Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sex, lies, and San Diego

Richard Crawford, author of the book The Way We Were in San Diego, has a new posting about Houdini on his blog, San Diego Yesterday.

Richard questions whether the photo below (from Houdini His Legend and His Magic by Doug Henning) was taken in 1907 during Houdini's only professional visit to the city (covered in his book), or during some later trip that that we don't know about. It's hard to gauge the date from Houdini's appearance... Perhaps Bess's clothes could help us date it?


Speaking of Bess, Richard has also uncovered a story about Bess from a 1935 San Diego Union (Mrs. Houdini Has Mingled Memories on Return to City) in which she states that she and Harry had their honeymoon in San Diego!

Of course, this is pure myth-making on the part of Bess or the reporter who wrote the article. The Houdinis were far too poor in 1894 to have travelled across country for a proper honeymoon (remember Bessie had to loan Harry $2 for the marriage license fee). If there was any kind of a "honeymoon", it probably happened under the boardwalk at Coney Island, if you know what I'm saying.

Click here to read Richard's blog, A San Diego Magical Mystery, at San Diego Yesterday.

UPDATE: I believe I've finally solved the mystery of this photo. It's early July 1919. Read: Houdini's broken wrist and the San Diego connection.


  1. Hmmm, he looks around 40 in that shot but I know he always looked a bit older than he actually was.

  2. I believe I've finally solved the mystery of this photo. It's 1919. Stay tuned for a post!