Monday, February 13, 2012

Paul Michael Glaser helps solve a 'Great Houdinis' mystery

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting my favorite "Houdini", Paul Michael Glaser, at The Hollywood Show in Burbank. Here I was finally able to clear up one of the mysteries about his 1976 TV movie, The Great Houdinis.

In my Making of blog from last year, I noted that the final day of principle photography (May 25, 1976) was planned for the Belmont Amusement Park in San Diego, which was to double for Coney Island. Here a scene in which Harry proposes to Bess (Sally Struthers) aboard a roller coaster would be filmed.

While it appears in the script and shooting schedule (as well as in the novelization), this scene didn't make it into the final film. Was it cut, or never shot? It seemed unlikely that a TV movie would cut a scene that took this much effort and expense to film, so it was my guess that the scene and location were scrapped and the last day was used instead to complete a schedule that may have run over.

Even though it was 36 years ago, I figured Mr. Glaser would remember filming a scene aboard a rollar coaster, so I brought the question to him at the show and he was able to confirm that I was correct. The Belmont Amusement Park/Coney Island proposal scene was never shot. "No, we never did that," he said.

Thank you Paul Michael Glaser for clearing up the mystery. Below is the scene (that never was) as it appears in The Great Houdinis screenplay.

Click to enlarge


  1. Cool - I hope you got his autograph!

    How close are the script and the book?

  2. I didn't actually. The Hollywood Show has become a fairly pricey proposition. It cost me $20 just to get in and stand in line to ask him this one question. An autograph would have cost another $25. If he had a unique still from The Great Houdinis, I would have gone for it, but meeting him and getting my question answered was enough. I'm a collector of information. :)

    The scene in the book is almost exactly the same, except it notes that Harry is coping a feel of her breast (and moving lower) as the scene goes on.

  3. Really? Glad you got your $20 worth then.

    Yeah I read that bit. Didn't have to try too hard to find it because the book fell open at that page. Heh.

  4. This was actually the second time I've met him. The first time was in 1996 in a Technicolor screening room. I was part of the THX QC team that did his movie, Kazaam. I didn't know he was going to be there. It was pretty cool when "Houdini" came walking through that door. :)

  5. This movie has Paul Michael Glaser, Sally Struthers, Ruth Gordon, Vivian Vance, Peter Cushing and so many more so WHY isn't it on DVD? All that's available is a horrible copy someone is selling on the internet which was copied off of a VHS taping.