Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A new and greater hero has arisen

Houdini had an affinity for newsboys, having sold papers himself on the streets of Milwaukee in his youth. He frequently put on free shows for an audience made up entirely of local newsboys. Now, one could be cynical and believe this was just another way he greased the wheels of the press, right down to the boys handing out newspapers on the street. But it's clear from the article below that he greatly enjoyed these shows.

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This is an account of his performance at Teller's Shubert Theater in Brooklyn on January 30, 1926. As you can see, it features a photo as that's as messianic as the headline. It's rare to see a pic of Houdini inside a theater with his audience. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a photo quite like this. But what's this about Houdini "learning his famous disappearing girl trick from the celebrated Chinese magician Moo Lo"?

I wonder if any of these these young boys are living centenarians today? If so, please tell us about the day you saw your "new and greater hero."

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9 comments:

  1. HH always had a soft spot for the youngsters. I've never seen a photo of HH on a stage performing. The only exception being the photo of him in front of his large stage props. Not sure if that was an actual performance. This photo is the only one I've seen of HH inside a theater.

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    1. Don't forget the photo of him being put in the Mirror cuffs. Also the 1909 pic of him on stage in Glasgow in the front of the Iron Maiden. Even though that one is a posed shot, I believe it was taken during the performance as there's a reverse pic of the audience as well.

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    2. Ah right, the Mirror Cuffs photo with that committee man holding the short key. That photo is unique in more ways than one. And the Iron Maiden photo. Still precious few performance photos.

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  2. I was gonna say look how tall he is for once but then I realized everyone else was sitting down (or a kid), lol! Awesome photo!

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  3. This is 1926, Houdini has a busy year ahead, and a tragic one. But still on top of his game, this photo is proof! Such a wonderful image and headline!

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    1. It really is. I love coming across these surprises.

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  4. “...he had his picture taken with them...” While the boys might all have followed Houdini into history, it seems likely some dozens of Brownie snapshots might remain in albums somewhere. What a great event-and photo! One fully believes he loved every minute of it. I’m still smiling over the image of the three girls tying him up.

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    1. Good point about potential snapshots. Search those old albums people! Yes, that three girls pic is the best. :)

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