New Exhibit Explores Houdini As An American Icon06:19
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A 1903 photo of escape artist Harry Houdini in chains. (AP/The Jewish Museum)
A 1903 photo of escape artist Harry Houdini in chains. (AP/The Jewish Museum)

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Harry Houdini famously freed himself from locked wooden chests and a casket submerged in a swimming pool. But other details about his life are less well-known: Houdini was born in Budapest, his family emigrated to Wisconsin in 1878 and he became an escape artist after running away to join the circus at age 12.

His life and his influence on American culture is the focus of a new exhibit at the Jewish Museum of New York called "Houdini: Art and Magic." The BBC's Matt Wells went on a tour.

This segment aired on November 26, 2010.

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