Question for Houdini collectors

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/17/08 11:35 AM

Hi!

I'm looking for anybody who may have a programme of Houdini's performance in Pittsburgh in 1910. I'm interested in the other artists on the same bill.

Many thanks in advance!
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/17/08 01:37 PM

I don't have a program for Pittsburgh 1910. He was probably still with B.F. Keiths circuit. I think he went over to the Orpheum circuit about 1912.

Sometimes, half or more of the whole bill, would travel from city to city. Maybe you could track more down following up the underbill?

If you run across anything about Houdini in Hardtford, CT. or just Conn., please let me know.

Good Luck,
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 09/24/08 06:55 PM

Hi Marco--Houdini did not perform in Pittsburgh in 1910. He embarked on his Australian tour in January 1910, and didn't return to the United States until late in the summer. During the summer, he also visited Ira Davenport in upstate New York.

Houdini rested in August--caught up with his mail and items he had purchased--and journeyed to Europe to work there for the rest of the year.

If I locate any Houdini performance in Pittsburgh, I'll post it here.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/24/08 08:45 PM

Well, Marco must have some info that he played there from his question.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/25/08 10:17 AM

Leonard,

Many thanks: I have a reference (that I'm not sure is really correct) about a performer who was on the same bill with Houdini in Pittsburgh in 1910, but by checking the usual Houdini's bios I couldn't find anything and indeed I was aware of his return from Australia and of his trip to England in the fall.

The reference I found is from a magician's recollections (published in two places), where he indeed states he performed with Houdini in Pittsburgh in 1910, but both recollections were recorded something like 50 years later, so it's possible the year was wrong (perhaps it was 1909? or 1908? It certainly wasn't after 1910 as this performer left the USA in 1910). So, I think I should expand slightly my request for any programme of Houdini in Pittsburgh pre-1910... if anybody has got one, it may help me.

Many thanks, best regards,
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/25/08 11:17 AM

I guess I was wrong that he knew. Oh well. Saves me time looking.:)
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/14/08 05:45 PM

Hi Marco--I located some more information about Houdini in Pittsburgh. All of his Pittsburgh, Pa. appearances were at the Grande Theatre:

1. 1906--Grande Theatre. Sept. 24-29 and Oct. 1-6
2. 1907--" " May 20-25 and May 27-June 1
3. 1908--" " March 16-21

Houdini spent all of 1909 in Europe, mostly England, France, and Germany. You might want to try searching for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania newspapers around those dates for more information about your magician.

Well Kevin, I don't see any listings for Houdini performing in Connecticut from 1906 to 1910. Remember, he was abroad in 1909 and 1910. My information came from Frank Koval's The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary. Since I have a full file of Koval's diaries, I'll keep searching.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/14/08 06:13 PM

Leonard,

Thanks. I have the set too. I gave them a quick scan, but didn't see anything. I dropped both searches, since I wsn't getting any feedback from the people asking the questions. I was going to start going through my programs and then newspaper clippings. My microfilms would have been the last source.

Thanks for trying help me, who was trying to help two others. I appreciate it.

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/14/08 06:14 PM

I forgot. I heard awhile back that there might be another updated version of the Diaries. If I hear anything about it, I'll let you know.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/14/08 06:27 PM

Hi Kevin--It's nice to know I wasn't the only person who bought the entire run of Koval's diaries. If you checked them all and didn't see Houdini in Connecticut--then he probably didn't appear there. Connecticut may have only had one or two vaudeville theaters in the entire state. It wouldn't be hard to find them.

As you know, the Koval diaries are not complete. Some of them have a number of blank pages. You have to wonder, what the hell was Houdini up to in the blank spots. I haven't heard about the updated diaries either, but if you hear anything, please post it here.

I'd hate to have to buy the entire set again...Perhaps several people can pitch in for the new set to lower the cost and we can all pencil in the new info in our diaries.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/14/08 07:22 PM

Leonard,

It was for a theater in Norwalk. The person had HEARD that HH played there. Not much to go on with that.

The Koval set is a good start. The guy I heard doing it, should do a good job. Hopefully it will be one hardbound book!

Speaking of the Koval set, Thee last time I saw a set sold, I seem to remember it sold for $400-$500. ???
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/15/08 06:46 PM

That's quite a bit of money for the entire set. I remember paying roughly $20.00 for each one. I thought they were a bit overpriced given the production values of those slim mimeographed books. In this case, we're paying for the information. Mr. Koval must have spent quite a bit of time compiling Houdini's whereabouts for these books.

Houdini's possible engagement at a theater in Norwalk may have been later in his career. It may have possibly been during his 1925 tour.

In one entry of the 1906-1910 manuscript, Koval notes that Houdini visited his hometown of Appleton and checked out a newly built jailhouse in town. He didn't challenge this prison because he thought it couldn't be done.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/15/08 11:07 PM

That's what they sold for, $20.00. Culliton's set sells $1,200-$1,500 that was $250 a set when issued. So the Koval set sold for $100, $400 may not be too far off. Also, they're probably less than 250 sets like Culliton's sets.

Just watch out for the bright boy who runs down to Kinkos to make more of them, like they did with Maven's Color Series. I wonder how many clunkers of those are out there?

I know of one guy knocking off some escape books and related material with no qualms about it. They usually are on Ebay once a month.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/16/08 12:48 PM

Kevin Connolly wrote: If you run across anything about Houdini in Hardtford, CT. or just Conn., please let me know.


He was at the Hartford Opera House in Hartford from 19 - 21 April, 1906.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/16/08 01:04 PM

Bill,

Thanks! What is your source?

Thanks Again..........Kevin
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/16/08 01:05 PM

Leonard Hevia wrote: Connecticut may have only had one or two vaudeville theaters in the entire state.


During the weekend that Houdini was there, both Poli's Theater and the Hartford Opera House were hosting variety acts. Parson's Theater, Foot Guard Hall, and Unity Hall all were producing musical concerts. This was just in Hartford.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/16/08 01:08 PM

Kevin Connolly wrote: Thanks! What is your source?


Digitized Hartford Courant.

Note also that he filmed some scenes in at the Winchell Smith Dam on the Farmington River near Hartford for "The Man From Beyond" in May 7-8 1921.

He was in a vaudeville tent Fireman's Benefit show in Southport Ct on Aug 9 1918, and again on Aug 15 1924.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 10/16/08 01:45 PM

Bill,

Thanks for the help. You're amazing! Here's the rub. I'm such a knucklehead, that I typed Hartford, but it was really Norwalk the person was looking for! She runs a museum/in charge(?) of a museum that has been converted from an old theater. She wanted to know if Houdini played there. And she "heard" that Houdini did a bridge jump there.

I heard from her twice, but not in the last month. If I hear back from her, I'll post it here.

Thanks Again,
Kevin
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/18/08 08:43 PM

Thanks for the corrections and information Bill...
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 10/19/08 12:57 PM

Leonard Hevia wrote:1. 1906--Grande Theatre. Sept. 24-29 and Oct. 1-6
2. 1907--" " May 20-25 and May 27-June 1
3. 1908--" " March 16-21


Leonard,

Many thanks for the info: it's MUCH appreciated! I had the Grande Theatre (spelt as "Grand") for my magician for October 1906, but didn't have a date. This comes from the "Conjurors Monthly Magazine", vol. 1 nr. 3, p. 88. My magician (Chefalo, incidentally...) was again in Pittsburgh the week of June 22, 1908 (a newspapers' clip), but it would be two months after Houdini's performance, so I doubt this can be the date I'm searching for.

So: has anybody got a programme for the two weeks of the Grande Opera Theatre in Pittsburgh starting Sep. 24, 1906 to check whether Houdini and Chefalo were on the same bill? I can't find at the "usual sources" (newspaperarchive.com) any Pittsburgh newspaper for the period... :(

Many thanks, much appreciated!
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