Friday, October 24, 2008

Plymouth man believes house bricks from Garrick Theater

The Detroit News reports that a Plymouth man is selling bricks from his home which he believes came from the Garrick Theater in Detroit where Houdini last performed before his death on Halloween 1926.

An avid fan of Harry Houdini, Jamie Flora learned from his Plymouth home's original owner that it was built with bricks from the historic Garrick Theatre. He began researching, corroborating the homeowner's tale with a building permit issued by the township in 1928 -- the same year the theater closed and was demolished.

Flora, who removed more than 300 of the bricks during a restoration project, is selling off the 312 remaining "Houdini bricks" at the Lotus Gallery in Plymouth.

"I live in the house made from some of the brick from that theater," Flora said Thursday. "When I go to bed at night all the bricks on stage that night are around me and my wife and five kids."

Three of Flora's bricks have previously gone out -- one of which was donated to David Copperfield for the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas.

But Kevin Connolly isn't convinced. The member of the Magic Collectors Association has about 3,000 Houdini-related pieces, but said the brick isn't any more valuable than a paperweight -- even with concrete proof of origin.

"To me it's just a novelty. You've got to have provenance this is Houdini's," Connolly said. "When you look at my stuff you know that's Houdini's. That's the quality I want. I don't want questionable stuff."

The custom-made brick displays will go for $945 for a museum edition that includes a large plaque and backboard with historical photos and text and $450 for a smaller, collector's edition, Flora said.

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