Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hardeen in New York

Recently I discovered details of Hardeen's first appearance (at least as "Hardeen") in New York City. He played the New York Theater's "Christmas Vaudeville Festival" during the week of December 23, 1907. (You may recall it was at the New York that Bess became trapped in the Metamorphosis trunk.) Below is an ad for that week showing Dash billed as "Wizard of the Handcuffs."

Variety reviewed Hardeen's appearance in their December 28, 1907 issue. There's a lot to like here. I especially like the mention of his voice having "just a hint of the same uncertain and halting delivery" as his brother. Here's the review in full:

New York City was a tough town to win over, even for Houdini (watch for an upcoming post about that). I don't know how often Hardeen played Manhattan, but he seemed more at home in Brooklyn and New Jersey, which he played often. As far as I know, he never attempted any kind of outdoor stunt in the city.



  1. Jack Norworth, who is on the bill, is credited as co-writer of a number of Tin Pan Alley hits. Wrote the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (music by Albert Von Tilzer) in 1908, his longest-lasting hit. Another he is credited with co-authoring is "Shine On, Harvest Moon"
    Dick Brookz and Dorothy Dietrich
    The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA
    The Only Buidling in the World Dedicated to Houdini

  2. Fred Niblo was married to Josephine Cohen and was manager of The Four Cohen's. He was a successful directer of silent film includingthe 1925 Ben-Hur. And also a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy.

  3. Hardeen was in first-class New York company on this bill. Josephine ("Josie") Cohan was the sister of George M. Cohan and had already achieved stardom on the legit stage with her family. She left the act when she married Niblo but I don't think I've ever seen her billed separately from the Cohans, as she was in declining health from a heart ailment the last years of her life (she died in 1916). Impressive to see Hardeen dominating this bill. (Thanks, John, for sharing this unusual item.)

  4. That evening $1.00 ticket was worth about $27.00 in 1907.