Harry Houdini — magician extraordinaire, a master of self-promotion, the world’s first celebrity. Houdini ignited the nation with death-defying performances by enlisting promotional help from radio broadcasts, public platforms, and one of his favorite tools: the police.
In 1898, he set the stage (and arranged a subsequent arrest by the Chicago Police) atop a building adjacent to the reporting offices of The Chicago Tribune. His mission: exposure. He knew that by duping police while conducting a major stunt on a newspaper’s doorstep would grow his fan-base astronomically— an early form of viral marketing.
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