.:69/365: The Milk Can Escape
This is one of those routines any escapologist would want to do at some point in their lives. This is also a routine that I, Mr. I-Can-Only-Hold-My-Breath-For-Thirty-Seconds, probably won’t be capable of doing. Ever.
Made popular by Houdini, this routine is very popular because it is one that certainly tickles the fancy of the average human being: a spectacle for the morbidly inclined, it’s not very difficult to see the macabre appeal of potentially watching a person drown for your entertainment.
Ultimately, the milk can escape is a safe routine for those who know the mechanics – assuming you can hold your breath for at least ninety seconds. Failing that, this routine can kill you and can endanger your life because you are genuinely submerged in a milk can and it will certainly take time before you can work your way out of it. The working your way out part isn’t that difficult, but it is certainly time-consuming, and is precisely where the danger of the routine lies.
Houdini’s performance of it was deliberately tension-laden. As we all known, Houdini is normally out of the milk can within three minutes, but chooses to prolong the agony of the wait by staying behind the curtain until someone screams to save the drowning man. The wait for his reappearance can go for as long as over half an hour, thereby ensuring that people are on the edge of their seat throughout the routine.
Not something for the faint of heart or the claustrophobic, to be sure. There’s something very eerie about being locked into a milk can that could barely hold a full-grown man with all that water menacingly asking to take you with them forever. If anything, the fact that you have to hold your breath as they lock you in place could be the very thing that would do the performer in.