Monday, July 6, 2020

Shooting stops for a famous visitor

I mentioned this clip in my recent post about the documentary Days of Thrills and Laughter. But in my attempt to coax Antonia Carlotta of Universally Me to do a video about Houdini and Universal, I've uploaded the full clip to my YouTube channel. I'm a bit unsure about copyright, so have a watch while it's still around!

As I've said in earlier posts, this shows Houdini and Bess visiting the set of an Al Christie comedy at Universal Studios on December 13, 1915. Houdini is "trapped" by the Christie Girls. He's then freed on Bess's command. It's a rarely seen, wonderful piece of film credited as coming from the Larry Weeks collection.

For more on Universal history, I highly recommend Antonia Carlotta's YouTube Channel Universally Me. Her great uncle was Universal's founder, Carl Laemmle. Antonia also appeared in the 1997 Goodspeed Opera House's play, Houdini, which she mentions in her video, Why'd the World Forget Rosabelle Laemmle?



  1. Harry's looking pretty snazzy in his "mourning suit"....despite being called "the little fellow" by the narrator.

    1. Yep, 1915 so of course he's in that suit. At least it was December so he wasn't in valley heat. Like today!

  2. Nice to see that "Houdini" smile along with Bess. I'm happy for them that they were able to enjoy some "real" time together. Benjilini

  3. I highly recommend the recently published book Letters From Hollywood. It's a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes from the biggest names in the industry. The letter from Universal founder Carl Laemmle to his nephew William Wyler in October 1938 pleading with him to sponsor as many Jews out of Europe is heartbreaking.

    The Fatty Arbuckle letter to his business partner Joseph Schenck in October 1921 begging him to believe his innocence in the rape trial is heartwrenching. There's also the letter from Houdini to Adolph Zukor that John highlighted on this blog.

    1. Antonia actually did a video about that book and the Laemmle letter. It looks great. Didn't realize what a large format it is.

      Here's the Houdini-Zukor letter post.

    2. The large format caught me by surprise as well when it arrived in the mail, but the coffee table size really does make clearer images of the letters, photos, and telegrams. It also seems like the appropriate format for the larger than life people who wrote these letters.

      I like the telegram Greta Garbo sent to Marion Davies asking for help get the newspaper reporters and photographers off her back during her 1938 trip to Europe. It didn't make a dent. The Houdini-Zukor letter is a bit painful to read. HH throwing a last ditch effort with Hollywood to get his film career in orbit. One can only imagine what Zukor must have thought--if he even read the letter.


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