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Topic: Upcoming Houdini Auction
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 01:14PM)
Any thoughts of the upcoming Houdini auction? What do you want? What will you pass on?
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 01:29PM)
I'll like enough money and room to buy a few things maybe metamorphosis
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Oct 12, 2004 02:19PM)
I don't know specifically what will be auctioned, but I would love to have Houdini's giant padlock. The one woth the hidden button that caused the face of it to come open and reveal all of his tools. I don't know who has it, or if there were more than one.

Another unusual item I'd love would be some of his construting tools. Authenticated I'll bet they're worth a fortune!
Message: Posted by: lauher (Oct 12, 2004 04:05PM)
The auction is amazing, because it proves that Houdini came back from the dead (Halloween 1926).

According to the description the auction includes "Over 1,000 Items Personally Owned by the most famous Magician in the History of the Modern World!"

Thus Houdini had to have come back from the dead. How else would he have owned a Harvard Leg iron from the 1940s, a Pratt come-along or Gill Lion Tamer thumb cuff from the 1930s?

He also owned a rare Hamburg Eight in its original Foth Lock Co. Box. (For those who don't understand the joke, the box in question is for the last of the Tower Double locking handcuffs, made by Hugo Foth in the 1940s.)

Just think of it, an original Harvard Leg iron owned by Houdini with a estimate of $2500-$6000.

Get your bids in now.

Joe
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 05:30PM)
I was leaning towards the piece that was signed in ballpoint myself. Boy, Harry was sure on the cutting edge for his time.
Message: Posted by: Paul Reardon (Oct 12, 2004 07:23PM)
Hi All,
Are the auction item descriptions up on the web anywhere?
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 07:37PM)
I'm not sure on the descriptions but you can spend $35.00 to get a Catalog. http://www.insyscom.com/houdini/houdini.htm this should help you.

Looky Here Just Found It http://www.crgauction.com/docs/Houdini/catalog_Houdini.html Pricey Stuff anyone Care to Mortage Their House ?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 07:51PM)
But the catalog is still not out yet. And nothing corrected or added to the site in a month.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 08:12PM)
I just looked at a bunch of stuff that is supposed to be in the auction. item #379 is the water torture cell http://www.crgauction.com/docs/Houdini/379.jpg now if houdini was 5 ft 4 in and the torture cell is 5 ft. how did Houdini have room for his head and on the posters you see excess room ?
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Oct 12, 2004 08:34PM)
I have a pair of Harvards, I'll let them go at the LOW LOW price of only $1,000 :lol: Heck I'll even throw a pair of Harvard Leg Irons in for free AND if you act now I'll add 4 Harvard keys into your package. ;)
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 09:07PM)
I guess with the stock above the ankles and the ankles outside the cell, you could pick up the four inches.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 09:07PM)
You'll figure with all of the keys they have for the Auction they could at least find something for the handcuffs that don't have keys.
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 12, 2004 09:09PM)
Dear Don, Houdini was 5ft 4 and the cell is 5 ft.
If you look closely at photos with Houdini in the cell, his feet stick out the top. Plenty of room for his head. No mystery there.

Ian
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 09:11PM)
Ok How about His Milk Can why is it so small and the ones made now adays are so big ?
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 12, 2004 09:20PM)
Don, Houdini had his milk can made to suit him. Unless the can is custom made to suit the individual, any maker will make a generic size to as many people as they can so they can sell the one size to all. Same reason that ratchet handcuffs took over from Darby 104's
Milk Cans though are not adjustable.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 09:37PM)
Funny one about the keys! I'm not a cuff meister, but from what I hear is that most are gaffed already.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 10:05PM)
I know I hear he used gaffed ones to. I'm beginning to wonder if his challenges were actully true or if they were rigged. also for the milk can is that the same one Randi used in Happy Days. I also heard that one of his milk cans got repaired in the 40's because something happened to it ( I forget what Folks )
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 12, 2004 10:15PM)
I would go with the handcuff challenges were legit. When Houdini was in this phase of his career and using the challenge, handcuffs wouldn't be your normal house hold item. He would have to have some on hand to keep the show going. Why kill yourself if you didn't have to? He's body took enough of a beating that probably would have killed or at least retired a lesser man.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 12, 2004 10:34PM)
I know it's just some of the stuff you read then you hear something else. Don,
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Oct 13, 2004 03:59AM)
In fact, Houdini had both legit and rigged challenges. The latter were brought in for varied reasons, including a unique promotional angle, or lack of an interesting challenge being offered for a particular gig.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 13, 2004 08:04AM)
To me, the only cuffs which are Houdini's are the Russian manacle, Mirror, French handcuff with letter lock and the Bell lock handcuff. The Séance handcuff is still a bit of a mystery as to it’s origin.

It is alleged by a certain magician and friend of the Houdini relatives that a renowned collector Houdini handcuffs once said "any handcuffs that pass through my hands belonged to Houdini". Well known for his association with Hardeen and having obtained from Hardeen the so called Houdini handcuff collection, the prominence has, it is also alleged given rise to other cuffs not belong to Houdini or Hardeen being sold off as having belonged to Houdini. With this in mind and the fact that there is no providence going directly back to Houdini or Hardeen for each individual handcuff, I would be sceptical of any.

Added to this as Mr Lauher has already pointed out, some cuffs didn’t even exist during Houdini’s time and that the Water torture cell was completely burnt (photos of the burnt cell showed only really the metal work) which I assume most would have been unserviceable due to the heat. This cell is advertised as restored when it should be said that the cell has been rebuilt. More likely it is probably 90% new.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 13, 2004 08:44AM)
Well, I never collected cuffs for the reason the provenance could always come into play. I know I only have one set off Houdini cuffs in all the years I collected Houdini and I must have seen seen a few hundred. The cuffs came out of his basemnet and were sold in the 1980 Houdini sale. They are stamped Houdini and are gaffed.

That's why I always stuck with ephemera or a legit autograph. Not the clipped pieces you see on Ebay etc. I rather have an item that you can see across a room and you know it's Houdini than a piece that could be even remotely suspect.

Don't forget that the Raymond trunk full of cuffs etc. are still in play. They're out there somewhere. ;)
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 13, 2004 12:53PM)
What year did the McKenzie Mitts Come about. Don,
Message: Posted by: lauher (Oct 13, 2004 03:43PM)
The McKenzie Prisoner's Mitt was patented on March 10, 1925. So it is quite possible that Houdini own a pair or two. Even though he was no longer doing a handcuff act he would have been interested in such a novel cuff.
Joe
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 13, 2004 03:57PM)
Ian-

After reviewing the collection, I believe any equipment I wish to procure will be purchased from you.

Houdini's stuff just seems a bit over priced and looks pretty warn. ;)

Mac
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 02:10AM)
Hi Lloyd, I hope to do more business with you in the future, my stuff is less expensive that the supposed Houdini items. It is a problem when time passes and the history and origins of the items are lost or the future seller, says he cannot really remember what the history is.

At the moment there are lots of escape related items being purchased off Ebay for a museum of escapes and I am sure that they will one day be sold off with obscure provenance. I am saving many of the pictures for the future just to see if my theory is right.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 14, 2004 02:50AM)
Ian-

More than likely your theory is correct, as it is basic human nature.

But darn, there goes my idea about buying that steel straight jacket and declairing it was the one originally used by Tony Curtis. ;)

Best to you, and keep up the phantastique work.
Mac
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 14, 2004 03:00AM)
Loyd go ahead and Do it Who will be the Wiser. or say its a Replica of the one from the Movie Houdini
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 03:02AM)
Hi Lloyd, you do know that, that steel strait jacket still exists and it was owned by Houdini and was lent to make the movie by Hardeen.

I know it's some peoples human nature and I wasn't around to keep my eye on the SR collection but I will try to on current museums. It is sad when history is tainted by future generations. Some of us complain about what has been lost from the past and yet we allow it to happen in our own time.


Ian
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 14, 2004 06:50AM)
And yet more on the size Water Torture Cell, the “Stocks” that held Houdini’s locked around his ankles were really a box that was about 5 inches deep (giving a air pocket) and are not added to the measurement of the “cell” properly. So really you have a device that is about 5’ 5” tall from the floor, plus add the three or so inches for his feet and you have his head several inches off the floor of the Cell.

When Houdini performed it there was a metal “grid” placed inside. It was supposed to keep him safe from being pulled against sharp glass shards IF the glass had to be broken. It looked like a metal ladder (and it was!). Imagine doing a suspended-upside-down sit-up at a diagonal (one of the secrets of the escape). That grid/ladder is a big help. A photo of the Grid in place is at: http://members.tripod.com/~Houdinez/hou17.html

I had the opportunity to be suspended inside the cell that used to be part of the Houdini Museum at Niagara Falls once years (and years) ago. No water of course. I am a tad shorter than Houdini and found that I had plenty of room to play inside! I could not do the diagonal sit-up required to execute the escape. The grid had been long lost!

I was working with a fellow who was measuring the cell to build a replica. It was built, used, and who knows where it is today? I only hope that it is not being touted as "real".

Actually, I thought that Houdini was shorter than 5” 4” and lied about his height.

There were a number of items at the auction that I wish I had the money for. Alas, having a real piece of Houdini is not for me!
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 14, 2004 07:53AM)
I never heard that the steel jacket was on loan from Hardeen to make the Tony Curtis movie. He was already dead 5-6 years by the time filming started. My feelings is that there were two steel jackets used in the movie. The legit one and a gaffed one. You can see the gaff at the end of the routine.

As for the Chines Water Torture cell, Houdini didn't always have the "grid" in the front. That came later after I guess tweaking by HH.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 14, 2004 08:34AM)
I heard Houdini was any where from 5 ft 2 in to 5 ft 7 in.
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 14, 2004 12:59PM)
I understand (from a reliable source) :rolleyes: that this very steel jacket originally was made for Houdini by none other than the noted mechanical artist, Robert Houdin, ;) who took meticulous measurements to insure a correct fit. However due to a misunderstanding over Houdini using Houdin’s name a rift in their relationship ensued. Leaving famed Houdini impresario, Dixie Dooley :wow: to be contracted by Houdini to do the final assembly work for him, in Vegas :bg:

Fortunately, :idea: I am in the process of purchasing this rare find, and will be offering them "?" to the EA community by spring. :wink:

Ah humbug, ain’t it great?
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 14, 2004 01:05PM)
LOL Has anyone Bought that Line.
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 14, 2004 01:07PM)
Well I just received two orders. :lol:
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 14, 2004 01:21PM)
LOL How Much are they going for why not place it on E-Bay
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 01:54PM)
Dear Kevin, you are right, Hardeen was dead, I should have said Dunninger who got it from Hardeen.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 14, 2004 02:38PM)
Like I said before, cuffs, etc. are not my thing. Do you think there were a gaffed one and legit one? The last time I heard, one of these was in the UK.
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 05:12PM)
Dear Kevin, if your message was in regard to the steel strait jacket (the original) there was only one and it was gaffed ( rather poorly ) part of which can be seen in the Tony curtis movie. David DeVal (UK) did have a design or two in his books to make a steel strait jacket but I am not aware if he did make one himself or use one ( UK readers might help me out on this)
the only SSJ's I know of are the ones I have been making. (some of which have been purchased in England)

regards

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 14, 2004 05:26PM)
Ian,

I rememebr seeing one auctioned off a few years ago over here. I then heard it went to the UK. For all I know, it could be in Vegas at the lingerie store.

I still go with being at least two in the movie.

As for the movie, I'm looking to buy a working script or any paraphernalia from the Houdini movie with Tony Curtis. You can start by sending the Houdini poster that was used in the movie that Curtis in it at the last fade out. :)

Best Always,
Kevin
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 06:36PM)
Hi Kevin, what is your thinking for two SSJ's in the movie??

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 14, 2004 07:07PM)
Ian,

Because in one scene the hasp for the lock is functioning and in another the hasp and lock are swinging upwards(?) together, on a hinge. Sorry for the poor description.

Best Always....Kevin
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 09:43PM)
Hi Kevin, It is the one jacket only. The Staple of the hasp and staple is the gimmicked part and is made to come away from the jacket so one can escape. The bar at the back comes apart in a similar manner which is why Curtis put the bar onto of the folded jacket while in the challenges arms.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Oct 14, 2004 10:34PM)
Ian,

I'll have to bow to your expertise. As I remember it, there was no seams etc. near the hasp. To me, the first time you see the jacket the base of the hasp is securely on the jacket. Later on you see the gimmick flopping up.

I can't even find my copy of the movie! I just looked all over. I guess I might as well invest in the DVD.

Thanks for the help,
Kevin
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 14, 2004 11:41PM)
Hi Kevin, I have just got a copy of the DVD and it's good to see it again and use it to study the movie.

Ian

Kevin, I have taken the liberty to email you a drawing of explanation. please check your regular email.

Ian
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 15, 2004 12:56AM)
Ian-

All joking aside, this has been very interesting and informative regarding the SSJ. I had no idea that Houdini ever used such an item. Assuming that with all the artistic liberties Hollywood took this was just another.

Best to you.

Mac
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 15, 2004 02:05AM)
Hi Mac, I didn't understand the jokes, a cultural thing I guess, thought they might have been 'In' jokes.

I was very surprised when I found out that the SSJ was a real escape method device and that it was either owned by Houdini or made for Houdini ( I cannot remeber right now) I had always thought like most that it was Hollywood license to 'trick' up the movie, but alas not this time.

All the best from Aussieland, Fairdinkum mate!

Ian
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 15, 2004 06:51AM)
Ian I think you just mentioned what Lloyd was trying to say about Hollywood. they do Fabricate a lot of stuff and come up with a lot of stuff that is not true. Don,
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 15, 2004 08:14AM)
Dear Don, Hollywood wouldn't really do that would they?

thanks for that Don, and to think I always thought it was all true and especially Doris Day being a nice girl. ( I don't know how to put those little icons in my message to suggest what I am thinking, you'll just have to guess.)

Ian
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 15, 2004 08:37AM)
Ian Hollywood does a lot of things they shouldn't ( sings the ( k sera sera where ever you will be you will be )
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 15, 2004 09:02AM)
Dear Don, you are very insightful. thank you oh wise one, out here in Australia they have just invented the radio, so we miss out on a lot of what is happening.

You are heading quickly to the 2000 post mark now.
keep up the fine work.

Ian
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 15, 2004 10:07AM)
LOL Ian I doubt your serious about the radio being just invented there. as for post 2000 I'm sorry but the next goal is 10,000 and that will be a while yet. Don,
Message: Posted by: Lloyd McDonald (Oct 16, 2004 01:17AM)
Thanks Mate- sorry about the humor, all in good fun though. No "inies."
Hope next time you make it to the states we can share a few stubbies.

Don it’s true what Ian says about the radio. Last time I was in OZ they were networking their computers with two cans and some string. The downloads were accomplished with rabbit ears, and the keypads were nothing more than a telegraph keys, but you should have seen how fast the trained roos worked them. :lol:
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 16, 2004 02:41AM)
Hi Lloyd, now that's aussie humour. Good one mate.
Ian
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 16, 2004 03:23AM)
Hi, this has nothing to do with the original post. But with the Houdini film. Does anyone know where I can get it? I've not had a lot of luck in my search for it.

Cheers,

Ros
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Oct 16, 2004 08:12AM)
Hi Roslyn, This not much help but I got my copy as an asian import. Houdini with Tony Curtis and asian character subtitles. Not too distracting as they don't make words which I would understand so they don't drawn my attention from the film. Great quality recording.

Ian
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 16, 2004 09:33AM)
Ros seems like you get the VHS then get it copied on a DVD. Don, P.S. how do the Rabbit Ears Work if theres Fur on them. Don,