James Randi, illusionist, on: the straightjacket escape
When Harry Houdini first saw the straightjacket in Nova Scotia, according to his own account, early on in his career, he was totally fascinated with it. Its part of his genius that he saw in that a presentation piece. But to show how immature he was at that point, he would do the straightjacket escape after being fastened into the jacket behind an enclosure. And he would emerge with the straightjacket off. It got a certain amount of good reaction, of course. He got the applause that he might have expected from it. But not until it was suggested to him that he should do it in full sight did it really become sensational. Because here you have a man, in person, right in front of you, going through the various contortions that he had to, in order to free himself.