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James Randi, illusionist, on:
Houdini's audience

James Randi There’s something about the Houdini act that is not always made clear–about the escape act in general. If the audience likes you, they want you to win. It’s not a case of: "We’ll see whether he can do this. No. We’ll see him do this. We want him to be successful. He’s up against the odds." They’re pulling for the underdog. They’re pulling for this charming little guy with the bright smile, with the engaging mannerisms, who says that "I’m an important person and I can beat this situation." "Can you really?" And by golly, he always came through for them. They wanted it to happen. And in every major challenge that came along, they attended that theater not to see him fail, or even possibly fail. They would have been very let down if they had to leave the theater and he had missed. He would feel badly. Everyone would feel badly. But he never let them down.

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