But it was something buried in the section labeled simply "Japanese magicians" that made my jaw hit the floor. Here is footage shot during a gathering of the "Southern California Japanese Amateur Magicians Society" in Los Angeles in 1938, and among the attendees is Edward Saint and Bess Houdini! Bess is sitting in the front row and at one point she's showered with applause and gifts. Someone even hands her an orange. (Hmmm.) Bess is smiling and seems to having a great time. There's even a moment when we see her cough. (Bessie coughing!) Apart from her appearance in Religious Racketeers, I don't recall seeing film of Bess in her later years, and I always enjoy seeing candid footage like this.
The DVD also includes other hidden gems such as Blackstone doing a packing crate escape with a committee that includes Thurston and T. Nelson Downs, and footage of Nicola doing a suspended straitjacket and underwater handcuff escapes.
Thanks to my good friends Ron and Asbed for this Bessie surprise!