Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lost Houdini effects found in 1935

Here's an intriguing news item from George Tucker's "Man About Manhattan" syndicated column from March 27, 1935. One wonders what exactly was found in this mysterious stash of tricks that "Houdini had perfected but never revealed"?

Click to enlarge.

Clipping source:


  1. And the next question, what happened to them AFTER Hardeen saw them? I have a feeling we will never know. Maybe they're still in someone's storage to be rediscovered yet again.

  2. John Hinson great nephew of Bess and Harry HoudiniFebruary 26, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Here is an other mystery that we have to find.

  3. It's no secret that Houdini kept a percentage of his equipment in some type of storage facilities here in the U.S. and Britain. As big as 278 is, it still wasn't big enough to hold all of Harry's books and props. Hardeen probably could not afford to pay the bill to get those items out of the warehouse. That's at least a nine year storage bill that had to be paid up. It must have slipped through the cracks after HH's death. He was a prolific individual with arms that spread far and wide.

    Apparently the warehouse was going out of business, and I doubt the company reps were just going to give those props away to Hardeen. The props might have been leftovers from his early magic revue that failed, or probably backup material he had at the ready for his 3 In One show had it continued into the 1927 season and beyond.

  4. This article appeared in 1935, but we don't know when the event took place. In 1934 an ad appeared in the Sphinx magazine by Royal Magic Company (J. Yadah). Near the bottom of the ad it says "Owing to the fact that Hardeen has to give up his Storage Houses, I was able to get hold of these Houdini Illusions." I wonder if the warehouse in the article refers to the same 'storage houses' in the ad, and the story just appeared in the press several months later?

  5. The Feb., 1935 issue of The Sphinx had this news to report on page 12. "Theodore W. Hardeen S. A. M. (Parent Assembly), was recently booked by Ross Frisco for a twenty-one day route in New England and Canada. He is revamping his act and including a number of new illusions found among Houdini's effects. Among these was "Black and White" which Hardeen exhibited with success at the November Ladies' Night of the Parent Assembly at the McAlpin Hotel, New York City. Eight trunks
    of Houdini material were recently found by Hardeen and James Collins, Houdini's assistant for many years, which contained a wealth of apparatus and magical effects generally, much of it having been made for Houdini in San Francisco and by Charles Morritt of England."

    1. Oh, wow, nice find, Chuck! Apparatus made by Morritt, eh? That's exciting. Leo might be correct that these were leftover from his 1914 Grand Magical Revue.

  6. Apparently, Hardeen got those items out of storage so I was wrong about that. Not surprising though if some of those items were from the 1914 GMR. We know that HH used some of the effects from the GMR in his 3 In One evening show, the Robert-Houdin Crystal Casket being one of them.