Friday, January 20, 2012

Bessie goes Hollywood

Check out these photos of Bess Houdini (and Ed Saint) hobnobbing with show biz friends at Sardi’s restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. in 1936. The man in the second photo is identified as Ray Gamble, a Tacoma business magnate and amateur magician. These photos come from the Tacoma Public Library collection.


According to the superb blog Hollywoodland, Sardi's Hollywood opened in 1932 and was the sister of the famous New York Sardi's. It was designed by the world-renowned architect Rudolph Schindler and was a favorite restaurant of stars like Charlie Chaplin, Maurice Chevalier, Wallace Beery, Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford. Below is its current incarnation.

Sardi's today

Watch WILD ABOUT HARRY this weekend for another Houdini related Hollywood adventure when we'll go in search of the final resting place of Dr. Edward Saint! Ed turned out to be far more elusive then we ever imagined.

12 comments:

  1. in the second picture it looks like her left wrist has burn scars.

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  2. I've seen photos of her with her wrists bandaged. I know in Kalush it says she attempted suicide (maybe more than once) during her darkest days during the Arthur Ford whatnot. Maybe we're seeing scars from that?

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  3. Here's the photo. It's only her right wrist that's wrapped. We see her left wrist in the pic above, so...forget everything I said. :p

    http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2009/03/revealing-bess-photo-from-1929.html

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  4. Hey, Saint is smiling -- again! Another carney fraud.

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  5. Yep. I noticed that as well. :)

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  6. These are cool photos! Nice find. Is the Sardis building 'today' the original building?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I believe it's the same building.

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  7. The guy next to Saint appears to be Jack Gwynne, and the other guy at the other end of the table looks like Frakson. Am I right?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, Jack Gwynne. I knew he looked familiar.

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    2. Yes indeed, Jack Gwynne and Frakson!

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  8. The woman in the white hat is Anne Gwynne - Jack's wife. This photo was most likely taken in 1940 when the Gwynnes lived in Hollywood. Anne said she and Bess were like sisters. Bess even gave Anne the first fur coat that Houdini gave her after he had become a star in London in 1900. Anne said when she and Jack left Hollywood in 1941 to go on tour, the coat was stored at the Dante Ranch but was later lost.

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