American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Last Tour

Photograph of Houdini Souvenir Program
Program, 1925
Photograph of Houdini Souvenir Program

Photograph of Harry Houdini in chains
Photograph of Harry Houdini in chains,
ca. 1899

Photograph of Houdini performing the Giant Milk Can Escape
Photograph of Houdini performing
the Giant Milk Can Escape,

ca. 1908

In 1925, Harry Houdini summarized a lifetime of legendary magic into a full evening show that featured classic deceptions, escapes, and exposures of fraudulent spiritualism. The two-year season promised by this program ended abruptly when Houdini died on October 31, 1926. Born Eric Weisz in Budapest, Houdini had been king of handcuffs, leg-irons, and chains. In 1908, he presented himself as master of the Giant Milk Can Escape, and he introduced the Water Torture Cell in 1913. Always inventing new acts, Houdini presented the largest illusion of his time when, in 1918, he vanished Jennie the "10,000 pound elephant" on the stage of the New York Hippodrome.

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