Harry Houdini’s Birthday
Born Erik Weisz in Budapest on March 24, 1874. Weisz arrived in the United States on July 3, 1878. The family changed their name to the German spelling Weiss, and Erik became Ehric. Friends called him “Ehrie” or “Harry”. When Weiss became a professional magician he began calling himself “Harry Houdini” after a French magician named Houdin.
Harry was known for his amazing escapes from jails, handcuffs, chains, ropes, and straitjackets, often while hanging from a rope in sight of street audiences. But his greatest escape and most famous act was the Chinese Water Torture Cell. In the act he was suspended upside-down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet full with water. The act required that he hold his breath for more than three minutes. This would be the act that Houdini performed for the rest of his career.