Harry Houdini

Topics: Harry Houdini, Magic, Escapology Pages: 2 (504 words) Published: February 16, 2008
Harry Houdini's real name was Ehrich Weiss. He was born in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1874. He was the third of five children. When he was about four years old, his father, Rabbi Dr. Mayer Samuel Weiss, who was a religious scholar and teacher, moved there family to Appleton, Wisconsin where he became the first rabbi of a new congregation. Harry's mothers name was Cecilia Steiner Weiss. When he was eight years old, he sold newspapers and worked as a bootblack. However after his father took him to see Dr. Lynn, a traveling magician, his interest in preforming soon took over. October 28, 1883, was the date of his first appearance before an audience. He appeared as a contortionist and trapeze preformer, as "Ehrich, Prince of the Air". When he was 12, he began performing magic as "Eric the Great." He ran away from home and tried to make some money following circuses and side shows. He was gone for about a year, but then rejoined my family in their new home in New York City at age 13. His father died about five years later on October 5, 1892. Harry worked in New York City as a cutter in a necktie factory, Richter & Sons, a messenger, an electrical driller, a photographer and as an apprentice to a locksmith. One of the first locks that he learned how to open was when he stole an apple pie from his mother's locked cupboard! In 1892, he formed a "double act" with his brother Theo (nicknamed Dash - who later performed under the name Hardeen) where they performed the spectacular Substitution Trunk or Metamorphosis Illusion as the Houdini Brothers. They performed this act at Coney Island, dime-museums and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Harry performed the astounding Metamorphosis Illusion over 11,000 times during Harry's career. In May 1900, they sailed to London for their first show in Europe. Harry escaped from a pair of handcuffs at England's famous Scotland Yard -- more free publicity. In Paris he jumped into the Seine River with handcuffs on and escaped....
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