Sunday, October 13, 2019
The Great Houdini :: Free Essays Online
The Great HoudiniÃ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The performer known world wide as Harry Houdini was born on 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. To this day many connected with the small town of Appleton still claim the untruth that Houdini was born there strictly to attract tourists. Houdini's father was Mayer Samuel Weiss. Houdini's father was a Rabbi. His mother's name was Cecilia Steiner Weiss. His parents spoke little English, and the family was quite poor so most of the children began to work at an early age. From the age of eight young Ehrich Weiss sold newspapers and worked as a shoe shine boy. At the age of 12, young Ehrich left home to make his way in the world in an attempt to help support his family. Young Ehrich 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 family moved to New York in the hope of find ing a better life there. In New York, Houdini worked as a messenger and as a cutter in a garment center sweat shop, to help support his family. Houdini began performing magic as a teenager first calling himself Eric the Great. Ehrich acquired the name Houdini from a book he read, "The Memoirs of Robert-Houdin," the autobiography of one of the greatest magicians of the day. Influenced by what he read and learned about the internationally known magician Robert Houdin, young Ehrich changed his name to Houdini, hoping to be in some way like his new found mentor. Houdini's first magic shows consisted of card tricks and other simple magic. Soon Houdini began experimenting with hand cuffs and using them in his acts. Houdini performed with another young man who worked with him in the factory in New York. They called themselves the Houdini Brothers. Soon Houdini's younger brother Theo took the place of the boy from the factory. Together with his brother Theo, they tried to succeed as the Houdini Brothers. Their first performances included shows at amusement parks, beer halls, "dime museums," and at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. In 1894, Houdini met Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, who was singing and dancing as part of the Floral Sisters.