As a kid, I was mesmerized by magic tricks.
I was just like that kid in the front row. Ah, magical illusions. Subtle manipulations. This was more than bending spoons. And no one did it better than Harry.
It’s quiet today at the Machpelah Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens. The son of a poor Hungarian rabbi is buried in this American Jewish cemetery in a bronze casket. A statue placed here in his honor is missing the head, stolen long ago, only pieces of the neck are left. Each year people come to the gravesite for a simple Jewish kaddish, or mourner’s prayer, for his soul. The performer died on October 31, 1926 but the magic never ended.
My mind is the key that sets me free.
It’s 1918 and everyone is wild about Harry Houdini, the magician who can do unexplainable things. He pulls rabbits from hats and does a thousand card tricks. He can undo locked handcuffs behind his back and walk through brick walls.
Harry can twist and squirm his way out of ropes and chains. He can even wriggle out of a straitjacket while hanging upside down one hundred feet above the street!
In the hushed theater, a pistol shot rings out. The matinee crowd gasps. Jenny, a 10,000 pound elephant, vanishes into thin air!
Harry didn’t just make eagles appear and elephants vanish. He gave lectures and wrote books about the history of magic. The world was wild about Harry and couldn’t get enough of his illusions. Later in his career, the dark-haired man with the blue-gray eyes and a winning smile became a popular movie star. He was in five silent movies, all with the same formula: fast action, fantastic escapes, and spectacular stunts.
Another snow day?!?!?? Need a diversion? Pull together an indoor magic show with the kids. Yes, there will be chaos. But there will be gasps, hand-waving, and loud abracadabras. A Happy Time. Start with the simple Mystery Marble Trick.
Show a marble in your hand, and then cover it with a handkerchief. Say, “Feel under this handkerchief. Is the marble still there?”
Let all your friends feel the marble. Then flick away the handkerchief and the marble is gone!
**Before you begin this trick, choose a secret helper. The last person to feel the marble is your helper and takes the marble away and hides it.
Ready for the big time?
I think that trick is a winner, don’t you?