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December 11 2009 at 11:52 PM

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Re: funeral

December 12 2009, 12:05 AM 

THE NEW YORK TIMES November 3, 1926 Page 23, Column 4


Services at Elks Club by Jewish Theatrical Guild, N.V.A., Masons and Magicians

Funeral services for Harry Houdini, noted magician who died on Sunday in Detroit, will be held tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Elks clubhouse in West Forty-third Street, when his associates on the stage and in the realm of magic will join to pay him tribute. Internment will be in the family plot at Machpelah Cemetery, Cypress Hills, Queens, in accordance with the magicians request that he be buried at the right side of his mother and that her letters to him be placed in his coffin.

Rabbi Bernard Drachman and Rabbi B.A. Tintner will officiate at the Elks Club services. Brief eulogies will be delivered by Loney Haskell, representing the Jewish Theatrical Guild, and Henry Chesterfield, Secretary of the National Vaudeville Artists. Ritualistic rites will be conducted by the New York Lodge No. 1, B.P.O.E.: the St. Cecile Lodge of Masons and the Society of American Magicians.

The pallbearers will be E.F. Albee, J.J. Murdock, Martin Beck, William Morris, L. Lawrence Weber, Lee Shubert, Mark A. Luescher, Charles Dillingham, Richard E. Enright, Adolph S. Ochs, William Johnson, Adolph Zukor, Orson Munn, Arthur Prince, Bernard M.L. Ernst, Professor Brandon Matthews, Joseph F. Rinn, Sophie Irene Loeb, Bernard Gimbel, Francis Werner and Oscar Teale.

The pallbearers will be members of the magicians troupe who appeared with him in performances for many years.

The body of Houdini arrived in New York from Detroit yesterday morning and was taken from Grand Central Station to the West End Funeral Chapel, 200 West Ninety-first Street, where it will remain until tomorrow. Accompanying the body were the widow, Mrs. Beatrice Houdini; his sister, Gladys Houdini; his brothers, Theo Hardeen and Nat Weiss; James Collins, technical assistant to Houdini for twenty years; Sophie Rosenblatt, for many years the nurse of the magician, and H. Elliott Stuckel, his business manager. A large gathering of friends and relatives met the funeral party at the station.

It was said yesterday that plans for Houdinis body to lie in state had been abandoned when such procedure was found not to be in sympathy with the wishes of his family.


Re: funeral

December 12 2009, 12:11 AM 

Among the pallbearers at Harry Houdinis funeral were the noted Broadway producers Charles Dillingham and Adolph Zukor.

As they lifted the elaborate casket to their shoulders, Dillingham whispered to Zukor, "Suppose he isn't here!"

Kevin Connolly


December 12 2009, 12:35 AM 

I didn't even know he was sick! (rimshot)

Edward Albee was one of the pallbearers too.

Nice posts. wink.gif

Patrick Culliton

Thanks you!

December 12 2009, 1:14 AM 

I have looked at the shot of the pallbearers again and again. Unfortunately, only half the pallbearers get their faces on camera.
The clearest picture I saw was on the Coyote Run documentary: Houdini People Came to See Him Die.
I can't commit as to whether I see Franz/Frank Kukol/Williamson or not.
On the other hand, he has a nice spot in Haldane of the Secret Service, and I'm positive of that identification.
Collins died Mar 6, 1942 and before Harold James Vickery died Nov 5, 1954, he said he was the last of the assistants still alive.
I wonder what happened to Franz Kukol and his family? We know they made it through WW1, but, did they survive WW2?
Did the family ever reunite?
In September 1918, Frank Kukol said he was working as the assistant manager of the Majestic Theatre--this was not the Broadway theatre of that name--it was a movie palace at 185th and St Nicholas St. New York City.


Re: funeral

December 12 2009, 5:37 AM 

All the pallbearers are wearing yarmulkes.

If you can find Franz and his family, maybe you can locate another four to six million people who just vanished from the face of the earth between the two world wars.

Erich Weiss had nothing to do with that.

Patrick Culliton

Frank Kukol Pallbearer

December 16 2009, 11:08 PM 

I've never tried to post photos before. Hope this works!
I believe that Frank Kukol is the last man on the visible side of Houdini's coffin in the footage. This blurry screen grab is the best I can do, but I know there are still photos which show the assistants.
[linked image]
Here are Franz and Houdini in 1907.
[linked image]
[linked image]
In this photo of Houdini having his blood pressure checked before the Shelton Pool Test, the man in the bathing suit directly behind him is Frank.
[linked image]


Re: funeral

December 17 2009, 4:40 AM 

something tells me there will soon be a whole bunch of stuff on ebay soon marked accordingly

Patrick Culliton


December 17 2009, 12:57 PM 

I cannot speak for Kukol's wife, Anna, or the kids, but, Franz wasn't Jewish or he would not have been an officer in the Austrian Army. Collins was Irish, Vickery was British of Irish extraction. The two Hardeen boys were raised Christian. That's five pallbearers, at least, that were wearing ceremonial yamulkes.
The holocaust is another matter, but, Harry Houdini Kukol was named after a very famous Jew. I hope he made it through. He would have been military age in WW2.
You know, in watching the funeral footage, I picked up on the shock the mourners were in. For Franz/Frank, losing Houdini must have been like losing John Kennedy was to Robert Kennedy.

Patrick Culliton

pallbearers and honorary pallbearers

January 10 2010, 10:01 PM 

I've been reading the previous posts again. Charles Dillingham and Adolph Zukor never had Houdini's coffin on their shoulders. They were honorary pallbearers.
The footage at the cemetery shows the actual pallbearers: Jim Vickery, Jimmy Collins, Frank Williamson (Franz Kukol), Joseph Vittorelli, John Arden, and Elliott Sandford. They all worked on the full-evening show, At the cemetery, none of them are wearing yamulkes. In the cemetery footage there is a seventh man I believe to be Theo Hardeen Jr.
[linked image]
The assistants on the side of the coffin further from camera are (left to right) Jim Vickery, Jimmy Collins and Frank Williamson AKA Franz Kukol.

Patrick Culliton

Photo size

January 10 2010, 10:12 PM 

Hey! How do you get a photo to appear larger than a postage stamp?
Other guys do it.
What's the trick?

Kevin Connolly

Re: funeral

January 10 2010, 11:24 PM 

Don't forget Alfred Beck too. happy.gif

I don't know how to make the image larger here. Sorry.

Patrick Culliton

Re: funeral

January 10 2010, 11:53 PM 

Hey, Kevin,
You said Alfred Beck, but, I knew you meant Martin Beck.
I'll bet Alfred Becks was there in spirit.

Kevin Connolly

Re: funeral

January 11 2010, 12:42 AM 

I must be losing it. I've been working on my site and just popped over. I meant E.F. Albee! I think it's time for the home for me.


Photo Size

January 11 2010, 3:48 AM 

Learning from my own mistakes - I was told if you remove the "th_" from the link to the photo then it will not view as a thumbnail size image. I'm no expert though.

Mike Zajac

harry h. hardeen

February 1 2010, 1:29 PM 

What did theo hardeens children do for a living?

Patrick Culliton

I'm working from memory here

February 2 2010, 8:45 PM 

I believe that the older son, Theo, was career military--maybe in the legal area. George Hardeen told me his dad, Harry, worked for the government and later privately, in the area of security.
That's not much, and I'm not sure of it. I'll see what I can get from ancestry.com.

Patrick Culliton

Theo and Harry Hardeen

February 2 2010, 10:44 PM 

Theo Hardeen Jr. was born 20 Dec 1905 in England. He died in Charlottesville, VA in Jun 1984. His wife was named Elizabeth.
Harry Hardeen was born 13 Jan 1909 in New York and died 23 Nov 1988 in Danbury, Connecticut. His wife was Ruth.

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