In August I was contacted by friends Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brooks, the premier Houdini Historians and proprietors of the long-standing Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Dick and Dorothy put me in touch with an antique dealer who made an amazing discovery of magic ephemera at a yard sale, this Houdini poster being one of the items!I immediately made contact with the gentleman, and negotiated a deal to purchase this 3 sheet poster.The other known example of this image is in the collection of David Copperfield.This actual lithograph was used by two other performers besides Houdini. One of them being Houdini's Protege Leonard Hicks, and contained an overlay which covered Houdini's name.Additional details on this discovery will follow. For now, on this Halloween, enjoy this image!
It's just incredible that something like this can still be found at a yard sale!
David has a gift for discovering rare Houdini posters. Below are links to some of his other amazing finds.
UPDATE: It's worth noting that this poster is different from the poster in the David Copperfield collection. On the Copperfield poster the copy below Houdini's name reads, "The Original Jail Breaker". On this poster it says, "The World's Handcuff King & Prison Breaker". It's also interesting to note that both the Copperfield and Haversat posters differ from the poster that can be glimpsed in the 1906 Salem theater lobby photo. That poster is headed "Europes Eclipsing Sensation". These surviving posters read, "The World Famous".
UPDATE 2: David Haversat has now shared an image of how this poster looked when it first discovered at the yard sale. As you can see, Houdini's name had been pasted over, first by The Great Leonard and then Heller (Bruno Warnecke). When Houdini went to Europe in 1908 he licensed his act to the Western Burlesque Wheel and Leonard Hicks for $10,000 a year. Hicks later passed this poster to Heller who used it as his own. So this header is in itself a Houdini (or at least a Houdini-approved) poster. Very cool!