Harry Houdini

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Harry Houdini
BornErik Weisz
March 24, 1874
Budapest, Hungary
DiedOctober 31, 1926 (age 52)
Detroit, Michigan
CategoriesBooks by Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) whose birth name in Hungary was Erik Weisz (which was changed to Ehrich Weiss when he immigrated to the United States), was a Hungarian American magician, escapologist (widely regarded as one of the greatest ever), and stunt performer, as well as a skeptic and investigator of spiritualists, film producer, and actor.

Contents

Biography

Initially, Houdini's magic career resulted in little success. He performed in dime museums and sideshows, and even doubled as "the Wild Man" at a circus.

Early in his career, Houdini focused on traditional card tricks. At one point, he billed himself as the "King of Cards". But he soon began experimenting with escape acts.

In 1893, while performing with his brother "Dash" at Coney Island as "The Brothers Houdini", Harry met and married fellow performer Bess (Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner).[1] Bess soon replaced Dash in the act, which became known as "The Houdinis", and in 1894 they were married. For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess would work as his stage assistant.[1]

He had changed his name to Harry Houdini because the French conjurer, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin was one of his biggest inspirations.[2]


Legacy

Harry Houdini is the one of the most famous escape artists/magicians who has ever lived.

Houdini escaped from many unique situations, and invented some of the most memorable escapes in the history of magic, such as the "Chinese Torture Cell", "Metamorphosis" and a number of others.

During his career, Houdini inspired many imitators, men and women. Some duplicated his escapes and others during the height of his fame were just trying to capitalize on his name.[1] Houdini often ruthlessly defended his domain by challenging these imitators, advertising that his act was "patented" with threats to sue them, exposing them, or training someone of his own liking (including his brother Hardeen).[2]

Quotes

"It's not the trick. It's the magician." --Harry Houdini

Books

Periodicals

Houdini published his Conjurers' Monthly Magazine, that ran for one year from September 1906 until August 1907, as a competitor to the Sphinx.

The magazine touted Houdini's importance to the world of magic, and contained gossip about magicians he did not like and criticism of his imitators.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harold Kellock - Houdini: His Life-Story; from the recollections and documents of Beatrice Houdini, Harcourt, Brace Co., June 1928.
  2. 2.0 2.1 William Kalush and Larry Sloman - The Secret Life of Houdini: the making of America's first superhero (2006).
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