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David Copperfield (1956), the best known illusionist of our times, could do amazing card tricks in primary school . He didn' t have to work like Houdini because his family was quite rich . When he was at school, he learnt some magic tricks to impress people . At 16, he started teaching magic at New York University .
In his shows in the 1980s and 1990s, he made the Statue of Liberty disappear, walked through the Great Wall of China and levitated across the Grand Canyon . In one show, he flew above the stage with a lady from the audience in his arms, while thousands od amazed spectators were watching him .
Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926) was the most famous escape artist in the world . He was born in Hungary but his family moved to the USA when he was four . As a child, he had to work to help his family - he sold newspapers, cleaned shoes and performed tricks for money . He was only nine when he gave his first public show . Houdini' s most famous acts were escapes . He could open locks and handcuffs without a key . (He learnt to open locks when he couldn' t get an apple pie from his mother' s locked cupboard !) He escaped from boxes, underwater tanks and prisons all over the world . Once he escaped from a straitjacket when he was hanging on a rope from a high building . Many people tried to copy him but they couldn' t to his tricks . One man drowned when he was trying to escape from a milk tank .