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Thursday, March 24, 2011
A day like today, the great Harry Houdini was born! ★
Harry’s birthplace was Budapest, Hungary. He was born on March 24, 1874. When Harry was four years old he moved to America. His childhood was spent in Appleton, Wisconsin. During his life, Harry told most reporters that he was born in America. He was proud to be an American and considered himself one of her people, not an immigrant.
Harry wanted to be famous and he worked hard to perfect his talents. A big secret to his success was that he was very flexible. Harry worked hard to maintain his flexibility. He also took apart every lock he came across to see how it worked and to learn how he could unlock or “pick” it. Harry was very good at his stunts. It took a lot of hard work and practice to become the great magician and escape artist that Harry Houdini dreamed of being. If he were alive today, he would be a master locksmith and professional magician.
Throughout his career, Harry always said his success was due to preparation and patience. Harry new every lock that existed. While being handcuffed, Harry signaled to his wife, Bess, which key he would need. Did you notice that his wife gave him a “Good Luck” kiss? When they kissed, Bess passed the key to Harry. Harry loved to keep the audience in suspense. Although he had the key to escape his handcuffs the whole time, Harry wanted the audience to wonder if we would live or die.
At the age of 52, one night while on tour, Harry Houdini was resting in his dressing room having a portrait painted, a student from McGill University came in. The student asked Harry, “Is it true that you can have someone punch you in the stomach and it won’t hurt?” Harry replied, “Yes, that’s true” and suddenly the student punched Harry. Unfortunately, Harry was taken by surprise and was not prepared.
The punch caused Harry severe pain. It may have been the cause of Houdini’s ruptured appendix. A few days later, while Harry was at his show in Detroit, he collapsed on stage and was rushed to the hospital. On October 25, 1926, Harry’s appendix was removed but sadly, it was too late. He fought to stay alive for six more days but finally died. His last words were, “I’m tired of fighting. I can’t fight anymore.” On October 31, 1926, the world lost one of its best magicians and entertainers.