Welcome to Bob King's Houdini Tribute

Houdini Anecdotes


In the early 1900's while performing on the vaudeville circuit, Houdini worked with a couple named Keaton. Their young son Joseph was intrigued by Houdini's magic, and Houdini was quite taken with the boy. Houdini nicknamed him "Buster", and the name stuck, explaining how Buster Keaton, the famous film comedian got his name.
I Once Shot an Elephant in my Pajamas...
Compliments of Derek Verner
Once when Houdini was performing the the needle trick wherein he calls up someone from the audience to peer into his mouth. Unfortunately he fails to recognize Groucho Marx without his makeup. When Houdini asks the spectator to peer into his mouth and tell the audience what he sees, Groucho takes a long look and says, "Pyorrhea."

Is This How it All Started?
One day whilst working as an apprentice in a locksmith's close by the police station, one of the young bloods of the town was arrested for some trivial offense. He tried to open his handcuffs with some keys he had on his person, and in the attempt broke off one of the keys in the lock of the handcuff. He was brought to the shop to have the cuff opened or cut off his wrist, and this incident, trivial as it may seem, in after years changed my entire career.
While the master locksmith was trying to open the handcuff the whistle blew for the dinner hour. Being a loyal union man, and incidentally, perhaps, having a sharpened appetite, he called me to his side and said, "Harry, get a hack-saw and cut off this handcuff," and then went out with the police officer to dine.
I tried to cut off the cuff, but the steel was too hard, and after breaking half-a-dozen saw-blades, the thought struck me to attempt to pick the lock. I succeeded in doing it, and the very manner in which I then picked the lock of the handcuff contained the basic principle which I employed in opening handcuffs all over the world. Not with a duplicate key, which seems to have been the only way others had of duplicating my performance.

From Houdini's Childhood Town...
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - An elderly woman who accidentally locked herself in her pantry survived for a month on tomato juice and canned fruits before finally being rescued, authorities said. The 71-year-old woman, who lived alone, was reportedly in good condition after being found by police. Officials said she had locked herself in the small pantry of her house Dec. 22, 1998. Neighbors in the residential Budapest neighborhood contacted police after not seeing her for a month.

A fervent admirer of Houdini, ten-year-old Victor tries to emulate his feats, but to no avail: getting out of locked trunks and holding his breath for 500 seconds are beyond his powers. Spying Houdini himself in a railroad station, he begs for his secrets and is promised a letter. Eventually, it arrives: ``A thousand secrets await you. Come to my house....'' But it's the day of Houdini's death; the grieving widow hands Victor a locked box with the initials E.W. Unable to open the box, and concluding that it couldn't have belonged to the great magician anyway, Victor forgets it until years later when, playing baseball with his son Harry, the ball happens to land on Houdini's grave and he learns his original name: Ehrich Weiss. And that night, Victor at last succeeds in escaping from his grandmother's trunk.

Who's Minding the Store?
Penned by Houdini whilst in Russia -
A peculiar accident recently happened to a magician named Malokin. He checked his "Trunk de Mysterious" at the depot. Some of the porters commenced to monkey around it, when lo and behold the side opened, and they discovered they were fooling with a magician's trunk. Having nothing better to do, they invented a new game. "You tie me in the trunk, and I'll get out." They were busy at it when the Mysterious Malokin appeared and was petrified at seeing his feature trick being done by railroad porters. He canceled his date, and promises to sue the railroad company for exposing his trick. The Sphinx, December 1903

Copyright 1998-2016 by Robert R. King