Is 2014 the year of Jim Collins? After decades behind the scenes, Houdini's chief assistant and trusted mechanic will be stepping into the spotlight in at least two major Houdini projects this year.
This month David Crabb will play Collins on stage in New York in the Axis Theater Co. production, Nothing on Earth (Can Hold Houdini). Then, later this year, Collins will appear in HISTORY's Houdini miniseries played by Evan Jones. In fact, it's looking like Jones/Collins will be the third lead behind Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly.
So with all this upcoming Collins action, I thought it was time to share this remarkable artifact from the collection of Jon Oliver. This is Jim Collins' last paycheck from Houdini. As you can see, it was issued by "Houdini Attractions, Inc." on November 8, 1926 (a week after the magician's death) in the amount of $40. Collins endorsed the check and deposited it on November 16.
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You'll notice that this is Check No. 1. That's because "Houdini Attractions, Inc." was a new company incorporated after Houdini's death by his lawyer, Bernard Ernst, to deal with Houdini-related expenses and to spare Bess.* I like that the first order of business was to cut Collins a check. He was, after all, the man who kept Houdini's secrets.
Jim Collins would go on to assist Hardeen into the '30s and '40s. He died in Philadelphia on March 6, 1942 at age 59.
Thanks to Jon Oliver for the image and to Patrick Culliton for Collins' death date. For more, check out this thread at The Magic Cafe which has some interesting information about Collins as well as comments from relatives.
*UPDATE: According to Jon Oliver, Houdini Attractions, Inc. was created before Houdini's death. In fact, he signed papers bringing the company into existence during the final weeks of his life.