In November 1915 Houdini was on the Orpheum circuit performing the Water Torture Cell or the “Upside Down” as he called it. By day he created publicity by performing his famous Straitjacket escape while suspended from a high building above a swarming crowd of onlookers below on the street. Hardeen was touring for Pantages. The brothers played as rival acts. Hardeen was performing his brothers old Handcuff Escape routine but was still drawing crowds. Below is an article from November 18, 1915 that mentions both Houdini and Hardeen playing in Palo Alto California. It says Hardeen performed an 8 act show. What I would do to have a time machine to travel back to that week to see both of the brothers Houdini perform!
At the Theaters
"A Pair of Sixes" by Edward Peple is the farce offering for this week only at the Cort. Oscar Figman plays the lead. A dramatic sensation, "On Trial," is remaining at the Columbia for a third week. A great revolving stage gives the facilities needed for a realistic portrayal of this play. With Evelyn Vaughan back in the cast of players, "Kick In," Willard Mack's New York comedy success, is well received at the Alcazar. Herbert Bashford, a San Francisco writer, is the author of "The Woman He Married," which is being inter preted at the Wigwam theater this week, by the Lawrence-Oakley stock company. Houdini, "the genius of escape," headlines the Orpheum vaudeville menu for the second week. Idealistic comedy, musical novelty and farce acts, compose the remainder of the bill. Robert Mantell, greatest of Ameri can tragedians, makes his debut as a film star in the screen drama, "Rlind ness of Devotion," at the Empress this week. A number of vaudeville acts of merit are also shown. "King of the Handcuffs," is the title claimed by Hardeen, who heads an eight-act show at Pantages. Hippodrome vaudeville features the Seven Manjeans, accomplished acro bats. A five-reel movie feature com pletes the program. Motion picture specialties provide entertainment at the Imperial, Savoy, Portola, and Tivoli theaters.