This week in History Theo Hardeen brother of Harry Houdini appeared at Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles California. During the week he was challenged by a Shipping Crew to escape from a Box they built on the stage. He also escaped from a Crazy Crib.
In doing this research I discovered (without knowing it wasn’t something every Houdini historian wasn’t already aware of) that the original Pantages building still stands in Los Angeles. John Cox with Wild About Harry was startled when he saw my post of the Google picture of Pantages! It’s always fun when you discover something you didn’t even know you were looking for. To see some original pictures of Pantages and a recent picture go here. Hopefully John will get downtown and take some better pictures.
HARDEEN RETURNS Hardeen is coming back to Pantages. The handcuff expert, whose appearance here a year ago created a furore of comment on his sensational performance, will be the headline attraction on next week’s bill, once again giving the Los Angeles public an opportunity to speculate on his famous milk can trick and packing case mystery. Hardeen issues an open challenge to any police department to shackle him With their strongest irons and to anyone to construct a box ho cannot get out of.
Hardeen’s first show was on Monday January 22, 1917
Hardeen’s 2nd night at Pantages was on Tuesday January 23 1917
Los Angeles Herald Printed this challenge on Tuesday January 23 1917
Hardeen Is Challenged! (Letter) PEASE BROTHERS Los Angeles January) 23d, 1917. Hardeen, Pantages Theater, City. . , , Dear Sir:—During your last visit to Los Angeles, you were successful in escaping from n packing case which was constructed previous to the lest, and while we know that the packing case was wade in a legitimate manner, quite a number of people thought that it was prepared in some way for you to make your escape. Therefore, me hereby challenge you to allow our men to bring the lumber and tools to the Pantages and build a box on the stage in full view of the audience, then re-nail and rope the box under the same conditions as before. You must then make your escape without damaging the box in any manner. If these conditions are agreeable, kindly let me know when you will be prepared to make the test and me will have our men on hand to take their part. Very truly yours, PEASE BROS. FURNITURE COMPANY. Per J. W. Sanger.
He has accepted!
Hardeen the Handcuff King will try to get out of heavy packing case built by our champion shipping crew on the stage
Wednesday Night Pantages Theatre
Will he escape?
Pease Bros.Furniture Co. 640 So Hill St.
Los Angeles Herald Printed this on Wednesday January 24 1917
Having accepted the challenge from Pease Bros, to allow their shipping crew to nail him into a packing case of their own construction, Hardeen, the escape expert, will make the test tonight at Pantages. The crew of furniture packers declare that tho case they will build would bold anyone, Hardeen appears confident that a comparatively short time will see him out of the box. The conditions of the challenge read as follows: “We hereby challenge you to allow our men to bring the lumber and tools to Pantages theater and build n box on tbe stage in full view of the audience, then renail and rope tho box under the same conditions as before. You must make your escape without damaging the box In any manner.” Tonight the Pease Bros, packers will come up on the stage, carrying lumber and tools, and build a box that they claim will surelj’ Imprison Hardeen successfully. They will shackle him, spike the cover onto tho box and bind the box with heavy ropes. Then It Hardeen emerges free, leaving the box undamaged, he will win and the Pease challengers confess themselves beaten.
Hardeen’s 3rd night at Pantages was on Wednesday January 24 1917
On his final night he escaped from a “Crazy Crib”
Hardeen moved on to Pantages in San Diego on Saturday January 27th.
Picture of Pantages found at the Water and Power Associates web site. Picture of Pease Bros. Furniture Building from Google Maps.