Houdini relative travels to Pontefract to meet escapology couple

HIS name became synonymous with the act of disappearing, but a couple from Upton are now due to magically appear in a new documentary about escapologist, Harry Houdini.

By Nick Frame
Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 3:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:03 pm

The new four-part series about the famous illusionist from the early 20th century is being screened around the world as experts attempts to recreate some of his greatest stunts and explain the science behind them.

And the trail led the show’s producers from America to West Yorkshire, where Houdini’s great nephew, George Hardeen, visited to speak with Rebecca and Allan Taylor.

The couple’s interest stems from Rebecca’s father, David De-Val from Oldham, who became an escape artist himself after being inspired by the Houdini movie filmed in 1953.

Hungarian-born American magician and escape artist Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The couple have themselves become self-confessed Houdini historians and amateur escapologists, even becoming the first ever couple to escape from one straight jacket together.

Their home also has a ‘mini museum’ of artefacts to the great man at their home.

Allan said: “I suppose in the Houdini world we’re quite known for what we do and we got a call from a TV company in Texas saying George Hardeen wanted to visit us. As soon as they mentioned him, we just thought, ‘brilliant’, he’s Houdini’s closest living relative.

“He came with a camera crew, in November and he was here for about five hours.

“He was such a fantastic guy - it was just after Hallowe’en so we sat here eating Haribo sweets discussing Houdini, it was surreal.”

The weekly show, which began on Discovery channel last night, Wednesday, February 6, does not reveal any of Hungarian-born Houdini’s secrets, but alludes to how he could have possibly achieved the stunts.

Episode three, which includes the visit to West Yorkshire, looks at Houdini’s famous Siberian transport cell escape from 1903 which became one of his most celebrated stunts.