The New Houdini Chronology ☛ 1918

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Last update: 1/22/18
Weeks begin on Sunday

Dec. 30-Jan. 5:
Jan. 6-12: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1][2]
➤ ✪ Mon., Jan. 7: Houdini performs Vanishing Elephant for the first time. [2][3]
Jan. 13-19: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Thurs., Jan. 17: Charmian London attends show. [3]
Jan. 20-26: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
Jan. 27-Feb. 2: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]

Feb. 3-9: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sun., Feb. 3: Papers announce plans for Houdini's Temple of Mystery. [2]
➤ Tues., Feb 5: The Houdinis move back to 278. [2][3]
Feb. 10-16: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Wed., Feb. 13: Houdini begins alleged affair with Charmian London. [3]
Feb. 17-23: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
Feb. 24-March 2: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]

March 3-9: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
March 10-16: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sun., March 10: Houdini performs at the Naval training camp at Pelham Bay, NY [1]
March 17-23: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sat., March 23: Chung Ling Soo shot on stage in UK. Dies following day. [1][3]
March 24-30: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]

March 31-April 6: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sat., April 6: Houdini marks 44th birthday.
April 7-13: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
April 14-20: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sun., Apr 14: Houdini escapes full body straitjacket in Hippodrome tank. [2]
April 21-27: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
➤ Sun., April 21: Showman's Benefit at Hippodrome. Houdini drops bullet catch at urging of Harry Kellar. [2][3]
April 28-May 4: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]

May 5-11: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! [1]
May 12-18: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Cheer Up! (final week) [1]
➤ Wed., May 15: Houdini performs suspended straitjacket inside Madison Square Garden for NYPL War Stamp rally. [2]
➤ Fri., May 17: Houdini concludes Cheer Up! with challenge overboard box escape. [2]
May 19-25:
May 26-June 1:
Fri., May 31: Houdini showcases dog "Bobby The Handcuff King" at S.A.M banquet. [1][3]

June 2-8:
June 9-15:
June 16-22:
➤ Sat., June 22: Harry and Bess mark 24th wedding anniversary (possibly with visit to Coney Island).
June 23-29:

June 30-July 6:
July 7-13:
July 14-20:
➤ Work begins on The Master Mystery "around July 15." [2]
➤ Tues., July 16: Houdini purchases "eagle" from George H. Holden for $200. [1][5]
➤ Sat., July 20: "Houdini Serial" deal is announced in Motion Picture News.
July 21-27:
➤ Mon., July 22: Houdini transfers ownership of 278 to Bess. [2][3]
July 28-Aug. 3:

Aug. 4-10:
➤ Fri., Aug. 9: Houdini performs at Southport Fireman's Benefit. [2]
➤ Fri., Aug. 9: First two episodes of The Master Mystery reported "practically completed." [2]
➤ Sat., Aug. 10: Houdini breaks wrist while filming The Master Mystery. [5][*]
Aug. 11-17:
Aug. 18-24: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
➤ Thurs., Aug. 22: Everything opens. [2]
Aug. 25-31: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]

Sept. 1-7: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Sept. 8-14: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 12: Houdini registers for draft as "Harry Handcuff Houdini." [5]
Sept. 15-21: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Sept. 22-28: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Sept. 29-Oct. 5: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]

Oct. 6-12: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Oct. 13-19: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Oct. 20-26: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
Oct. 27-Nov. 2: Hippodrome Theater, New York, NY - Everything [2]
➤ Sat., Nov. 2: Houdini's Everything contract expires. [2]

Nov. 3-9:
➤ Thurs., Nov. 7: First 4 episodes of The Master Mystery trade screening at the Strand Theater, NY. [2]
Nov. 10-16:
➤ Sun., Nov. 10: Louella Parsons interview published.
➤ Mon., Nov. 11: World War I ends.
Nov. 17-23: Houdini makes public appearances at movie theaters in Boston, East Boston, Brooklin, Newton, Cambridge, East Somerville. [4]
➤ Mon., Nov. 18: The Master Mystery Episode 1 premieres at the St. James Theater, Boston, MA. Houdini attends with Marguerite Marsh. [2]
Nov. 24-30: The Master Mystery opens in Hartford, CT (The Majestic). Ep. 2 starts at the St. James, Boston, MA. [2]
➤ Sat., Nov. 30: Principle photography on The Master Mystery concludes. [1]

Dec. 1-7: The Master Mystery opens in Charlotte, NC (Piedmont Theatre). [2]
Dec. 8-14:
Dec. 15-21:
➤ Sun., Dec. 15: Houdini's dog Bobby dies. [3]
Dec. 22-28: The Master Mystery opens in Pittsburgh, PA (Olympic Theater), Harrisburg, PA (Victoria), and Little Rock, AK (Gem Theater). [2]
Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 1919: The Master Mystery opens in Philadelphia, PA (Regent Theatre), Chicago, IL (Covent Garden). [2]



SOURCES:
[1] Koval, Frank. The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary, Part 5: 1916 to 1920. Chadderton: 1994.
[2] Original newspaper story or advertisement via newspapers.com or other archival source.
[3] Silverman, Kenneth. Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[4] Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini The Untold Story. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1969.
[5] Original letter, cable, contract, or signed item.
[6] Original pitchbook, program, playbill or poster.
[*] Signed book in collection of William H. Larsen Memorial Library, Magic Castle, Hollywood.
✪ First know performance of notable escape or magic effect.

10 comments:

  1. WRT Houdini breaks wrist while filming TMM, it was Monday August 12, 1918 in the Motion Pictures Studio in Yonkers based on Page 8 of the New York Herald dated Tuesday August 13, 1918. See my posts below for more info:

    • http://harryhoudinicircumstantialevidence.com/?p=1945
    • http://harryhoudinicircumstantialevidence.com/?p=1823

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! Thanks Joe. Updated.

      Delete
    2. Wait a minute, wait a minute. The Castle Library has a copy of Houdini's "The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin" which is inscribed to Frederick Eugene Powell and reads:

      "To my old friend F.E. Powell with best wishes of the author, and may the reading of this book bring back pleasant recollections of Harry Houdini, August 11, 1918, the day after I had my wrist fractured, HH"

      I'll shoot you a pic, John.

      Delete
    3. Oh, sensational! Thank you, Lisa. I think I'll choose to trust Harry on this one. So August 10 it is.

      Already loving this collaborative chronology idea. :)

      Delete
  2. What was the date HH was detained by the cops crossing back into NYC?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article is dated Sept. 28, but it's unclear when it happened as it's just referenced as being "recent." But even if I knew the exact day, I don't think I'd add something like that to the chronology as it's a minor event..and it could be BS.

      Delete
  3. The Tuesday December 3, 1918 Wid’s Daily reports: “Houdini finished work on his serial, “The Master Mystery”, Saturday [November 30, 1918].
    Motion Picture News December 14, 1918 reports: “With the taking of the final scenes of the last episode, B.A. Rolfe, for the Octagon Films, Inc. yesterday [December 13, 1918] completed at its Yonkers Studio the picturization of the fifteen episode serial, “The Master Mystery” in which Houdini, the handcuff king, makes his starring debut on the screen.
    Exihitors Herald and Motography December 14, 1918 reported: “With the taking of the final scenes of the last episode, B.A. Rolfe, for the Octagon Films, Inc. last week [?] completed at its Yonkers Studio…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, this is tricky. I've encountered similar contradictions and I've noticed some papers will pick up wire stories that include mentions of "yesterday", but because they are being run much later, the "yesterday" no longer applies. So I try to find the original version of the story, or I go with the earliest version I can find (as I did in this case). But hard to know for sure.

      Delete
  4. WRT exact date of Houdini’s move back to 278, the New York Herald Sunday February 10, 1918 reported:

    Harry Houdini did not observe a “workless day” last Tuesday [February 5, 1918]. Instead, the escape expert took advantage of the day when all theatres observed the --- holiday to make a hasty exit from Flatbush to Manhattan. He has purchased a house at No 278 West 113 street. Several vans were required to transport his magic curios, automations and --- paraphernalia and his library and collection of manuscripts to their new abode.

    Note: The paper mistakenly reports that he recently purchased the house.

    ReplyDelete

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