Before Blaine and Copperfield, there was the man who invented it all: Harry Houdini, perhaps the world’s greatest performer.
Houdini is a two-night miniseries about a man who could defy death, and the man behind the magic. The tale chronicles the life of Harry Houdini through his stunts, his visions, and mastery of illusion.
Adrian Brody will star in this epic 4-hour scripted mini-series about the master escapist.
How much do you really know about the most famous magician in history?
Five Things That You May Not Know About Houdini The Magician
1. Houdini was a stage name he took from a magician’s wife.
His original name was Erik Weisz, which was Americanized to Ehrich Weiss.
In his earliest days, he admired the French magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. Therefore he took the stage name Houdini, adding “i” at the end to indicate that he was “like Houdin”.
Here’s the interesting fact: Jean Eugene Robert was the French magician’s real name, and he had added his wife’s last name ‘Houdi’ to his own name! Harry Houdini had unwittingly derived his stage name from the French magician’s wife, and not the magician himself.
2. Houdini falsely claimed he was born in America
Houdini claimed on several occasions to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, in the United States, and not Budapest, Hungary as stated in his birth records. It is likely due to the xenophobia immediately before and after World War I, that led him to claim to be a native-born American.
3. The death of Houdini
Houdini died on Halloween day. Many find it coincidental that one of the most famous spiritualism skeptic would die on Halloween.
There are a few purported causes of Houdini’s death, like he died in the famed Chinese Water Tank trick, or after a Canadian student made several punches to his abdomen.
In reality, Houdini was nowhere near a stage when he died one week after his last performance. Also, he already had ruptured his appendix prior to the punches.
4. Houdini and his wife are buried in separate places
Houdini and his wife worked together for all of their married life.
But they were interred in two different cemeteries, in two different counties in New York state.
Houdini was Jewish and was buried in Queens, New York, in a Jewish burial port. It was his wife’s wish to be interred beside him but it was denied at her death. It is speculated that because she wasn’t Jewish (she was Catholic).
Another speculation involves her families’ wishes; they felt it would put her at risk of not going to heaven if she were buried with a Jew.
5. U.S. postage stamp contains a hidden image of Houdini
To honor Houdini’s deceptive prowess, the U.S. Postal Service put a hidden image on their 2002 commemorative stamp. With a special viewing lens that could be obtained from the post office (no longer available), one could see the image of Houdini wrapped in chains.
To know more about this man on the magician’s stage, stay tuned to the upcoming show, Houdini, on HISTORY (StarHub Channel 401).
It will air on 2-3 Sep (same day telecast as the U.S.)at 9pm.