police and Hardeen Prior to Ohio River Bridge Jump

Police and Hardeen Prior to Ohio River Bridge Jump
[Photo: Life and History of Hardeen]

On September 26th, 1907, Hardeen allowed the Chief Police officials of Louisville, Kentucky, to securely fasten heavy handcuffs and leg irons on him. These weighed almost thirty-five pounds. So shackled, before a crowd of 15,000, he jumped into the Ohio River from the 18th Street Bridge which was 60 feet above the water. It looked like sure death but Hardeen released himself from the handcuffs as he sunk in the water about fifty feet below the Bridge, and made his triumphant re-appearance holding the cuffs high in the air.

Hardeen jumping from bridge into Ohio River
[Photo: Life and History of Hardeen]

He later repeated this feat many times, but on February 10th, 1908, he almost met death when he jumped into the Elizabeth River at Norfolk, Virginia, when the stream was full of ice.

As he hit the water he was working to release himself from his handcuffs according to his version, so did not note that they were two large pieces of ice floating down the water as he jumped.   He hit one and was practically knocked unconscious, fell underneath the second one and when he tried to get to the surface of the river for air, still working to free himself, he came up under the ice.  Not knowing the size of it, he sunk down and tried to reach the surface again.  On his second attempt, he was successful, completed the escape and swam to shore.  He had a large lump at the top of his head where he hit the ice when coming up, and one of his legs was badly cut from the piece of ice which he had originally hit.


  • Life and History of Hardeen by Hardeen 1914
  • Hardeen Memorial Issue Conjurer’s Magazine July 1945

Related Post:

Today is Houdini’s Adopted Birthday

April 6th is Historical!

April 6th is Historical!

Houdini’s adoption of April 6th as his birthday will remain a mystery, although he explained in a letter [dated November 22, 1913] to his brother Theo that he would celebrate on April 6 because that was the day his mother acknowledged his birthday. It is interesting to note that by 1910 both Houdini and Bess knew with certainty that his actual birthday was on March 24.  While in Australia that year, Bess gave Houdini an engraved watch as a birthday present.


Ever Houdini Remembering In Complete Happiness



Not only was his birth date correct, but Bess employed a code in the dedication as well.  When you isolate the first letter of each word in the message, it spells out Harry’s real name E-H-R-I-C-H.


  • Kalush, The Secret Life of Houdini
  • Letter- Walter B. Gibson, Original Houdini Scrapbook
  • Watch – Magicol, Number 87, May 1988