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.
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.
June 4, 2004 |
How did Harry Houdini do his signature "Metamorphosis" escape, in which he was handcuffed inside a sack and locked in a trunk and yet somehow managed to switch places with an assistant on the outside? Visitors to an exhibit that opened Wednesday at the Outagamie Museum in Houdini's hometown found out the secret. Among other things, visitors learned, the trunk has a side panel that allows someone inside to sneak out. The disclosure has some in the business tied up in knots.
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.