Saturday, June 8, 2019

The oldest surviving Houdini poster?

QA Specialist and Houdini buff Matt Hilgers has written article for Tessitura Network about Houdini, QA, and You. It's well worth the read. I especially like how he talks about exploring the Houdini collection at the Library of Congress. He also shares the below image from an LOC scrapbook that is pretty wild.

This poster for The Houdinis at the Theatre Comique in Richmond, Virginia, during the week of November 26, 1894, is one of their earliest known engagements. My current chronology only lists one earlier engagement at Barton's Theatre in Newport, Virginia, in October.

This goes a long way in confirming that this particular image was The Houdinis very first piece of pictorial advertising; their first poster. And because I don't know of any surviving "Brothers Houdini" material, I'm thinking this may be the earliest surviving Houdini poster still in existence.

Thanks to Matt Hilgers.



  1. Was this ever reproduced or reprinted? I once saw this poster framed in antique store. It looked new to me so I dismissed it as a reproduction.

    1. The poster image itself has been reproduced in books (Kellock, for one), but I've never seen this with Theatre Comique, etc.

  2. Interesting how the posters for Metamorphosis ranged from 6 step-by-step images of the illusion in this poster, to two images (Harry in the sack, then Bess in the sack) in another B&W poster, to just one image of the two of them by the trunk in the famous red and blue poster. They're all great but the middle one is probably the most effective in promoting the actual effect (just enough of a tease without giving away the whole sequence). It would be especially cool to see the one above in person.