In March 24, 1874, Erich Weisz was born to a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. Erich was one of seven children with a HUMBLE upbringing. The Weisz family IMMIGRATED to the United States when Erich was four years old.
From the age of eight, Erich began his work history by helping his family sell newspapers in the streets and later becoming a shoe shine boy.
At the young age of 13, the Weisz family moved to the Big City, New York. Once again, Erich began taking odd jobs in order to support his family. Erich became a local messenger and assistant lining cutter in the garment center, Richter & Sons, a tie factory (Houdini.org, 2015).
Erich also showed talent as an athlete, winning multiple awards in the field of swimming and track. Erich would later use his skills, like holding his breath underwater for extended periods of time, in order to create some of his most famous water escapes.
As Harry Houdini, this talented man baffled the mind with his seemingly impossible acts. With every choreographed trick and clever illusions, he challenged his audience participants to believe even what they couldn’t see. In his career, Houdini became known as the master of magic, King of Cards, and the Handcuff King, because no handcuff could hold him prisoner. Still today, this makes Harry Houdini one of the most famous magicians to ever seize the imagination.
“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life all mystery and magic.” – Harry Houdini
(The Mysterious Secrets of Harry Houdini | YouTube)
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- At the young age of eight, Erich Weisz began his work history by helping his family earn money. Give an example of what Erich did to help his family financially.
- As a young adult and the start of his career as a magician, Erich Weisz changed his name to Harry Houdini. What important reason could Erich have for changing his name?
- Harry Houdini will always be known as the Handcuff King. Describe one of the ways he was able to magically remove his handcuffs in front of a live audience.