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Topic: Looking for information
Message: Posted by: Dave Dorsett (Sep 4, 2004 06:45PM)
I posted the following in another area of The Café' and got no response. As escape items were only a peripheral for us in the old days I hadn't checked into this thread.
Lo and behold, it looks like the users here might have more interest in the person I asked about so I might get an answer. So here's my original post-

As a builder and former illusion performer, I'm aware that a good stage manager/engineer is as important as an engaging entertainer. To that end, I was wondering if anyone is aware of any research or writings concerning Houdini's right hand man, Jim Collins.
There are books enough on Houdini to fill a shelf (or two) but there doesn't seem to be a lot on his staff. I know that's the way the big guy played it but I'm interested in finding out more about the other key players. Does anyone have any suggestions where to look?

Anybody have any info?
Message: Posted by: Michael Lee (Sep 5, 2004 12:03AM)
Hi Dave

During that period , One must under stand that there was ONLY one 'Star" his name was Harry Houdini,
Any thing or anyone else was simply kept behind the scence......An unknown entity so to speak....In other words The Early Twenties were ALL about Houdini, period !

While guys like Collins ,Vickory, Knickol Among others? were Paid Extremily well for that period .... THERE WAS a reason for that ....With out these TRULY BRILLIANT Men/ Minds ...Yes ! Brilliant men/ minds in his corner , I Truly Believe that there Would not be a Houdini....... Not as he is known Today.
BUT again there was ONLY one star...HOUDINI.
and he did not 'Play well with others !
(Email me for inside details)

Jump to the 'New Millenniun'... Every one in the Field of Escapology ( Novice, Collector.."Pro" ) should fall to there knees & give thank's for there IS a " New Jimmy Collins of our Time" .....His name is Ian McColl of Austraila.

If Ian can't build it Or for a FAIR price Create it, or for that matter solve your problem...Than Very few can.

If Houdini were alive Today ....Harry would leave Bess to Shack up w/ ..... Ian McColl. ha ,ha.

P.S.....Sadly Ian is Already taken... as I was some what interested ...h a, ha

Ian your the..BEST! Thank you for All your help , advice & Genius towards my.... Projects.

Let Love Rule.....

Montreal, Canada
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Sep 5, 2004 03:40PM)
I don't have the answer to the questions Dave, but I will add a question of my own that will possibly get others thinking toward your answer. Houdini was not the only one in his profession. It is known far and wide that he had a fairly "unfriendly" rivalry with Blackstone Sr. I wonder who built Blackstone's materials for him?

At one point the question of theft even came up between them.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 5, 2004 04:34PM)
The most I ever saw was an article that was reproduced in Gibson's "Original Houdini Scrapbook" (Houdini's Assistants), though it was pretty superficial.
More can be gleaned from the Houdini biographies than any unified source.

Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Sep 5, 2004 09:45PM)
Dear Dave, There isn't too much information out there On Jim Collins. Recently I recieved an email from
Sophie Griffin ( great grand daughter of JC ) Sophie was asking for what information I may have had on JC.

Sophie adds, "Jim's name was taboo in the family as he left his family to tour with Houdini.
All we know is he left the family for America to work as Houdini's assistant. And his name was a bit of a taboo for there on after."

I have heard that there were ( maybe still is) radio broadcasts of interviews with Jimmy Collins made in England. No other details.


Ian McColl