Harry Houdini's Most Famous Magic Tricks

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Harry Houdini was born with the name Ehrich Weisz on March 24, 1874. Mayer Samuel Weisz, his father, moved the family from Budapest, Hungary, to America when Houdini was only a toddler. Houdini went on to become one of the most renowned stunt performers in the history of the art. His most famous magic tricksinvolved the art of escape, including freeing himself from handcuffs, chains, ropes, straitjackets, and even a sealed milk-can.

The Daily Mirror Handcuff Escape
One of Houdini's most notable early tricks resulted from a challenge issued by the London Daily Mirror. The newspaper challenged the performer to escape from a special handcuff that took five years to create. Approximately 4,000 audience members and more than 100 journalists packed the Hippodrome on March 17, 1904, to witness the event. Within one hour and ten minutes, Houdini freed himself from the handcuffs, later calling this the most difficult escape of his career.
There have been numerous reports that the stunt was staged by Houdini or that his wife slipped him the handcuff key when she went onstage to kiss him. Authenticity of the stunt aside, the Houdini Museum features a full-sized replica of the handcuffs and the key. It is the only public display of this style of handcuff in the world.
Suspended Straitjacket
One of the most popular stunts performed by Houdini involved him being strapped into a straitjacket and suspended from a crane or tall building by his ankles. The performer escaped from the jacket in full view of thousands of people. When Houdini performed this stunt suspended from a crane being used to construct the New York Subway, it took him only two minutes and thirty-seven seconds to escape.
A Houdini straitjacket escape at the Library of Congress was captured on film. In May 2011, an authenticated Houdini straitjacket was offered on eBay at a price of $149,000. It is said that Houdini received the idea for the upside-down straitjacket escape from a young boy, Randolph Osborne Douglas, whom Houdini met at a Sheffield's Empire Theatre performance.
Overboard Box Escape
In another of his famous magic tricks, Houdini escaped from a nailed packing crate that was roped and lowered into water. He first performed this trick in the East River of New York on July 7, 1912. He was secured in leg-irons and handcuffs and confined in a crate loaded with 200 pounds of lead weight, yet managed to escape in just 57 seconds.


{ Harry Houdini Magic Tricks } at: October 15, 2013 at 3:00 AM said...

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