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To watch Harry Houdini perform was to see a man rush headlong toward death - only to escape it at the last possible moment. He overcame our darkest nightmares: drowning, suffocation, being trapped. No lock could hold him. No entertainer could out dazzle him. He took his audiences to the brink of tragedy and left them breathless with fear. This AMERICAN EXPERIENCE program tells the story of history's greatest showman. Raised in poverty, Houdini began his career playing second-rate venues. When he made dramatic escapes a part of his act, his ascension began. Driven by a burning ego, he won fame and riches, but he longed to free himself from the drudgery of performance on demand. Drawing on remarkable film footage and photographs, "Houdini" takes us backstage to meet the man who made his living in an intimate dance with death.