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Thought-provoking quotes from the ‘King of Handcuffs’ – Harry Houdini

Sharika S Nair
24th Mar 2017
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Harry Houdini was a professional magician who was famous for his daring and spectacular escape acts. Born Erich Weisz, he renamed himself Harry Houdini. Besides being the greatest magicians of all time, he was an accomplished aviator and also had a movie career.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Houdini made escapes a primary part of his acts and challenged his audience to tie him up or lock him in handcuffs. His success earned him the title ‘King of Handcuffs’. Today marks the 143rd birth anniversary of this renowned escape artist. To celebrate his legacy, here are a few quotes to remember him by:

 

  1. “Anyone who believes in magic is a fool.”
  2. “It is needless to say that women make the most patient as well as the most dangerous pickpockets.”
  3. “My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business.”
  4. “A magician is only an actor – an actor pretending to be a magician.”
  5. “My chief task has been to conquer fear. The public sees only the thrill of the accomplished trick; they have no conception of the tortuous preliminary self-training that was necessary to conquer fear.”
  6. “Some say I do it this way, others say I do it that way, but I say I do it the other way.”
  7. “Never tell the audience how good you are, they will soon find out for themselves.”
  8. “Magic is the sole science not accepted by scientists, because they can't understand it.”
  9. “The pickpocket is usually very well dressed and of prepossessing appearance.”
  10. “My brain is the key that sets me free.”
  11. “Keep up your enthusiasm! There is nothing more contagious than exuberant enthusiasm.”
  12. “What the eyes sees, the ear hears, and the mind believes.”
  13. “Never try to fool children, they expect nothing and therefore see everything.”
  14. “The eating of burning brimstone is an entirely fake performance.”
  15. “But it must not be thought that I say this out of personal experience: for in the many years that I have been before the public my secret methods have been steadily shielded by the strict integrity of my assistants, most of whom have been with me for years.”
  16. “An old trick well done is far better than a new trick with no effect.”
  17. “I am not an irretrievable sceptic. I am not hopelessly prejudiced. I am perfectly willing to believe, and my mind is wide open; but I have, as yet, to be convinced. I am perfectly willing, but the evidence must be sane and conclusive.”
  18. “Disloyalty in trusted servants is one of the most disheartening things that can happen to a public performer.”
  19. “I make the most money, I think, in Russia and Paris, for the people of those countries are so willing to be amused, so eager to see something new and out of the ordinary.”
  20. “I always have on my mind the thought that next year I must do something greater, something more wonderful.”
  21. “The easiest way to attract a crowd is to let it be known that at a given time and a given place someone is going to attempt something that in the event of failure will mean sudden death.”
  22. “The secret of showmanship consists not of what you really do, but what the mystery-loving public thinks you do.”
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