It was a big start to what would be a transformational year in the life of Harry Houdini. Almost everything he did was a first; from new magic, to his first movie, to what may have been his first affair. By the end of the year, he had even transformed his appearance.
This post is now retired.
But you will still be able to enjoy the story of Houdini in 1918 with the publication of my upcoming book.
- William V. Rauscher on Houdini and the Hippodrome
- The illicit loves of Harry Houdini
- Houdini's pets
- Vanishing Elephant
Wow! Great 1918 review John! I had no idea HH was detained by police crossing the river back to NYC. The price of that red tailed hawk in today's money is $3,524.55. Yikes! But it was apparently trained to behave. Didn't know Hardeen toured in 1918, but there will be more about him in the upcoming book.ReplyDelete
Thanks Leo! Yes, that "border" crossing story is a new one. I'll be sharing the full article in a standalone post later this month. It was also news to me that Hardeen toured in 1918. That suspended straitjacket escape inside Madison Square Garden and some other bits in here I don't think have ever made it into bios. A lot to discover in this year. I had a blast researching.Delete
I didn't know that Madison Square Garden was already standing in 1918. The next time I see the Led Zeppelin film The Song Remains the Same where they played 3 concerts there in the summer of 73, the Garden won't look the same to me.Delete
It wasn't the same Madison Square Garden we knew today. It was the second MSG that existed from 1890 to 1925. I've linked to its Wikipedia page.Delete
Fantastic work here John!ReplyDelete
Can you send me a scan of the November 16 Billboard review of the November 7 special trade show that mentions the first three chapters of The Master Mystery being shown. The following publication mentions that it was the first five episodes being shown:
Hi John! I actually found a copy of the November 16 Billboard review saved on my computer when I was doing research on the MM, so no need to send.Delete
FWIW: Looks like it is 4 episodes and not 3 or 5. The Nov 16 Billboard mentions 4 episodes and both pubs mention escapes that only appeared in episodes 1 to 4. For example, the diving suit appeared in episode 4. Episode 5 had the Water tower which is not mentioned.Delete
Thanks Joe. I believe I initially got 3 from one of the bios, and then I saw 5 in the Brooklyn Life article and meant to change it, but I guess I forgot (I see I changed it to 5 in my chronology). But if you think it was actually 4, we can run with that. I've actually not read the Billboard review. I just knew it existed and it was positive.Delete
BTW, I think we can all stop dating The Master Mystery as 1919 now. Clearly it was out in a fair number of theaters in 1918. But because IMDb dates it as 1919 (saying its U.S. premiere was March 1???), that's the date you see all the time. Drives me batty!ReplyDelete
I've submitted a change to IMDb for Eps 1 & 2. We'll see if they accept.Delete
Commenting over a year later, but could the date discrepancies be because the serial was screened part-by-part in 1918, and then perhaps all at once in March 1919? Or, that's just the date the last part of the Master Mystery came out?Delete
Episodes 1, 2, and I think 3 had played in theaters in 1918. Then the rest rolled out in 1919. But it also wasn't so uniform. Some theaters didn't start playing episode 1 until 1919. Heck, The Master Mystery was still being booked and shown well into the 1920s. But its debut was 1918.Delete
IMDb did accept my change, btw. :)
You're one of the leading authorities on all things Houdini. The people at IMDb would be foolish to ignore you.Delete
Appreciate that Leo! But it had nothing to do with me personally. I was just able to find them a good source for 1918.Delete
The MM was completed in 1918 and early episodes out in various theatres, but most theatres didn’t start rolling out episodes until 1919. That said, the Princess Theatre in Hartford and the Saint James Theatre in Boston reached episode 7 by the end of 1918, according to Newspaper accounts.Delete