|Bess and her sister Marie in 1909. (Photo courtesy John C. Hinson.)|
Probably the most incredible experience any Houdini buff can have is talking to someone who actually knew Harry and Bess Houdini. But with the passing of Dorothy Young in 2010, the last living connection to Houdini appears to be gone. To my knowledge there is no one left who knew, or even saw, Houdini in life. The ability to have that most incredible experience is now lost forever.
That's why what I have to share today is, I believe, the most extraordinary thing I've ever posted on this blog. Because today I can offer everyone that very experience!
Jon has given me free rein to present this as I like. I considered transcripts, but there's something about hearing Marie's actual voice that teleports the listener back in time. To hear her talk so matter-of-factly about how Houdini "came to the house"... Wow. So I've decided instead to post three unedited audio excerpts, which I will roll out over the three days of this Labor Day weekend.
Why only excerpts? While the full 42 minute recording is amazing, this was a casual interview and at times Marie expressed non-Houdini related thoughts that seemed too private to post online. Also at times the conversation drifted and stories never quite connected or completed. But I've excerpted three strong sections, each longer than the last, and what I will conclude with on Monday (Labor Day) is the most intimate recollection of Bess Houdini ever to be made public.
Okay, this is it. Thanks to Jon Oliver, Stanley Palm, and with the blessings of John C. Hinson and the Hinson family, the readers of WILD ABOUT HARRY can have the most incredible experience that any Houdini buff can have. Click below and meet a women who knew the real Harry and Bess Houdini and has stories that, as Stanley says in this first installment, "Aren't in any of the books." Enjoy.
That was remarkable! Wow!!!ReplyDelete
I knew you'd dig this, Dean. Just wait for the next two installments.Delete
"She was a devil. But Houdini never knew that." This is wonderful, John. Cannot wait to hear the rest in the coming days! Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
That's the quote of the day! It really is wonderful, isn't it? When I first heard this my brain melted.Delete
Yes, exciting stuff! I love how she said the mother thought Houdini was the devil. And how Houdini didn't want to have lunch with Bess and Marie and, instead, went to grab a hamburger. So many interesting little tidbits in that short clip.Delete
Incredible! Looking forward to more.ReplyDelete
You won't be let down. Can you believe it gets even better?Delete
I believe! BTW great photo of Bess and her sister.Delete
John Hinson provided me with that pic and many others (stay tuned for those!). I've seen this shot before -- in Randi, I believe -- but I never knew that was Marie. She was a looker!Delete
This is incredible John, thank you! I'd still love to read a transcript. Some of the conversation is tough to make out. It sounds like it was recorded on a cassette player and not something nicer like a reel to reel. Lots of hiss in there.ReplyDelete
Interesting that Marie mentioned that Bess would help her financially: "We needed it!" She gave Marie $20.00 to make a pillow. Twenty bucks was a lot of money back then. Probably about a hundred now.
It appears that Houdini was the only one in both families making the big bucks.
Yeah, I'm sure it was made with a consumer tape recorder. Not great, but we have it!Delete
It's clear from this interview that both Harry and Bess were very generous and helped out their families finically. Houdini paid for Marie's wedding. Even bought her wedding dress (which John Hinson still owns, btw).
my grandmother was a great lady she had class. she only stood 5ft,and bess stood 4'11.You know when she enter a place. It brought back memory to here her voice, thanks Jon and Jon.ReplyDelete
My pleasure, John. She indeed sounds like a great lady and, as you can see, everyone here is thrilled to hear her stories.Delete
we live in Germany in Bochum. My Grandmother Wilhelmine married as Busch (Dülmen) born as Hinsenhofen and my aunt Marie married as Kuhlmann (Haltern) born as Hinsenhofen in Schappdetten, Nottuln, told me, that they have niece Mary Hi senhofen living in the Unites States. Until 1965 my aunt had an exchange of letters with her niece. Do You know something about relations in Germany ?
Wilhelmine Daum (born Busch)
Absolutely awesome. Thank you so much for the share.ReplyDelete
Superb, John, thanks for sharing. Agree that a transcript would be helpful. But you're right to run the audio, that spirit can't come across via transcript.ReplyDelete
I second the transcript idea. English is not my native language and I bet it's the same with a lot of people reading this blog and this kind of audio quality make it very hard to be understood. Anyway just hearing her voice seems magical, great job!!!!ReplyDelete
The girl on the right has so lovely smile. I love it so much.ReplyDelete