Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fred Pittella inherits Larry Weeks estate

Some important news in the word of magic today. Houdini collector and all around good guy Fred Pittella has inherited the estate of Larry Weeks who passed away in 2014. That's the good news. The bad news is a large portion of Larry's collection, including many important Houdini artifacts, vanished from his apartment following his death. Now that legal hurtles have been cleared, Fred could use some help. Below is the full press release.

Fred Pittella with Larry Weeks and Houdini assistant Dorothy Young.
It’s official. After a two-year long, legal proceeding, Fred Pittella of Queens Village, New York will now inherit the entirety of the Larry Weeks estate.

Unfortunately, there were many items removed from Larry Weeks’ apartments that shouldn’t have been, just as Mr. Weeks was taken ill, in the hospital, and during Mr. Pittella’s battle to have Mr. Weeks laid to rest.

At this time, no one is accusing anyone of anything directly. It could be understood why people may have removed items from the apartment in order to save them from being lost to the State or even thrown in the garbage by the landlord because people did not know Larry Weeks’ had documented his last wishes.

There are quite a number of items missing from The Larry Weeks estate that belong to and are now the sole property of Fred Pittella. These items mysteriously vanished from Mr. Weeks’ apartment. Some of the missing items include, but are not limited to the entire 16mm and 35mm film library which included many historic films (many were Houdini related / over fifty cans of films), The Houdini Spiritualist slide show, a part of the handcuff and key collection (the lineage of this collection will be lost forever, unless it is returned), Houdini books (some signed), Houdini Photos (some signed), other Harry Houdini and Bess Houdini autographs, two Houdini scrapbooks (one oversized and one small), and countless pieces of personal jewelry.

Before the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office gets involved again in a full scale investigation, this would be an opportunity to send anything back anonymously. If anyone has any information or any of the items that were removed from the apartment there will be no-questions-asked policy and no legal action will be taken.

A plea to the magic community for your help to choose not to deal in, purchase, or put up for auction any of these items. Please contact The Supervising Detective Investigator of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office regarding any information:

Robert Addonizio · 350 Jay Street Brooklyn · NY 11201-2908 · 718.250.2444

Mr. Weeks only sold or gave items after consulting with Mr. Pittella. Please use this address to send back items: Forum Novelties Inc. · c/o Fred Pittella · 1770 Walt Whitman Rd. Melville · NY 11747. If you wish to remain anonymous, please put the above address as the return address as well as the delivery address.

Among the films now missing are said to be complete prints of Terror Island and The Mastery Mystery. Larry sold his print of The Grim Game (the only known print in existence) to TCM shortly before his death.



  1. MAN that pisses me off, Good luck retrieving any of that.

  2. Me too. From what little I know, the items were not taken by a collector, but by someone who thought they could profit. But they might find that difficult. Things like this are not so easy to fence. Fred knows each and every item that Larry had, so I'm sure he will keep watch on auctions, etc. And I will certainly help flag anything here. It's a small community, and we can all become watchdogs. So you'd hope they'd take this unique opportunity to wash their hands of it, and also do the right thing by history. Kills me to think what might be in those cans of films.

  3. Larry Weeks was a wonderful person but always kept his privacy. However, he shared some of his insights about Houdini, etc. which is mentioned in my book from 1994, "Benjilini on Houdini!" Be aware, he told me that the films that vanished or rather taken by someone, etc. is highly combustible due to the chemicals that were used at that time. I am NOT amazed as items, etc. have vanished from Maurine Christopher's home as her husband, Milbourne, had the BIGGEST Houdini collection. Thankfully, I was able over many years to see these wonderful treasures before some of these things exited their respective apartments. I will make sure(hopefully)within my lifetime, as did the above friends along with my friend in magic, Sidney Radner, to move my items within my lifetime. Many magicians and non-magicians do not appreciate our "art," its history or its repective pieces. However, those that do, understand me and my sincere love for our craft. Benjilini

    1. Good to hear from you, Benjilini! I love your book and turn to it often as a reference.