April 24, 2011 |
Ehrich Weiss, the Budapest-born son of an immigrant family, ran away from home at 12 to join the circus. Not the least bit interested in becoming a rabbi like his father, he wanted to be an entertainer. Although Weiss was already an accomplished trapeze artist in a neighborhood circus, he soon turned around and headed back home. But it was only a matter of time before the whole world knew who he was. Reinventing himself as Harry Houdini, the rabbi's son became a celebrity as an escape artist, and, by the time of his death in 1926 — on Halloween — a legend.
October 30, 1994 |
When I was a child I developed a brief but passionate interest in two shamanic figures, Houdini and Rasputin. In my mind they seemed two sides of the same coin, the Mad Monk a dark, primeval figure shambling out of the great Siberian wastes, Houdini the mysteriously cheerful prankster, more daemon than demon, first cousin to Chaplin's malignly chirpy tramp. I can date this interest from the Tony Curtis movie based on Houdini's life, which was made in 1952.
October 29, 1989 |
Even on hot sunny California days, it is cool and dark among the tree-shaded ruins. Crumbling staircases lead to dead ends choked with ivy. Devilish markings are scrawled on the walls of spider-infested caverns, and the faint scent of incense is in the air. Remnants of this house in the hills above Hollywood seem like the perfect haunting grounds for the world's most famous magician, Houdini.
October 26, 2013 |
Things were starting to go bump in the night in the Houdini Seance Chamber at the Magic Castle, the private club in Hollywood that is the headquarters of the Academy of Magical Arts. Medium Misty Lee, who also appears at the castle as an illusionist, was attempting to contact the legendary escape artist and master magician Harry Houdini, who died on Halloween in 1926 at age 52 of peritonitis, the result of a ruptured appendix. "Harry, we have waited all night to see your face," she proclaimed as creepy, piped-in music got louder in the intimate room.
July 7, 2011
MUSIC Local avant-garde rock trio Autolux provides the soundtrack to "Into the Night: Music and Magic," which includes performances from Superhumanoids and KCRW-FM DJ Anthony Valadez. The evening's entertainment features strolling magicians, a screening of the Harry Houdini serial "Master Mystery" (1920) and access to the galleries. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fri. $15. (310) 440-4500. http://www.skirball.org.
October 25, 1992
The eminent film producer Ray Stark appears to be having a difficult time finding an exciting plot in the life of Harry Houdini. This is about as demanding as discovering a sports theme in the Babe Ruth story ("Houdini, the Movie: Many Have Escaped Already," Film Clips, Oct. 11). Houdini, one of 10 children of a failed Hungarian rabbi, rose from a poor home in Appleton, Wis., to become the unchallenged king of all the magicians who ever lived, and his name is still invoked to describe various impossibilities achieved by those performers today who emulate his feats.