Houdini looks bound to captivate us forever

Give thanks to the person who invented Venetian blinds, they say, or it would be curtains for us all. Curtains is mostly what people got at a Houdini show. He’d come on stage, be locked up or sealed in or tied down, and then the curtains would descend. They could stay drawn for an hour or more. Ostensibly this was to ensure that nobody saw him effect his escape, but in reality it was to heighten the drama. Houdini was usually free within a couple of minutes, but he knew audiences didn’t want things to be too simple for him. As he put it: The easiest way to attract a