Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hidden Houdini in Creed II

Last night I was watching Creed II and was excited to spot a hidden Houdini! It happens when Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) comes to see Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) at his bar. As Drago leaves, he motions to the wall and says, "Is good picture." We then cut to this shot at 00:24:17.


We can assume Drago is talking about the photo of Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed, which is in sharp focus. But right beside Apollo is a photo of Houdini! Even out of focus you can see this is the well-known photo of Houdini being playfully restrained by lightweight champion Benny Leonard while heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey winds back for a punch. (Another photo taken at this time shows Houdini refereeing a "bout" between Leonard and Dempsey.) I'm still not sure what this photo is all about nor when it was taken (I've seen 1920), but it's likely this was some kind of a war benefit as we see armed doughboys watching the antics.


Of course, Houdini was a boxer in his youth, so you might say there are three famous boxers in this photo! Worthy of Rocky's wall of fame.

Click the related links below for more hidden Houdinis.

UPDATE: It appears this photo is related to the 1920 New York City Police Field Day Games held on August 21 & 29. Houdini, Dempsey, and Leonard were all present at the event (Houdini did a suspended straitjacket). I also think the men may have served on the games "Athletic Committee", and that is what we are seeing in the photo below. There is still some discrepancy as to the exact day the photos were taken. It's possible they were taken before the games to help promote the event.
 

Thanks to Joe Fox for helping crack the case!
 

10 comments:

  1. An incredible find! Your subconscious mind must be tuned to the HH wavelength. Now I'm wondering about that other photo with those three...

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    1. When it comes to Houdini, I have the Eye of the Tiger! :p

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    2. It also helps to have a widescreen television with good HD.:) In Silverman's bio this photo is listed as Bettman Archive:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bettmann_Archive

      Could this be the interior of a large ship? The curved architecture makes it appear like it's some passenger vessel. Also HH's hair is dyed black so it had to be after he started dyeing it. 1918?

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    3. Oh, maybe. I've always thought it looks like a gymnasium.

      There are also pics of this same group seated around a table. In one they are all reading what looks like a program. You can see an American flag on the cover.

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    4. As for the date, I've seen one signed by Houdini with the date Aug. 12, 1920. Can't say that's the exact date the pic was taken, but seems likely it was around this time. It sure looks like HH in 1920.

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    5. Yes you're right--I now see what looks like a basketball backboard missing the hoop so this appears to be a gymnasium. Maybe a gym inside a ship? I'm wondering if a bio of Jack Dempsey or Benny Leonard might give us the date and location. There might be an article in Newspapers.com about this event. And evidently there are more photos of this event. Where?

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    6. Joe Fox helped crack the case! See the update above.

      If you Google Houdini and Dempsey you'll see the other pics.

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    7. I'm now wondering if HH transposed the numbers on that photo he signed. He wrote Aug. 12. But maybe he meant 21.

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  2. Fox made a great catch! I believe the desktop photo was taken the same day as the boxing photo. Dempsey is wearing the same tie and HH has his black bowtie on. It's late August, hot, and indoor AC wasn't available yet. Dempsey is sporting serious armpit sweat from wearing the jacket beforehand. Note the modern looking dress shirt collar and ties already coming in by 1920.

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    Replies
    1. Jack Dempsey opened a restaurant later on in NYC. This is where we see the character of Michael Corleone in the Godfather getting picked up by Sollozzo the Turk and his bodyguard police Sgt. McClusky for their meeting. I had never made that connection until now.

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