View Full Version : Question about Houdini's brothers...
28th April 2005, 10:24 AM
As a boy, my goal in life was to become a magician and Houdini was my hero. Living about 20 miles west of Chicago when I was in my early teens, I used to get on a train and go down to Chicago's famous Maxwell street. (This was in the early 1960s). Maxwell Street was a dilapidated open-market where no young boy had any business at all but we had fun there. I remember walking somewhere in that area, perhaps on the walk back to the train station, and seeing an old locksmith shop. Being a young escape artist myself, I couldn't resist going in. It was a dusty old shop. Maybe I could buy some lock picks, etc. There was an old man at the counter and when he found out that I was a budding magician, he told me that he was Harry Houdini's brother and then told long stories about Houdini and himself. Even then, I was skeptical and I didn't know whether to believe him or not but years later I remember seeing something that indicated that he may have been telling the truth. It may have been an article in a newspaper.
I know that one of Houdini's brothers, Theo (Hardeen), was also a magician but I cannot seem to find much information about him at all - where he ended up, where and when he died, etc. I can find no information about Houdini's other brothers. Does anyone know if one of Houdini's brothers may have ended up as a locksmith in Chicago? When did Hardeen die?
28th April 2005, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by ZoneIII
When did Hardeen die?
1945. He was 69.
Leopold was New York's first X-ray specialist.
William died in 1924.
28th April 2005, 04:15 PM
Oddly, the old guy would have been about the age that Hardeen would have been if he had lived that long - mid to late 80s. Do you know if Houdini had any other brothers besides the three? As I mentioned previously, I vaguely remember reading something years after that incident about a brother of Houdini living or dying in Chicago. I don't remember the specifics but I do remember thinking at the time, "That darn old guy might have been telling me the truth!" I had forgotten about this long ago but something today reminded me of it.
28th April 2005, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by ZoneIII
Do you know if Houdini had any other brothers besides the three?
Harry Houdini had four brothers: Theodore, Leopold, Nathan and William. Houdini also had and a sister, Carrie.
28th April 2005, 04:51 PM
Do you know anything about Nathan? Was it possible that he became a locksmith and ended up in Chicago?
28th April 2005, 05:08 PM
Other sources name a brother, Herman, and a sister, Gladys.
According to this source (http://www.curiouschapbooks.com/Catalog_of_Curious_Chapbooks/Red_Magic__Houdini_s_Secret/body_red_magic__houdini_s_secret.html):
There Erich Weiss was born to Samuel and Cecilia Weiss, along with brothers Herman (1863), Nathan (1868), William (1870), Theo (1876), Leopold (1879), and sister Gladys (1891).
This source (http://www.foxvalleyhistory.org/houdini/HHlastwill.html) contains, "older businessman-brother Nathan."
28th April 2005, 05:23 PM
Source of information in my first post in this thread. (http://www.magictricks.com/houdini/bio.htm)
28th April 2005, 06:44 PM
Interesting reading. Thanks for the links. It all brings back memories. I still have several Houdini biographies somewhere in my libary from my childhood collection. I'm going to have to dig them out and re-read them.
In my old age (55) I am beginning to relearn magic, primarily to amaze my seven grandchildren but I'm having a ball with adults as well. It's going to take a while for these scarred and knarled fingers to master sleight-of-hand again but it will come back.
I must be in my second childhood!
Thanks again for your time and help.
10th May 2005, 08:53 PM
Hello ZoneIII, maybe you should e-mail Randi your story?
I'm sure he'd be interested to read it and he's probably one of the greatest authorities on Houdini.
Give it a try!
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