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Known forEscapes

Pitroff (fl. 1910s-1950s), or Petroff, was an escape artist who worked under various names: "Great Pitroff", "Great Alvin", "Mysterio", "Russian Mystifier" and "Levy". [1]


By 1910, his show was featuring the straight jacket escape while suspended by his feet. Pitroff claimed that Houdini, for a time, said it was too dangerous because of the head rush of blood[2]In early 1917, over 50,000 people watched Pitroff escape from a straight jacket while suspended from the Title Guarantee Bldg in New York City as a benefit of the Jewish war sufferers.[3]

In 1916, Pitroff appeared on the same bill with Blackstone at the Unique Theatre in Minneapolis. Pitroff was performing a version of the Giant Milk Can Escape as a substitution trunk (a la metamorphosis).[4]

By 1920, he was performing with Madam Zelda giving demonstrations of Anna Eva Fay mind reading.[5]

In 1922, "Alfred" Pitroff was exposing the "Sawing a Woman in Two" at the Lyric Theatre in Cincinnati (possibly as last effort to continue to perform as vaudeville was being replace by movies.)[6][7]



  1. Sphinx, October, 1916, page 150
  2. Jinx 1936-1937 Winter Extra, page 176
  3. Magical Bulletin, February 1917
  4. Wizard Monthly, December 1916
  5. Magical Bulletin, April 1920
  6. The Billboard of July 1, 1922
  7. Sphinx July, 1922