Down Memory Lane With Hardeen, Magician and Handcuff King, Part 2 of 2

This is the continuation of Part 1 where I share more text from an incredible November 1933 New York Evening Journal article that goes down memory lane with Hardeen, Magician and Handcuff King:

While Houdini and his wife went with the Welsh Brothers Circus, I teamed up with Farmer Dan’s Place on the Island.  We featured the “Dancing Duck and Human Faced Chicken”  A dancing duck was any duck on a hot plate, lifting his feet to keep cool, and any chicken became human looking by cutting off the beak.

Martin Beck finally caught Harry’s act in a beer garden in Kansas City, became his manager and booked him to the Coast.  Although many persons claim to have made Houdini all credit should go to astute Martin Beck.

In 1900 Houdini went to Europe and created a furor at Berlin’s “Winter Garden,” on a bill with Ching Ling Soo, Lowell and Lowell and Everhardt, the Hoop Roller Ike Rose (who now has a midget troupe) booked them I received a cable from Houdini, “COME OVER, THE APPLES ARE RIPE” and catching the Deutschland, the then fastest boat afloat arrived in Berlin.  My brother had booked me as his own competitor and I became Hardeen.

As Hardeen sub-billed Houdini 2nd I opened at the Olympia Theatre, Magdeburg and played in Europe seven solid years.  Those were the happy days Houdini cleaning up in the States and Hardeen in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Came the day when Klaw and Erlanger decided to buck Keith.  Houdini was the Keith headliner and advised Klaw and Erlanger to get me their Advanced Vaudeville  Pat Casey offered me forty weeks and Jennie Jacobs started me off on the Vaudeville Fight in St. Louis along with Vinnie Daly, Lou Sully, The Keatons and James Harrigan.

Touring with the Keatons and giving my stateroom to Joe, Myra and Buster and a few little Keatons.  That night Sidney Grant stole the undies of the May Warden Dresden Dolls and wrapped them around the necks of the sleeping Crane Brothers.  Hawthorn and Burt, and the Glinseritties Troupe  That was Pullman comedy in 1907.

The Fred Niblo-Josephine Cohan and the Hardeens four-year old youngsters never sure which did belong to which until mine one day in Worchester shouted from the audience “Are you my daddy?”

That supper in Salt Lake City with participants the night before the Jim Flynn – Jack Dempsey fight, and having Sherriff John S. Corliss explain how he gives convicted murderers their choice of death – gas or shot!  Darn humane, I calls it.

Wilmer & Vincent booked me into their Colonial Theatre, Norfolk, Va, and it’s publicity man, W.T. Kirby, started the stunt of having me jump into a river handcuffed.  Rose Coghlan, Jolly Fanny Rice and Waid and Curran came down to the bridge to bid me “Adieu”.  The only damage was the collapse of an oyster dock, spilling hundreds of Negro spectators into the river.

Douglas Fairbanks Sophie Tucker and Rooney & Bent on the bill with me at Atlantic City’s Garden Pier Theatre.  Fairbanks objected to my feature billing after seeing my leap shackled into the Atlantic he said, You can have the billing”

Max Spiegal’s “Winning Widows” engaged me, Joe Fields, George B. Scanl0on and Florence Mills for the Gayety Theatre, Brooklyn.  A brewery company challenged me to escape from a vat of ale between the 1st and 2nd acts.  It was okay with me, but the chorus beat me to the ale and there never was a second act.

Scouting around for grasshoppers in Canton, Ohio, to feed Whippie Huston’s marmoset, with Harry and Eva Puck encouraging the marmoset to eat more.

Pantages books me and Orpheum books Houdini and we are rivals in all West Coast towns with the newspapers having us cutting each other’s throats – an just two loving brothers living off the fat of the land culminating in an expose on Thanksgiving Day at a dinner by us to Jack Londons and Alex Pantages.

Retiring from work to take charge of Harry’s film laboratories in Hoboken only to return when Houdini died and willed me his secrets.

5 thoughts on “Down Memory Lane With Hardeen, Magician and Handcuff King, Part 2 of 2

  1. Wow! That was great Joe! So it seems that Hardeen went to Coney Island with an animal cruelty act before Harry hit the big time.

    I’m sure the years between 1901 and 1913 really were the happy days for the brothers.

    • Thanks Leo!
      According to Bruce MacNab’s book, Farmers Dan’s was one of the smallest theatres at Coney Island and to add insult to injury, Hardeen was billed below a dancing duck and a human-faced chicken.

  2. It goes to show you that Dash wasn’t really going anywhere until Harry led the way. If anyone feels bad for Hardeen because Harry treated him like a second fiddle, they shouldn’t. Dash didn’t possess his brother’s genius and artistic vision, but he was loyal and that can get you far if you’re loyal to the right person.

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