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Profile of Prober
There have been several postings about Houdini's principal three assistants here but almost exclusively about Franz Kukol and Jim Collins - does anyone have any information about the other one - James Vickery? He seems to be the most elusive in terms of background.
I'm trying to track down what happened to Houdini's plane after it was shipped back to the UK in 1910 from Australia; it's known that Vickery supervised it's initial storage in a warehouse in south London and that HH wrote a letter signing over ownership to one Donald Stevenson (an aviation engineer) in return for covering storage costs to date in 1913, but nothing after that.
Any information regarding Vickery's history or descendants would be much appreciated.
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Jim Vickery was born feb 14, 1885 in St. Pancras, London and died Nov 5, 1954 in Union City, New Jersey. He had an older brother, Frederick George Vickery, who appears to have worked for Houdini in 1905, and, it appears, joined Houdini in the states in 1907-8 when Houdini introduced the Milk Can. Apparently Fred Vickery painted the artwork for Hardeen's Monarch of Manacles poster.
I don't find Jim Vickery with Houdini until 1908 in England, then, he remains with Houdini for the rest of the magician's life. The Vickerys were of Irish descent.
After Houdini's death, Vickery toured with Hardeen for several years and while he helped out on many of Hardeen's shows until the end of Hardeen's life, he left the business and was not in the Hellzapoppin cast.
He married Pauline Rey. He had three children: Wallace who was career military, Ruby, and James Mitchell Vickery, an actor. You can see him on youtube in a Hogan's Heroes called "Color the Luftwaffe Red." he was married to Colleen Dewherst and Diana Muldaur.
It is sad to think that not a trace of Houdini's plane exists. At least that's how it looks. Many people have tried to find it. Nothing? Not a prop, or the fabric from the tail, or a wheel? That is a very historic plane! I mean WAS.
What I regret is that I acted on different episodes of shows Jim Vickery the actor was in. I met and chatted with his wife a couple of times. I never knew Diana Muldaur's married name or that she was married to the son of Houdini's assistant. She was staying near where I lived in Laurel Canyon when she was working on "McCloud" with Dennis Weaver, but, lived in Pacific Palisades with Jim. I just missed meeting him.
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