Saturday, August 1, 2020

Five original Houdini glass negatives sell on eBay

A remarkable set of original Houdini glass negatives sold on eBay yesterday. They show Houdini being bound to a chair by young girls ($781.00); Houdini and trumpet medium Annie Benninghofen ($1,150.00); and two photos of Houdini at the South Clark Street courthouse in Chicago ($402.00 and $159.50). The look on Houdini's face in the last photo is priceless! All the images are from 1926 and taken by noted photojournalist Henry Schaefer of Acme Newspictures for the Chicago Herald-Examiner.


But there was actually a fifth negative that the seller had mistakenly identified as being Annie Benninghofen. Nope, that's Houdini! The auction was at only $2 with ten seconds to go and I was hoping to get a bargin. But in the last seconds it shot up to $187.50, so it appears not everyone was fooled.


Don't believe this is Houdini? Check out the below from The Tao of Houdini by Patrick Culliton. This appeared in the Chicago Herald-Examiner.


Related:

14 comments:

  1. Wow, I missed this one for sure! Interesting, the photos at the bottom, it appears harry's hair is freshly dyed. And note the 'age' on his face, he's looking pretty rough for 52. Amazing images still the same! Love it!

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    1. Yep, freshly dyed for the 3 Shows in One. I like how he now leaves the temple pure white. These were all taken during the last months of the first tour, March-April, 1926.

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  2. The 2 courthouse photos:

    Give a pretty good representation of Houdini's height - compared to all of the other people in the photo.

    He is by far, the shortest man/person in the room...but don't tell him that!

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    1. Indeed! I love candid real world images like this that reveal his height in relation to others. Kind of shocking actually.

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  3. [The look on Houdini's face in the last photo is priceless!]

    I think that's his moody face cos he heard Joe saying he was the shortest person in the room. ;)

    The rope one is my fave. And at least Harry got to feel tall for a bit during that. :)

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    1. Haha. That would be the look he'd give Joe!

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  4. These are all great photos! The three girls with the bob haircuts tying Harry is priceless. I noticed he's wearing the now standard dress shirt and tie. He looks modern in these photos.

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    1. Yeah, he seems to have given his wardrobe an upgrade. He also wears a very modern double breasted suit to his D.C. hearing which is right at this same time.

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  5. I'm now a little angry at myself for not trying harder to land that last slide with THE look. I've been researching the Breedlove case and it's pretty amusing. Christopher covers it nicely on page 226 of Untold Story. I'm hoping April 3, the date on the slide, is the date of the trial. But that was a Saturday so I'm skeptical.

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  6. Great story, and the prices seem very reasonable for all those negatives.

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    1. Quite a surprising range in price.

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    2. I'm wondering: with those old glass negatives where do you go to print out photos?

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  7. And thanks to "Jeff" for bringing the slides to my attention...
    -John

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