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"The Last Handcuffs", second installment of five.

Quite heavy and large, the tops would have required a larger vehicle than we had for transport. Reluctantly, we abandoned them.


Turning to the storage room, I was greeted by stacks of brown paper wrapped packages, some of which had been opened and contents strewn around. There were copper cuts, leaflets, and mats, all of which pertained to Houdini's film projects, serving as promotional material. In a corner were bundles of the "Margery" exposure booklets, and pamphlets titled, Life and History of Hardeen. After selecting a few of each item for John and myself, I reentered the large central open area of the cellar.


I was transfixed by a lobby display board from which Houdini's face regarded me intensely. The painting had become grimy with time. Another large lobby display board, painted black, from which many cut wires protruded, still had a small metal plaque attached, with barely legible words referring to a jail lock that had once been affixed above it. I removed the plaque (which is now to be seen at the Houdini Historical Center).


A sweeping glance identified several metal trunks and a wooden box of drawers, next to be examined. There was much rubble everywhere that had to be stepped on or over, such as carpenters', plumbers', and electricians' tools and supplies, a treasure trove for maintaining a house. Two of the large trunks were empty, not prepared in any way to use in illusions except for storing or shipping purposes. The third trunk, with "Houdini 8" painted on it, demanded investigation.


Many of the items in this precious trunk and the box of drawers standing alongside are described by me in the December 1951 issue of MUM. They are the basis of an exhibit at the Houdini Historical Center. Trunk 8 yielded a book on mechanical movements and another on the steel square, that was autographed by J. Collins, Houdini's valued assistant. Separately tucked away in one of the adjacent box drawers, the inventory book of Houdini's successive shows was discovered. John and I gave all three books to the Library of Congress.

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