Houdini screened at the Chinese Multiplex 6, which is a newer complex of theaters adjacent to the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. My good friend and Houdini collector Mark Willoughby had arranged two reserved seats. (Thank you again, Mark!) The screening began at 4:45pm, and after a quick lunch and a margarita, we were ready for some magic.
Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz, who came to town to help introduce The Grim Game, also introduced Houdini. Dorothy performed a straitjacket escape, which went over wonderfully well with the audience. They have been doing this escape for years and the have honed it beautifully. Dorothy received a standing ovation. They also shared the official "Houdini Day" proclamation from the City of Los Angeles.
It was then movie time, and the biggest surprise for me -- even shock! -- was that the festival screened an original 35mm print of the movie. All other Houdini screening I've attended have always projected the DVD. I didn't even think a 35mm print of Houdini still existed. The print came from the Paramount Archive and was arranged by Rick Schmidlin who organized the TCM screening (Rick is also the Restoration Producer of The Grim Game).
As always, the movie played wonderfully well with a live audience. After the screening, a woman told me she saw the movie as a child and came to see if it was as good as she remembered. It was.
After Houdini, I headed down a packed Hollywood Blvd toward the Egyptian Theater where the real Houdini would soon appear. I will get back to working on my report about that momentous screening event now, so...
To be continued.