PLEDGE NOW
The Magic of Harry Houdini

We look back at Harry Houdini and his magic. See images of Harry Houdini, from The Jewish Museum in New York.

View this gallery: Houdini: Art & Magic

Harry Houdini was the greatest escape artist of his time, maybe any time. A century ago, Americans and Europeans flocked to see him shackled, chained, handcuffed, locked in a box, a jail, a water tank, hanging upside down in a straight jacket from a skyscraper, impossibly bound, nearly drowned, then, magically, free.

His magic tricks are legend. His life is quite a story, too.

He was born in Budapest and raised in Wisconsin and New York. His big break was in Omaha. His fame was worldwide. And his death was on Halloween, in Detroit.

We look at the Harry Houdini story, with David Copperfield and more.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Brooke Kamin Rapaport, guest curator of the “Houdini: Art and Magic” exhibit at The Jewish Museum in New York.

Kenneth Silverman, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and author of “Houdini!!! The career of Ehrich Weiss.” He’s professor emeritus of English at New York University.

David Copperfield, world-renowned illusionist.

Here’s a little from the exhibit’s introduction:

Through impossibly daring feats Harry Houdini (1874-1926) captivated audiences worldwide, and his legendary escapes instill awe to this day…Born Ehrich Weiss, Houdini was known to observers as someone who could not only escape from straitjackets, water tanks, milk cans and handcuffs, but as an individual who threw off his background, making an immigrant’s getaway from Budapest to Appleton, Wisconsin to New York and the international stage. His celebrity and the metaphor of escape have rightly become significant chapters in the Houdini storyline in biographies and biopics. This message is similarly carried in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century posters, photographs, and film footage from Houdini’s day…

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 30, 2016
Author and Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy. (Photo by Bob O'Connor / Courtesy The Author)

Strike a power pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy on the power of presence when you’re ready to act and win.

May 30, 2016
Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir 'Eminent Hipsters.' He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen talks “eminent hipsters” and the cultural outliers that shaped his sound. He joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 27, 2016
In this Oct. 27, 2015, photo,  Big Muddy Farms, an urban farm in northern Omaha, Neb. is seen amongst residential homes. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got top gardeners spilling the beans on how to grow everything.

 
May 27, 2016
Riot police block off the Albuquerque Convention Center to anti-Trump protests following a rally and speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the convention center where the event was held, in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama at Hiroshima. Turmoil at Trump rallies. Clinton’s emails, heating up. Sanders predicts a “messy” convention. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
In The Garden, Mother Nature Makes The Rules
Friday, May 27, 2016

Executive producer Karen Shiffman explains why she turns to her garden for food, friends and natrual comfort.

More »
Comment
 
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment