Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Charlie lost!

One of the things I love about working on my New Houdini Chronology is the discovery of cool bits of untold Houdini history tucked away in old newspapers. These are things that haven't been found, or maybe considered too insignificant to make the pages of major biographies. But I find stuff like this humanizing and therefore very significant.

Here's something I recently found while working on 1907. While playing the Grand Theater in Pittsburgh, the Houdinis beloved dog Charlie went missing. Charlie vanished on the street adjoining the theater on Monday, May 20. The next day The Pittsburgh Daily Post reported the crisis.

This article is interesting as it gives Charlie's origin story, which might be the first time it ever appeared in print. Of course, the paper got Charlie's color wrong. Charlie was white, not black, and this mistake would certainly not help in finding him!

The next day, May 22 (the day Houdini jumped from the 7th Street bridge), Houdini's own ad appeared.

Alarmingly, Charlie was still missing for a third day, May 23. This time Houdini put a dollar amount on the reward. His $25 calculates to $627.80 today.

The papers don't record what ultimately happened, but it appears Charlie was found. The dog shows up in a 1908 article (again in Pittsburgh) and his death in 1909 is recorded in Houdini's diary. But it must have been a scary few days for parents and pup!

The above photo of Charlie can be purchased from House of Roulx & Co.



  1. Mmm, "Charlie" was yet another gift from a "Grand Duke of Russia", aside from the "Diamond Brooch"?

    Are we sure the brooch wasn't Charlie's I.D. collar ("Pooch in a Brooch") :-)

    Keep up the great work, John!

  2. Dietrich show dog lost in theater in Buffalo in a story that was on TV.
    Happened to her in 3,000 seat vaudeville theater in a show she was headlining!

    Published on Dec 15, 2010
    Dorothy Dietrich's show dog walked out of the loading dock by accident at Shea's Theater. After several news stories the dog was returned. The show was booked for two weeks and was held over several months with rave reviews. While there she raised over $125,000.00 for The March of Dimes in a separate promotional benifit with a well known hot dog establishment. She starred in the show put together by a Las Vegas producer.. At the time he had paid her more than any other magician he had used. He suggested he put together a show for her in Las Vegas but asked for a price reduction and a long term contract. Since she had plenty of bookings she decided not to. In the show she was asked to do a magic appearance, a dancing torch routine, a strait (straight) jacket escape from a burning rope while swinging pendulum style in a pin spot with a backdrop of Niagara Falls, and an escape and disappearance from a barrel only to reappear in the balcony box seat to thunderous applause. The transposition seemed instant.

She is the founder of The Houdini Museum, the only building in the world totally devoted to Houdini. Dietrich is the first and only woman to accomplish the Catching of a Bullet in her mouth, often called "The Jinxed Bullet Catch" and The Trick that scared Houdini. At least 12 men have died attempting this feat. Ms. Dietrich also holds the World's record in several categories. Dorothy Dietrich is often called "The Female Houdini" , "The World's #1 Female Magician" and was the first to be called "The First Lady of Magic". Columbia University Press and Encyclopedia called her "one of the most noted magicians of the late 20th century. or check out her page on wikipedia.

    The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA
    The Only Building in the World dedicated to Houdini



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