The fictitious screen biography starring Tony Curtis as master magician and escape artist Harry Houdini begins when he is 21 years old and trying to make ends meet by performing as a "wild man" in a New York amusement house. There Curtis meets schoolgirl Leigh and after a quick courtship
they are married (Curtis and Leigh had been married in real life since 1951). Curtis incorporates Leigh into his magic act, but after seeing her husband treated shabbily by the audience she talks him into hanging up his cape and getting a normal job. While working in a lock and safe factory Curtis
learns the inner secrets of the devices, but the job bores him. At a magician's conve...