Hunt for Harry Houdini’s secrets takes US TV show to West Yorkshire village

HOU WAS HE: (l-R) George Hardeem with US illusionist Lee Terbosic and Allan and Rebecca Taylor.
HOU WAS HE: (l-R) George Hardeem with US illusionist Lee Terbosic and Allan and Rebecca Taylor.
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HIS name became synonymous with the act of disappearing, but a West Yorkshire couple are now due to magically appear in a new documentary about escapologist, Harry Houdini.

The new series about the famous illusionist from the early 20th century sees experts attempt to recreate some of his greatest stunts and explain the science behind them.

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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.

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.

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

Episode three will feature the visit to West Yorkshire.