I've always enjoyed this footage for what it is. But I've also often wondered if this was a typical Hardeen street stunt. Houdini never did Metamorphosis as an outdoor stunt as far as I know. So I decided to do a little digging and discovered the full story!
Turns out this was a one-shot performance in answer to a challenge (of sorts). This is when Hardeen was appearing at the Prospect Theater in Brooklyn during the week of April 21, 1929. The story begins in the pages of The Standard Union:
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Hardeen took up the challenge! In fact, if you look closely in the film, you can see a sign that says "Standard Union Challenge." His street performance took place on April 24, 1929. The Standard Union provided coverage the following day:
So there we go. Turns out this footage shows Hardeen not only doing Metamorphosis, but saving magic itself!
Still can't get enough Dash? Click on over to my Patreon and listen to his famous 1939 radio interview on WNYC. As a birthday gift, I'm unlocking this post so anyone can listen for FREE.
Happy birthday Hardeen!