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quinta-feira, 24 de março de 2011

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini (born Erich Weisz; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born (Budapest) American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts. He was also a skeptic who set out to expose frauds purporting to be supernatural phenomena.


Houdini’s early career began in New York beer halls and theaters. Harry began his career as a famous escape artist with a trick called “Metamorphosis.” In this trick, an assistant, and then later his wife, was placed into a locked box and then switched places with the magician within seconds after a curtain was raised.
Harry also spent his free time pursuing his hobby: handcuffs. He discovered that almost all handcuffs could be opened with a single key or piece of bent metal. He read every piece of information that he could find on locking mechanisms and began collecting different kinds of cuffs and keys, taking them apart and studying their mechanisms. Eventually, Houdini would make go from town to town making a show of escaping not only standard police handcuffs, but also any “trick” handcuffs brought by spectators. At this point, Houdini became known as “The Handcuff King.” Houdini continued his career of escape by introducing the straitjacket escape into his routine.
As the Houdini’s fame spread throughout the United States, he opened at the Alhambra Theater in London and then traveled to the Continent, where he set new box-office records in Dresden and Berlin. Within a year, Houdini was the most popular attraction in Europe.
When Houdini returned to America he found that his fame in Europe had been widely told at home and he was soon selling out theaters all over the country. During this time, Houdini introduced his escape from a padlocked water can at the Columbia Theatre in St. Louis in January 1908, now known as the “Chinese Water Torture” trick. On January 7, 1918, Houdini introduced the biggest illusion ever staged at the New York Hippodrome, or anywhere else. He called it the “Vanishing Elephant.”


Houdini and the Supernatural

In the 1920s, after the death of his mother, Houdini began focusing his energy on debunking psychics and mediums. Although he eventually focused on proving these people to be fakes, his initial entry into the world of the supernatural began when he attempted to contact his dead mother.

Movie Career

1923 Haldane of the Secret Service
1922 The Man from Beyond
1920 Terror Island
1920 The Master Mystery
1919 The Grim Game


Books

Miracle Mongers and Their Methods
A Magician Among the Spirits
Life, History and Handcuff Secrets
Houdini's Big Little Book of Magic
Magical Rope Ties & Escapes
The Right Way to Do Wrong: An Expose of Successful Criminals
Houdini Exposes the Tricks Used by the Boston Medium "Marger" to Win the $2000 Prize


The great escape artist and magician Houdini was immortalized by a memorable performance by Tony Curtis in the eponymous 1953 film.


The secret to Houdini’s success was not mystical, or even magical. It was his determination to pour every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into being the very best in the world. In short, he was a master of deliberate practice.
He built himself into the man he wanted to become, element by element.

:) Liv
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