Friday, May 31, 2019

100 years ago over Santa Monica

It was 100 years ago today on May 31, 1919 that the famous plane crash occurred while filming Houdini's first Hollywood feature film, The Grim Game. Below is the Los Angeles Times account of the accident the following day.

You'll note the above account does not mention Houdini, so I believe this has been largely missed by historians. I'm especially excited that it gives the approximate location of the crash; San Vicente Blvd. and 26th Street in Santa Monica. Below is the site today.

Below are a few more links related to The Grim Game plane crash.



  1. Not only does the above account not mention Houdini, but it specifically mentions Lieut. R.E. Kennedy doing the stunt. A detail certainly overlooked. What a fantastic account of the accident. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I also find it interesting that there is no mention of the name of the movie. By the time of the accident, the movie was tentatively named “The Grim Game”. But the very fact that Houdini nor the “The Grim Game” was mentioned, helped sell the idea that it was Houdini on the rope when The Grim Game was advertised.

  3. I wonder if this reflects good old reporting? Just the facts of what happened. He's not there to promote an upcoming movie by naming it. Or maybe he was never told what movie it was.

  4. Reading that incredible and harrowing account, it's miraculous no one was seriously injured or killed. (I wonder if it was the participants' pledge to secrecy that kept Houdini's name and the title of the picture out of the account?) Thanks for sharing this amazing find.