The Great Harry Houdini

By: Sarah Maksin

Biography of Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, Hungary and raised in America. He started his career at a young age when he would go to the streets for money and then come home to his mom and tell her to "shake me i'm magic" as she did all the coins he collected would come flying out of him. At the age of 17 he took the stage with the name Houdini after the 19th century French magician Robert-Houdin. "Harry" was the Americanized version of Erich that they gave him. As he started out his tricks were a little rough, so when he ran with the circus some escape tricks didn't pan out so they would make themselves a comedy act using old jokes from magazines. Houdini gained his fame in America by repeatedly escaping from jails and handcuffs. Then later, in Europe Harry would wow the audience by getting out of straitjackets and coffins. Later he had fulfilled his dream of having an entire show for his magic and tricks. As people would come and see his show he would have people backstage and invite people to punch is stomach as hard as they could. Unfortunately Houdini met his death with this joking task. As a college student was invited to punch his stomach, Houdini was not ready and suffered a major blow to his abdomen. Causing his death, Harry suffered from peritonitis, from a ruptured appendix on Halloween 1926.

Houdini's Impact on the 1920's

Houdini made a major impact on this society. He inspired creativity in the young to achieve their dreams and in adults to just be able to go out and have a nice night. Harry also was considered an artist, in this competitive community he really pushed the boundaries and was always one upping the next guy.
Harry Houdini: Biography

Video Questions

1. What quote did Houdini use?

2. What was one of his most famous acts?