Harry Houdini

     

                Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to escape from an underwater casket while having handcuffs on?  Or maybe to lock yourself up in a cell without a key and escape within 10 seconds?

     

                Honorable judges, teachers and students, my speech is on the famous Harry Houdini.

     

                Harry Houdini, otherwise known as Ehrich Weiss, was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest, Hungary.  Ehrich Weiss remains, to this day, the most famous escape artist of all time.

    As a teenager Harry would start of with just card magic then he would eventually grow to be able to do harder magic. Harry’s future dream was to be able to perform in front of not only girls and boys but kings and queens as well. 

     

    Harry adopted the last name Houdini after reading the memoirs of Robert Houdini, a great magician who lived before Harry’s time.

     

                In 1900 Harry went to London and became the sensation of English Vaudeville and later the rage of Germany and Russia.  Harry culminated four years of triumphs by accepting a challenge from the newspaper the London Mirror.  He escaped from a pair of super cuffs.  He then escaped from a death cell in Washington jail that held Charles Guiteau assassin of President Garfield.

     

                Harry also liked to invent new tricks like: 

    The Needle Trick.  He would swallow 3 needles and then he drew them from his mouth threaded. 

    Harry elaborated his famous Bridge Jump by plunging into the San Francisco Bay with a 75 pound ball and a chain shackled to his ankles in addition to handcuffs on his wrists.

     

                Extreme Stunts:

                On March 16th, 1910 at Digger’s Rest, Australia,  Houdini make the first sustained plane flight on the Australian Continent.  Two days later he covered seven miles in five minutes.

                Back in England the same year he escaped from the mouth of a cannon before the fuse burned out.

                In 1913 Harry also built his first Chinese Water Torture cell in which he was locked upside down in water before his attempt to escape.

     

                Harry, now 40 and grey haired, toured the U.S.A.  with the “Upside Down”, as the water torture cell was nicknamed.

     

                Besides always doing magic, Harry also worked at the straight jacket.  He would suspend himself from high buildings above the crowd trying to escape from the tight strapped jacket. 

     

    Harry also got hurt while doing these acts. He almost suffocated during a live burial in California around 1917. 

     

                Sadly on October 31st, 1926, at the age of only 52, Harry (Enrich Weiss) died while trying to escape an underwater act.  He lay underwater sealed in a casket trying to beat Rahman Bay, the only person to do this within 1 minute.  While Harry was trying to escape he collapsed and that is when his heart stopped.

     

                So in conclusion, Harry set the stage for all magicians.  Many sought to be like their idol Houdini.  Harry was also famous for cheating death but I guess in the end it caught up to him.

     

                Thank you for listening to me speak.  I hope it doesn’t escape your attention that my speech is about to end.

     

                Thank you!!

     

    Candice O

    Grade 6