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Interview Transcripts | Further Reading

Dorothy Young, Houdini's assistant, on:
auditioning for Houdini

Dorothy Young I was in New York City with my family, prior to going back to school, to Beaver. And I was a little stagestruck girl, wanted to be a dancer, and I was the daughter of a Methodist minister, which was most unusual. But I saw an ad in the paper, Variety -- it’s a show business paper -- that said, "Girl dancer wanted for Broadway show and tour of the United States." Well, I went up to the Longacre Theater, and when I arrived, the stage was full of girls. I think I must have gone there for curiosity, because I sat way in the back, and I didn’t offer to audition. I saw two men sitting in the orchestra. I had no idea who they were. One was Houdini, and the other was Mr. Smith, his manager. At the end of the auditions, they asked me to audition, and they chose me. And they immediately took me over to their lawyer at West 44th Street. I signed a contract for a year. And also I was sworn to secrecy, never to divulge any of Houdini’s secrets.

Q: How old were you? What were your impressions?

I was 17 years old. I was 17 years, and rather a shy person. And I look back now and I wonder how I had the courage to go. Well, Mrs. H made my costumes. So they took me up to their brownstone in the Bronx, and they fitted me to the costumes, because we were to open in one week at Hartford.

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