Harry Houdini, Vaudeville man, does “stunt” in East River

Escapes from sunken box

Such a big crowd collected to see Harry Houdini, the “handcuff king,” nailed in a box and thrown into the East River that the police interfered and drove the vaudeville performer away in a boat. He kept the box on the boat, however, and yesterday morning, shortly after the appointed hour, was shackled, chained, trussed and nailed in the box, which was thrown overboard off Governor’s Island.

Harry Houdini escapes from a box sunk in the East River (1912)Harry Houdini came up in less than two and one-half minutes, two hundred and fifty feet away from where he had been thrown in, and was hauled aboard. It was not until he was back on the boat deck that the box floated to the surface. He appeared at Hammerstein’s at the afternoon and night performances.

Three doctors — Frank Abbott of Jamaica, George Gregory and J A Winter — have challenged Houdini to what he says will be the hardest task he has ever undertaken. The physicians said their curiosity had been aroused and wanted Houdini to submit to the following terms:

We will send an extra heavy operating table with broad straps, and strap you down in as helpless a position and condition as possible. Crossing your arms over your chest and strapping your hands to the side of the table, your neck will be held down with a broad, heavy neck strap to eliminate the danger of strangulation. Your thighs, knees and feet will be held down by heavy straps along the sides and at the extreme end of the table.

The doctors said they wanted to study the methods by which he gets loose, and made a condition that he would do the “stunt” in full view of the audience. Houdini accepted.

Harry Houdini: Stepping into the crate

Here’s Harry Houdini, stepping into a crate just about to be lowered into New York Harbor as part of an escape stunt. Spectators stand along the side of a barge to watch.

Harry Houdini escapes from a box sunk in the East River (1912)

Harry Houdini: Going down, down

The crate with Houdini inside is being lowered into New York Harbor:

Harry Houdini escapes from a box sunk in the East River (1912)

Harry Houdini escapes from a box sunk in the East River (1912)

About this story

Source publication: New-York Tribune (New York, NY)

Source publication date: July 08, 1912

Filed under: 1910s, Celebrities & famous people, Entertainment, Photos & photography

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