The Detroit News tells us of a great opportunity to connect with the great Harry Houdini.
Jamie Flora is more than just a fan of Harry Houdini. He owns bricks from a home that may have been built from with materials salvaged from the demolition of The Garrick Theatre in Detroit.
Okay, it is a stretch but it is better than any connection Inside Magic can currently claim; especially since we learned recently blow driers were not even invented when Houdini was performing and we likely bought a piece of junk from that nice old lady.
Mr. Flora researched the construction lineage of his Plymouth, Michigan home and came to the inescapable conclusion – there may be some connection!
Consider the following factors if you will:
First, Mr. Flora’s house was built in 1928 — the year they tore down The Garrick Theatre in Detroit.
Second, his home was made, at least in part, of bricks.
Third, some of the bricks used in the construction of his house likely came from the demolition site.
Fourth, Houdini performed his last show on the Garrick stage in 1926.
Fifth, The Garrick Theatre was world-renown for its unique style of brick work. No, not really.
Sixth, even though It is tough to tell one brick from another, not all bricks look a like.
Seventh, the story is in the newspaper and that usually means it must be true.
So there you have it. What more need be said.
The price for a brick depends on the mounting and whether you desire a historical plaque. The basic model will set you back about $450.00 USD and the super-duper version sells for just under $1,000.00 USD.
There are about 300 left.
Mr. Flora sold approximately three so far. He donated one of the bricks to David Copperfield to use in the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas.
There are skeptics to be sure.
Kevin Connolly isn’t convinced. The member of the Magic Collectors Association has about 3,000 Houdini-related pieces, but said the brick isn’t any more valuable than a paperweight — even with concrete proof of origin.
“To me it’s just a novelty. You’ve got to have provenance this is Houdini’s,” Connolly said. “When you look at my stuff you know that’s Houdini’s. That’s the quality I want. I don’t want questionable stuff.”
Harsh! It is so hard to say in cases like this. On one hand, it is clear bricks were used in the construction of both the theatre and Mr. Flora’s home. But on the other hand, if they really were Houdini influenced bricks, wouldn’t the Great Showman send us some message?
Did he not tell Bess that if he should ever come back in the form of building supplies, he would use some sort of code to let her know that it was him? We read that somewhere. Maybe that is just a myth spread by the guys down at the Union Hall to scare the younger brick-layers.
Inside Magic has a policy to not opine on issues of spirit infusion vis-a-vis commercial structures. If the bricks had been taken from Houdini’s home, a non-commercial structure, this web site would certainly announce its decision. Unfortunately, rules are rules.
The sad thing, though, is that we know for sure the little hairs entangled in our Magic Blow Drier are not from Houdini. Actually, that is both sad and disgusting. But so is chewing dog biscuits with your mouth open.