Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pausing Houdini

Here's a nice paused moment from the 1953 movie Houdini in which star Tony Curtis points to a collection of real Houdini artifacts and Hollywood mock-ups.

"Everybody knows who I am, Mama. Look at those!"

The yellow Metamorphosis poster behind Curtis is based on a real woodcut The Houdinis used early in their career. A mock-up King of Cards poster is in the upper left corner. Below that is a photo poster of Curtis/Houdini emerging from a safe based loosely on Houdini's Slander in Germany litho. The black and white photos on the table are real shots of Houdini's overboard box and suspended straitjacket escapes in New York. The display cases up front were made for the film but contain real Houdini handcuffs from the Dunninger collection.

UPDATE: I've turned the above shot into my first meme and posted it to the WILD ABOUT HARRY Facebook page. Please give it a look, like, and a share.


  1. BTW, many if not all of the cuffs on this board were from Dunninger’s collection, not Houdini’s despite the cases having the word HOUDINI at the top in brass letters. See my blog that has a letter from Julien J Proskauer (Hardeen’s closest friend and co-founder of the Magician’s Guild) that talks about the handcuffs that Hardeen inherited from Houdini being in the Magicians Guild and that Mr Dunninger is not a member of the Guild and does not own any Houdini handcuffs.

  2. In other words, those Dunninger handcuffs in the Tony Curtis photo were not really from Houdini's collection?

  3. That's a little disappointing. I knew those cuffs belonged to Dunninger, but I thought they were Houdini cuffs. Dunninger did get some artifacts from Bess after Houdini's death.