Thursday, February 17, 2022

"A second Hardeen"

I've seen no shortage of aspiring Handcuff Kings likening themselves to Houdini. But here's a young escapist in Tacoma, Washington, being touted as "a second Hardeen." Hardeen had just completed a successful run at Tacoma's Pantages Theater. He had even done a bridge jump. So I guess Tacoma in 1908 was a Hardeen town!

Tacoma Daily Ledger, Oct. 23, 1908.

What would Houdini think of this? For staters, he was touring Europe at this time, so it's likely never saw this. But in 1908 Houdini was open to the idea of franchising his act. There was Hardeen, of course, but Houdini had also made a deal with the Western Burlesque Wheel to showcase the "Houdini Act" as presented by Leonard Hicks. He was also developing a female escape artist in Germany named "Oceana". 

So this begs the question. Was it better to be a "second Hardeen" or the "fourth Houdini"?


  1. Wow! Hardeen was getting imitated. It was inevitable. Is there any evidence of Hardeen lashing out at this?

    1. No, I think he would have loved it.

    2. Hardeen was the preemptive strike type of guy. His tolerance for copycats is out of left field.