Sunday, February 13, 2011

Houdini in H O L L Y W O O D

Click to enlarge

Here is a fantastic unpublished photo of Houdini on the Famous Players Lasky backlot shaking hands with actor Clarence Geldart while director Donald Crisp looks on. This image is from Arthur Moses, who generously sent this over for me to share and for all to enjoy.

Clarence Geldart appeared in 127 films between 1915 and 1936. Donald Crisp was a writer and director during the silent era. He would go on to become a well-known character actor and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1942 for his performance in How Green Was My Valley.

This photo was most likely taken during the filming of Fires of Faith (1919), the story of the Salvation Army during World War I. The movie was directed by Crisp and featured Geldart as "Railton."

But why is Houdini in a bathing suit and what appears to be movie make-up (at least his hair is dyed)? There is a pool back there -- could Houdini be shooting some underwater escape action that has been lost to time? Or maybe he is just taking publicity shots in preparation for his first Hollywood feature, The Grim Game.

A very big thank you to Arthur Moses for letting me share this image, and to Marc Wanamaker of the Bison Archives for helping me identify the players.


  1. Very good. Nice pic and thanks for sharing.

    The bathrobe, the bathing suit, the pool ... did someone mention Hef a while back?

  2. Wait until you see the pic of Bess in a bunny tail Arthur sent me. ;)

  3. Totally amazes me the number of NEW Houdini pics that keep showing up.

  4. It's endless. I tell people all the time I have been into Houdini for 35 years and every month I still see photos I've never seen before.

  5. Way cool photo. You should post that one of Bess in the bunny tail, LOL. Houdini still tops the Hef though, imo.

    It'd be nice if more of these photos could be published...but I guess having them appear on this awesome blog is the next best thing. :)