Houdini Secrets For U.S. Soldiers


Harry Houdini with doughboys (From the collection of Kenneth M. Trombly)

In honor of Veteran’s Day, a public holiday held on the anniversary of the end of World War I (November 11) to honor US veterans and victims of all wars, I thought I would share parts of an article that appeared in the Evening Star February 26, 1918:

Houdini is going to give away some of his secrets for patriotic reasons.  He is going to show American soldiers and sailors just how he extricates himself from the tight fixes that are a feature of the Houdini acts at vaudeville performances.


The demonstrations are to be given to men in uniform during the intermission of “Cheer Up” at the Hippodrome, where a room has been fitted up on the promenade floor.

Officers who wish to make special arrangements to bring groups of men to these demonstrations can arrange to so by telephoning the Hippodrome and making appointments for the intermissions on any desired date.

Houdini has also offered to teach soldiers and sailors how to escape from sinking vessels and has received a letter from the Secretary of War thanking him for the suggestion.

Thank You for serving our country & protecting our freedoms.

5 thoughts on “Houdini Secrets For U.S. Soldiers

  1. Possibly the finer points of escaping German handcuffs and techniques on rope releases. Escaping sinking vessels seems to have been out of Harry’s forte. The U.S. Navy must have had manuals for that.

  2. No details in the article, other than the fact Houdini says that anyone can be taught to escape from German handcuffs if their willing to endure a little pain. It may have been a similar demonstration to the 1902 exhibition he gave in the Cologne courtroom on escaping German transport chain/handcuffs. I also believe his demonstration at the Hippodrome included rope releases. I can’t really speak to the sinking vessels since he wasn’t taken up on that offer.

  3. In the above photo Harry is demonstrating what seems to be the transport chain release. Must have been something to get an escape lesson from the Master.

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