Harry Houdini

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Houdini in handcuffs, 1918

Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 - October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist. He also investigated fake spiritualists and was a skeptic.

Life and career[change | change source]

He was born in Budapest to Jewish parents [1] and was named Erik Weisz, but changed his name to Harry Houdini when he became a professional Magician. At first he did not have much success in his career. In 1899 his acts got better when he met his manager Martin Beck. Martin Beck was impressed with Houdini's handcuff Painting and within a year Houdini was famous.

Houdini also appeared in several early movies and made many early flights in aeroplanes. He made the first successful aeroplane flight in Australia, on 18 March 1910, at Diggers' Rest, Victoria.[2]

Death[change | change source]

He died in Detroit, Michigan.

In Popular Culture[change | change source]

  • In 1953 there was a popular but fictionalized movie "Houdini" [Tony Curtis as Houdini]; its ending is that Houdini accidently drowns trying to escape from a escape proof water trap; in actual fact Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix.
  • A running gag in TV is that an evil magician is trying to steal Harry Houdini's "Magic Secrets":
    • In the TV show "Simon & Simon" "Grand Illusion" Season 3 episode 1 9/29/1983 is the theme of stolen Notes of Harry Houdini and a ghostly magician
    • In the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters episode "The Cabinet of Calamari" 9/30/1987 The Ghostbusters capture the ghost of Harry Houdini who keeps escaping from their traps; in a twist ending Houdini ghost not only rescuses Peter Venkman from a ghostly dimension but also help capture a dishonest magician who stole Houdini magic Secrets!

References[change | change source]

  1. www.wildabouthoudini.com
  2. Fraser, Bryce; Weldon, Kevin (1983). The Macquarie Book of Events. Sydney: Macquarie Library Pty.Ltd. p. 105. ISBN 0-949-75707-1.

Other websites[change | change source]