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Houdini

Harry Houdini, widely known as "The Handcuff King." Created by: PICRYLDated: 2017
Harry Houdini: the world's handcuff king and prison breaker
Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist began his career in 1891, focused initially on traditional card tricks, but had little success.
In 1893, while performing with his brother as "The Brothers Houdini," Houdini met a fellow performer, Wilhelmina Beatrice "Bess" Rahner and married her in 1894. For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess worked as his stage assistant.
Houdini's big success came in 1899 when he met Martin Beck in St. Paul, Minnesota. Impressed by Houdini's handcuffs act, Beck advised him to concentrate on escape acts. In 1900 Houdini started to tour Europe and gave a demonstration of escape from handcuffs and became widely known as "The Handcuff King."
He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In each city, Houdini challenged local police to restrain him with shackles and lock him in their jails. In many of these challenge escapes, he was first stripped nude and searched. In Moscow, he escaped from a Siberian prison transport van, claiming that, had he been unable to free himself, he would have had to travel to Siberia, where the only key was kept.
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.
1889
1889
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1935
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1935
145 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2
Houdini
Special starring record engagement of the world's famous jail breaker, Houdini the only and original handcuff king.

Special starring record engagement of the world's famous jail breaker,...

"Wm. E. Berry, Printer, & c., 44, Vicar Lane, Bradford." At head of title: Palace Theatre, Halifax; twice nightly at 7 & 9; Monday, Nov. 16th, 1903, and during the week. Managing director, Mr. Frank MacNaghten;... more

[Three scenes of Harry Houdini as aviator; close-up in Voisin biplane cockpit (1910?); ascending in biplane; flying low]

[Three scenes of Harry Houdini as aviator; close-up in Voisin biplane ...

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item, with subsequent revisions. "9383 A.S." Ernest L. Jones Collection.

Houdini
Theodore Roosevelt and Houdini, S.S. Imperator

Theodore Roosevelt and Houdini, S.S. Imperator

Photograph showing Theodore Roosevelt and Houdini, full-length portrait, both standing, aboard the Imperator. Title from item. Hand written on verso: Bequest Edward Saint, June 20, 1943.

[Crate containing Harry Houdini, being lowered from ship into water] / Dietz, N.Y.

[Crate containing Harry Houdini, being lowered from ship into water] /...

J194551 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Houdini.

Houdini
Houdini
On the stage - in person, Hardeen, brother of Houdini handcuffs and jails will not hold him : the greatest mystery show of all times.  Mentalist supreme, Princess Yvonne, the mystery girl.

On the stage - in person, Hardeen, brother of Houdini handcuffs and ja...

At head of title: Lyric Theatre, Beckley, Wed. & Thur., Jan. 29-30." Created by "Triangle Poster Printing Co., Phila." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Forms part of: Magic... more

[Houdini and "The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin"]

[Houdini and "The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin"]

"Memory," wrote Dr. Morris N. Young in 1961, "is the sum of what one can remember; the diary of the mind." In the great collections that they built and gave to the Library of Congress, Houdini, John J. McManus,... more

Harry Handcuff Houdini

Harry Handcuff Houdini

Harry Houdini, three-quarter length portrait, facing front. Photograph by Campbell-Gray, Ltd.

Houdini in The master mystery a super-serial in fifteen episodes.

Houdini in The master mystery a super-serial in fifteen episodes.

"B.A. Rolfe Productions, Octagon Films, Inc." "Episode twelve, The death noose." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Forms part of: Magic poster collection (Library of Congres... more

Houdini in The master mystery a super-serial in fifteen episodes.

Houdini in The master mystery a super-serial in fifteen episodes.

"B.A. Rolfe Productions, Octagon Films, Inc." "Episode twelve, The death noose." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Forms part of: Magic poster collection (Library of Congres... more

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Created by "Famous Players - Lasky Corporation." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Houdini followed his performance in "The master mystery" with the "Grim game," the first o... more

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Created by "Famous Players - Lasky Corporation." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Houdini followed his performance in "The master mystery" with the "Grim game," the first o... more

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini

Created by "Famous Players - Lasky Corporation." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Houdini followed his performance in "The master mystery" with the "Grim game," the first o... more

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible the continuance of Houdini's master mysteries.

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible t...

Created by "Carey and Sons Lith, N.Y." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Despite directions to the contrary, Hardeen passed on to others the legacy he had received. Today, ... more

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible the continuance of Houdini's master mysteries.

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible t...

Created by "Carey and Sons Lith, N.Y." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Despite directions to the contrary, Hardeen passed on to others the legacy he had received. Today, ... more

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible the continuance of Houdini's master mysteries.

Hardeen inherits his brother's secrets Houdini's will makes possible t...

Created by "Carey and Sons Lith, N.Y." Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956. Despite directions to the contrary, Hardeen passed on to others the legacy he had received. Today, ... more

Houdini appears at the Empire Theatre, every evening this week

Houdini appears at the Empire Theatre, every evening this week

At head of title: Liverpool city police office, Dale St., Feb. 2nd, 1904, I certify that to-day Mr. Harry Houdini showed his abilities in releasing himself from restraint. ... Signed Leonard dunning, Head Const... more

Houdini appears at the Empire Theatre, every evening this week

Houdini appears at the Empire Theatre, every evening this week

At head of title: Liverpool city police office, Dale St., Feb. 2nd, 1904, I certify that to-day Mr. Harry Houdini showed his abilities in releasing himself from restraint. ... Signed Leonard dunning, Head Const... more

Challenge to Houdini, Regent Theatre, Salford

Challenge to Houdini, Regent Theatre, Salford

Committee letter challenging Houdini to escape from "one of their extra strong and large travelling baskets" and his reply. "Palace Theatre, Friday, May 1st, 1914 at 6:45 & 9:0." Created by "John Heywood Ltd.,... more

Challenge to Houdini, Regent Theatre, Salford

Challenge to Houdini, Regent Theatre, Salford

Committee letter challenging Houdini to escape from "one of their extra strong and large travelling baskets" and his reply. "Palace Theatre, Friday, May 1st, 1914 at 6:45 & 9:0." Created by "John Heywood Ltd.,... more