Harry Houdini Straightjacket Escape (QuickTime Video). "...A patient in a Canadian insane asylum inspired Houdini's straightjacket escape. Houdini knew the violent thrashing and twisting required to free himself from a straightjacket presented a frightening scene that the public wanted to see. He took the escape outside and attracted crowds as large as 80,000. People packed the streets to see him escape as he hung upside down from the top of a tall building. The struggle almost always made the evening newspaper." From A.K.A. Houdini. ...Harry Houdini was born on this day in 1874 in Budapest, though he later claimed to have been born on April 6, 1874, in Appleton, Wisconsin.