Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NYPL reveals unseen Houdini poster

The New York Public Library has posted several vintage magic posters to their Digital Collections, including this incredible Houdini poster that I've never seen!


There's a lot to love about this poster. It was created by the U.S. Lithographic Co. Russell-Morgan Print and celebrates Houdini as a European superstar. It is part of a commonly themed set of posters, the most famous of which is this one. (I actually think these posters were created expressly for Houdini's return to America in 1905-06, but I don't know that for a fact.) The typeface that spells out Houdini's name is today called "Houdini." And how cool is the mention of daily matinees "to seat the crowds" and the invitation to bring your own cuffs? Magnificent.

You know, there's just something about seeing a new Houdini poster. It's like cracking open a fresh time portal into Houdini's world, even more so than a new photo. It's also just an incredibly rare occurrence. Houdini must have used hundreds of different posters in his career, yet we've only seen a handful.

The great news is you can purchase this poster as a high resolution digital image for publication, or as 8x10 or larger decorative print. Details can be found at the NYPL Digital Collections website.

Thanks to Andrea Felder, Permissions & Reproduction Services NYPL, for allowing me to share this image here on WILD ABOUT HARRY.

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9 comments:

  1. The NYPL has a good collection of Houdini material, including newspaper clips on his Russian trip in 1903. Much of their newspaper stuff is uncatalogued - a treasure trove.

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  2. I would LOVE to get into those someday.

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  3. Great poster. Classic.

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  4. Great find. Here is a challenge, who can name the style cuff depicted in the poster???? :) I know

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  5. A "MALTBY" flat-key model handcuff :-)

    (Good one, Dean..I didn't notice it)

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    1. How cool that this poster features a real cuff, like the more famous Europe's Eclipsing Sensation poster.

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  6. Notice the stipulation where Houdini invites you to bring your own "regulation" handcuffs. That's the first time I've seen that in a poster, or any other Houdini advertising. I also agree with John that its purpose was to advertise Houdini on his American debut after hitting it big in Europe. He's already advertised as a prison breaker.

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    1. Is it the first? I know I've never seen it on a proper poster, but I feel like I've seen it on the other advertising. But maybe I haven't. Maybe all I've seen is his $100 challenge for cuffs he can't escape. Very cool.

      This really is an awesome poster, isn't it? But it just kills me to think of all the other great posters that we'll never see.

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