Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Houdini and the Welsh Brothers Circus

(library of congress photo)
Today, May 1st, marks the 118th Anniversary of the first day of work for Bess and Harry Houdini with the Welsh Brothers Circus. According to the fine book, "Metamorphosis" by Bruce MacNAB, they signed for a 5 month tour with a weekly salary of $25.

The circus was run by John and Michael H. Welsh and based out of Lancaster Pennsylvania.  The Houdini's presented their Sub-trunk Routine along with a second sight demonstration. They also had other duties as well, among them A Punch & Judy Show, Bess as a singing clown and Harry's work as a Wild Man.

In the beginning of the movie "HOUDINI" starring Tony Curtis, we see Harry pretending to be the Wild Man of Borneo. Apparently, the real Houdini played 'Projea, The Wild Man of Mexico'.

The Houdini's presented their act 226 times in that five month period. And according to Harry the Welsh Brothers "fed their performers extra well."

Harry and Bess would return to the Welsh Brothers at a later date, but on far different terms.
A building that was 'papered' by the Welsh Brothers Circus Advertisements

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