Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Houdini Museum of New York adds to collection

The Houdini Museum of New York at Fantasma Magic has added to their collection a display case featured in the classic Tony Curtis Houdini movie. Inside are handcuffs from the Joseph Dunninger collection. Dunninger was the technical advisor on the film.

Dunninger shows star Tony Curtis the Houdini handcuff case.

The museum also recently added an original set of slides from Houdini's anti-spiritulism lecture. This is one of only a few known sets.

The Houdini Museum of New York contains one of the largest public displays of authentic Houdini memorabilia in the world. The museum is located at 421 7th Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY and is open to the public.

Check out the links below for a two-part interview with owner Roger Dreyer.



  1. Do you know the story of Al Flosso, and Dunninger?
    Dunninger heard Flosso had purchased a large collection of
    locks and handcuffs, which Dunninger thought to be Houdinis. Dunninger went to Flossos shop , and not Knowing Al Flosso, approached a man working behind the counter(Flosso) and wanted to inquire about and purchase this collection. Al Flosso recognized Mr. Dunninger.
    Dunninger asked him if it were true that a handcuff and lock collection was recently purchased by his boss.
    Flosso said 'SO ABOUT IT' Dunninger asked to see his boss
    so he might talk about buying them. Flosso, said his boss was asleep in the back room, and did not want to be disturbed.
    Dunninger insisted, so Flosso went to the closed door, opened it and shouting to no one that some guy named Dunninger wanted to buy the handcuffs. Al Flosso using a
    different voice answered THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE ! LEAVE ME ALONE.
    Going back to the counter he relayed his own message and to Joe to go before his boss got mad.
    Mr Dunninger made a cash offer for the cuffs and made Flosso take it back to his boss. Al opened the door shouted the offer, and replied in the fake voice they are not for sale.
    Dunninger raised the offer, and insisted the fellow take it to his boss.
    This happened several times, and finally Al Flosso sold the collection at a VERY HIGH price because Dunningers ego would not take no.
    Al Flosso always said the locks and handcuffs sold that day were not Houdinis.
    Dunninger put them on display boards for HOUDINI, and keep them in storage until he sold them to the museum in Canada.
    Jon Oliver

  2. Comparing the photos above, there seems to be at least two pair missing from the current display.

  3. Ha! That's a great story Jon! Thank you for sharing it. There are more great Al Flosso stories out there. You can write a book on it.

    Is there any way to unequivocally prove that any pair of old manacles once belonged to Harry? I don't think so. I was told that Hardeen would purchase old manacles wherever he could find them and sell them off at high prices as once belonging to his late brother. To pay off gambling debts?

  4. I am wondering if the slides at "Fantasma" aref from the "larry Weeks" collection. He had a set of these as my memory recalls seeing them many, many years ago?

  5. Al Flosso, Jay Marshall, Bob Lund and Dan Waldron, to name a few, knew without a doubt that they did not belong to either Houdini or Hardeen. Because he had a huge ego Flosso
    enjoyed taking advantage of Dunning.
    Jon Oliver

  6. No, the set in Fantasma is not the Larry Weeks set.

  7. I know that Arthur Moses has a set of those anti-spiritualism lecture slides.

    1. Indeed he does. He used them to write his book Houdini Speaks Out. When I first saw these I thought maybe Arthur had sold his set. But, nope, he still has his.