Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Montage of images and link description. Houdini Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More
Interview Transcripts | Further Reading

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.

back to Interview Transcripts | next

Program Description | Enhanced Transcript | Reference

The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline | Gallery | People & Events | Teacher's Guide
The American Experience | Kids | Feedback | Search | Shop | Subscribe

©  New content 1999 PBS Online / WGBH

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: