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Showing posts from April, 2018

Effie Lorraine

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When Houdini opened in Boston at the end of February 1906, his performances became the talk of the town. Over the next six weeks, Houdini escaped from handcuffs, ropes, packing cases, paper bags, wicker hampers, straitjackets, and even a witch’s chair. He made the front page with his escape from a jail cell in Boston’s famous Tombs Prison. There was so much interest in Houdini’s performances that standing-room-only crowds occupied part of the stage. The Houdini craze was on.

Two weeks after the escapist closed, Austin and Stone’s Museum announced that Mons. and Mme. Bellyea would introduce “‘The Missing Princess’ a la Houdini.” In the newspaper advertisements, the billing was “Bellyea, King of Cards,” with no mention of Mme. Bellyea.

That changed the next week. Mme. Bellyea’s performances must have been the highlight of the act, as the billing changed to “Bellyea and Effie Lorraine introducing the most Marvelous Trunk Mystery.” The effect was Lorraine escaping from a box, placed insi…