Well, that's not true, and here's the proof. Here are the headstones as photographed by our friends Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton. David Jacobson, the manager of Machpelah Cemetery (which went bankrupt in 1987 and is now state owned), has kept them safe in storage until funds can be raised to have them replaced.
Hopefully a way to raise the necessary funds will be found and Gladys and Leopold will get their headstones back in place. It's really a shame that these graves have remained unmarked for 20 years. In fact, we are in danger of a generation not even knowing that Gladys and Leo are buried with their family and big brother Houdini.
- 1916: Houdini erects plot and exedra in memory of his parents.
- November 4, 1926: Houdini is buried in plot.
- 1927: S.A.M. holds memorial service and unveils Houdini bust by John Cassidy (and exedra S.A.M. emblem?).
- April 1975: Original Houdini bust is smashed by vandals.
- Spring 1976: S.A.M. replaces Houdini bust with replica.
- August 1983: Second Houdini bust is stolen. Replaced by S.A.M. with replica.
- 1987: Machpelah Cemetery goes into bankruptcy. State takes ownership.
- November 1990: Third Houdini bust is stolen. (Replaced?)
- 1994: Benches smashed and Gladys/Leopold headstones damaged on May 25.
- 1996: Grave is restored with funds raised by the S.A.M. with help from David Copperfield and James Randi. Houdini bust and Gladys/Leopold headstones are not replaced.
- March 2002: Police recover bust stolen in 1983 (returned to S.A.M. in 2011).
- 2007: S.A.M. stops paying for the upkeep of the plot.
- September 2011: Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz replace Houdini bust with replica.
- January 2013: Anonymous owner shares photos of original smashed bust on WILD ABOUT HARRY.
- UPDATE: December, 2013: S.A.M. announces it will resume paying for the upkeep of the Houdini gravesite.
Thanks to Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton for allowing me to share these photos.