Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Hear the full recording of Hardeen on WNYC radio

The website for the New York Public Radio Archives has posted the July 3, 1939 "The Voice of the Theater" program hosted by Ezra McIntosh in which his guest was Hardeen, "expert in Oriental mysteries and illusions." This interview was conducted when Hardeen was appearing with the comedy team of Olson and Johnson in Hellzapoppin on Broadway.

This was first posted on NYPR back in 2010. But this time they've included the entire program, and the Hardeen interview contains at least one exchange that appears to have been edited out of the earlier version. This is when Hardeen talks about how his tricks are "just as effective with a comedy angle on them. Perhaps more so."

The full show is embedded below. The Hardeen interview starts at 4:50. This is currently the only available recording of Hardeen's voice. Enjoy!



  1. He had a hard edged New York accent to his voice. You have to wonder if Harry also talked that way. It was nice of McIntosh not to introduce Hardeen as "Houdini's brother" and waited until the interview began to mention Harry.

    1. Well we know Harry didn't talk that way from his recording.

    2. Fair enough, but he was also speaking into a futuristic recording device for a few minutes. Knowing that his voice would be saved, he might have made an effort to polish it. We're hearing his stage voice.

      I'm reminded of those Three Stooges shorts where they speak eloquently into a microphone. Suddenly those gruff New York accents disappear.

  2. Great to hear this! Thank you for sharing. I've also wondered about both Harry's and Bess's "private life" voices, and to what extent they may have contrasted with their stage voices. Perhaps not so much. When I heard Tony Curtis's voice in an interview a few years before he died, I was amazed at how much more pronounced his Bronx accent was in "real life." But he was a film actor, and Harry and Bess spent so much time on stage, and of course had to over-articulate everything before the advent of modern sound equipment. So it might have become second nature to also speak well privately, even if it wasn't as extremely precise as it needed to be onstage. But who knows?

  3. Yeah, I have also wondered if what we are hearing is a put on stage voice and if HH sounded differently in normal life. This is why I so want to hear the Gladys cylinders, because maybe we'll catch something a little different there. But there are many references to Houdini's somewhat unidentifiable accent, and to his enunciation of each and every syllable. And among the group who first played the recordings was a man who knew Houdini, and he immediately said, "That's him!"

  4. Very cool! --Dale from Cleveland