HOUDINI TRICKS TSAR NICHOLAS II. I gave Mary Jane Craig Brown’s book HELLO GOODBYE HELLO. It turns out to be a great book. Mary Jane and I both loved it. The book is a chain of meetings between 101 famous people, beginning with Hitler and ending with Hitler. The meetings are elegantly and amusingly described, each in exactly 1001 words. An example is the meeting of Harry Houdini and Tsar Nicholas II (the other end of the chain for Houdini is his meeting with Theodore Roosevelt; the other end of the chain for the Tsar is Rasputin). Brown tells of the trick that Houdini fashioned for the Tsar and his household. He asked each of them to write down something that was impossible and these writings were put in a hat. One was selected. The writing said:”Can you ring the bells of the Kremlin?” The Russians laughed because they knew that the ropes for those bells were rotted and it had been over 100 years since the bells had been heard. Houdini went to the window, tossed some powder in the air, waved a handkerchief, and recited a verse—-and the Kremlin bells rang.

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