Recently newspapers.com uploaded the archive of the Omaha World Herald and I was able to find some nice information about Houdini's appearances in that city in 1899, 1900, 1915 and 1923. Chief among these is this article from September 12, 1915 in which Houdini remembers his big Omaha break.
|Morning World Herald, Sept. 12, 1915.|
This isn't really new information. We know from Martin Beck's famous telegram that he tried Houdini out in Omaha before sending him on to San Fransisco in 1899. But it's nice to hear Houdini talk about it himself and that he remembers it so fondly. I've also not heard the story of the borrowed suit before.
Here's something else interesting from this 1915 appearance. This is from his last day in town:
|Morning World Herald, Sept. 17, 1915.|
I wonder what this "special program" was? Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any newspaper account of this Saturday show, so there's an Omaha story yet to be told.
The Creighton-Orpheum was located at 15th and Harney Street. The theater was demolished in 1926 and a new Orpheum was built on the site which still stands today.
Want more? You can view and download all my Omaha World Herald clippings, which includes nice coverage of Houdini's 1923 suspended straitjacket escape, as a Scholar member of my Patreon.
Great stuff! Thanks for posting! I think the suit borrowing was just a story. Retiring the USD in 1915? It doesn't sound that farfetched to me. Notice from 1915 onward it starts to become big magic effects like the wall and then the elephant. The USD comes back in Britain 1920 for that tour. And then he hurt his leg doing it.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't characterize this as “retiring” the USD or even the start of that. The USD sticks around in full force right thought 1917 and all his later vaudeville tours. This is a one-shot replacement of his core act with…something else. And he opens the show, which is pretty unusual. It almost sounds like the Grand Magical Revue. To learn he did that in the US or anytime after 1914 would be wild indeed.Delete
Speaking of the USD and the 1920 UK tour, I discovered something really interesting at the Harry Ransom Center that I’ll be sharing soon.
I thought he had given the USD a rest until 1920, but apparently not. That British tour USD discovery sounds interesting!Delete
He actually enhanced the USD in 1916 and had a new poster mode. Remember this post?Delete
It's all coming back now! Thanks for the link! There's the 5 month Hippodrome gig in 1918, then you have the Hollywood movie contract after that. That's why I thought he gave the USD a rest until Britain 1920.Delete
Exactly. The USD is tied to his vaudeville act. So he completes his last vaudeville tour mid 1917. Then he forgoes a fall tour to do war work. Then it's the Hippodrome for pretty much all of 1918 (Cheer Up and Everything). 1919 is all movie work. Then he's back on tour in 1920 in the UK and out comes the USD.Delete
You've got the Chronology well in hand. I'll say that.Delete
Is it just me, or did the World Herald reverse those two subheads?ReplyDelete
Haha. Maybe? But the first subhead works with the headline and the second subhead introduces the detailed story, so they feel right to me.Delete