Houdini Throw Out Card

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Postby Raleigh » 12/22/11 01:31 AM

Hi everyone ..... was wondering if any knows if Houdini ever had a throw out card ? I know most magician's who did have one mostly gave them out as a good luck charm and did not throw / scale them into the audience as Thurston did . I started collecting these and just was wondering if there was a Houdini card to look for . Thanks for any info and ..... Merry Christmas !
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Postby JohnCox » 12/22/11 02:16 AM

Over to Mr. Connolly...
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Postby Raleigh » 12/22/11 05:21 AM

Part two ....... have done some research and discovered that around 1950 Al Flosso had a b&w throw card made honoring Houdini . It featured a portrait of Houdini on the front and a collage of escape drawings on the reverse . Not an original Houdini item but I would imagine it would still be desirable being more than 60 yrs. old since Houdini at one time owned the shop in the early 1900's when it still held the Martinka name .
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/22/11 08:49 AM

About 10 bucks. The desirability are in pre-1930 Houdini cards. IMHO
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Postby JohnCox » 12/22/11 04:50 PM

Raleigh wrote:Part two ....... have done some research and discovered that around 1950 Al Flosso had a b&w throw card made honoring Houdini . It featured a portrait of Houdini on the front and a collage of escape drawings on the reverse . Not an original Houdini item but I would imagine it would still be desirable being more than 60 yrs. old since Houdini at one time owned the shop in the early 1900's when it still held the Martinka name .

I think one of those just sold on eBay. I wasn't sure what it was, because it was clearly a past up (looked like HH's face over a Thurston card).
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/11 04:12 PM

I'm still curious about an answer to the original question. I cannot believe that THE self-promoter of magic didn't have throw-out cards. There is a "cardboard padlock" pictured on Ken Trombly's Magic Posters site. It doesn't give a size and it is neither referred to as a "throw-out" nor a "handout."

http://www.magicposters.com/abracagraph ... emera.html

It's about halfway down the page (it's in alphabetic order.)
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/29/11 04:43 PM

I'm away from my copy and can't check, but I seem to remember a Houdini throw out card in Ricky Jay's "Cards as Weapons".
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/11 04:50 PM

Yes, bottom of page 88. Good call!
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/29/11 05:05 PM

To acquire a Houdini-era card,you could find them in boxes of cigars or candy, yogurt, bread, magazines etc. They range in size from about the size of a stamp to slightly smaller than a postcard. There are some the size of throwout cards, but I wouldn't call them throwout cards.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/11 05:15 PM

Does size and shape matter? According to Trombly's site, Chung Ling Soo's were round (decorated like his plate for the bullet catch). So the question is, did HH throw cards to the audience? It was a common practice started by Herrmann. Again, it's hard for me to imagine that the "King of Kards" didn't do it. And the card pictured in the Jay book appears to be from that period of his career.

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/29/11 05:47 PM

See if you can post the picture of the card here. For some reason I only remember the "other" pictures. :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/11 06:33 PM

It's not going to scan well, and I wouldn't post it here anyway. A couple of things tell me that it is a playing card: It has rounded corners and--this is key--in the upper left corner are the words, "'U.S.' and 'National' Playing Cards are the best."

His picture is on the right side of the card. The main print says "Harry Houdini" with "Magician" under that.

It appears to be more of a business card in that he is also advertsing (in small print) "Instructions given in sleight of hand." But I know of magicians whose throwout cards were nothing more than business cards printed on playing cards.

The circular picture of him is a common one from his younger days (he's looking slightly up and to his left). The address on the card is 221 East 69th Street, New York.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/29/11 07:02 PM

Hmmm. Is there a photo credit?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/11 07:18 PM

In the acknowledgements, photos of "playing cards" is credited to Robert Koch. Note that there is also a Hardeen card along with those from Herrmann, Laurant, Willard, Thurston, Powell, and Van Bern. I suspect that these come from Ricky's collection.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/29/11 09:49 PM

It's been a long time since I looked at this book, so I really don't remember the card. Hopefully someone will take a picture of it and post it here or send it to me.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/30/11 12:59 AM

Thanks for the image. It is hard to tell one way or the other. I'll leave this up to the advanced Houdini collectors out there.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/30/11 01:08 AM

I think that it's certainly a playing card. The only question remaining is did Houdini scale playing cards into the audience as part of his show. (And I have not been this curious about something "Houdini" in a very long time!)

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Postby houdini's ghost » 12/30/11 02:25 AM

Yes. From Mulholland's column, I think, for June 1936.
Hardeen wrote the following interesting letter to me: "The very beautiful story about the card throwing of Herrmann and Thurston in the May issue interested me very much. However I think that it is a little incomplete in not mentioning the name of Houdini. In 1894, when Houdini and I were performing as the Houdini Brothers, Houdini threw out steamboat cards with his picture on the front. These were the regular cards, no thicker. Then when Houdini joined the Welsh Brothers tent show, after his marriage, and worked the act under the name of Harry and Bessie Houdini, Jim Bard of the famous Bard Brothers (Jim and Eddy) taught him how to do a back somersault. After that Houdini would scale out the cards and (he last card, he would throw out, turn a back somersault and catch as it returned to the ring."
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Postby houdini's ghost » 12/30/11 02:26 AM

He also boomeranged a card and cut it with scissors.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/30/11 03:19 AM

Give Pat a cigar!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/30/11 03:58 AM

Thank you Patrick!
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Postby JohnCox » 12/30/11 01:53 PM

Excellent Patrick. Thanks.

Now do we know what one of these Brother Houdini era cards looked like?
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Postby JohnCox » 01/01/12 03:10 PM

JohnCox wrote:I think one of those just sold on eBay. I wasn't sure what it was, because it was clearly a past up (looked like HH's face over a Thurston card).

Here it is again:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAGICIAN-HOUDIN ... 500wt_1180
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 01/01/12 06:12 PM

Pssst. That's the person who started this thread. ;)
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