The Mick Hanzlik Award
On March 11th 2017, the members of the United Kingdom Escape Artists had their fifteenth Annual General Meeting at The Yeoman of England in Northampton. This is the second year that the members also competed for the chance to win "The Mick Hanzlik Award", for the best escape on the day. Mick Hanzlik was a long-time member of the U.K.E.A and was also from Northampton.
Throughout the day, all members had the opportunity to perform an escape of their choice and all members voted on who they thought deserved the coveted award.
This year was no different in that the members were up for the challenge. There were escapes from all kinds of restraints and equipment, some upright and some inverted. It was an interesting year in that a duo escape was performed. This was done by Allan Taylor and his wife Rebecca, (The Taylor's). They performed a duo strait-jacket escape. Duo SJ's have been performed many times with the two artists in separate jackets, but The Taylor's had commissioned a single jacket with four arms to be made. This was a very unique escape and very entertaining, resulting in them being the 2017 winners of the award.
Allan and Rebecca were presented with the award by Louise and Stephanie, two of the daughters of the late Mick Hanzlik, Master Locksmith and much missed U.K.E.A member.
The Double Clear Mailbag 2018
On March 17th 2018, the members of the United Kingdom Escape Artists had their sixteenth Annual General Meeting at The Yeoman of England in Northampton.
As ever the meeting was a great opportunity for those that attended to not only learn about the craft but also to test and debut new and impressive escapes. We were also pleased to welcome back the founder member, James Peters.
The day consisted of lectures, demonstrations and escape challenges.
Rebecca and Allan Taylor, holders of the 2017 Mick Hanzlik award performed a double mail bag escape with a twist.
Allan was secured into an original De-Val Straitjacket while Rebecca had handcuffs and leg restraints secured onto her. The bag was checked and a Padlock was chosen by Tony Gough from a pack of 3 sealed locks.
Allan and Rebecca entered the “clear” double bag and Tim secured the top with a bar and padlock, at this point the bag was filled up with Smoke! Allan and Rebecca were now in darkness and a race against time was in place so as not to breathe in the smoke. Dramatic music played along with lights highlighting the smoke filled bag, at 4 minutes 30 seconds, Allan appeared out of the bag just as the music changed into “Happiness” by ken Dodd – Allan had a facemask and a hat as a sign of respect to Ken Dodd who has passed away earlier that week.
To everyone’s surprised Rebecca also appeared, however she was secured into a second “new De-Val Straitjacket!
In the news
HIS name became synonymous with the act of disappearing, but a couple from Upton are now due to magically appear in a new documentary about escapologist, Harry Houdini.
The new four-part series about the famous illusionist from the early 20th century is being screened around the world as experts attempts to recreate some of his greatest stunts and explain the science behind them.
And the trail led the show’s producers from America to West Yorkshire, where Houdini’s great nephew, George Hardeen, visited to speak with Rebecca and Allan Taylor.
The couple’s interest stems from Rebecca’s father, David De-Val from Oldham, who became an escape artist himself after being inspired by the Houdini movie filmed in 1953.
The couple have themselves become self-confessed Houdini historians and amateur escapologists, even becoming the first ever couple to escape from one straitjacket together.
Their home also has a ‘mini museum’ of artefacts to the great man at their home.
Allan said: “I suppose in the Houdini world we’re quite known for what we do and we got a call from a TV company in Texas saying George Hardeen wanted to visit us. As soon as they mentioned him, we just thought, ‘brilliant’, he’s Houdini’s closest living relative.
“He came with a camera crew, in November and he was here for about five hours.
“He was such a fantastic guy - it was just after Hallowe’en so we sat here eating Haribo sweets discussing Houdini, it was surreal.”
The weekly show, which began on Discovery channel last night, Wednesday, February 6, does not reveal any of Hungarian-born Houdini’s secrets, but alludes to how he could have possibly achieved the stunts.
Episode three, which includes the visit to West Yorkshire, looks at Houdini’s famous Siberian transport cell escape from 1903 which became one of his most celebrated stunts.