Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Houdini gets tricky with DeMille

Here's an item that ran in the Los Angeles Times 101 years ago today. It shows Houdini and famed director Cecil B. DeMille at the Famous Players-Lasky studio, where Houdini would soon begin production on The Grim Game. I don't know exactly what trick Houdini is showing DeMille here. But this is a great example of how the studio publicity department made it known that the Handcuff King had arrived in Tinseltown!

Los Angeles Times, May 13, 1919.

Another photo of Houdini and DeMille taken at this same time appears in Houdini His Legend and His Magic by Doug Henning (page 118). Years later, Bess Houdini posed for a photo with the director and his daughter on the Paramount lot. You can see that pic via the top related link below.



  1. Another great find John! This website is the gift that keeps on giving. I think Harry might be doing the knotted handkerchief thru the arm trick using De Mille's left arm. It was a favorite of Castle magician the late great Charlie Miller.

    I love that Famous Players-Laskey photo of HH sitting for lunch with De Mille and other stars. He must have felt great hobnobbing in Hollywood.

    1. Is that what it looks like to you? It could be! I was hoping someone would recognize some kind of a "move" here. Thanks.

    2. Or there might be a wall behind them and DeMille is using his left arm to lean on the wall. If that's the case then Harry is most likely performing the dissolving knot from the handkerchief. An effect he would carry around with him and perform onstage to select committee people who would examine his USD or other escape props.

  2. You've really served up some goodies this week! Makes me wonder if DeMille ever wrote anything about meeting Houdini.