My only speculation is perhaps this photo is from one of his tours with the Corty-Althoff Circus in Germany where tights may have been the fashion? If so, this just illustrates once again how little we know about his performances in this part of the world.
Houdini also appears older here, so this could be his 1913 tour with Corty-Althoff (his first engagement after his mother's death). But it's also untypical to see Houdini in a web of shackles so long after his "Handcuff King" days. So this photo is really a mystery on top of a mystery.
Incredible! Is it possible we're looking at Hardeen? This guy has a bit of fat around the waist. HH didn't start putting on real weight till about 1921. He was fit and trim around 1913-18. You can see how slim he looked in those overboard box escapes.ReplyDelete
Hardeen or another escapologist. It's possible and I considered that. But I feel like this is Harry.Delete
Look at this Potter Auction photo of a shackled Hardeen from behind. At this angle he looks a lot like a chunkier version of HH. He has the same hair and facial profile of his brother.Delete
That's an excellent compassion photo. Almost exactly the same side angle. But, see, there's no question in my mind that that photo is of Hardeen, even though he's obscured in the exact same way we see here. To my eye that just clearly Dash and no one could ever convince me it wasn’t. It's kinda the same with this pic. I just SEE Houdini here, even though his body seems a little thicker. But he's even holding his hands cupped in the very distinctive way he does in all photos in cuffs (Pat Culliton pointed this one out to me). There are aspects to this pic that suggest it isn’t HH. But I just have an instinct that it is. But a good thing to debate.Delete
Yes, there are aspects that suggest to me it can't be Harry. The arms are thick with no muscle definition, which HH had. This guy has a big butt. Harry had tight, chiseled buns like Michelangelo's statue of David. I also don't believe that Harry would ever wear tights. He would have preferred to show off his body. Hardeen had a chunkier and less defined body. We need to see more pics of this guy, if they're out there. I'm sure this is just one photo from a session.Delete
Comparison photo, meant to type.Delete
Is it possible that the leggings are painted on to the image? From a compositional perspective, pale legs would wash out against the background, so an art department could have added the leggings.ReplyDelete
I was thinking that too... that those tights are really just painted on by the newspaper before going to print, if it would’ve been published in a more conservative location. That’s not uncommon for the era.Delete
The black upper t-shirt shirt and striped trunks are definitely real, and so are the boots. I think he has real tights on his legs.Delete
Looking closely at the pic it doesn't appear to be painted. You can see the chains against the cloth in a way that would be very hard to achieve. I've seen those newspaper touchup jobs and they are very obvious and easy to spot.Delete
That's a great observation John! The chains and cuffs hanging in front of his legs tells us there's no way the legs are painted.Delete