By Tom Interval
On March 24, 1874, magic’s most legendary entertainer was born: Erik Weisz.
Four years after his birth in Budapest, Erik and his family moved to the United States, where the toddler’s name was Americanized to Ehrich Weiss.
Around 1890, young Ehrich adopted the name Harry Houdini—”Harry,” from “Ehrie” (a family pet name), and “Houdini,” from Ehrich’s childhood hero, French conjurer Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.
To see pictures of Houdini’s birthplace in Budapest (Rákosárok utca 1. sz., a street now known as Csengery utca), read my March 24, 2014 blog.
To learn more about Houdini, I recommend starting with this biography (probably the most accurate one so far): Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss, by Kenneth Silverman.
In the mean time, be sure to toast Harry on his special day.