Harry Houdini – The Mysterious Life and Death


Episode Transcription

Made by robots for robots. Only read if you're weird.

Hey man, what's up? Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Oh? Really have you? Oh? Sorry? No? Yeah, you could have been a bake bobber and a really good one. This next number is dedicated to a lot of children with cancer. It's a angel joke, which was the contortionistness, contortion, contortioning, contocity, contortionortionality, miscontortions, contortional things I learned last night. Yeah, yeah, Oh, we're gonna I here's what I want. I want this to be a story where you buried the lead on something and you lead me on Harry Houdini. But it's really about like some obscure guy who made the safe and like killed him. You know, well, I mean I guess there that kind of will happen technically, all right, what happened? What are we tiring? Here? Are we talking? Houdini? We're talking? Wi? Oh nice Harry. Oh anyway, I was gonna say, we could make a movie where it's like all these different people were conspiring to kill him. Yeah, it's a Whodini? Who done it? Who Done it? Yeah? That's good? Isn't that all right? Who done? Who? Who DEI done it? What if you put it together? It was just who who do need? Okay, so you were like, what did you put it together? It's just who done it? And then you had a panic. You were like, I mean I have a panic. That was the joke and you didn't acknowledge it. So I was like, well, yeah, it's the joke. Due, we'll just keep going. That's what I text. Who are you texting? You're supposed to leave your phones off the set. This is a no phone set. I don't have my phone on the set. We don't want anyone to know we used Apple products. Okay, go ahead. Have you seen Facebook's news glasses the ray Bands? No? What is it for scrolling when you're on the go. Yeah, they're they're like augmented reality glasses. They're ray Band brand. They're actually kind of cool. They have like they play your music, so they're like air bot, air PUDs, air air buds, airblods. Okay, they're like air buds. Sure, So they play music and you can answer your calls and talk through whatever right there. Okay, but then there is a little screen that like so you can it's augmented reality, so it doesn't like take over your whole display like you're supposed to like feed you weather and like feed you maps, Like while you're on Maps is supposed to show you the route and stuff on the street and then and it's free because the other lens is a Domino's pizza. I would do it. It's free, you know it? Yeah, I mean my whole my left eye, but let's be honest, have to do I use my left eye anyways. And I'm like, this is what this is what the pirates were, like, that's what the pirates had behind those patches. It was just freaking a buye to get four. And you're like, this is a very complicated way buy two gift for pain to express. And you're like, okay, have you seen that promotion, the gas station promotion in Chicago. This is a no phone zone anyway. As I was saying, tell you about this promotional, hold on, no, this is really good. Okay, hold on, I'm gonna find this. What are you doing? Are you texting me right now? No? I'm scrolling social media. No, this is gonna be where that I probably an open TikTok and see what the first video I got is. Let's see Okay, listen to this. You are a kidnapper. That's a good one. You're not a kidnapper. Did you see that? My boy? She just walked up to she walked up to a van and was like, you're not a kidnapper. My mom said people and vans were kidnappers. And he's like, no, not me. And he's like, I walked all the way over here to not kids. Take it. He's like, shot, shut up, get out of here, scram No, this is this I would have been if you hadn't said that you spiled My cover is obvious. Oh I like the idea that he's having the exoc crisis too. You're a kidnapper. Yes, yes, I'll prove to you. Don't tell a good kidnapping bit to start an episode. I love it. No, Okay, there's a Milwaukee, not Chicago. Okay, so the Milwaukee Bucks. They announced a promotion where if the Bucks scored ninety five points before the end of the third quarter, you can go to a Quick Trip and use your Quick Trip Rewards card to buy an eighteen, twenty four or thirty pack of michelob Ultra, and by doing so, you'll receive thirty cents off each gallon of gas. The kicker. The kicker is that there's not a quick trip within the city limits of Milwaukee. Oh yeah, it's like two hours outside the city. So if the Bucks do well, you can go buy a lot of beer and then get thirty cents off your gas essentially. Yeah, but I mean like they're basically paying your gas to get out to them, right, I mean, it's not very far out from Milwaukee. It's not like it's like I mean, it's in the suburbs. You got to go out into the sub but it's not like it's like they're in a different state. It'd be like, I mean, that's true. If the Chiefs win today, you get a free burger in and Out and you're like their closest one is Denver, Colorado. That's a different promotion. You see what I'm saying. It's not like a free burger. It's like it's like if the Chiefs win today. It's not even if they win and we'll pay for your gas. If the Chiefs get thirty five at least thirty five points, sure, then at in and Out, if you buy animal style fries, then we'll give you thirty cents off of merch at in and Out. Like, it isn't a ridiculous promotion. Like there's too many steps. There's too many steps. But I'm not gonna lie. I want to redeem them. You booked a Southwest flight to Milwa I'm on my right, I'm good. Okay. Last time I went to Milwaukee, I flew in the same night that the honor flight did, right, and so I where they take Yeah, yes, where they it's a it's a lot. Like it's a lot like you know when you're when you're a kid, if you sell enough in the in the fundraiser and they get you a limo to the pizza place. It's like that. But it's for World War Two veterans. And they fly them to the memorial. Oh no, do you not know about? Then it's a free flight where they take them to the memorial and then they all go that was my friend and then they and so they look at all the names and stuff. That's crazy they still do that. How many World War Two vets are there? Still? Not as many as there used to be. That's why it's a bigger deal when they do it. Yeah, but they do honor flights. Yeah, and well they do it for other wars too, now, like they do it like you know Vietnam. Yeah, there's I mean, there's always going to be and they can take them. They take the Vietnam vets now and they take them to the memorial and take them around d C and be like, this is what you fought for and whatever for. Well, anyway, I flew home at the same time, and so I get off the plane and like freaking. The high school band is they're going judg you know. So it's like freaking, but like there's people, but there's also a group of protesters. For some reason, they let them in the airport. Don't they go through security? No? No, no, no, Like they're waiting right outside. Yeah, and I hear it. I get off the planet ice here echoing down the halls. What is going on out and they're like cheering but not for me. Yeah, you know, I'm working around like which normally happens for you when you get off plane, that does. And that's what I was resenting about it. I was like, just like, I hate you're giving this to those olds back then, none of these guys Amazon Prime Comedy special. Yeah yeah, anyway, No, I was that today. Actually, I was thinking about that day, the forward marching of time and how it just doesn't stop, and how stressful it is because on time off, on time off, there came a picture from your promo shoot at the Galoys five years ago today. Yeah, who years? Holy cow? Yeah, that's I know. I was thinking that tool. That's what COVID did. COVID was a blob of time that didn't exist. Yeah, but still like two months and seven years. Yeah, it's stole our twenties, it did. It did want for the twenties you fuck got a freaking again. No, but did I mean like we were we were twenty four when COVID started. Jeez, No, we were twenty twenty. We were twenty five, No, twenty six. I had just turned twenty six. You hadn't even turned twenty six at your birthday was in COVID, you're right, yeah, and then when it was over, we were twenty eight around we were twenty eight, and then freaking you didn't work at a church anymore, you barely believe in God, and we made it through. You know what I'm saying, Like it was so it's like seven years of time passed in also what felt like two months. So I mean, like it doesn't That's what I'm saying, you know, I filmed the special five years ago. I was like, shoot, I haven't filmed the new special in five years. I need to put a new one out. Yeah, so crazy because I did my first one twenty fourteen, did my second one twenty fifteen, and I did my third one twenty eighteen, and yeah, I was like, shoot, I need to get a new special. I mean I did a dry bar but then kind of counts. Okay. So Harry Hudini he was born in eighteen seventy four as Eric Weiss, but Eric is changed that name. Yeah, it's pronounced eric, he didn't change it, So we'll get to that. He was born in Hungary and him and his family when he was a youth, arrived to the United States in eighteen seventy eight. So he was you do you you know, like four years old, okay, and when he was on Ellis Island, the I guess this was something that they did back then. The Americans at the immigration office were like, yeah, your names, you're not going to work here. Oh yeah they did, yeah, and so call you Wece no yeah, yeah, so they actually anybody got any crazy ideas for this name? Writ in that damn here's somebody. I'm gonna start with H and D. I'm gonna go dog for a last name. We can't call him hot boy. What's the next closest thing, Beanie. No, you gotta change the turn the turn the be around, turn the be around. Dean. Wow, that that's a that's a strong name. Kid. Welcome to America, you know. And he didn't speak a lick of English, had no idea what just happened? Yeah, yah, yeah, And everybody just came hungry and they were like, here's food. No, no, no, hungry and uh so they stamped his hand. They told him, don't wash your hands. If that ever washes off, we have to kick you out of there. An m in permanent marker on his hand for minor that'll wash off when you turn eighteen. There you go. It's magic Marter speaking of magic. Uh he didn't have a lot of that in his early life. It was four. He came out of the roomb like that was my first trick. I was in there the whole time. That was my first escape. We're doing a lot more of these, just you for my next trick. This next number is dedicated to a lot of children with cancer. It's a Chris Angel joke. It's a Chris Angel joke. Don't write that Angel does that. Chris Angel does that if you don't know. Yeah, gives kids cancer for the next trick anyway. Yeah, so then he uh so, his family came to the country expecting a better life and then didn't really find it. Yeah. His dad as a minister, so that didn't pay well, and his mom didn't work, and so him and his brothers, as soon as they were able, all started working. Okay, and his brothers found normal jobs like working in factories and grocery stores. He he became a contortionist. Yeah. And so he's like six years old and he is on stage somewhere a six year old like what Yeah, so they called him, uh Eric the Prince, okay, and so he would just roll up on stage and be like, look at that kid, a weird kid. I'll get you ten dollars, like that's just what it was. But he got pretty like good in New York. Yeah, he's in New York contortioning, and he got into acrobatics and started doing like actual like sharpees and things like that, and that's when things kind of blew up for him. Nine to what's the situation. It's six year old ends up just being like, you know, how do you you fall into that kind of line of work? Yeah, I don't know how you fall into that. Like or it's like his his siblings come home from the grocery store and they're like a long day at the shop, mom and dad. He'd be quiet, he's resting up before he goes. He's stretching contortions, he's getting ready to he's gonna go contort over on the south side. Well, they were all going to work one morning and he kind of separated from the group, walked up with his van and he's like, you're not a kidnapper, was like, hey, roll up at a ball real quick. Hey you other than that kid that disappeared in a swamp, get over here. Took him. Uh so yeah, so he uh uh. He got into acrobatics, started doing like trapeze work and stuff like that, and they added on his name. He became Eric the Prince of the Air, and started becoming like, uh had a not famous but had a successful New York show and so like he was pretty much the bread winner for the family. All the other siblings. Quick they started motion off of him. Time he's up there contorting, one of them was doing TikTok dances on the other side and being like freaking or like, we freaking hate this guy. Everybody hated his wife until she became friends with that one singer. Yeah. Everyone, well, I mean hate on her because she cheers on her husband. Oh my gosh, yeah I get it. Yeah, so the same exact scenario. He also was like a cross country runner, but not like across the country, just cross countries. I understand how those it works, just making sure. Yeah, and so you know whatever. In high school he started getting pretty interested into magic, and he found a guy named after the name of Robert Houdin, who was a magician in the eighteen hundreds. Uh read his autobiography and was just captivated by the idea of magic. And so he starts getting really into uh slider hand and stuff. Yeah, slide of hand, close up magic card tricks like that and really yeah, a little bit worth while. Well here's the deal, what did you really was your shoe right now? Hold on? I don't know. Took me way too long. I was like, hold on, we can cut that, we can just cut it together to make it smooth. Yea, we could do that foot back in here. Nice, let's face in the road way. It feels weird. Nice. There you go. So he got into uh, close up magic, and then he got into picking locks, which I don't know if it was related to the magic thing. It kind of seems like he was just like, I wonder if I could do that, and he started picking locks. And there's one biographer was like, there was a moment where his career could have gone either way. Say he's got he's got like he's got one in the red. Yeah, he's like, I'm Harry Houdini, the the lifelong magician and illusionist, or Harry Houdini criminal, Harry criminal. Yeah, he could have been a bank robber, and a really good one. Like, because here's the deal. I mean, I don't know. If you know a lot about Harry you're listening to this episodes, you're about to learn. But one of the things spoiler alert, he gets really good at escape magic, and like one of his things is breaking out of straight jackets and handcuffs and things like that. I think if he was arrested in jail, he would have made it out. Oh yeah, So he had a moment where it was like he could he could pursue a life of crime. He could become a bank robber picking locks of safes and then yeah, but he wanted a taste of the glory, which I mean there's glory, fame. Yeah. How many bank robbers do you know? Uh, Bunny and Clyde, great team. Oh yeah, so that's two right there. There you go, that's a double let's see uh dB twober Okay? Successful? Uh successful for a time, Like I mean that's the thing, Like everybody loses games every once in a while, you know, like you gotta have losses on your record. What's unfortunate is that the police don't let him go out for another like they like they catch them and then they put them away for life, you know, like give another shot to see if they could do it without getting cam Like, let's see if they can get away. Not a lot of trial and the trial and error is what you're saying, yeah, or wrong kind of trial? I guess yeah you so, Okay, So he decides to not be a criminal. Yeah, he decides to not be a criminal, and so he becomes a magician and he starts starts out doing out of like a deep sense of like I want to do the right thing, or just like I think he was just more interested in I think I think it was kind of an opportunity for him to kind of put together some of his skills, which was the contortionistness, condortion contortioning, contortionity, contortion etortionality, contortionality, miscontortionalitcontortionality. Thank you. He can put that skill to work, He could put his lockpicking to work, and he could do the close up magic, and he kind of like he was obsessed with this Robert Houdin guy, like, Yeah, it was like an idol to him. And so he's like he's like, I want to do him proud. I want to I want to be able to rise to the level he was at. And I think he did too because from a young age he was doing like he was performing, and so I think he loved that like rush of like being in front of the crowd and feeding off their energy and all that that the glory, you know. Yeah, Yeah, he loved coming off of an airplane and having everybody in the airport. Yeah, It's it's something you can't you can't, you know, you can't. You have to experience it. For yourself. There's no way to prepare yourself for that. Yeah, there's nothing else that compares, not even bank robbery. So him and his brother sidebar. His older brother's dead now, so that's a fast forward in the story. His oldest brother died tuberculosis Christmas Eve. It was really sad his younger brother dashed though, But that Dash wasn't his birth name. That was his United States. That's the country game. There's like, you got a kid running around. Yeah, the kid's too quick dash. Yeah, well you've got Donner and that works that. This episode comes out in December, right, it does, it does? Yeah, all right, that's a good time a little bit. Yeah. So no, his name was Theodore. The state gave him the name Theodore. But uh, they decided when they became magicians, they were like Eric and Theodore Weiss, not magical names, and so they decided they needed to come up with magic names. So Eric said, I'll go by Harry because a couple. I'll go by Harry because uh, well you know, well you went by Harry because mustache. His family called him Airy, which was sure for Eric no short for Eric, Okay, And so his family called him airy yeah, because too too long. It's too long of a name. Every time I say Eric, I go, god, shoot, how am I supposed to get to the end of that? If you did air, that's one thing you did airy, You're like, you're good there, you're done. You're so just do the that's it, and that's the name. I don't get that. My dad used to do that to my brother. My brother's name is Josh, and he would go Jah, because he was like, he's like, you can't hear this. It's it's it's like it's too quiet, you can't even hear it. So why am I saying it? And wait? Your dad was just like I don't want to say it. Just say it. He goes, no, I don't want to He only did it, all right, jo. He never did it like in a face to face conversation. It was like if he was calling him from across the house, You're like, hey, Jah, like because he was like, he's like, he's not going to hear this. Like you can't yelsh, Yes, yes you can. Librarians famously yell it. It's like they're a whole thing. Yeah. There was debates in our household about that for years. All right, anyway, let's go to Okay, whatever you can't yell him? M is not a yellow said? You didn't hear it from this far apart? Why would I say it across the road? See it's not yellow. It's not a yellow M. It's not a yellole. Librarians yell that one a lot too. What does that mean? Are you waterboarding a librarian? What is that? What's the bit? I don't get it. I don't either. I think that's kind of the glory of it, Like you don't know, like you couldn't do it. You're enjoying it, and you're enjoying tillan you've been around for a little bit. I want to invite you to be a part of our patreon. We have a Patreon that has early access to all of our episodes ad free content, both audio and video. We have a discord with our host and producers. That's a ton of fun getting to hang out with all of our patrons in there. We also do once a month now we do these live streams with our patrons. We hang out, we get to know each other, we eat pizza. It's a blast. Along with a bunch of other benefits like merch discounts, message on your birthday, like fun stuff. It's definitely worth it. We're having a blast with our patrons. But if that doesn't sound like something for you, they get that heck out of here. Just kidding, No, we love you. Thanks for checking out podcasts. How do they how do they get it? Though? I realized I forgot to put a C T A in mind. Oh yeah, they can text Tillan to six six eight sixty six. Thanks jaring. So Harry and his brother Harry, Harry and his brother, or I should say Eric and THEO. They're like, we need we need our magic Theodore. Yeah, yeah, THEO. That makes sense. THEO following his brother's footsteps and got into magic. By the way, they've been doing it together for years, and they decided to put together Harry and well it's Eric and THEO. But they're like, we need better names. And so Harry or Eric says, hey, I'm a big fan of this Robert Houdan guy. And he thought that Houdan, uh like if in what I think Houdan was French, Yes, And so he thought Houdine in French, if you put an eye at the end of a letter, it meant like respect. It doesn't. He was wrong, but he thought and so he was like, he's like, I want to be Hoodini because it's me showing respect to Houdine. But I think it actually, I think it actually means like serves or like you're they're your master. So it's kind of similar, I guess a similar idea. And then he took his abbreviation airy and just made it in the literation Harry Harry and Harry Houdini. Well, I mean, I don't know, I don't hear a difference. You can't hear the stupid You can't yell that letter. I very yell at all the time. They're like three most favorites yells sh I don't know why THEO chose Dash. He just did, Okay, And so they started calling themselves Harry and Dash the brothers Hudini was what they went by. And they went to the Chicago's World Fair and eighteen ninety three and bowed down to the Great Tartaria for a little while. Yeah, and then they started working magic shows together. Uh, and Dash was kind of like Harry's assistant like everything that, Like I don't think this was a thing in this era, like assistant, like magic assistance. But everything you think of a magic assistant today, like that was who Dash was for Harry. Yeah, he even wore he even wore like a really revealing outfit, so provoked, so tight. And so they did this show for a year and they actually found like decent best answer. But he did it, you know, for his brother, for his brother. Yeah, he just believed. So they for about a year they had this show, The Chicargos the World for then went back to New York. They had the show in New York and it was a successful New York show. Again, not world famous, nothing super special, but a successful New York show and they were making decent money doing it. They met another performer in New York by the name of Okay, will Helmina Beatrice best Runner. Oh, she went by Best for short. Yeah. Dash and her started dating. Oh they and that's how Houdini or Harry met bess Is through her his brother Dash. Upon meeting each other, they immediately decided to date each other instead. So Best left Dash and and just a few months later, uh, they decided that the show would be better if Best was his assistant instead of Dash as well. So it's dude, Okay, So imagine that scenario, right, So your girlfriend chooses your brother over over you, and then your brother chooses her over you. You just got rejected by two people who chose each other over you. You and in two totally different ways. Yeah, that doesn't feel brutal. That's pretty brutal. Yeah, And so they I get why he made that safe now. So they they started performing together for the next like five years, and then they had their big break in eighteen ninety nine, okay, and they got put on a show in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a guy by the name of Minnesota. They were traveling like internationally doing this. I mean, that's not okay, it's so far away. That's your joke. I get it. That's I mean, it's a cross country almost. I hear he ran the whole trip. But I mean, like, you know why they went out there too. They went out to the Saint Paul, Minnesota because they had just used to score thirty five points that weekend and they were like, we gotta go on to Minnesota. They met a theatrical performing manager by the name of Martin Beck who saw him do a one of his handcuff acts handcuff escape tricks. And was like, well, boy, I think that'll sail. It's so crazy how how magicians went from very respected and like we got to get these guys, all of us, to you know what they do now, or it's just like they come to school assemblies and they're like, oh, I'm all tied up, I can't get out. Wait you know, yeah, you fix that. You know. It's just like a little pulling this thing for me real quick. Yeah. Well, because we figured it out, you know, we figured out back then we were like here's a witch. Yeah, because well here's the thing with even Hoi Houdini's early escape tricks. He would do behind a curtain because it was like, hey, I'll put myself with these cuffs up, come out without him and you'll be amazed. And people were they were like, oh my gosh, how do you do that? And so he had a key. But then uh Dash when they were performing together, was like, hey, I think this will do better if you do it in front of them, like let him watch you struggle. And he was like really you think so, and he's like yeah, they struggle. They tried it and it was like a hit. People were like, holy god, what was that we saw? The whole thing. We've never seen the whole thing before. That's interesting, okay, yeah, and then uh and then I guess and all the guys that were actually using keys were like, what the heck dude, now they like put up the curtain in the crowds, like, let us watch you know, I don't want to see it. I want to see it in my own eyes. These people keep yelling unyellable letters at me. You're not supposed to yell those letters, crowd. It's just like a weird like, hum, oh, that's pretty weird. It's the weirdest thing ever, you know, if you're going to do them all for you at the same time, that's like a terrannosaurs reck sounded like, try it, try it, try it. There are four people in their cars right now listening to this podcast who just went and you're stupid. That's so funny that you did that, you idiot. So they went on tour and and it blew up. Yeah, crushed. And around this time something interesting happened. Him and Dash developed this public feud, Yes, public feud. Yeah, and Dash started going by Dash Houdin spelled h o U d e e N and he would go wherever Harry went, he would play another theater in town, so like usually a slightly smaller theater, but he would play another theater in town and just away from it. Well, some historians have asked some questions about this, and they said, knowing Harry and knowing because one of the biggest things he's famous for now is his work as a publicist, which we'll get into in a second about some of the things he did. But he knew how to draw a crowd, and he knew how to stir up excitement for his show. Sure, And so I think there's there's a whole camp of historians who believe that there was never a real feud between him and Dash, that it was all made up to create this polarization and in one end, create two separate fan groups that were like devoted to the two sides. But in the other end, like they recognized that Harry was going to go do a show at the theater and sell it out, and there'd be people who couldn't make it, or there'd be people who would see Houdine and think, oh, that's Houdini and just buy tickets to the other show. And so it opened them up to a whole other audience and allowed them to kind of double dip a show every night. Okay, so I freaking hate you for what you know, what you did. But yeah, yeah, it's all it's all the Yeah, it's the way I yell. Yeah, I'm going to start. I'm gonna start following you. I'm going to follow the Smoking Hot Life Tour and I'm gonna do another show. I'm gonna follow to Berlin, Maryland on February second. You can go to the Smoking Hot Life Tour. You can come to My Smoking Hot Wife and it's just you and Bree. Now it's just me and I do both of your sets. I do your sets for Batim, both of you. Well, even Shama set is going to be pretty awkward for you to do. It's a lot about race, and so it's it's quite a bit about having a white wife, you know. So I mean, like I do have a white wife, those jokes will work for you. I mean, I guess if you go out there and you're like my white wife, you know, like freaking' I don't think the set's gonna work the same. I love this idea, but I'll wear I'll wear his suit and then I'll change into some weird hype beast thing that I got from hype beast? Is that what you think I'm wearing. No, it's like it's like it's like if it's like if uh here, here's uh It's like if a youth pastor mm hmm liked the hype piece style that all of his students dressed in but shopped at J C. Penny. That's what I wear. Yeah, I don't think so. I mean this is a little different because this is merch that you got from a church. If you're wearing church merch, you lean a little bit more. What do you think my style has been lately? It's church merch or old Maybe this is what it always is. No, it's gotten so much better. Okay, okay, I'm glad. I live in La Now, I'm glad. I'm glad. It's been so long as I've seen you. I'm so glad. Oh gosh, these past few weeks have been a dream. Don't don't at the same time as me. Sorry, do it again? Practicing the show m Leave Me Alone, The Smoking Life Tour, so Houdini and Best they got married, married, Stitch fixed, Thank you very much. I was trying to remember what that was called. Yeah, I knew you were one of those those package people comes in a box. Yeah, I keep it prepackaged clothes. Yeah. Okay, do you ever see you make your own? Yeah, make all my own clothes. This was my own design. Cool. So him and his wife they got married. They got married really fast. I think it was like a month into dating. They were like, we're just gonna get married in best Yeah, him in best. And they had a weird relationship. They had a relationship. It was more like a you know, brother and sister in law kind of relationship. No, it was how longer Best and Dash date? Like a week? It was very different, you know, But how would you feel It's still like it's still like Thanksgiving is weird? Yeah, because you're like you're like, hey, I want to introduce this new girl I've been talking to. And then they get married a month later, Like that's pretty rough, Like, oh man, yeah, still probably the best man though, I guess. Uh so. So they had a weird relationship. He he was obsessed with her and he would write her letters, all love letters all the time. And he actually would write her love letters. Well, they're sitting in the same room. Like he would stop and write her a lot and text each other at dinner all the time, and it's like talk to each other. Hey, you guys, use your mouth. You can do this in real life, right, You guys can just look up and go just say stuff. Yeah, we can make words. I saw this TikTok yesterday. This guy. Okay, this guy was talking about how every animal communicates the same like they all speak the same language. And he showed this. He showed he had this Adobe audition file open with all the animals in a project next to each other, and then he had an it would slow down, so it was like he would play the sound from a pack of birds and then he would slow it down and be like, that's a group of puppies. And then he'd play a group of puppies and he'd like slow it down, and he'd be like, that's a humpback whale. And it did sound pretty similar. It was kind of convincing. But his whole point was like all every animal communicates in the same language. It's all just vibrations, it's all just frequency, and it's like, do you that's what sounds is like we speak that language. It's just yeah, we keep going vibrar. Yeah, dude, I mean like we all speak the same l language. Man, it's just vibes. Where vibe from the vibrations that vibes, Yes, from what you stupid? Sorry? Are you stupid? From you can't yell the word letter? You can't yell that? Stupid idiots stupid? Do you start to commence such a mess? All right? Keep going? Uh? So the whales speak the same language. So they had a relationship. They write letters to each They write letters to each other, and he wrote letters for like thirty years to her of the updates on what their son was doing. They never had a son. He eventually became the president. I always you're saying, my letter, Thomas is hungry, and then she just goes feed Thomas right back. We don't have letters. He wrote her letters, and he'd be like, he'd be like, my dearest best our son today is gone off to college Harvard's. And he just thinks she's gonna list. He's like, she said, I'm Beth, and he goes, hi, Bess. Now she's got a list, and she never has the heart to correct him. Beth. That's what I'm saying. I'm trying to be trying to sensitive. You're sorry to your fift away, then I'm trying to this sucks. That's going apartment. Oh did he and Beth go on tour? Okay? And they go off to Europe. Yeah, they've been pretty successful in the US at this point. They're torn around, they're doing shows, they're selling out. Who Dean is following them everywhere they go, and he's doing some pretty major escape art stuff. And what he does is he'll have a show and he'll do like some street performance before the show, but he always does it in like a grand fashion, his street performance, So he'll go to the theater and then right before the show, he'll walk out and set a brick on the street and then walk back in and everyone's like, I wonder what that's about. And then they try to go in and see the show. That's a callback. I was here. I was just trying to get on. I was trying to get over this episode. I don't want to do this anymore. I wish I could disappear right now. So they went to Europe. They went to Europe, and they they they knew that they were pretty big in the States and they could have a chance of success in Europe. But yeah, well they are now they go to Europe, and so they were like, we got to do something big to kind of get the eyes of the country. So he decides he's going to jump off a bridge with handcuffs on and underwater, pull himself out the handcuffs and swim up and then be like, Hey, come to my show tonight. Oh, this is the PM. This is the show. Yeah, this is the show. Yeah. So he's got to show out at the wow okay, And so he walks out to a bridge and he says, hey, everybody, I'm gonna jump off this bridge. And he puts handcuffs on, and everyone's like, don't do this, and he jumps and everybody watches and he's underwater and he uncuffed himself underwater and something he did. He was but the current has carried him so far from the bridge that he then comes up under a different bridge, has no idea. The people on that bridge are like, oh my god, on the river on the on the first bridge, or like he just died. The people at the first bridge are looking way out into distance, like, hey, guys, I think I see a dolphin over there peeking up out of the water. Is that a turtle? The man overboard. I don't think they have magnifying glasses yet. Oh those are binoculous their hands. This is what people did to focus in. Yeah, it kind of works. It does work a little bit, so they So he does this, this publicity stunt, and back to his preparation. He would prepare, he would put his handcuffs on, he would get in the bath, he would set up a cold bath. This part of his morning would here, you know, part of his hustle, culture, grindset morning. I get in a cold bath and I can't get out till you take these handcuffs off. And so he would lay in the cold bath and he would hold his breath and try to stay under the cold water as long as he could. And he got really good at this, and so a lot of a lot of times in the morning he would lay under this cold bath, like for three and a half minutes, just not holding his breath. Yeah, and so he got really good at holding his breath. And so, but he was better at escaping from handcuffs. And so with this handcuff trick, he could escape from the handcuffs in a matter of seconds, like ten fifteen seconds, he could get out of it. Yeah, And so he fell into this water from the bridge and he got out. I'm almost down there. Yeah for three minutes, just chilling to attract people. Yeah, and then soon yeah. And then eventually when he just yeah, he swam up and everyone's like, oh my gosh, how was he st alive? And they're like, they're like, give me to sell me your tickets right now, I want to come see you. Well, they're all soaking wet, and he's like selling just soggy tickets, the wet, sopping, wet tickets, sop and wet life to did you say tickets are kiss? I can't tell. Oh, sloppy wet got it? Okay. I was like, what are you talking about now? Okay? So this tour goes really well. Sure, oh that's our next tour name, by the way, sloppy white Kiss, sloppy wet Kiss tour. That's pretty funny. So they they the merch is weird. We hose it down before the show. Why is this wet? Why does the writers say you guys need to eight foot tables, four volunteers and a hose. You'll find out. See on February second in Berlin, Maryland. Tickets are still on sale. I'm also selling tickets. Jim's selling his tickets to his tour down the road. We're double dipping, folks, double dip baby, but we're so mad about it. I hate it. Hey, thanks for checking out this episode. If you like this and you want more of our show, We've got plenty of other episodes. One of my favorites is Action Park, a super sketchy theme park that was basically overrun by teenagers and they just made the rules. It was in New Jersey. It was a wild story. But we did a whole episode about it, and I think you'd like it. So when you're done with this one, go check out that episode. But for now, back to this one. So, the this tour goes super well. The country realizes it, and by the country, I mean the whole continent of Europe realizes and they're excited. This is so much so that a conspiracy theory was born that he was a spy for the United Kingdom. That I went over there, the Crown realized, Hey, this guy he can escape anything, so if he gets caught, he can escape. He's also very sneaky. He's also small, He's like five foot tall. He's like five foot two. Okay, that's was four seven, which is why they fell in love. I think, Oh they're close, No, because he was tall around her. How tall was his brother? His brother was normal size. Here's him and his brother. Actually, so his brother dwarfed him. Which one's him? Well, whodined's the one in the front? I know, I was joking. Yeah, Dash is literally twice his size. I mean, this is probably a little bit deceiving of a photo based on the way they're sitting. But huh. Here's here's who DENI with best and his mother. Which one's best? The one on the well, I mean it's his left, his left. Yeah, he was actually the caregiver for George Washington. That's pretty crazy. So yeah, big big fan of his mom, big fan of his wife, very publicly publicly, big fan of them both. I don't know what that means, all right too? Yeah, weird updated or updated her on his son? You have a grandchild. Why haven't I met him? He's busy, He's thet busy. He's so busy. Travel ball you have bet monthating Jigger Tree was a big deal. So they they go on this tour and the conspiracy is born that they are he's a spy because he was. He was sneaky, he was little, He could escape from traps, and he had the public persona large enough that no one would ever expect it. He could go perform for presidents and kings and things like that in the royal court. And then while he's there, snoop around in their drawers, see if they got anything sneaky hidden in there, and then get out. No one's ever gonna catch you. Okay, he's so that is allegedly not true. Allegedly, we don't know it. Sure could have been a spy, could have been a spy. There's one historian who says he could have never kept that secret because he was kind of a braggadocious dude. That's not the word. He is super. But I do say my friend Harry Houdini, than he is in fact quite quite bragged do braggado. So they go on, they go on this European tour. They come back, their their world stars. They're traveling all over the world. Yeah, they are at a point now where they're making In the nineteen tens and nineteen twenties, they're making five thousand dollars a week in that day's money seventy thousand dollars a day a week today. So they're rolling in the dough kind of close to what I make. So they do this tour, they do these tours. They're getting make way more after I do this thing in the river this weekend. If you think that was funny, gone to my stand up set because it was funny. You called a fake nine to one. It's like it's like DJ Miller calling in a bomb threat to a train. It's just you guys talk about now you can all press is good breast press is good press. So they he he is continually doing this thing where he wants to be the top. He wants to be someone that no one could ever imitate there by Now there's tons of imitators that are going by names eerily similar, creepily similar to Haidini. The biggest one was Boudini, and that's not a joke. Was his biggest competitor, and he just did the same trick, like, tried to fake Houdini's tricks. So Houdini was consistently trying to one up himself so that way he could stay all all these all the copycats, and there are repetitive journal entries in his journal through the twenties where he took notes saying things along the lines of body can't handle this, need to find something else. Great because he was himself very hard to the limit. Yeah, and he getting older. Speaking of getting older, he was really big on anti aging. I'm trying to find anti aging solutions, okay. And that guy on TikTok. You like that guy on TikTok that looks like a fifty year old yes, and claims that he's not. Yes, Yeah, spending a lot of money to not be fifty, but he looks straight up just like a rich fifty year old guy. He was doing the same thing, except except as the nineteen twenties, and so we haven't figured stuff out as well yet. And this might sound familiar to you, but he became close friends with someone who was working on an experimental monkey gland surgery that was a little bit more pronounced than our friend who did the goat gland surgeries. Okay. This guy was actually sewing them together like sewing, like attaching things, okay. And it was supposed to make you young again. And he was very close to going through with it with this surgery. He did it for another reason we'll get into for a second in a second. But yeah, so he got really into anti aging stuff. Also he got into Hollywood. He said, I'm famous now, so let me make movies, and so he started making some movies, and so he produced his first film. In his first film he produced on night trite film, and this I think it was called Houdini The Master of Mystery. His first film was filmed on nitrite film and it was actually a big hit. But night write is super flammable, and so all of the film that we had burnt up or something disappeared. Oh so we lost track of it somehow until the twenty fifteen when someone tracked down an old night Trite film reel of it and converted the film and played it on Turner Classic Movies for like the special event. And it wasn't good. It sucked. I actually don't know that, but it sucked. Didn't have a good story plot. Yeah, they just didn't really go anywhere. Yeah, it's just it's just Houdini standing in front of the camera going It's all about family for like forty minutes. I don't get it. No, it was lost for almost one hundred years they thought that this was just completely lost media, we would never get our hands on it again. But somehow turn Classic Movies tracked it down and converted it, which was a little sketchy to me. I'm not gonna lie, but whatever, he produced another movie that was basically they they might have faked it. They might have very well matter feked it, but it was it was. It was interesting because in that in that movie, there was a plane scene. It was like a dogfight, okay, and Houdini allegedly was hanging from the plane. In this dogfight. They the two planes crashed together and production it was like a tragic event, but they got it all on camera and they put it in the movie. They were like, that's interredible shot. It wasn't actually Hoodini hanging from the plane. It was a stunt double, but they sole that like it was him and he survived the crash. I don't know what happened to the sun Dove. We don't know. Probably probably didn't it, honestly, Yeah, but that scene was in the movie, which in twenty fifteen, they could have faked that. It would have been pretty easy. In twenty fifteen, if they faked this whole movie to fake a plane crash and with CGI they might have segi the whole thing because then they just black and whited it. Yeah. Anyways, so he produced another movie, and then him and his brother they put together an actual likenduction. Yeah, him and Dashed they put together together. Yeah, and they created an actual production company and called Dolorean Media Company. We still going. Yeah, they put together an actual media company and they started. They produced two movies and they both horrendously flopped at the box office. Oh and they sold the media company off to a new company called ba Rolf Productions and wash their hands of that experiment. Okay, So he then moves on to becoming a magician. No. He he went on to add to his show a spiritualist debunker segment where he would and he got very passionate about this, like what very spiritualists. So his whole thing was he hated mediums and sciences, Yeah, because he felt like they were taking advantage of people, because a lot of them were like, Hey, come talk to your dead dad and then come get in my mini van and drive around Kansas City and I'll take you to see some ghosts. Yep, exactly, I'm not gonna lie I wish we did that this year, but uh, he had four hours. He had a big problem with it, and so he he had a whole segment is show where he kind of kind of like Darren Brown's pretty much any of Darren Brown's stuff, Like he made it like this is a seance and like we're going to communicate with the dead, and then he at the end like pulled the curtain back and was like, I'm lying to you about all this, and here's how I did it, Like was his whole show. Sure, And so he actually had a whole team of people that were like detectives that he would send around the country that would go to these events with these seances so they could learn how they were doing it. And then he would add those segments to show if anybody ever did something different. What are you doing for work? I'm an independent contractor for Harry Houdini. Well I just went to a Boudini show. No no, and actually, if you tell me where he was, I'm supposed to kill him. I'm going to go fight him. Speaking of fighting, So he's doing this throughout the twenties, he's becoming very very successful with his show. He's now got kind of like a three segment show where it's magic Escape Act and then this spiritualist debunker Yeah, and then so it's like a magic Escape Act and then sponsor a child and then do Yeah, and then Newsboys closes it out. Okay, so it was the first ones though, the original cast, the Newsboys original the movie. No. I'm saying, like, because you know that none of the people in Newsboys are the original people from Newsboys. Oh wait, you're talking about the band. We talking about the band. We talked about the theater production. That's the news E's you cultured swine? So are you freaking? They're not the same thing, the Newsboys. It was a good joke about Winter Jam the Newsz's Yeah stage production Broadway classic. I know that I was thinking the same name. The movie version, Christian Bale plays it shut up? Does he really? Yeah? I did not realize that he hits it, and he hits the note at the end. He's very good. Don't come after my Broadway musicals. Okay, I'm not coming after your Broadway musicals. It's fine. You like those things. It's okay. You're allowed to like something. And The Newsboys was the competing musical down the Road from the news E's it was all the actually really counting on people thinking that they're going to see the newsies. They come with their little opera glasses and everything, and they show up and the drum kids like freaking sideways, and I was like, this is not what I They're going to serve breakfast in hell? Whoa Anyway, So he's they're doing this show, uh and into fighting. Well it's it's very successful. He's obviously training his body to the limits. He's fifty two years old. It's nineteen twenty six. He's fifty two years old, and a couple of college kids came to one of the show. They're at the Meet and Great afterwards, and the college kid asked him. He was like, He's like hey, He's like, is it true that you can withstand a punch stomach? And he was like yeah, And the kid took it as an invite to punch him in the stomach. So he punches him four times just a He's like, He's like, that sucked. That's not what I expected you to do at all. No, So later that evening he realizes he's got some pretty sharp pain in his stomach, and the next day he still feels it. He's got a show in a couple of days. They're on tour. He's going to the next show. So he stops at a hospital in Detroit and they say, hey, yeah, you have appendicitis. He ruptured his appendix. Yeah, the kid kid punched his appendix and raptured his appendix, and so they told him, we need to take this out, and he said, I got a show tonight, I'll come back after. And so he goes and he does his show with appendicitis, with appendicitis, and in the middle of his show, he's doing one of his escape backs. He's trying to escape from some hancuffs. He just collapses and dies because he has a ruptured appendix. Ah, and uh, they I thought he died in a river. He didn't die in a river. I believe it was one of his underwater escape acts. Oh, so he was like in the water trying to escape and then as appendix killed him. That's what I'm saying. I thought he died in water. I don't think it was in the river either way. Died in the middle of a performance and they pull him out. They took him. They put him in this coffin that he had built for his show, and this coffin kind of disappointing because this coffin was disappointed because a fake bottom of it. So like they started carrying him out and they're like, this was not the real deal. It's not part of the show. Went after death, he's still escaping. He'd been working on this buried alive skit, and so there was one where he actually legitimately got buried six feet underground, like under real soil and dirt, and he dug his way out almost didn't make it, like he said, he was very close to dying in that in that event. So then they created a new one where he would be buried alive in a coffin instead and just see how long he could survive under under the dirt. I guess. I don't how would he communicate that he once out at a bell or something. I don't know. I don't want to do too much dirt on me right now. And that was what the the coffin was for, was for that segment in the show. But they said, luckily we've got his coffin here for this dead guy. Ladies and gentlemen, I know a lot of you have questions, but for now Kevin Hart what he died, but they got they got so much show, someone else has to come out and finish it. He's the opener of this show. Killed to die in the open. This guy dies, right, is taller than him. That's why I took him out on tour. Short guy. It's smoking, smoking, not tall tour. So anyway, it's so he dies. So he dies. Here's the thing though, it's not over yet. So he told his wife, he said, he said, Beth, if I ever die, I have this secret code for you, and it is He whispered it to her, so she would only know the code. And so he said, when I die, whisper that too many No, he said, when I die, he said, do a seance, and if seances are real, I'll communicate with you from the dead that secret code. And so then to this day, October thirty first, every year there's a seance held in New York to try to communicate to Houdini. This is so stupid. He's never done it. He's never communicated. The code was no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that's not that's not they did that. They did it for forty years. She would call him, and then finally she's like elderly and is not real and so she she said, the code was macaroni cheese. The code is macaroni Jesus. No, the code was macaroni grill. The code was macaroni grill. Be sure to drink your own shoot. He gotta collect the bank on the way out. Dude, can't leave your family starving. No, they did it for forty years. They were at New York. They were on the rooftop of some hotel in New York doing the seance on Halloween, and it was televised. They televised it for every year. And she that's why people don't trigger tree anymore. For Christmas. I just want to hear the crude and I just wanna hear you say it one more time. It's after an hour long, say odds Best stands up and she says, he's dead. He's not talking to us, like it's not gonna work out. When this happened. When this happens, allegedly, the storm rolls over Manhattan and there was a massive lightning storm, but it was only there over that specific area of the hotel, like a couple of blocks was a storm, and everyone said that was who Dini's code was the storm. But did she reveal She didn't. She never revealed it. What's what I'm saying, here's what it could be. Right, So let's say because she's not dumb, all right, She's like, shoot, now I have no way of making a living. My husband just died on stage. Yeah, the guy. All I did was sneak him the keys. So she goes the press and she goes, hold on, he's not dead. He's alive. He's alive, and he and every one of us. But he told me a secret code word. Well, I mean for real though, she could go every October thirty. This could be her play though. Where she goes, he's got a sco code word. He wants me to see if stances are real. So let's every year, let's do this. I'll sell tickets. Yeah, she makes enough money to make it. So then two years in, right, she hears the code word, and she now, two years in making money from this event has gone. I didn't hear it. I try next year. And then when she's like ninety, yeah, she's just like, ah, I guess we'll give up. She's getting emails on her family computer about their son and it's asking her if she prays, do you pray for our child? And she's like, there was never a kid. We never had a kid. He's president of the United States. He's like, I no, but it's fun to pretend I lost all my inheritance in his name. Why did you do that? Why you say he's not real? Okay, Yeah, so that's the life of Harry Houdini. He was a great magician. You don't know what escape artist. We don't know. Yeah, she never revealed it, but the sands has still happened every year in October thirty first in New York and probably in more places now. Honestly, it's probably like a thing. Yeah, all the parents are busy doing that instead of chuck or treating. That's what it is. I'm trying to see the hat man, all right, that's crazy. Ye have fun, Okay, see you later. I'm trying to get candy for the neighbors. Off. Hey, thanks for watching. If you liked this episode, makes you subscribe, leave a comment to outweigh all the grifters. And then we've got playlists on the screen. You can watch new videos if you haven't seen them. We have a massive back kind of log, so you should go check them out. If you want to become a patron, you can go to Tillan dot com to do that, or buy our march whatever you want. Thanks for being here. We appreciate you.

Harry Houdini, born Ehrich Weisz, was a famous magician and escape artist in the early 20th century. He gained worldwide fame for his incredible and death-defying stunts and his skills as an illusionist and performer.

Harry Houdini’s Early Life

Houdini was born in Hungary in 1874, but his family immigrated to the United States when he was just a child. Upon arriving at Ellis Island, immigration officials decided his name was too foreign-sounding, so they changed it to “Harry Houdini,” inspired by French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

Houdini’s Career

As a young man, Houdini worked as a trapeze artist and contortionist before getting interested in magic. He soon began performing with his brother Theodore, known as Dash, as “The Brothers Houdini.” Houdini gained notoriety for his handcuff escape acts, which he would perform in front of crowds. His stunts grew increasingly daring, including jumping off bridges while handcuffed and freeing himself underwater.

International Magician

Houdini became an international star throughout the 1910s and 20s. He toured Europe, where rumors spread that he was a spy for the British government. Back in America, he started making films, though most were lost. He continued pushing his physical limits with stunts like being buried alive. He also began debunking fraudulent spiritualists as part of his act.

How Did Houdini Die?

In 1926, Houdini died suddenly from complications of a ruptured appendix after a fan punched him unexpectedly in the stomach. Some claim Houdini told his wife a secret code before dying, which she was to use to communicate with him from beyond the grave during a séance. Though she held a séance for him every year on Halloween, Houdini never revealed his code, leaving his death shrouded in mystery.

Things I Learned Last Night is an educational comedy podcast where best friends Jaron Myers and Tim Stone talk about random topics and have fun all along the way. If you like learning and laughing a lot while you do, you’ll love TILLN. Watch or listen to this episode right now!




Harry Houdini – Wikipedia

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