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E.L. Doctorow, writer, on:
Houdini the stage performer

E.L. Doctorow He probably (at least in my reading of what he did), probably felt that finally the stage was a source of his failure as well as his success; that for all his feats and for all his vaunted, fabulous illusions, that he was finally a stage performer, whereas people around him were accomplishing magical and credible things in the real world, like Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill, or people flying airplanes. So he had to fly an airplane. There was always this feeling that not only would he want to escape from the straightjacket or the freezing river or the coffin or the milk can, but that he had to escape from the stage as well, and be seen in the real world as a historical figure and not just a stage illusionist.

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