Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adrienne Barbeau on seducing Houdini

Here's one from the old site that I thought was worth reposting here.

In 2006 horror movie website The Terror Trap interviewed the great Adrienne Barbeau. While she's had an illustrious career in films such as The Fog and Escape from New York, Houdini buffs know her best as the seductress Daisy White in the 1976 TV movie The Great Houdinis (a movie we love around here).

The following is an excerpt from the interview in which Adrienne recalls her days playing the "other woman" in Houdini's life.

TT: We're going to jump ahead a few years to The Great Houdini, a supernatural-tinged Made-for-TV movie that you made in 1976...
AB: Oh yes...
TT: We love Houdini. It's very rare, having never been put out on video, but we have a copy and remember seeing it when it aired. Do you recall how the role of Daisy came your way?
AB: That was an offer. I had just signed with Creative Artists. I didn't even know who they were. They were just getting started, but through a series of coincidences, I ended up signing with them. And they called one day and said "we've got this offer for you to do this part." It was the first film that I had ever done and I knew nothing about films. I had only done stage and tape up until that time. We did Maude the same way you do a stage play. We just rehearsed for 4 1/2 days and then did it for an audience straight through, no stops or anything. So we did the master...the first establishing shot...on Houdini...and I didn't know that people did close-ups. I went off and started to change clothes to do the next scene! (Laughs.)
TT: That's funny. You know, in particular one of the things that strikes us about The Great Houdini is that you got to work with such a fantastic cast: Paul Michael Glaser, Ruth Gordon, Sally Struthers, Peter Cushing...that must have been a very fascinating experience for you.
AB: My husband would remind you that we had Vivian Vance on that one...he's a big I Love Lucy fan!
TT: Yes!
AB: I've had a fascinating career...because I've worked with so many wonderful actors and interesting people. I knew Sally, of course, because she was doing All in the Family at the time. Unfortunately, I didn't have any scenes with Ruth or Peter, so I didn't get to spend any time with them. As I said, it was my first film experience and a real learning process.
With Paul Michael Glaser in The Great Houdinis

Head on over to Terror Trap to read the full interview with Adrienne Barbeau. Also check out her official website:


  1. Ahem. My eyes are up here boys.

  2. It's a "Cheer Up Harry" outfit if ever I saw one.

  3. You can never go wrong with Adrienne Barbeau

  4. She's great. I've always been a fan. She's also very accessible via her Facebook page.

  5. BTW, in her autobiography she said she filmed a "seminude scene for European release." The film was released in Europe on VHS.

    All the copies I have are just over 96 minutes, but there is currently someone selling what they are calling the "full version" at 97 minutes. Could this account for that extra minute? Anyone willing to take the plunge and find out?

  6. John, this is the same guy from whom I obtained my bootlegged version of this film. I will have to watch the scene again to check.

    (Only a girl would say that).

  7. That would be great. Thanks. (Sent you an email, btw.)

  8. Oh, heck, I couldn't resist. I bought it. I needed a better DVD copy anyway. If there's anything really different or notable about this version, I'll put up the details on the site.

  9. Had to go and look (curiosity got the better of me). It's 97 minutes and she is seminude but you can't see anything so pretty much as I remembered. Would be interested to hear how it compares with your other version.

  10. Hey, if it 97 mins, that's exciting because it means there's something more in this version somewhere. I'll do my best to find what that is. Thanks, melbo. :)

  11. Can't explain time discrepancy as I had nothing much to go off apart from the timer on the DVD player. At least we now know the copies in circulation are basically the same.

    At least the business about the "seminude" scene has been clarified a bit (though perhaps it still exists in some other form). I was wondering if they had cut that scene for screening in the US but if they had, it wouldn't really have made sense because you couldn't see anything anyway.

    Perhaps there is a Houdini fan in Europe sitting on the only footage of a seminude Adrienne Barbeau as Daisy and they have yet to come forward. Now is the time.

    I'd agree with you on the picture quality but I didn't expect much, seeing as it had been obviously taped off TV a very long time ago. I read about the Cosmic Hex version but this was after I'd bought that one.

  12. Sorry, melbo, I deleted my comment above yours while I emailed the seller.

    Yeah, nothing new unfortunately. Seller did a nice job with the menu and box art. The seller said he's been searching the various European versions and has turned up no differences. I'm thinking now there isn't a European version with more Daisy. Maybe there was the idea to do this, but then the amount of nudity worked for both markets (and censors). It's actually pretty risque -- and is exactly as broadcast -- but it was the 70s. :)

    1. John, I think you are thinking of Swamp Thing. Originally, Adrienne baths topless in the swamp in that one. However, it was rated PG and a Texas mother went off when her kids saw Adrienne topless and sued.

      The European version, which is rated R has the topless version as well as Arcane's men being danced for toplesd. That might have been what you were thinking of.

  13. Check out my nephew Justin Lee. He's directed several movies and She is in ALL OF THEM!!!!!