Houdini's Needles

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Postby ericafogal » 01/10/12 09:46 PM

Which brand of needles did Houdini use? Given performer's penchant for product tie ins what other brand names did he promote?
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/10/12 11:13 PM

Houdini and his brother Hardeen were early examples of celebrity product endorsement. They both promoted Zam-Buc ointment in newspaper ads. The ointment soothed the cuts, bruises, and swelling from the tough handcuff, rope, and chain escapes that they were subjected to:

http://www.rose-apothecary.co.uk/blog/?p=410

http://deancarnegie.blogspot.com/2010/1 ... ement.html

I don't know about the needles. Houdini could have gotten them anywhere; probably from a local garment shop. I don't believe they were gaffed in any way.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/10/12 11:37 PM

You can see a set of Houdini's needles in Houdini: Art and Magic, the catalogue for the traveling exhibition now in San Franciso.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/11/12 06:20 AM

Josh Jay shows them in this preview of the exhibit here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL-pLZfYU6w
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/15/12 05:29 PM

In his book Illusion Show, David Bamberg recalled an interesting story about Houdini's needles. As a teenager he was a given a quarter by his father, Okito, to deliver a gadget to Houdini's brownstone at 278 W. 113th Street. The quarter covered the streetcar and subway fare from David's residence in Flatbush, Brooklyn, with five cents left for an ice cream cone.
When David arrived at Houdini's home, the escape artist was wearing a sloppy pair of pants and was shirtless (no AC in those days). He gave the young David a lecture on the benefits of exercise and on the harmful effects of smoking. He then offered David some chewing gum and pointed to a nearby desk and told him to open a drawer. When David opened the drawer to get the gum, he saw Houdini's prepared needle loads neatly arranged in a row. At the time, Bamberg wanted the secret to this effect, and it hit him in the face when he opened that drawer.
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