Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jackie Gleason in a Hardeen jacket?

This playbill for the September 28th, 1942 performance of Hellzapoppin' at the Erlanger Theatre in Chicago is currently on eBay. This run of the show starred Lew Parker and comedy legend Jackie Gleason, and the playbill features Gleason in a straitjacket on the cover.

Okay, here's the thing. How would the show get their hands on a regulation straitjacket, if only to take this photo? Obviously, they would ask Hardeen, who was also part of this Chicago engagement. So this is almost certainly a Hardeen (and possibly Houdini?) straitjacket. In fact, if you look at the collar and the waist strap, I'd say this is the same jacket that we see on Hardeen in these well-known photos.

So we have The Great One in The Great Hardeen's straitjacket. Pretty great!

Hardeen photos from The Original Houdini Scrapbook by Walter B. Gibson.

1 comment:

  1. This sold pretty quickly after I posted this. Thinking I should have grabbed it myself. I don't have anything Hellzapoppin' related in my collection.