Showing posts with label Milk Can. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Milk Can. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Houdini Milk Can Poster Breaks the Bank!


A recent Potter and Potter Auction featured a Houdini Milk Can Escape Poster. This poster dates back to 1908 and was produced by Russell-Morgan Lithos of Cincinnati & New York. The poster depicts Houdini inside the can with a view of him submerged inside. The live audience never had a view inside the can but this artistic depiction helps to convey the cramped confines of this dramatic escape. On top of that, there are the words, "Failure Means a Drowning Death". 

Originally referred to as The Galvanized Iron Can Escape, it was the creation of Montraville Wood. Houdini, debuted the escape at the Columbia Theatre in St. Louis on January 27th, 1908. He had previously been pressure from the theatre manager to produce something people wanted to see, as his handcuff escape act was not pulling the crowds. Too many imitators cooled the desire to see such acts. So Houdini brought out the big guns, The Galvanized Iron Can Escape. Over time he would use it in many different ways. He would fill it with Milk as a challenge from a Dairy, or fill it with Beer as a challenge from a brewery. Over time he would add a wooden box in which the milk can was placed inside and yet he still was able to escape from everything!

I've written a longer piece about the Milk Can Escape which you can read here.

This particular poster came from Houdini's basement on 278 W 113th in NY.  The auction estimates were between $40,000 and $60,000. This poster with buyers premium sold for $180,000.00

Below is a photo of the Columbia Theater where Houdini debuted The Milk Can Escape!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The UnMasking of Harry Houdini Part 2

Fatty Arbuckle and Houdini

I hope everyone who read Part 1 understands, I'm not criticizing Houdini or passing any sort of judgement on him. He was and always will be an iconic performer. I'm just giving some background as to where some of his material originated. Make no mistake, though he may not have created everything he did, it all had his unique stamp on it. A Houdini trick was a very specific sort of thing and he really knew how to find and develop those routines that fit him. In many cases he did create something original. Here are a few more for you to enjoy.

The Origins of Houdini's Magic

Once again, I refer to Houdini-The Key, and Patrick Culliton's knowledge. In the book, he says the East Indian Needle trick originated with a magician named Ramo Sami in early 19th Century London. This information came from Houdini. Interestingly, Long Tack Sam, who was a friend of Houdini's was very well versed in the Needle Trick, having learned it in China. So, maybe the trick came from China and found it's way to Europe or vice versa.

Houdini made a masterpiece out of the trick and because of this it became one of his signature routines. This goes back to what I was saying in Part 1. A good performer takes a routine and does it so well that it becomes associated with him. Houdini did add one other thing...according to Long Tack Sam, Houdini copyrighted his presentation which prevented anyone else in Vaudeville from performing it. I can't say I really blame him either.

One piece of Houdini's act that I was surprised to find he did not invent was the Galvanized Milk Can Escape. This was actually the idea and creation of Montraville Wood. You can read all about the Milk Can and it's inventor by clicking here. I will say, that although Houdini did not invent the Milk Can Escape, in this instance he surely was the first to present it and that alone makes it a Houdini Original in my book. He created the iconic performance that other performers try to copy. But Houdini did it first and it was a huge hit for him for many years.

Another Houdini original was the Straitjacket Escape. Houdini was the first to escape from a straitjacket. However, it was his brother Hardeen,  who stumbled upon the idea of doing the escape in full view. Houdini's original presentation had him being tied and secured in full view and then put into a curtained cabinet to escape.

In the Hardeen version, he did the entire escape out in the open. Houdini quickly added that feature to his escape as well. And yet another bit that took the straitjacket from an indoor escape to an outdoor spectacle was the Hanging Upside Down Straitjacket escape. Oddly this too, was the idea of someone else and not Houdini.

It was believed for a long time that a young man named Randini, shared the idea with Houdini. But has presented an article about a man named Mysterio who did the hanging straitjacket escape even before Randini.

I think it's safe to say however, that no one received the kind of press for the Upside Straitjacket Escape that Houdini did.

To be continued....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Houdinis Challenging Time in Trenton

On February 11, 1912, the Trenton Evening Times Newspaper  announced the coming arrival of Harry Houdini to the NJ Capital. Houdini had toured the world and become the most famous Vaudeville act in history, but he had never performed in Trenton so the excitement was pretty high. In fact, there were a number of articles in the paper before his arrival that went on and on about his fame and popularity. Trenton was excited to have Houdini and the theatre owner was expecting box office gold. Notice what is written on the advertisement above, "Better Buy Seats Well In Advance For Houdini Is A Wonderful Drawing Card."

He would be presenting an interesting version of his Milk Can Escape, along with accepting daily challenges. At the Trent Theatre, Houdini's Double Fold Death Defying Mystery was the feature routine. Houdini would be handcuffed, placed into a large galvanized metal can filled with water, which then would be sealed with a lid and six padlocks. Next, the Milk Can with Houdini inside was placed into a wooden crate and locked up as well. This is the earliest newspaper account I've seen that mentions the Double Fold Death Defying Mystery. He opened at the Trent Theatre on February 19th, 1912 and the headline in the next days paper read "HOUDINI STARTLES TRENT AUDIENCES".

On February 20th, Houdini accepted his first challenge from the Castanea Dairy Company 234 North Broad Street Trenton NJ. The challenge was to escape from his Milk Can while it was filled with 80 gallons of real milk! Oh, and they stipulated that they wanted to use their own locks on the Milk Can. Houdini accepted the challenge and was successful in his escape.

February 22nd, Houdini accepted his next challenge which was to have Sergeant George T. Smith, the commander of the U.S. Army recruiting station, handcuff him spread eagle to the floor of the Trent Theatre Stage and then the cuffs would be nailed into the wooden stage floor. Winner of the challenge, Houdini.

The next challenge was announced on February 20th, but was to be carried out on the 23rd. This challenge is one to pay attention to. It was made by the employees of the Goldberg's Department Store.
Their challenge: to construct a large packing box which will encase Houdini. Then they will nail the lid shut and tie it securely with ropes. There is an interesting stipulation to the challenge which reads "We will send the box on for examination, but demand the right to re-nail each and every board before you enter, to prevent any preparation on your part."
This escape was to be presented on Houdini's final night in Trenton. There is no mention of Houdini in the February 24th newspaper. So did he escape?  Read on, as this is where things get interesting. The February 25th edition of the Trenton Evening Times carried this headline "HOUDINI COMING BACK TO ACCEPT CHALLENGES-Has Been Re-engaged to Appear at Trent During Week of March 11th". Reading the article further reveals that Houdini had been accused of being a fake and that the trunk built by the Goldberg's Department Store was made to Houdini's specifications so that he could escape and the entire thing was nothing more than an advertising scheme. The article says Houdini was livid over the accusation and made arrangements with theatre management to return.

Trent Theatre
To follow the timeline of the events this is how it played out. The morning of Feb. 23rd, a local paper informed Houdini that they had been notified by 'someone' that the Goldberg stunt was a fake. Even though the Goldberg challenge had not even taken place yet, it was planned for that evening. Houdini makes arrangements with the theatre management right then for a return engagement.  That night, Houdini in front of the audience read this letter to the audience before attempting the Goldberg Challenge. The complaint letter went on to challenge Houdini to escape from a crate built in front of the audience. Houdini agreed to submit to the test on Sunday morning on certain conditions. It turns out this new challenge was from the Armstrong Packing Case Factory, and they declined the additional conditions put on by Houdini. However, Houdini said their challenge would be the first he would accept upon his return on March 11th. I must assume the complaint letter then was also from the Armstrong Packing Case Company, though the newspaper does not name them specifically.

Following that drama Houdini did go through with the challenge from the Goldberg Department Store crate, but not before they re-nailed every single board. Houdini, again escaped. The final line in the Feb 25th article is interesting, "Mr. Houdini's engagement at the Trent during the past week stirred up more local interest than any theatrical attraction the Trent has had in years and there is no doubt that when he returns to the Trent two weeks hence, he will play to record-breaking business." Ya-think?!

Several days later on March 3rd, the employees at Goldbergs who were involved in the packing case challenge sent a letter to the Trenton Evening News asserting that they were not in on some grand advertising scheme and that Houdini only provided the dimensions of the box and nothing more. So his escape was legitimate.
This ad appeared in the paper on March 10th, the day before his return to Trenton.
On March 11th, Houdini did return to Trenton and he did accept the challenge from the Armstrong Packing Case Company. Their wooden crate was built on-stage in front of the audience. Houdini escaped. The newspaper reported "When he finally emerged from the box, there were thunderous cheers, and a more mystified audience has never departed a theatre."

First Precinct Jail
The morning of March 12th, Houdini opted to try his hand at escaping from the First Precinct Jail.

Houdini was stripped of his clothing and was secured with two pair of handcuffs behind his back provided by the Chief of Police John J. Cleary. He was then placed into cell #4. It took Houdini seven minutes to free himself from the cuffs and the cell but he added a special twist. He exited discreetly through the rear jail door and came back through the front door to surprise the crowd of 500 officers and by standers that were waiting to see if Houdini could escape!

That evening, Houdini accepted a challenge from three sailors to allow them to tie him to a post. The sailors did in fact tie him securely to the post and a committee of audience members that was on hand agreed that the escape artist was bound tightly and faced an impossible task. Eighteen minutes later he was free!

Houdini was scheduled to do a bridge jump while handcuffed from the bridge over the canal lock on East State Street on the morning of March 13th. However, the stunt was cancelled due to 'unfavorable conditions' and was to be rescheduled if they could find a better location. It doesn't appear on this trip that he found such a place. But that small setback did not stop Houdini. That evening he accepted a challenge from the A.V. Mannings Sons employees to escape from a sack that they provided. The sack was tied at both ends and yet the master mystifier freed himself.

Library of Congress photo
He added his Needle Swallowing routine to his regular act during the week. The Needle routine involved swallowing twenty four sewing needles, followed by several yards of thread. After verifying that he had swallowed both the thread and needles, he would cough them back up but this time the needles would be threaded! A small effect, but Houdini would create a huge sensation with it.

The challenge on the evening of the 14th involved being secured in a full body padded cell suit. The Trenton Times newspaper says "This restraint encloses the prisoner from the neck down to including the feet, and is held in position with broad belting straps and fitted with steel buckles". He was placed into the restraint by three of asylum attendants. Results, Houdini 1, asylum attendants 0, though not without a great deal of struggle. He earned his freedom on this evening.

The final night was March 15th, and the last challenge of the week. This time it involved being strapped to an iron hospital bed provided by the W.C. Emmans Company. He made the escape attempt  in full view of the audience. There is no record of what transpired on this night, though we can assume he defeated this challenge like he had all the others. On March 17th, there was an interesting notice in the ad for the Trent Theatre. They make mention that there is 'No Houdini This Week'. The ad goes on to say that Houdini came close to breaking the box office records and they were thrilled to have hosted his second appearance in the New Jersey capital.

In May 1912, Houdini's brother Hardeen was scheduled to play the State Theatre in Trenton but had to cancel due to an injury he received in Reading PA. Later in June 1912, Hardeen did go to Trenton to play a week at the Taylor Opera House. He received great reviews.

Houdini only performed live in Trenton NJ in 1912. His next appearance in Trenton wasn't until 1918 in the form of one of his movies, The Mastery Mystery.

All of this information was gathered through articles and ads that appeared in the Trenton Evening Times Newspaper. There were other papers in the town during this time period, but I was unable to access them to add additional information. No photos of Houdini appeared in the newspaper, except for the one in the advertisement on March 10th. Still it's wonderful to have the historical record of what played out day by day. One hundred years later, we know that Houdini orchestrated many of these challenges during his career. It's fascinating to see how he used them to cause controversy and pick up another week with almost guaranteed crowds. Where other Vaudeville performers were doing the same act show after show, Houdini gave them a new thrill each time they came to the theatre. It's no wonder he was a hit wherever he went.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Recreations of Historical Magic Routines

This is interesting. Apparently it was a TV show at one time, though I'm not sure when. The performers have recreated a number of 'historical magic routines'. I have to say it's not 100% historically accurate, but it is interesting to watch. The first is Houdini's Milk Can Escape.

Next we have Servais LeRoy's Levitation as presented by this troupe of performers on the TV show "Illusions". Again, not 100% accurate historically but it gives you an idea of the style and what it may have been like.

Next up is DeKolta's Vanishing Lady. Interestingly, the performer does lay down a sheet of newspaper beforehand, which Dekolta did. But DeKolta also did something that no other performer has done since and that is make the entire cloth that covers the girl vanish as well.

The final video is a recreation of Kalanag's Sub Trunk Vignette. I don't know quite enough about Kalanag's actual performance pieces to know how close this is. I'm guessing it's like the others, it's meant to give the viewer an idea of what it was like but probably not an exact recreation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Galvanized Iron Can

It's January 6th, 1908, Houdini is starting a run at the Columbia Theatre in St. Louis. He is doing his Handcuff Escape Act and the receipts are no longer what they once were. With so many imitators and rip-off artists out there, audiences had grown tired of seeing this kind of act. Even though Houdini was the one who made it famous, now he was facing a crossroad in his career. The manager of the theatre called Houdini into his office and basically gave him a thrashing about the low attendance. I believe he said something like "your act is not worth a plug nickel, or even a normal nickel" (not sure what a plug nickel is, lol). That is what Houdini was faced with in January 1908.

So what does he do? He brings out what he calls at the time "the best thing he has ever invented." That invention was 'The Galvanized Iron Can Filled with Water'. The newspaper ads promoting the escape referred to it as The Galvanized Iron Can Filled with Water and clearly Houdini referred to it as that. It wasn't until April 1908 that a newspaper referred to the can as 'looking like a giant Milk Can'.

The Milk Can
The debut of the Milk Can Escape took place at the Columbia Theatre in St. Louis, January 27th, 1908, (exactly 103 years ago today!) After theatre manager Tate told Houdini his act was worthless, Houdini came back with the Milk Can. The opening night of this performance all the area press was invited to witness Houdini's latest invention. However, not one single person from the press showed up. This was a pivotal moment in Houdini's career and no one was there to record it. We do know the "Failure Means a Drowning Death" concept was a huge hit for Houdini as he continued to use the Milk Can Escape as his closer until 1912. In 1912 he would present for the first time another new invention combining elements of his water escapes and upside down outdoor escapes, the Water Torture Cell. Though the Water Torture Cell was more spectacular, Houdini did continue to perform the Milk Can escape in a different capacity.

On occasion Houdini would use his Milk Can with a challenge. He would allow challengers to fill the can with something other than water. A dairy filled it with milk and he escaped. But it was in England in 1911 that Houdini had trouble. He allowed the Tetley Brewery to fill the can with beer.  He was overcome by the fumes from the alcohol and passed out and had to be unlocked and removed from the can. However in Columbus Ohio of the same year, he did the same stunt, can filled with beer and placed inside a wooden container (see The Double Fold Death Defying Mystery above) and escaped with no problem.

On April 18, 1916 Houdini was at Keith's Theatre in Washington D.C. The challenge came from the employees of Abner and Drurys Brewery. In the article they refer to the device as a large cask, but the description clearly the Milk Can. Houdini escaped in two minutes. The Washington Times article finishes with this line "In exactly two minutes he was out of the cabinet, wasting a lot of good beer that dripped from his body." So while the Water Torture Cell took over as the closer, the Milk Can moved into the spot of 'challenge' escape. Perhaps, he referred to the device as different things depending upon what was inside. Milk inside it was the Milk Can Escape, water inside it was the Galvanized Iron Can with Water, beer inside it was a large Iron Cask Escape.

The Inventor

I just found out through Pat Culliton's book HOUDINI-The KEY, Houdini didn't invent it, a guy named Montraville Wood did. This fact was also pointed out in the Kalush Biography as well. Wood pitched the idea to Houdini and they apparently discussed it for a while in letters. Mr. Wood eventually developed eight different ways to escape from the Milk Can.  I wonder what they were? Actually, they are listed in a patent Houdini applied for in Sept 1908. Interestingly, none of Houdini's Milk Cans featured the straps that are prominent in the poster. However, a method of using straps was one that was listed in the 1908 patent.

Who was Montraville Wood? He was an inventor, scientist, lecturer and magic enthusiast. He was an associate of Thomas Edison and was the district engineer for the Edison Company on the Pacific Coast. He was also the Aeriel Postmaster for Chicago. During his lectures he would demonstrate how gyroscopes could be used in airplanes and monorail cars. He begins with offering an audience member a chance to wrestle the gyroscope. If you recall your magic history, P.T. Selbit had a routine he called "The Mighty Cheese" which was essentially a hidden gyroscope that could not be pushed over, no matter how hard you tried. This demonstration was part of Wood's talk on the gryoscope. He also gave a demonstration of ultra-violet rays and explained the different ways it could be used, including the treatment of diseases.

Wood's association with Edison is interesting, in fact he very much resembles Thomas Edison. Among his nearly 100 inventions, was the two-button electric switch. This was the common household electric switch prior to the more modern lever switch that we are familiar with today. Among Wood's contributions to magic were a mechanical card rise, a Spirit Hand and Skull, Houdini's Iron Box Escape and the Milk Can Escape.

The Can(s)
How many Milk Can's there were is anyone's guess. I have discovered several different versions online. I'm only posting links to cans that I believe were used by Houdini. I know other manufacturers produced the Milk Can escape after Houdini and those I won't include.
Milk Churn: The Milk Churn was a Challenge that Houdini faced several times. It may have been the inspiration for the Milk Can.
Smaller Milk Can: I had seen this once in an eBay Auction. It appears to maybe be a prototype. By the way, on the link you'll need to scroll down a bit to find the image of the Milk Can among all the Titanic memorabilia.
Copperfield Milk Can: This Milk Can came from the Sidney Radner Auction. It has the identical shape to the can seen in pictures with Houdini but is missing the upper handles. I believe this was on display at the Houdini Exhibit in Appleton Wisconsin at one time.
The Lund Milk Can: This is the can that is on display at the American Museum of Magic. It's also the can that was on display during the MAGIC! Science and Wonder exhibit in Houston Texas and is currently on display at the Houdini Art and Magic Exhibit in NYC.
The Lund Milk Can+: This photo shows not only the Milk Can but also the traveling case. The brass buckets were for water.
The Bell Milk Can: This is shown on page 448 of HOUDINI-The Key by Patrick Culliton. This Milk Can is owned by collector Randall Bell and was originally found in the basement of Houdini's home on 278 West 113 th. St. This can is unusual because of the length of the shoulder/sloped part of the can. It's twice as long as every other can and may be the same can as the 'Smaller Milk Can' that I have listed though I'm not 100% sure. They both have a similar slop to the shoulders.
The Double-Fold Death Defying Mystery: Apparently escaping from a water filled can wasn't good enough for audiences. Actually, by Spring of 1913, Houdini knew he had to improve the Milk Can because it was already being copied by others. So he added a wooden crate that the Milk Can would go into. The can with Houdini inside would be sealed and then the lid of the crate would go on and be locked as well. Houdini featured this at Hammerstein's Victoria in NY for only two weeks. I get the impression that he this only on special occasions or with challenges.  Hardeen would later feature this effect in his show. Where is this crate today?
HOUDINI Milk Can: Of course all of these cans were Houdini's. But the photos with Houdini and the Milk Can show a slightly different can than those above. The difference can be seen in the position of the handles. The handles are on the angled/shoulder part just below the neck of the can and they are in the same position as a traditional real milk can. I'm not sure where this can is today.
I think there might be more Houdini Milk Cans out there. I remember hearing about a can being sold at auction maybe 10 or 15 years ago and I don't think that is one of the cans I have listed. It's anyone's guess how many of these there are total.

There is one other can that makes me wonder if it isn't a Houdini original and that is The Amazing Randi's Milk Can. This can was used on the Houdini Special in which Dean Gunnarson filled in for Randi. It's certainly the spitting image of the Lund and Copperfield Can, but it too is missing the handles on the shoulder. It could simply be a very good copy. This is not the same can that Randi supplied on the TV Show Happy Days however, again, the handles are the give-away. The majority of copied Milk Cans are easy to point out because of the shape or size being different than the Houdini can.

For some reason this seems to be the one Houdini effect that gets exposed online and in books and even in movies. But only one method is ever exposed and Houdini had eight different methods, which could mean that there are eight different cans, or MORE! Houdini even had plans of being put into the can and having the can turned over and placed into another can or box. This would certainly mean the exposed method would not work.

The Columbia Theatre St. Louis
The Columbia Theatre in St. Louis was located at 421 N. 6th Street. I previously was led to believe that the Columbia Theatre was at a different location. It appears the previous theatre wasn't built until 1926. The old Columbia where Houdini performed was built prior to 1899 and was torn down in 1925. Today there is an office building and mall on the location of one of Houdini's most historic events. It's called One City Centre. I spent hours trying to locate a photo of the old Columbia but so far nothing.
One City Center sits on the location of the Old Columbia Theatre St. Louis

Update: There may be yet another Milk Can out there because from 1906-1909, Leonard Hicks, with Houdini's training and permission presented Houdini's act in America, complete with Milk Can Escape. No idea where that can is today.

UPDATE 2: The Double-Fold Death Defying Mystery has been located. It was in a private collection all these many years. It is available to bid on in the upcoming Potter & Potter Houdini Auction on Aug 23rd, 1914.

UPDATE 3: There is ANOTHER authentic Houdini Milk Can out there. I've seen a photo of it, and trust me it's the real deal. And that is all I can say, as I am sworn to secrecy.

Please be sure to check out the New York Public Library for all the great preservation work they do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Houdini's Real Magic

I’ve heard it said that Houdini was not a very good magician. It always amazes me that people can come to this conclusion. I think when he did standard tricks he might not have been a very good magician, but look at his contributions to the art:

The Metamorphosis: Here was a trick trunk invented my John Nevil Maskelyne. But Houdini did something with it that made it far more amazing than any performer before him. He added the element of speed. Even in his advertisements it says "Exchanging Places In Three Seconds". Plus in Houdini's hands this effect was truly impossible. First his hands were tied behind his back, then placed a sack was lifted over his head and tied shut, then he was put in a trunk and locked and roped that shut. It seemed totally impossible, yet three seconds later there he was and Bess was gone. She ended up in the exact position he had been in, tied up inside the sack, inside the trunk. He made that trick his own and no one today calls it the Maskelyne Trunk trick, it's always associated with Houdini.

Interestingly, the next couple to modernize the Metamorphosis, were the Pendragons. How exactly did they make it more modern? They did the same thing Houdini did and made it even faster!

The East Indian Needle Trick: Here is a small trick that takes guts to do. Forget about jumping off bridges handcuffed, in this you've got to put needles into your MOUTH! Of course, after Houdini apparently swallows the needles, he also swallows some thread. Moments later the thread is pulled from the mouth and there threaded on the thread are the previously swallowed needles. Houdini didn't invent this one either but he sure made it his own. In fact, he apparently either patented or copyrighted the routine thus preventing others from performing it. This fact was brought up to Long Tack Sam, by Houdini when Sam wanted to do the trick which he had performed many times before. Houdini stopped his competition cold on this one. 

One of the best Needle stories I've ever read comes from the book "Illusion Show" by FuManchu/David Bamberg. When David was a young boy he would often play at the Houdini's house on 278 W 113th St. in NYC. One day while playing or snooping around as it were, he discovered a packet of needles and the secret to the trick. He never told Houdini that he found them, but always remembered that moment. Fast forward a couple years and Bamberg is about to join a Magic Club (I forget exactly where, I don't have the book handy) and he decides he'll do the Needle Trick as his initiation trick. As he is getting ready he hears Houdini coming in. Holy crap! What is David Bamberg to do??? You can just imagine the thoughts going through his head. Well, Houdini heads straight for the Great Raymond, the Illusionist and the two of them get into a huge argument that broke into a fistfight. Fortunately, the two resolve their issues and everyone forgets about David's initiation, so he is off the hook! Funny Stuff.

Next we have The Milk Can Escape. This is a Houdini original, though according to the Patrick Culliton Book "Houdini-The Key" the method was invented by someone else. In 1908 Houdini was having trouble selling his Handcuff Challenge Act. All the bookers 'had seen it' or seen someone else do it. It had also been exposed in the papers. So in St. Louis Houdini debuted his latest sensation with the tag line "Failure Means A Drowing Death". The escape was promoted with a slightly deceiving poster. The locks were not down on the body of the can but on the neck. Still, that hardly mattered, the dramatic routine that Houdini presented captivated his audiences. He always escaped (and probably much sooner than most of the audience realized).

The video link above is of Dean Gunnerson the escape artist presenting the Milk Can. The actual escape begins about 2 minutes in to the video.

These are just a three of Houdini's feats. Given the fact that they are still staples of modern day performers acts, I'd say Houdini' magic was rather strong. And there is more to come...

(click the name of the trick to see it being performed)