Tuesday, June 22, 2021

"Sherlock Holmes Eclipsed"

Here's an advertisement for Houdini at the People's Palace in Halifax (UK) on October 16, 1902. It's a standard basket challenge announcement. But what I find interesting is the tag-line: "Sherlock Holmes Eclipsed."

I'm not sure how to interpret this. Is this saying Houdini is like Sherlock Holmes only better? Or is it saying that Houdini would fool even Sherlock Holmes? Whichever the case, this is nice reflection on the popularity for Sherlock Holmes at this time. Conan Doyle's classic The Hound of the Baskervilles had been released in book form that year and marked a return after an eight year hiatus for the great detective. Holmes was hot. And so was Harry!

Halifax Evening Courier, October 16, 1902.

If you're wondering, Houdini escaped the basket in three minutes. Elementary.



  1. Sounds like the latter to me. HH could fool even Sherlock Holmes. It's right under the phrase "The Police Mystifier." Part of Houdini's mystique was that he outwitted law enforcement time and again.

  2. Houdini seemed to eclipse Sherlock Holmes/Conan Doyle in the literary field when he published a Professor Moriarity approach to escaping crime with the book “The right way to do wrong”. Moriarty does not directly participate in the activities he plans, but only orchestrates the events or provides the plans that will lead to a successful crime.

    Would enjoy reading a Conan Doylesque novel that “unmasks” Moriarity as actually a famed magician whose real source of wealth comes from the deeds of his wrongdoers. Suggested title – “A magician among the crooks”.