MONTVILLE, NJ – Magician Tom Yurasits thrilled dozens of Montville Township children as part of the library’s summer reading program series. The show, held July 13, spotlighted some of world-renowned magician and escape artist Harry Houdini’s tricks.

Yurasits told the young audience that Houdini is his hero, and he has read a lot of books about him. He feels that he and Houdini have a lot in common.

“We’re both Hungarian,” Yurasits explained, “Our birthdays are two days apart, Houdini’s father was a rabbi, and I have a … rabbit,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek.

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Yurasits had kids in the audience help him with his tricks. Jason and Allison helped him with card tricks, while he pretended to change Chloe into a rabbit. Chloe giggled as she stuck her head through the cutout in a large banner showing a rabbit – and her face became the rabbit’s face. Christina helped him with a handcuff trick.

A spectacular trick was Yurasits’ escape from long, specialized handcuffs. He joked around with the audience while doing the trick, as adult helpers Amy and Victoria from the audience lifted and lowered a large red curtain around him. Each time the curtain lowered, the handcuffs and his suit jacket were in a different configuration, much to the delight of the audience.

Yurasits described Houdini’s “Chinese Torture Cell” trick to the audience, in which Houdini was lowered, upside down, into a tank filled with water. Yurasits’ take on the trick was to lower a rubber bunny in tiny handcuffs into a canister.

“Don’t try this at home, this is a trained rabbit,” Yurasits told the delighted kids.

He then retrieved a live rabbit, to the oohs and ahs of the children.

Willing to share the spotlight, Yurasits set up audience member Jan as the “Second Best Magician in the World.” He helped him to do a card trick with Gwyn.

Yurasits’ final trick was seeming to walk through a miniature wall of metal, which was seven-year-old Towaco resident Madison Folenta’s favorite trick.

“I also liked the bunny trick,” Folenta said. “I wanted to pet the bunny. And I liked learning about Houdini; I didn’t know about him before.”

The Montville Township Public Library’s Summer Reading Program will continue through Aug. 16. There will be a bubble show on July 20, family movie nights, bingo, crafts, storytimes, and a youth piano and violin concert on Aug. 3.

For more information on these programs, please go to

Tom Yurasits can be reached at