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Sunday, December 02, 2007

EH in American Weekly 

The highly sensationalistic Hearst Sunday supplement, The American Weekly, ran a long story on April 4, 1943 that made the wild claim that Elsie Houston's death was the result of a voodoo curse. A piece of highly imaginative fiction that gets many facts completely wrong (including the name of EH's husband), it nevertheless offers some details about her final days that might be true. It reports that her nightclub act, newly established (at the Monte Carlo, according to my records), was received negatively, with audiences laughing at her signature "invocation to the war god." Her contract was not to be renewed. Apparently debt-ridden, this, plus a quarrel with her "husband," Marcel Courbon, was what finally pushed her over the edge.

Another curiosity: the story reports that EH had been set to serve as technical advisor to (and appear in) a film with French silent film star, Catherine Hessling. It never materialized (the story blames ghosts and demons).

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