There is only one known photo of Whitehead, taken almost 25 years after the Houdini incident when he was in his 50s. Because he never graduated, there is no individual yearbook photo of him as a student. However, this group shot of the "Arts '28 Class" in the 1926 yearbook is said to include a "Whitehead, J.G." (as well as Gerald Pickleman, who also "tested" Houdini that week). Unfortunately, it doesn't specify which student is Whitehead.
|Click to enlarge.
Sam Smilovitz (aka "Smiley"), who was also present in the dressing room, gave a good description of Whitehead. Smiley described him as: "At least six foot two – wearing a blue gabardine coat that seemed much too small for him. An oldish looking young man about 27 or 28 years of age [he was actually almost 31]. He impressed one as being the very genteel type of student. His face was ruddy, his hair very thin on top; his frame was powerful though loosely-knit, and his neck was inordinately long."
My candidate for Whitehead is the individual below. He seems to match Smiley's description quite well -- right down to what might be his blue coat -- and I just feel like he might be our man.
What do you think? If this is indeed J. Gordon Whitehead, it is only the second known photo, and the only one taken at the time of the Houdini punch. Wild indeed.
Thanks to Dorothy Dietrich, Dick Brookz, and Joe Notaro. You can check out all the McGill Yearbooks HERE.