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Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini
"Most successful football teams can usually point to at least one Houdini game."

"He's been a Houdini-type pitcher for the better part of the last four or five seasons."

   ---- Recent News Stories

That a man born in 1874 and who died in 1926 is still part of everyday culture of the Twenty-First Century is amazing. Every decade or so there may be a new book or documentary that relatively few people will read or see. But everyone still knows Harry Houdini.

Houdini's own penchant for self-promotion and publicity (he was a performer we should remember) has made it difficult to separate the wheat facts from the chaff bullshine. Above all, beware of the 1953 movie with Tony Curtis and later (and less successful) attempts at dramadocumentarizing. The early movie was (and remains) the most famous. It was an entertaining movie, perhaps, but complete fiction, poppycock, and balderdash. None of what you see on the screen ever happened. Every scene is fiction, even the famous "below the ice" escape where Harry had to snuff air from pockets below the ice. This episode sometimes does show up even in books. Yes, Harry escaped from handcuffs and a box after being lowered into a river, but there was no ice.

And so who made up the story about the ice and spread it to the world? You guessed it. Harry Houdini.

What was Harry really like? Well, there are some well-researched biographies and you can buy these and learn more. But if you're in a rush, then just click here.