King Of Handcuffs

The man known world wide as the most famous magician of all time, Harry Houdini,
was born March 24, 1874 in Budapest. Although Houdini often claimed to be born
in Appleton, Wisconsin, Houdini actually came to the United States when he was
four years old. In later years, in a magazine interview, Houdini said, " the
greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin." Houdiniís
actual name was Ehrich Weiss. His father was Mayer Samuel Weiss. He was a Rabbi
for the German Zoin Jewish Congregation in Appleton. His motherís name was

Cecilia Steiner Weiss. His parents spoke Yiddish, Hungarian, and German. The
family was quite poor so most of the children began work at an early age. At the
age of eight, young Houdini sold newspapers and worked as a shoeshine. At the
age of 12, Houdini left home to make his way in the world in an attempt to help
support his family. Young Houdini traveled the country for about a year, always
sending money home when he could. Finally he joined up with his father in New

York City. The move to New York would change his life and introduce him to the
world of big time magic. In New York, Houdini worked as a messenger and as a
cutter in the garment center sweatshop to help support the family. He was very
athletic and won awards in swimming and track. He would use these athletic and
swimming talents to great use in his future as an escape artist. Houdiniís
first magic shows consisted of card tricks and other simple magic. They called
him " Soon Harry starts using handcuffs and other restraints in his shows.

Houdini begins offering rewards to anyone that can restrain him. Houdini escaped
from handcuffs, leg irons, straightjackets, jail and prison cells, a mail pouch,
packing crates, a giant paper bag (without tearing the paper), a giant football,
an iron boiler, milk cans, coffins, and the famous Water Torture Cell. In most
of these escapes, there was never a sign of how Houdini accomplished his
release. To help draw the crowds Houdini would perform his escape in full view
of the audience. Houdini was the King of Handcuffs. On October 22, 1926, after a
long lifetime of dangerous feats, Houdini was in Montreal performing at the

Princess Theater. In the dressing room at the theater a young athlete from

McGill University asked Houdini if he could actually withstand punches to the
stomach as he heard. Before Houdini could prepare, the student began to punch
the legendary magician in the mid-section. Houdini did not know it but his
appendix ruptured. Houdini did not die in an escape or fail in some final
escape, as many believe. The King of Handcuffs died on October 31, 1926 of an
inflammation of the abdominal lining, a kind of internal Gangrene. Houdini today
is one of the best known performers of all time and Houdiniís name has come to
mean the ability to escape from any restraint or difficult situation. He always
insisted that all he did was by natural means. One of his last inventions was to
escape after being buried alive, a stunt he did very few times. Houdini not only
earned a place in history but in the dictionary as well. Works Cited 1.

Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini: the Untold Story. Crowell, 1969. 2.

Fitzsimmons, Raymond. Death and the Magician: The Mystery of Houdini, Atheneum,

1980. Adam Hanson Eng 111 56E September 16,1999 Short Writing (profile) King of

Handcuffs The man known world wide as the most famous magician of all time,

Harry Houdini, was born March 24, 1874 in Budapest. Although Houdini often
claimed to be born in Appleton, Wisconsin, Houdini actually came to the United

States when he was four years old. In later years, in a magazine interview,

Houdini said, " the greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton,

Wisconsin." Houdiniís actual name was Ehrich Weiss. His father was Mayer

Samuel Weiss. He was a Rabbi for the German Zoin Jewish Congregation in

Appleton. His motherís name was Cecilia Steiner Weiss. His parents spoke

Yiddish, Hungarian, and German. The family was quite poor so most of the
children began work at an early age. At the age of eight, young Houdini sold
newspapers and worked as a shoeshine. At the age of 12, Houdini left home to
make his way in the world in an attempt to help support his family. Young

Houdini traveled the country for about a year, always sending money home when