Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Flappers adopt Houdini

Here's a great little news item from the Washington Times Sun dated August 20, 1922. I'm not sure I understand exactly how "Houdini" equates with being "on time for a date", but that's the young generation for you. Twenty-three skidoo!

Click to enlarge.

Of course, Houdini knew his way around a Flapper. Oh you kid.

Flapper Bess.

11 comments:

  1. What a funny little bit of pop culture. Love the Bessie photo. Even at 51, she still had great legs.
    -Meredith

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  2. That flapper lady at the top is probably somebody's grandmother by now, or pushing daisies. Houdini was hep and with it. When he produced Dorothy from the Radio of 1950 illusion, she would do the Charleston before stepping out of the box.

    I suppose the Charleston was the 1925 version of the 1977 Hustle.

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    Replies
    1. That's actually Colleen Moore (I put that photo there, it wasn't part of the original article). She was a star, but people might best remember her from Kevin Brownlow's awesome "Hollywood" documentary series. She had her flapper hairstyle until she died in 1988.

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  3. In truth, "a Houdini" should've been slang for a date who makes you wait for over an hour... or who invites a committee to watch.

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  4. Perhaps the flapper reference simply equates to a feeling of utter amazement, or unexpected surprise...as in a typical man actually showing up for a date ON TIME:

    "I was shocked & amazed...he did "a Houdini". I couldn't believe what I saw...He actually arrived on time!".

    Of course, I'm just guessing. Those flapper gals may have had a deeper or more colorful definition for the phrase.

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  5. This just smacks of studio-written promo copy written to fill newspaper space by masquerading as an actual story. John McIlwee could tell for sure.

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    1. Oh, yes, it's definitely is a pre-written piece. Could even be direct from The Man From Beyond pressbook. I'll have to take a look.

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  6. My guess is it's a surprise to suddenly see your date appear out of nowhere. What fascinates me is that of all the giants of that time - Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, et al. - only Houdini's name has passed into the language.

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  7. Don't forget Teddy bear.

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  8. Don't know if this link will work, but Colleen Moore is headlining in New York this weekend...
    http://filmforum.org/film/synthetic-sin-film-event-page

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    Replies
    1. Last night I went to a talk at Hollywood Heritage and the display case has a nice original still of Colleen. She's suddenly everywhere.

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