Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A new Houdini-Chaplin encounter

While there are several stories about Houdini and Hollywood luminaries like Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, and Gloria Swanson, his only encounter with Charlie Chaplin, as far as I know, are a handful of photos taken in 1915. That's why I was very excited to find the below. 

This is from a January 16, 1916 article in The Weekly Dispatch in which a London theatrical agent, Mr. A. Braff, talks about meeting Chaplin in Los Angeles. Part of that involved a trip to the Orpheum...

The Weekly Dispatch, Jan. 16, 1916.

What makes this especially interesting is this would have been during Houdini's December 1915 run at the Los Angeles Orpheum. During that same engagement he spotted heavyweight champ Jess Willard in the audience and also invited him onstage. Of course, Willard was famously far less cooperative than Charlie.

Clipping: Newspapers.com
Photo: Houdini His Legend and His Magic.

1 comment:

  1. Great catch! It appears Chaplin didn't want to go onstage like Willard. I consider this and the Willard episode a misunderstanding by HH. He assumed these famous people would enjoy basking in the audience's attention from the stage. The reality was that they just wanted a quiet evening's entertainment without being noticed by the public. Chaplin was diplomatic about it, but Willard just wasn't in the mood.