Sunday, July 24, 2016

A day at the pool (UPDATE)

After last week's experience with the questionable Houdini tintype, I think it's time we all took a Houdini eye test. Luckily, the American Museum of Magic Research Center in Marshall, Michigan provides an unpublished photo that suits our needs perfectly.

This photo is credited as being the pool at Hotel Shelton in New York, but it doesn't match other images of the Shelton pool, so I believe this is another location. Nevertheless, on this day there appears to be some kind of water-spot activity with Houdini in attendance. Can you find Harry?

Click to enlarge.

Thanks to Alex and Keli Hindenach of the American Museum of Magic. Click the links below for other rare unpublished images from their collection.

UPDATE: Our good friend Perry from NJ has discovered the location of this photo. It's not the Shelton, but it is a location with a strong Houdini connection. This is the "Roman Bath and Swimming Pool" aboard the S.S. Imperator, the ocean liner on which Houdini performed for Teddy Roosevelt in June 1914. Below is a photo from the website GG Archives.


Thanks Perry!

Related:

15 comments:

  1. He's sitting on the left side on a bench with his arms and legs crossed. He's probably a little chilled from the water. It looks like the Shelton pool to me. The columns and second floor balcony seem to match. Could they have made slight remodeling changes over the years?

    HH chose the Shelton pool in 1926 for his underwater test. He must have been there before at some point and remembered the location.

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    1. The pillars that lined the Shelton are set back from the pool. These are right at the edges. Also the pool tiles and decorative features are totally different. If there were renovations, and that's possible, they were major.

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  2. FYI, The original was owned by Ruthann Kavanaugh,
    I made this copy for Mr. Lund .
    Jon Oliver

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    Replies
    1. Seems like everything that caught my attention in their files came from you and Ruth. But that's not surprising. :)

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  3. Is there a year attached to this photo? Houdini appears much younger than when he performed at the Shelton pool in 1926. Perry from NJ.

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    Replies
    1. No year, but, yes, definitely an earlier time.

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  4. I have found where this pool was located!! Very different from what we all have thought. Anyone care to take a stab at it before the big reveal?

    Perry from NJ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good work, Perry! I don't have a guess myself. Dying to know.

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  5. You're right John. The pillars at the Shelton are indeed further back, almost at the wall. Good catch. I'm also dying to know the answer!

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  6. John will post the info later. I can give a hint. The pool in the above photo is not within a hotel.

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  7. Now updated with Perry's awesome discovery!

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  8. Kudos to Perry! The Roman bath style of swimming pools must have been the rage back then for pool builders. I think they look neat with the columns and ornate decoration.

    So we can date this photo June 1914? Was this HH's only trip on the S.S. Imperator?

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    Replies
    1. That's a good question. He does look like the 1914 Harry. But he might have made more than one crossing on this same ship, so hard to say for certain.

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    2. Besides June 1914, he does appear on the ships passenger list for the SS Imperator (aka RMS Berengaria) that left South Hampton UK 3 July 1920 and arrived in Port of NY on 11 July 1920.
      Below is a link to a webpage that has a photo of the swimming bath as it looked on the RMS Berengaria, as well as some history of the SS Imperator that became the RMS Berengaria.
      http://rmhh.co.uk/ships/pages/berengaria.html

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