Do you want to know the Houdini Block Escape secret of getting the wooden block to penetrate through the rope or cord?
Well, this is what I think how this rope through block trick is done.
As I do not own or know the actual method of this Houdini Block Escape by Magic Wagon, it is just my assumption.
Yes, it’s my version of Houdini Escape Block solution.
I am putting my head on the block, as my guesswork could be dead wrong.
Houdini Escape Block Instruction
The effect is:
The performer displays a block of wood which has a hole running through its center and a length of rope or cord.
The performer threads the rope through the hole in the middle of the block.
Then he places it on a specially-designed elevated stand.
A handle-like reversed U-shaped frame is slotted onto the stand over the wooden block with the cord running through it.
The two ends of the cord are placed at each end of the stand and always in full view.
The wooden block is now locked within the frame.
Now the performer slowly pushes the wooden block out from the frame and the stand.
Magically, the wooden block manages to free itself from the cord.
The cord or rope is still in one piece resting on the elevated stand with the frame above.
This is the video of Houdini Escape Block:
The solid wooden block magically goes through the rope/cord.
This block off the rope trick is inspired by Jack Hughes’ Cuban Release aka Cube On Release.
There is another very similar design called the Royal Block Release by Milson Worth.
Related: If you want to know how the two-rope Jack Hughes’ Cuban Release works, click here.
By the way, the method of this trick is similar to Houdini Block Escape, which I will elaborate soon.
It is different from Block Off Cord (Blok-Kord), Cobra Cord Magic Trick, Houdini Block Escape by Arlen Studios, or Block And Rope Escape by Michael Smilek.
All these tricks do not use a stand and frame, they use only a block and a long rope.
The secret is in the deceptive looping of the rope around the block.
Block And Cord Trick Secret
If you want to know the secret of how to do this rope and block trick, it is under “Block And Cord” on pages 196-198 of this free book:
Magic Digest: Fun Magic For Everyone By George B. Anderson
Click on this: Link
Note: To read this book, you need to have a free account with Internet Archive to borrow it.
*Here is a tutorial on how to download and save the Internet Archive borrow books.
Houdini Block Escape Solution
This is how I usually do my research on how a magic trick is done.
Firstly, I study the design of the prop or the apparatus.
I know the wooden block is solid and there is no hidden gimmick in it.
It is also because the way the performer presents it; casual and very assured that there is nothing up their sleeves.
However, there is one obvious suspicion and that is the rope; it appears rather stiff.
Next, I closely observed how they perform the trick and handle the prop.
I can see all of them pulling or tugging the cord or rope, after they place the inverted U-shaped frame onto the stand.
As the wooden block or cube has no gimmick, therefore I focused my attention on the rope, the elevated stand, and the handle-like inverted-U shaped frame.
Houdini Block Escape By Magic Wagon Explained
Even though the performers try to convince us that it is a regular rope by pulling it.
I noticed their hands keep holding onto the same spot of the rope.
It is from this Jay’s World of Magic & Mystery video, I confirmed my suspicion about the gaffed rope.
Before and after doing the trick, his right hand fingers and thumb keep holding or rather hiding the same area of the rope.
After the penetration trick is done, he throws the stiff rope on the table, slightly off the camera view.
To retrieve the rope, you can see the performer pushes the white stiff rope off the camera view first, then returns with a different supple rope
This is what magicians called it Switch or Switching.
Watch the switching sequence of the video clip.
This time he can confidently pulling and swinging the rope at both ends.
As a result, I reckon the Houdini Block Escape uses a gaffed rope.
Luckily, I managed to find a video clip which accidentally exposed the gimmick in the rope right under my eyes.
Anyway, before I saw the gimmick, I guess it is similar to the famous Pavel Super Walking Knot rope trick.
There are many gaffed ropes in magic tricks which use the hidden magnets.
Snap Fastener Or Magnet
For Pavel Super Walking Knot rope trick, I think it uses a snap fastener.
But for this Houdini Block Escape, I think it uses magnets.
The rope is joined together with magnets as seen below:
This is another picture captured from the video clip.
Just like some of the cut-and-restore rope tricks, they used either magnets or a snap fastener to join back the separated ropes.
As for this block-rope penetration trick, I think it uses magnets.
Houdini Block Escape Stand
The next item is the elevated stand.
Initially I though there might be a hidden rope running from one end of the side slot to the other via the base of the stand.
Then I scrutinized the handle-like frame locking on top of the wooden block.
After watching the performance, I find it doesn’t really serve any function to the prop.
Why must they slot in the frame around the wood block?
After all, when they perform the trick, they just push or knock out the block of wood.
To me, this frame is redundant, unless it is there to conspires with the trick.
I came upon a video clip, where someone who unknowingly shares me the hidden secret of this Houdini Escape Block trick.
Yes, the secret is hidden deep inside the frame.
There is a short same white rope embedded inside the narrow slot of the frame as shown in the picture below.
With these two findings, I piece together the secret working of Houdini Escape Block trick.
Houdini Block Escape Secret
So how does the solid wooden block bypass the rope?
The whole secret is:
The cord or rope is disjointed and it is joined back together by this short hidden rope inside the handle.
Before the trick, the jointed rope is threaded through the block.
All of them tug or pull the rope at both ends before they do the trick:
For this video, it is at: 0:28
This performer pulls the rope at: 0:45
The pulling of the rope is very obvious is this video at: 1:13-1:14
This guy pulls it just before he brings the prop toward him at: 0:32.
This video is using the Houdini Escape Block by Magic Wagon and he tugs the cord at: 1:07.
This performer pulls the rope at 0:24, just before he crisscrosses the rope over the handle.
When they pull the jointed cord or rope apart, this is what it looks like:
The stand is basically to hold the rope in place in the slots.
When they pull or tug at the rope, the two magnetic ends of the rope are separated on each side of the frame.
The two magnetic ends of the rope are now attracted or attached to the hidden short rope inside the handle frame.
This short rope concealed inside the handle frame has magnet on each end as well.
In other words, now this short rope connects the two ends of the longer rope with the help of the magnets.
Now, there is no rope inside the hole of the wooden block.
The two disjointed parts of the rope at both side of the stand, is magnetically attached by a short rope in the middle.
In other words, the seemingly one complete rope hidden inside the frame is actually make up three separate parts.
The long and short of this Houdini Escape Block trick is never overlook the part that handles the whole magic.
The unassuming inverted U-shaped handle frame.
Now you have the good handle on how Houdini Escape Block by Magic Wagon secret works.
Here is another amazing penetration effect trick with a wooden frame and plexiglass.
Free Rope Magic Tricks Books
Related: Since we have just talked about ropes, check out these four free books on rope magic tricks:
Disclaimer: I do not publish or host any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.
Note: Here are more magic trick secrets exposed and explained.