If your introduction to magic included Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak”, or Gob in “Arrested Development”, then you could be forgiven for mistaking magicians with, say, ice dancing competitors. But magic hasn’t always been synonymous with guyliner. During the 1920s, when Harry Houdini submerged himself, shackled, inside a chamber he dubbed the Chinese Water Torture Cell, magic required talent and SKILL.
Houdini died on Halloween in 1926, not from the Chinese Water Torture Cell trick, as is commonly thought, but from being punched in the stomach before being given time to prepare. Since that day, the extent of his fame has only grown, as is evidenced by the paraphernalia on display at the Jewish Museum in “Houdini: Art and Magic“.
Boasting that “Nothing on Earth” could hold him prisoner, Houdini escaped from handcuffs, locked trunks, and straight jackets, often while suspended upside down or underwater. You can see old reel footage of these feats and other artifacts from his life for FREE at the Jewish Museum every Saturday, because the museum does not engage in commerce on the Jewish Sabbath and is therefore religiously barred from accepting your admission. Hurray for modern orthodoxy!!
The Jewish Museum
5th Ave at 92nd St.
Saturdays, through March 27th