Monday, February 7, 2011

The Master Mystery starring...Theo Hardeen? (UPDATE)

I've just subscribed to The Conjuring Arts Research Center's amazing Ask Alexander search engine, and I've already made the first of what I expect will be many more mind-blowing discoveries in their incredible archive of old magic magazines.

A small item in the "Editriva" column of a 1934 issue of The Jinx reveals the news that Houdini's brother, Theo. Hardeen, "is negotiating with Paramount for a redoing of The Master Mystery." (!) Presumably, the idea here was to remake the silent Houdini serial as a sound film with Hardeen in the starring role of Quentin Locke.

There is no mention of this project again, but the mind boggles at the possibility. I actually think it was a pretty shrewd idea for Dash to pitch a remake of his brother's movie. But why The Mastery Mystery? Wouldn't one of Paramount's own Houdini films -- The Grim Game or Terror Island -- be the more obvious candidate? Unless the idea here was specifically to make a new serial.

It's too bad Hardeen never made a movie... Oh, wait, he DID! Maybe even several.

Ask Alexander has opened the door and I'm on the case of Theo. Hardeen's lost movie career. As they say in the serials...


UPDATE: Our friend Joe Notaro has gotten to the bottom of this on his terrific blog, Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence. It appears this was not to be a remake starring Hardeen, but a reissue of the original with new narration and musical score. Check out Joe's full post below:


  1. Ask Alexander is an amazing resource. I couldn't believe it the first time I tried it out. For anyone doing research it's a must have.

  2. It's amazing. I only have the basic level, but I'm overwhelmed. 29,489 matches on Houdini alone.

  3. I cannot wait to hear what is uncovered!

  4. This can only be a good thing.

  5. Updated with info from Joe Notaro.



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