Harry Houdini inspired genuine belief in the dangers he faced, displaying a level of technical ingenuity that remains a benchmark for illusionists. Photograph: AP
Happy birthday, Harry Houdini: you’d have been 137 today (if you hadn’t died of a ruptured appendix at 52). But you are not forgotten. Indeed, you’re front page on Google and the Twitterocracy are tweeting their greetings even now. The question that inevitably arises is simply: why? Was he more astounding than David Copperfield, more daring than David Blaine, more memorable than Penn and Teller? His real magic is that we shall never know. Apart from a few grimy clips of film a century old, there’s no means of judging how or why Houdini became the supreme, enduring icon of escapology and illusion. But it is enough to register that he did. He was the wonder of the world in an old world hungry for wonders.
Being the first group to perform gave the Juke Box Dancers the opportunity to sets the tone with a series of high kicks.
The Rockettes are a precision dance company performing out of the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City. During the Christmas season, the Rockettes have performed five shows a day, seven days a week, for 77 years. Perhaps their best-known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance.
- Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes (benspark.com)
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– and Maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.