Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harry Kellar visits The Grim Game set

Here is another sensational photo from the mighty Arthur Moses Collection. This time we get a behind-the-scenes look at Houdini on the set of his first Hollywood feature, The Grim Game, with director Irvin Willat and special visitor, Harry Kellar - Dean of American Magicians.

This was most likely taken on a soundstage at the Famous Players-Lasky Studios located Selma and Vine in Hollywood, not far from where Harry Kellar lived at the time. Having recently read the screenplay, I'd say this is the apartment belonging to Houdini's character, Harvey Hanford, "star reporter on the morning Call."

Kellar visited the set of The Grim Game on more than this one occasion. The photo below, from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of the NYPL, shows Kellar with Houdini on an exterior location, possibly while shooting the stationary airplane action atop Lookout Mountain in Laurel Canyon.

Houdini and Kellar on location

As always, thank you Arthur!


  1. I just saw the top picture recently, but for the life of me I can't recall where. Always great seeing Kellar and Houdini together.

  2. Yeah, I also feel like I've seen it recently. I thought it was in Kalush, but I checked and it's not in Secret Life or Laid Bare. Could it have been published in a magazine?

  3. I don't think it was in a magazine. I can't seem to recall, but I know I've seen it.

  4. Me too. Where's Eric? He's great at finding things like this.

  5. The coat Kellar is wearing is familiar, which is a sad comment on my life, but I don't have my books with me because it's necessary to work in order to buy books. I don't remember seeing the whole photo with the camera. What about Culliton's book?

  6. After I failed to find it in Kalush, I scanned Culliton. Nope. Also thought maybe it was in the new Art and Magic book, but no. The mental pic in my head is it was pretty small.

  7. What about Matthew Solomon's book "Disappearing Tricks"?

  8. Bingo! Page 102. (See, I knew you'd get it). It's credited as coming from MUM, Aug 1919. The quality is nowhere near as good as this pic here, of course.

    Good job, Eric!

  9. Ah, MUM 1919, I bet that's where I saw on via AskAlexander!


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