Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hardeen appeared on television in 1945

Reader Bill Carter recently sent in a discovery that I'm excited to share today. On Thursday, January 25, 1945, Hardeen made a television appearance on station WCBW. I don't believe this has ever been mentioned anywhere before. Below is a review from the January 27 issue of The Billboard.

Bill points out that WCBW was a local New York area broadcaster. In early 1945 there was not yet a CBS Television network. WCBW later became WCBS-TV.

This was only five months before Hardeen's death on June 12, 1945. One wonders where this stands as far as a first appearance by a magician on television?

As with Houdini's radio broadcasts, this was probably too early in the history of the medium for us to have any hope that a recording was made. The criticism of Hardeen's speaking voice is interesting. I'm not sure what the reviewer, Marty Schrader, didn't like about it, but you can hear Hardeen's voice for yourself in this 1939 radio broadcast.

Vaudeville, Broadway, radio, film, and now television. Dash did it all!

Thanks Bill.



  1. I wonder if Hardeens patter was just a product of being a turn of the century magician? Could it be that Houdini would have been subject to the same criticism if he was performing in 1945? What a find if someone somewhere would have this on film? My biggest sorrow related to Houdini is there in no film...nothing....of him performing on stage. We can only imagine how he performed the USD, illusions and other escapes. Watching Hardeen at the very least would give us a glimpse of his brother as they came from the same cloth.

    1. Excellent observations.

      I don't think Houdini would be subject to the same criticism because I think he was constantly evolving his act and was always keyed into his time. That was his born instinct. I don't think Dash was a born showman. A career in showbiz was pretty much handed to him by his brother. Dash could have been doing the same patter that Houdini wrote for him in 1900.

      As to film, we do have the card manipulation footage. That seems to be as close to seeing Houdini on stage as we'll ever get, and it's pretty awesome.

  2. Here is the proper link to the Hardeen radio show
    Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz
    The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA
    The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini

  3. It is now live there.

    1. Yep, thanks. I was just teasing. I've added that link to my original story. I had long lost track of where I had embedded that from. What I want to do is find some way to save it. That's a special recording.