Sunday, January 6, 2013

Houdini's favorite detective

Today is Sherlock Holmes' 159th birthday. Holmes scholars agree (more or less) on January 6, 1854 as the great detective's birthday based on information given in His Last Bow. The first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study In Scarlet, appeared in 1887.

But why are we celebrating this milestone? Because Houdini was a Holmes buff -- a "Sherlockian", if you will. According to the recent book Houdini and Conan Doyle, Houdini had in his library "1,343 items of correspondence, heirlooms, souvenirs [and] merchandise pertaining to Sherlock Holmes." And while Houdini and Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a relationship in real life, Houdini has been teamed with Sherlock himself in several fictional adventures.

The very first Houdini-Holmes mash-up appears to have been a 1908 German dime novel called Auf den spuren Houdinis ("On the Trail of Houdini"). More recent adventures have included: The Pandora Plague by Lee Matthias (1981); The Adventure of the Ectoplasmic Man by Daniel Stashower (1985); Sherlock Holmes and the Houdini Birthright by Val Andrews (1995); The Adventure of the Magician's Meetings by Larry Engle and Kevin VanHook (2012); and the graphic novel Houdini & Holmes by Polly Guo (2011).

Happy birthday, Sherlock.

Holmes-Houdini artwork by Carles Demiguel for the Spanish edition of The Adventure of the Ectoplasmic Man.

8 comments:

  1. And I have one more to add..."Wilde, being Earnest" by Ozkar Galan. isbn 9788480488419 Spanish language, currenty available from major booksellers. Houdini & Doyle together again

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    1. I would like to add, that in my book "Willde, being Earnest" it's not just an story about Houdini and Doyle together, the book tells an story in wich some others historical characters appear, the story brings together to the action : Houdini, Doyle, Wilde and also Jack the Ripper.
      Thanks again for the shout out, I really appreciate it
      Kind regards

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  2. Excellent blog! Thank you for bringing it to our and Max's attention. My husband and I are also budding Sherlock Holmes fans. How serendipitous to connect with you via Houdini on Holmes's birthday!

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    1. Glad you found the site, Myra. Hope Max finds some interesting stuff to read. I'm also a Holmes fan. Funny how these things connect. Enjoy! :)

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  3. Thank you very much for the mention. I regret that for now the text has not been translated into English. It anyone is encouraged... It could interesting. I really appreciate your detail.

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  4. Please don't forget the film, "A Fairy Tale," which does a great job of telling its version of Doyle's involvement with the two girls who "Photographed Fairies" and plays very well about his relationship with Houdini, played admirably by Harvey Keitel. The part of Doyle was also played very well by Peter O'Toole, who I thought was too thin for the part, but when I saw it, I was amazed how well he pulled it off...

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    1. Thanks. Not forgotten. I was just ticking off in-print Holmes-Houdini (not Houdini-Doyle) adventures. You'll find several posts on FairyTale HERE. I agree, it is well done. I think Keitel's Houdini is the most accurate portrayal of the all.

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