Sunday, May 3, 2015

YES!--"Jim Collins is still with me"

Here's an add-on to my post yesterday about Jim Collins and his "solo career." While researching that post, I found this terrific Hardeen-Hellzapoppin ad in the October 1938 issue of The Sphinx. There's a lot to like here, but note the line at the bottom, YES!--"Jim Collins is still with me."

Click to enlarge.

I expect this was an inside joke. Perhaps this was the question Hardeen was repeatedly asked by fellow magicians? It speaks to just how popular a figure Jim Collins was in the magic world. Collins, of course, worked as Houdini's chief assistant and engineer for many years.

Hellzapoppin was a madcap comedy revue show starring the popular Olson and Johnson. Hardeen appeared in it for four years. Unfortunately, he did not appear in the 1941 film version.

I also found this news item in the March 1938 issue of The Sphinx. This is the first I've heard of this accident, and I'm afraid I don't have any other details.

Jim Collins was recently portrayed by Evan Jones in the Houdini miniseries. Unlike what was shown in that movie, he was not a southern-fried bumpkin from Macon, Georgia. Jim Collins was born in the UK. He died in Philadelphia on March 6, 1942.

Collins with "the boss."

I hope you enjoyed our special Jim Collins Weekend. Stay tuned for our Franz Kukol Mega Month! (kidding)

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    1. John,
      How often do we see that Machiavellian expression on Collins face? I think the first photo I saw of Collins he was supervising the underwater packing box -- same expression. And tying the ankles for the upside down jacket.
      Dorothy Young told me he ran the full evening show and that he was a great stage manager. She told me he ran a tight show. To the minute.

      1. I believe it! Collins seems to have been all business. Think about it, the boss trusted him with his life again and again.