Houdiniana

by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
April 9, 2016 10:00 AM CST Live auction
Chicago, IL, US | Auction Details

602 Lots

101: Locked Double Slates Used by Remigius Weiss to Expose Spirit Medium Henry Slade, as Profiled by Harry Houdini in “A Magician Among the Spirits.” Nineteenth century hinged wooden slates with incorporated iron lock and original key, being a piece of apparatus used to expose Henry Slade’s practice, from the session eventually eliciting the confession from Slade that Houdini, quoting from Weiss, reproduced in A Magician Among the Spirits (1924). 8 ½ x 6 ½”. Accompanied by a Typed Letter Signed by Houdini (Aug. 2, 1923) to Weiss relating to Houdini’s inspection of the slates and to the signed confession that, Houdini writes, “bears out your story to me,” continuing to say “I will open [the slates] at my leisure.” In turn, the slates bear an inscription dated just days later in chalk by Houdini, faintly visible: “Dr. Slade failed. Forty years later slates were opened by Houdini./Aug 7 1923.” Inside, the slates are inscribed by “W.W.”: “your Slates are to [sic] small for our use – we will do more same very soon.” Also with an 1880 ALS from an unknown New York correspondent of Weiss’s, providing information on Slade’s criminal charges, relating that a conviction under the Vagrant Act in the Bow Street Police Court (London) in 1876 was reversed on appeal by “the presiding Judge (Segt. Cox) [who] was himself a Spiritualist and a firm believer in Slade.” Provenance traced to Oscar Teale, whose 1931 typed note of authenticity is included, indicating that the slates were to be sent to Frederick Eugene Powell. After Powell the slates were acquired by John Henry Grossman, whose set of photographic glass slides showing interior and exterior views of the slates are included.
Est: $20,000 - $30,000
120: Houdini, Harry. Twenty Six Minutes of Houdini Film Footage. Two canisters of 35mm film running just over twenty-six minutes. The footage — some of which is possibly unknown to Houdini scholars — was used to create the 1970 BBC documentary, The Truth About Houdini. The reels contain tantalizing glimpses of Houdini at his best — and at his worst. Scenes from The Master Mystery, including many of the first robot to appear in a motion picture, abound, as well as unedited scenes from Houdini’s funeral procession and the moving of his coffin, coverage of his Australian flight in his own biplane, and a number of public straight-jacket escapes, including various angles showing how Houdini was strapped in to the jacket and hoisted in the air. In one scene, he dangles from a rope in Washington, D.C. with the Washington monument in the background as he wriggles free. The Master Mystery scenes involving a chair escape and the robot are spliced together with shots not included in other releases of the footage, and they are also edited in a different manner. At the funeral, Bess Houdini is seen swathed in black crepe. Houdini’s brother and Houdini’s assistant Jim Collins are seen as pallbearers. A throng of thousands watches as his coffin is carried to a hearse. A number of sequences filmed in Paris are included, and this footage consists of out-takes from Houdini’s aborted projected called The Dupe. Material from that film was salvaged for inclusion in another Houdini serial, Haldane of the Secret Service. Sold together with beta masters of the footage as well as a recent DVD transfer of all footage. The broadcast quality film is some of the finest known, and offers both theatrical and real-life glimpses of the great escape artist taken from original nitrate film in the Houdini estate.
Est: $4,000 - $6,000

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