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David De-Val, illusionist, on:
the handcuff challenge

David De-Val Houdini used to perform in the early days a thing that he called the handcuff challenge, where members of the public were invited on stage to try and manacle him in various forms, whatever it may be. Even homemade devices. All manner of things, Houdini was fastened in, as a challenge. He would then have these cuffs, maybe five or six pair of handcuffs put onto his wrists. He would retire into a very small cabinet, periodically coming out to get a closer look at them in the light, then going back into the cabinet. And he really gave the public their money’s worth. He made it look particularly difficult, which I don’t really think it was that difficult. It captured the imagination of the British public.

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