Harry Houdini, Magician and Escapologist
Harry Houdini, Magician and Escapologist

When did he live? 他生活在什么年代?

Erik Weisz was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest, Hungary. He died, named Harry Houdini, on October 31, 1926
埃里克维斯茨于1874年3月24日出生于匈牙利的布达佩斯。他在1926年10月31日去世,当时他已经改名为哈里•胡迪尼。

A Young Harry Houdini
A Young Harry Houdini

Why is he famous? 为什么他很有名?

Harry Houdini was a famous magician, particularly gifted at escapology. Whether in handcuffs, buried underground, in a straightjacket, or locked in jail, Houdini would escape.
哈里•胡迪尼是一个著名的魔术师,特别擅长于脱逃术。无论是被手铐铐住,被埋在地下,还是穿一身紧身衣,或者被锁在牢里,胡迪尼都能逃脱。

Perhaps his most famous act – and one often copied today – is the ‘Chinese Water Torture Cell’, in which he would be lowered upside down into a container of water.
他可能最闻名遐迩的一个节目叫做“中国水牢逃脱”,如今一直会被仿效的,在这个节目里,他会把自己倒关在一个水箱里。

Houdini was also a showman: in many acts he would first be searched naked to show he wasn’t hiding any tools to help his escape, and his performances often had large audiences and a media presence.
胡迪尼同时也是一个喜欢秀的人,很多次表演前,他都会赤裸自己来证明自己并没有藏一些道具来帮助自己逃脱。而他的演出每次都有大批的现场观众和媒体关注。

Harry Houdini before an Escape
Harry Houdini before an Escape

What is his mark on history? 他在历史上的主要地位是怎么样的?

Houdini’s level of escapology was so famous at the time that his name became part of the English language: ‘doing a Houdini’ or ‘like Houdini’ is still used for people who can get out of something that looks impossible to escape.
胡迪尼脱逃术的水平非常知名,这让他的名字甚至成为了一个英语单词:“doing a Houdini”或者“like Houdini”,这些短句至今仍然被人使用来形容人们可以从那些几乎不可能完成的逃脱经历。

Notes 备注

Houdini originally tried to be a card magician.
胡迪尼一开始是想成为一个纸牌魔术师。

He worked with his brother for a while, but then swapped his brother for ‘Bess’ Rahner. Bess – who his brother had been trying to date at the time – would be Houdini’s partner on the stage for the rest of his career. Houdini also married her.
他和自己兄弟搭档工作了一段时间,但是随后把助手换成了贝丝拉纳,后者是他兄弟当时想追求的女孩。贝丝之后一直伴随着胡迪尼,做他的演出助理,两人之后结了婚。

Houdini revealed the secrets to many of his tricks. He explained how locks or handcuffs could be opened if forced in the right spot, or with shoelaces. One of his most famous reveals was how he could keep a key at the back of his mouth and regurgitate it when needed.
胡迪尼为自己的不少魔术做过揭秘,他透露锁和手铐在合适的地方用力的话是可以打开的,或者用鞋带。他最著名的一个揭秘是,他在自己的嘴巴后面藏着钥匙,而需要的时候可以吐出来。

In 1904 the Daily Mirror (a British newspaper) challenged Houdini to escape a challenge they had made. They had hired a locksmith to make special handcuffs (which they said took 5 years to make), and Houdini took up the challenge in front of 4000 people, plus 100 journalists. After an hour he escaped. However, it is thought that Houdini might have cheated: Bess kissed him during the performance, and many people believe that is the moment in which a key was passed to him.
1904年,每日镜报(英国报社)挑战胡迪尼从他们设置的挑战里逃脱,他们雇佣了一个铁匠制作了一个特殊的手铐(花了5年的时间来制作)。胡迪尼在4000名观众和100名记者面前接受挑战,一个小时后,他成功逃脱。然而,很多人认为胡迪尼作弊了,因为在逃脱过程中,贝丝亲吻了他,很多人认为就是这一瞬间,钥匙被送到胡迪尼口中。

Another strange case/trick happened in Germany when a judge said Houdini escaped by bribing people (giving them money to let him out or not tie him down properly). Houdini sued, and won the case by breaking into the judge’s own safe. The case was dropped, although Houdini later said the judge had simply not locked the safe.
另外一个奇怪的事情发生在德国,一个法官认为胡迪尼靠行贿相关人员来逃脱(给工作人员一些钱,可以让他逃出来或者绑的不要太紧)胡迪尼随后被起诉,不过他赢得了这个官司,靠的是他破解了法官的保险箱。这个案子随后被取消,虽然胡迪尼之后表示其实法官就是没有锁保险箱而已。