Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facts About Harry Houdini - strangefacts

  • Harry Houdini (1874-1926) The Great Houdini  is a name that will forever define the term "escape artist."
  • As the Budapest-born, American-bred performer would so often proclaim, "No prison can hold me; no hand or leg irons or steel locks can shackle me. No ropes or chains can keep me from my freedom."
  • The real name of  Harry Houdini was Erich Weiss
  • There is no question that Houdini is the most famous magician in history. His name is synonymous with escapes; his ability to get out of seemingly impossible situations- and his knack for publicizing these events- made him a legend in his own time.
  • The Houdini myth is about to be examined, and truth really is stranger than fiction!
  • Houdini was born Erich Weiss on March 24, 1874. Though he claimed throughout his life that Appleton, Wisconsin was his birthplace
  • He was really born in Budapest, Hungary. He was four years old when his family moved to America
  • Houdini was small, standing a mere 5'5", with dark, wavy hair, dark gray eyes and a high-pitched voice
  • Houdini was poorly educated. He was, however, extremely athletic and highly motivated to succeed
  • According to an autobiographical pamphlet published by the magician in 1920, Houdini said that his favorite place was Hollywood, California and that his favorite song was Auld Lang Syne (the traditional New Year's Eve tune)
  • Houdini became fascinated with magic after seeing Dr. Lynn, a traveling magician, as a young boy. He did not, as legend has it, run away with a circus, nor was he an apprentice to a locksmith
  • In reality, he turned to magic at age 17 as an alternative to factory work. He teamed up with Jack Hayman, a fellow magic enthusiast, to form the Houdini Brothers
  • Surprising as it may seem, Houdini was not an instant success. For the first five years, he tried every type of magic, from card manipulations (billed as the "King of Cards") to illusions and run-of-the-mill box escapes
  • In 1896, ready to give up, he actually ran a newspaper ad offering to sell all of his magic and secrets for $20. There were no takers
  • His one big success was the Needle Trick, a grisly effect involving the swallowing of dozens of needles and thread, then the regurgitation of the thread with all the needles neatly threaded on. This effect would be a cornerstone of his act throughout his life
  • During a visit to a psychiatrist friend in Nova Scotia in 1896, Houdini saw his first strait jacket. Rather than be shocked by it, he was inspired to create an act around escaping from it. And Houdini didn't just escape from a strait jacket- he did it hanging upside down from his ankles, suspended yards above the ground
  • The 1953 movie Houdini starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh did much to create the commonly-held belief that Houdini died onstage attempting to perform the Water Torture Cell illusion
  • The sad truth is that Houdini was in the middle of a U.S. tour in the fall of 1926 when he and Bess began to experience severe stomach discomfort. A performer to the core, Houdini refused medical treatment, because that would have meant missing some shows. Quite possibly Houdini was suffering from the onset of appendicitis, and his own stubborn refusal to see a doctor might have spelled his doom. Houdini was tired, and unusually accident-prone
  • Both Houdini's New York and Los Angeles homes were said to be haunted by his ghostly spirit. The New York townhouse still stands at 278 W. 113th Street (it was recently offered for sale); Houdini's "HH" initials are set in mosaic tile on the bathroom floor. His Los Angeles home at 2350 Laurel Canyon burned many years after his death, but the site is still rumored to be visited by ghostly apparitions
  • For ten years, Bess presided over annual well-publicized séances held on October 31, the anniversary of Houdini's death. Though she stopped participating in 1938, séances to contact Houdini continued
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...