Amazing Kids! Magazine

AK! from History: Harry Houdini

By Olivia Pineda, Assistant Editor

I’m sure that we’ve all heard of the famous magician Houdini. His name often accompanies the word “magic”, and he stands today as one of the greatest magicians of all time. He was born in the former Austria-Hungary (now known as Hungary) in 1874. Houdini wasn’t his actual name, however; born to Hungarian parents, his original name was Erik Ivan Weisz. He immigrated with his family to Wisconsin as a young boy. As a child, he was a trapeze artist, calling himself “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air”. He began to call himself Harry Houdini because he felt influenced by the French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

At first, Houdini’s attempts at a magic career resulted in little success. At first, he was a common card trickster, but soon began experimenting with escape acts. Houdini finally got his big break in 1899 when he met his future manager Martin Beck, who was impressed by his handcuffs act, where Houdini would somehow free himself from his hands locked in handcuffs without a key. He traveled around the world, quickly becoming known as “The Handcuff King” and challenging police officers to lock him in their jails and “magically” freeing himself from imprisonment. He then moved onto more daring tricks, such as having his assistants lock him inside of a water-filled glass container in front of a live audience and escape alive. Houdini died at the age of 52 as a result of acute appendicitis (an inflamed appendix), which he had refused to seek medical treatment for.

While he lived more than a hundred years ago, Houdini is an example to all of us of someone who died doing what he was passionate about. In spite of his illness at the end of his life, he continued to perform. And despite the fact that Houdini faced poverty and unemployment early in his career, he persevered, and today is hailed as one of the greatest magicians of all time.

One comment

  1. Mason /

    this was good