Monday, February 21, 2022

Video reveals "weird" Houdini collectible

This video from the YouTube channel Weird And The Wonderful includes a unique and surprising Houdini collectible. It comes up right at the start of the tour around the one minute mark.

I am familiar with Houdini's practice of using movie memorabilia, such as lobby cards, as backing boards and dividers for items in his theatrical collection. Our friend Eric Colleary of the Harry Ransom Center told me they've come across many examples of these, and in some cases they are more valuable than the items they were used to protect!

These cards (which I would call "title cards" rather than "lobby cards") were almost certainly used by Houdini's Film Developing Corporation on one of their non-Houdini projects. One of the cards appears to be from the 1919 film, Winning His Wife. Once photographed, these were no longer of any use, hence Houdini gave them a renewed purpose.

The idea that Houdini did this is somewhat insider information and I've never seen these outside the Harry Ransom Center. So I'm interested in how someone came to have these and also understand exactly what they were. Who was the mysterious autograph show seller, I wonder?

Enjoy some of the other videos on this channel. Cynthia's wax figure collection is amazing. It's quite the weird and wonderful home museum!


  1. Definitely insider information. I didn't know about the title cards getting a second life as dividers in the 278 theatrical collection files. Not surprising, office supply stores for the public were probably not around back then.

  2. Love it! As part of my Houdini film research, I will be seeing some title card examples from "The Man From Beyond" and "The Grim Game" (plus a GG Lobby card cut in half with music cues on the back) when I visit the Harry Ransom Center in April. Can't wait.

    1. Is the Harry Ransom Center open to the public again? I thought it was closed due to COVID. A June visit can work for me.