Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 260

Houdini

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

Welcome to the fifth anniversary of my blog!!!

This blog post is a special treat just for Bill and Bob.

 

l hope you will enjoy the story too.

 

As you already know, one of Bill and Bob’s favourite toys is their magic set.

 

And one of their all-time heroes is a person from history that still holds a fascination for a lot of people today.  l thought l would tell you about him in my post this week.

 

His name was Houdini and in his time he wowed audiences so much that they thought that he might even have supernatural powers.

 

He was born in 1874; that is a long time ago, in Budapest. 

 

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary.

 

As a child his name was Ehrich Weisz.

 

His father emigrated to the United States and the family joined him later when Ehrich was 4 years old.  He had five brothers and a sister.  They lived in Milwaukee. 

 

The family was very poor and as a boy Ehrich got jobs selling newspapers and polishing people’s shoes to help his family out with money.

 

At the age of nine he appeared on stage for the first time in a trapeze act.  That means he performed stunts on a swing that was suspended high above the ground.

 

At 12 years old he ran away from home – but just for one year.  This showed that he had a taste for adventure even at a very young age.

 

He then started to get interested in performing magic tricks with his brother, Theo, after being impressed by a travelling magician who had visited the area in which Ehrich lived. 

 

Ehrich also changed his name to Harry Houdini.  He created this surname because he admired a French magician called Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin.  Harry sounded a bit like ‘Ehrie’ – which was his nickname.  Houdini later said that he called himself Harry because he also admired a man called Harry Kellar who was another magician of the time.

 

At 17, Houdini left home again to try and follow a career in magic as he thought it a better alternative to taking a job in a factory; for he was poorly educated. 

 

Houdini was quite short but very strong and athletic.

 

By the age of 20, he was performing magic acts throughout New York (where by this time his family had come to live) with a fellow magician called Jack Hayman. 

 

They were called the Houdini Brothers.  Their speciality was an act called the Crate Escape. 

 

His partner became bored with the act and left, so Houdini continued with his brother Theo and then a woman called Bess Rahner.

 

He was soon married to Bess and he joined a travelling circus where he started to perfect the escape acts that he was to later become very famous for.  lt took him many years to make his act a success.  He started performing with traditional card tricks, but it was the escape tricks that people found the most fascinating.

 

After making his name in America, where he often challenged police forces to lock him in handcuffs and prisons – he always managed to escape to the astonishment of everyone, Houdini toured Europe and Russia.  The tour started with a six month gig in the Alhambra Theatre in London.

 

He developed an act where he escaped from coffins, chains and straight-jackets and as he became more and more famous he managed to realize his dream of getting his own magic show.

 

He owned a magic shop in New York City at one time and became president of the Society of American Magicians for a while at the end of his life.

 

He was also interested in aeroplanes, and in 1910 was the first person to fly a controlled-power plane over Australian soil.  He taught himself to drive a car so that he could get to the airfield!

 

ln 1917, America entered the First World War and Houdini wanted to become a soldier, but he was rejected because he was too old.  So instead he performed free magic shows to entertain the troops.

 

He conjured five dollar gold pieces from the air and threw them into the audience.   He claimed to have given away $7,000 in this way.

 

Houdini had appeared in a film in 1901, and in 1919 decided to start producing his own films.  He was a great self-publicist.  He was also an actor and stuntman in several films and received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  But this career didn’t make him a fortune.

 

ln the 1920s, Houdini did a lot of work to expose fraudulent mediums. 

 

These were people who said that they could communicate with the dead, but they were not telling the truth – instead they set a stage with trickery to fool their audience who had come to communicate with dead friends and relatives.  Houdini could do this work because of his knowledge of how tricks could be created.

 

ln 1926, Houdini and his wife, Bess, started to experience stomach pains.  Houdini refused to see a doctor.  He might have been suffering from appendicitis.  This is an inflamed appendix (which is in the large intestines).  Feeling so ill, Houdini was unusually careless and accidentally broke his ankle which caused him more pain.

 

Through his magic career Houdini had developed a way of tightening his stomach muscles so that he could be punched without injury.  But whilst Houdini was ill and nursing his broken ankle, a student called J. Gordon Whitehead caught him unawares and punched him.  He possibly caused Houdini’s appendix to burst. 

 

Houdini refused to seek medical help although he had fallen very ill.  He continued to tour but collapsed with peritonitis which is a bad infection in the stomach that develops after an appendix has burst.

 

Because of this illness he died at the age of only 52.

 

Houdini is the most famous magician from history because of the amazing stunts he performed.

 

He escaped from straight-jackets as he hung upside down high up in the air, sometimes from a tall skyscraper or a crane, or after he had been thrown off a bridge into a frozen river.  He escaped from gaol cells and padlocked crates and canvas mailbags and even from the inside of a washed up whale!  He could be buried alive, seemingly walk through a brick wall and quite amazingly, make an elephant vanish! 

 

He trained himself to hold his breath under water for over three minutes. 

 

Houdini will be remembered as not only a spectacular magician but someone who really cared about people.

 

He wanted his tricks and props to be destroyed once his brother had died but fortunately they survived for posterity.

 

Now please excuse me.  l promised to go and visit Bill and Bob – apparently they have a new card trick to show me. 

 

Well, you have to start somewhere, don’t you?

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

heart

www.christina-sinclair.com

 

 

 

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bob: So where did you first read about Houdini Bill?

 

Bill: lt was a book called Close Shaves by Ray Zerr 

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

Hungary

 

Houdini and Jennie, the Vanishing Elephant, January 7, 1918

 

Houdini in handcuffs, 1918

 

Houdini performing the Chinese Water Torture Cell

 

The Houdini Serial, 1919 movie poster

 

 

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 desk    THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

 coffee

 

Bill and Bob are always on the lookout to find good magic tricks to practise.  The trick about getting better at doing tricks is to keep doing them over and over again in order to get better and faster.

Start off slowly and when you have mastered the technique, you can get faster and faster – and this is what will impress your audience.

Have a look at the tricks they are practising at the moment…

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFd63pdg17E

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nTAgm4Bkrc

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouY6mB5PpY4

 

 

 

 

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PLEASE CONTACT:

christina.sinclair.ads@aol.co.uk

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Quick Quiz

 

And so here is another column word puzzle for you.

First you have to draw a column of boxes.  The column should be four boxes across and ten boxes down.

Then answer the questions – just like in a crossword – and a new word will form.

Put a letter in each box.

You will be able to see the answer as you read down the first letters of the words.

 

  1. a white drink we get from cows
  2. a pain
  3. a present
  4. listen to music on one
  5. talk
  6. used to cover a roof
  7. a big black bird
  8. tiny fairy creatures
  9. a place to pitch your tent
  10. a Scotsman might wear one

 

 

 

 wheel

 

lt’s the Weekend!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A CUDDLY CLOWN

This cute little clown is very easy to knit.

You could dress him like a Pierrot clown like the one in the picture or you could dress him in pastel colours like the one in the photograph or you could use bright, vibrant colours and cover his costume in pompoms.

If you want to knit a scull cap instead of a pointed hat just follow the pattern for the head and knit just the top half starting with two rows of garter stitch.

 

BODY (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 30 stitches

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch

Knit 36 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off but pull a length of yarn about 20 – 30cm long through your stitches as you pull them off the needle – use a yarn needle to pull the yarn through

 

ARMS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch

Knit 16 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off but pull a length of yarn about 30cm long through your stitches as you pull them off the needle – use a yarn needle to pull the yarn through

 

LEGS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 16 stitches

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch

Knit 20 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off but pull a length of yarn about 30cm long through your stitches as you pull them off the needle – use a yarn needle to pull the yarn through

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Embroider a face using black yarn before or after you make this body part up according to personal preference
  2. Sew up the back seam of the body and head piece right sides together using over-sew stitching
  3. Turn right side out
  4. Sew the front to the back along the bottom of the knitting with wrong sides together using over-sew stitching keeping the back seam in the middle of the back
  5. Stuff the body and then pull the top of the head together
  6. Wind some yarn tightly around the neck and fasten the yarn securely into the back seam
  7. Pull the ends of the arms and legs in and sew up the side seams with right sides together using over-sew stitching
  8. Stuff and sew along the tops to seal with over-sew stitching
  9. Attach the arms and legs to the body using over-sew stitching – put the arm seams at the bottom and the leg seams to the inside
  10. Wind some yarn around the wrists and ankles, pull tight and secure into the side seams

 

 

TROUSERS (KNIT TWO)

Using 3½mm knitting needles and rainbow dk yarn cast on 20 stitches

Knit 4 rows of knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

 

Change to 4mm knitting needles

Knit 6 rows in stocking stitch

 

Cast on 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows (24sts)

 

Knit 16 rows in stocking stitch

 

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch

Cast off

 

TO MAKE UP

Sew the back seam and the front seam at the top right sides together using over-sew stitching

Sew the inside leg seams right sides together using over-sew stitching

 

TUNIC FRONT (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 22 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 18 rows of stocking stitch

 

Knit 8 stitches and turn

Purl 2 stitches together purl to end

 

Knit 1 row

 

Purl 2 together purl to end

 

Cast off in the next knit row

 

Rejoin the yarn and cast off 7 stitches knit to the end of the row

Purl 1 row

Knit 2 together knit to the end of the row

Purl 1 row

Cast off in the next knit row

 

TUNIC BACK (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 22 stitches

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch

Knit 16 rows in stocking stitch

 

Continue knitting on just 11 stitches

Knit 8 rows of garter stitch

Cast off

 

Join yarn on again

 

On the remaining 11 stitches

Knit 8 rows of garter stitch

Cast off

 

TUNIC SLEEVES (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 22 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch

Cast off

 

RUFF (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and coloured dk yarn cast on 60 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Change to white dk yarn

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off – leave a length of yarn for sewing and pull this yarn through the stitches

 

TO MAKE UP

Sew the shoulder seams together

Sew the tops of the sleeves to the shoulders

Ease the ruff onto the neckline – pin and tack

When you are happy that the ruff is even sew the ruff onto the tunic and turn the ruff to the outside

Crochet 20 chains into two lengths of yarn and attach the ends to the top of the back opening

Sew underarm and side seams

Neaten all ends

Decorate the clown’s outfit with pompoms

 

HAT (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and coloured dk yarn cast on 16 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Continue in stocking stitch decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until 1 stitch is left

Cast off

 

TO MAKE UP

Using over-sew stitching and right sides together sew up side seams

Turn the hat the right way out and decorate with pompoms

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

 

 

Quick Quiz Answers

 

  1. MlLK
  2. ACHE
  3. GlFT
  4. lPOD
  5. CHAT
  6. TlLE
  7. ROOK
  8. lMPS
  9. CAMP
  10. KlLT

 

MAGlC TRlCK

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