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Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini (; born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry 'Handcuff' Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk can with water in it.

In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who imitated his escape stunts.

Houdini made several movies but quit acting when it failed to bring in money. He was also a keen aviator and aimed to become the first man to fly a plane in Australia.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 24th, 1874 (Budapest), Died October 31st, 1926 (Detroit)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1922

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Trial 1922-12-16-01] 10-in. 12/16/1922 Spiritualism Harry Houdini Monologue speaker  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Houdini, Harry," accessed October 31, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102503.

Houdini, Harry. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102503.

"Houdini, Harry." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 31 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102503

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