In 1918 Houdini was a busy man. Among his many projects was the creation of a Temple of Mystery. This was going to be a theatre in NY devoted to magic. Part theatre and part museum, the Houdini Temple of Mystery would employ all the latest gadgetry and gizmos to make the experience fun and educational for all who attended. However, it was not to be. Friends cautioned Houdini not to get involved in such an expensive project during war times.
The idea apparently was not completely dead. Jump ahead fifteen years and Houdini has long passed on. Hardeen however is now the busy performer. During a 1933 summer run in Atlantic City Hardeen opens The Houdini Temple of Mystery on the Steel Pier. From reports of the time, the hall was very large and his run was quite successful. Jim Collins was his chief assistant and Mrs. Collins acted as stage manager.
|The entrance to the Temple is on the far left of the photo|
Hardeen, who was in his late 50's at this point, was doing the Underwater Packing Crate Escape, TWICE DAILY from the Steel Pier, this according to a blurb in the July 1935 Issue of The Sphinx.
The Temple of Mystery ran from , at least from 1933-1935, I can't find any record past that.
*One note. I understand the Nov. Genii has an article on Hardeen appearing on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I haven't read it or seen it and I HOPE I have not duplicated anything that was in the article, though I have a feeling the article just dealt with having Hardeen's character in this TV show.
Oh, this is gold. A lot here I didn't know. I've always been intrigued about this "theater" because of that top photo (which I think is from the book "Conjuring" ? -- something like that, lime green cover). Mrs. Collins was the stage manager? I didn't even know there was a Mrs. Collins. :p Love that Bessie visited. Good stuff. Thanks as always. I'm linking to this on my blog.ReplyDelete
Glad you liked it. I'm actually amazed at some of the things I've found the last day or so.ReplyDelete
In Magic Magazine, April 2001 (page 52) there is an article "Gags and Riches" by Gabe Fajuri which talks about Jules Traub. It says that Traub was a partner in this production with Hardeen and that it did run for only three summers.
The Starbucks at the Tropicana has a great photo of the Steel Peir with the Mystery Theater and Amos and Andy on the Marquis.ReplyDelete