How serious was Houdini about making Yar The Primeval Man? Until recently I would have told you it was just one of several possible movie ideas he had floating around, although it was the one with the most complete story. But while going through newspaper clippings at the Harry Ransom Center I found this gem from the June 11, 1922 New York Tribune in which Houdini says "Yar" will indeed be his next film.
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This was an exciting find as it is the first and so far only public mention of the film I've ever encountered. I think this elevates Yar The Primeval Man (or just Yar) as the most likely third Houdini Picture Corporation production, had Houdini continued making movies.
The timing of this story is also interesting. This was just nine days after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously "fooled" magicians at an S.A.M. banquet at McAlpin Hotel with stop motion animation of dinosaurs. The footage was from an upcoming film adaptation of his book, The Lost World. Houdini has already written the Yar story (it's copyrighted 1921), but did the Doyle footage reignite his interest in the prehistoric project? Or perhaps he felt he needed to establish his idea before the release of The Lost World, which would come in 1925.
You can read the entire (bonkers) story of Yar The Primeval Man via the links below.
Fantastic find! Like you said, it was his film treatment with the most complete [published] story [at the time]. That said, right after he published "Yar", he published “The Mystery of the Jewel” which gave Houdini the notion of making a roughly similar film, “Ashes of Passion”, based on Egyptian ideas of reincarnation. l also feel like “The Zanetti Mystery” would have been produced if he lived longer.ReplyDelete
It sounds like HH wanted it in the public record he was going to make a film about the prehistoric era before The Lost World was released. If he followed thru with Yar, then he was covered.ReplyDelete