The following is a guest post from an author who wishes to be known as The Magic Demon.
February 26th, 1923 (Monday)
Houdini to Perform in Vancouver
Researched by The Magic Demon exclusively for Canada's Magic.
It is now H (for Houdini) - Day, Minus 2.
Excitement is mounting.
The publicity for Houdini's first ever Vancouver, British Columbia vaudeville performance is gearing up.
It is assuming the status of genuine news; coverage of his upcoming visit is indeed carried as front page news in The Vancouver Sun, our primary source for continuing and developing coverage .
A headline on this day (near the bottom of page one) screams in huge letters, "Houdini To Hang Downwards". Then in smaller lettering, "Strapped in Straight Jacket, Will Swing from Sun Building Thursday."
It goes on to state:
"Houdini, genius of escape, has accepted a unique challenge. . . he offers to free himself from a straight jacket wrapped around him by any member or members of the Vancouver police force, and while suspended in mid-air, head downwards, in front of The Vancouver Sun newspaper office on Thursday at noon."
So it would appear that The Sun had chosen to play along with the Houdini legend with its "unique challenge."
Astute readers will, of course, recognize the fact that Houdini would perform a similar free public stunt in almost every major town or city he played in order to generate publicity for his local theatre appearance. He usually did it outside of the local newspaper office to achieve maximum exclusive coverage by same. It was guaranteed to stop traffic and become a newsworthy event all by itself. One can only bow to Houdini's highly developed sense of self-promotion and ponder what wonders of publicity he would have achieved in today's Twitter-verse?
This second article goes on to describe the nature of his confinement in a straitjacket. By enlisting the local police to truss him up, Houdini once more ensured that no "funny business" would mess up his stunt and that it would be enhanced in the public's imagination by his implied challenge to local police to confine him.
A paid Orpheum Theatre advertisement similar to the first also appears in this issue.
TOMORROW: "Planning to Make It Tough Job For Friend Houdini."
Researched by The Magic Demon exclusively for Canada's Magic. With thanks to the Vancouver Public Library and The Vancouver Sun.
Thank you to The Magic Demon for guest posting at Canada's Magic!