WHO IS HARRY HOUDINI ?
Harry Houdini’s real name was Erich Weiss. He was born on March 24, 1874. In Budapest and became the most famous escapologist of all time. He came to the United States when he was four years old. His family was very poor. They spoke Yiddish, Hungarian and German at home.
Erich started working when he was only eight years old. He sold newspapers and worked as a shoeshine boy in the small city of Appleton, Wisconsin. The family move to New York City when he was thirteen with the hope of finding a better life there. In New York, Erich worked in a factory. He was very athletic and won awards in swimming and running. He loved to read, and one book changed his life, It was The Memoirs of Robert Houdin, the authobiography of one of the greatest magician of the day. Erich changed his name to Houdini and wanted to be like his new hero.
In Houdini’s first magic shows, he did card tricks and other simple magic. He called himself the ‘King of Cards’. Soon he began to experiment with handcuffs and started to use them in his act.
In 1894, Houdini met his wife Bess. He married her after only two week. Sshe worked and traveled with Houdini and sang and danced in the shows. They were called ‘The Houdinis’ and they traveled around the world and the United States for the next thirty-three years.
Houdini invented the challege escape act and soon became a world-famous star. He began to offer money to anyone to could keep him form escaping from handcuffs, leg irons, packing crates, a giant paper bag, a giant football, milk cans, coffins, jails, and the famous Water Tortune Cells. One of his last act was to escape after being buried alive. In most cases, it was impossible to understand how he escaped. He was very successful, but once he almost drowned during an escape from a barrel of beer. He was the first person to do the largest illusion of the time, making an elephant disappear. The elephant, Jenny, weighted 10,000 pounds.
Houdini was very stong, and he spent many hours studying and practising. He practiced holding his breath in the bathub to prepare for his underwater tricks. He once stayed in an underwater”coffin” for over an hour. In 1916, he made his first silent film. He was the only macigian in history to star in five films. He was given one of the first stars on the Hollywood Walk of Frame. Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.