Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vintage postcard shows Houdini's (real) Hollywood home

Los Angeles Relics (click to enlarge)

Los Angeles Relics has posted this vintage postcard to their Facebook page. The card shows "A Shady Nook in Laurel Canyon. Hollywood, California." But to Houdini buffs, it shows much more!

This card was first unearthed by Houdini expert and Laurel Canyon resident, Patrick Culliton, who points out that the arched porch of a house, just visible between the tree branches, is 2435 Laurel Canyon Blvd., the REAL house that Houdini occupied when he was filming his movies for Famous Players-Lasky in 1919. It was later lived in by Bessie and Ed Saint until it was sold in 1935.

Of course, local legend has it that Houdini lived in the large estate across the street at what is now 2400 Laurel Canyon Blvd. That property is now called Houdini House and is rented out for events. Houdini is also sometimes associated with another mansion just up the street. But the truth is it was this four bedroom house on a bluff -- which was actually the guesthouse to the larger mansion -- that Houdini occupied. In fact, the owner of the larger mansion, Ralf Walker, named this guesthouse "Houdini House" after his famous tenet.

"Houdini House" was torn down in the 1960s when the bluff was graded back to widened Laurel Canyon Blvd. Today it is just empty hillside with the top of a modern street light (visible in the pic on the right) showing the approximate location of the old house.

Site of "Houdini House" today

You can read more about the real "Houdini House" at Patrick Culliton's website, Houdini's Ghost.

UPDATEInside the Laurel Canyon Houdini Estate

4 comments:

  1. Really good!

    Why am I not surprised that there is more than one Houdini House? Pity this one is gone now but there is still that nice streetlight to remember it by.

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    1. There are actually 3 or 4 pilers left standing and frequently graffiti artists adorn it with their artwork. I live just south of this property. So it is between the Tom Mix/Frank Zappa Log Canyon and the house known as the Steinway House (Possibly Errol Flynn's old house)

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    2. I know the pilers you are talking about and those are actually from another demolished house on the same hill. Nothing remains of the Houdini house as the entire hillside on which it sat was graded back.

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  2. I used to live right up the street. I was fun to pass by this spot everyday. In fact, I'll past it later tonight on my way to The Magic Castle.

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