Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Houdini and The Divine Sarah

Here's a photo of Houdini with the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt a.k.a. "The Divine Sarah". This image has appeared in several books, but this first generation print comes from the Harry Ransom Center.

In 1916 Bernhardt was presented with a bronze statuette of herself on behalf of the Actors of America. She then received a second surprise; the bill for $350 ($7,136 today). She returned the statuette to everyone's embarrassment. Learning of this, Houdini paid the bill and promised to return the tribute to the great actress personally. Bernhardt insisted he keep it, but she did reportedly ask if he could use his magic powers to restore her amputated leg.

This photo and at least one other taken at this same time are the only known images of Houdini and Bernhardt. But did you know this moment was also caught on film?

This rare unseen film is something I promised to unlock if I achieved my goal of 50 patrons. Well, I hit that goal yesterday thanks to our friends Vincent Toms from 278 (#49) and Randall Bell (#50). So today I'm sharing it as a Patreon exclusive. Just click below and watch this photo come to life!

Thanks to everyone for your support. If you haven't yet joined, come hang with us!


  1. That piece of film was incredible! Worth the price of admission.

    1. The statuette, does anyone know its fate?

    2. Click the top related link. The story is there. Short answer: It's at Harvard.

      Yeah, between this footage and Houdini's Will, I think this is a great time to join my Pateron! :)

    3. Oh I forgot to do that! Older posts will answer questions. Have to keep a closer eye on the related links section. Love how HH put his name on the statuette. He just couldn't resist doing stuff like that. He rescued Elliott's Last Legacy, then put his name on the cover. Clinton Burgess was miffed about that.

      The Bernhardt clip and the Will are the bookends on Patreon. There's a lot of great In Betweens.