The above picture show the famous mentalist Joseph Dunninger preparing to escape from a pair of Bean Giants, Darbies, and Tower leg irons locked on his forearms. This is an original picture taken circa early in Joe's career about 1907. Not many in magic know it, but prior to concetrating solely on mentalism and becoming a legend for his mental magic, Joseph Dunninger first attemped a career as an escapologist. As an escapist, he presented a handcuff act, released himself from a straitjacket, and even performed successful jail cell escapes. Photographs of Joseph Dunninger performing escapes are seldom seen and are very, very rare, especially onstage pictures like this one
It really is interesting that Dunninger became very close friends with Houdini in later life. I guess that is because Joe switched to mentalism. Houdini would NEVER have made friends with another escapist! I guess Harry "forgave" Joe's knowledge of escapology and decided there was only one "real" escapist between them (Ha Ha).
I wish to thank Steve Santini for his generosity and assistance with this webpage.
Joe Lauher - September 2003
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