Thursday, August 29, 2019

Houdini returns to the Alexandria

We all know Harry and Bess celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary at the Hotel Alexandria in Los Angeles in June 1919. But did you know Houdini returned the the hotel a few months later with another woman!?

Okay, so he returned as a performer at a luncheon for the Advertising Club and the other woman was actress Mabel Julienne Scott who served as his assistant. Below is an account from the Los Angeles Herald with a great photo I've never seen before.

Los Angeles Herald, September 30, 1919.

I'd love to know what this double locking "peculiar style of manacle" was. It's not clear from the photo. Any guesses?

The Hotel Alexandria still stands today. Recently I had a look inside. To see my pics, check out the first related link below.



  1. Thanks for this wonderful piece of detective work, John. It's amazing to see the ballroom and other locations essentially unchanged after 100 years! I'm surprised that the Hotel hasn't seeming been used more as a filming location. Lovely that it has survived.

    1. The renovation is relatively recent. The hotel (and neighborhood) had fallen on hard times and was in very tough shape through at least the mid-to-late 80s.

  2. Great find John! Harry was in NYC for the premier of the Grim Game on August 25th, and appears in L.A. a month later for this luncheon. Given this was by train, that man was moving.

    Did he stay on the West Coast after this luncheon? He started Terror Island in November.

    1. Yep. He returned to LA on Sept. 15 and stayed through the production of Terror Island. Returned to NYC in December.

  3. Great, unique photo! And the Los Angeles Herald even saw fit to embellish it with that graphic. Some of the best photographic finds I've gotten through the years in my collecting (though, alas, not of Houdini) have been from old newspaper files. The original print of this and other special photos are today probably in the hands of private collectors (or destroyed). Great to have a record in the above image. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I believe the style cuffs used today were invented around 1926. The “double locking” of the same style cuffs were invented shortly after. This prevented them from being pushed tighter and from opening them with a shim or in some cases even a Bobbie pin

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