Monday, February 6, 2023

Houdini at the Alhambra 1900 brochure sells on eBay

A beautiful 4-page souvenir brochure for Houdini at the Alhambra Theatre in London sold on eBay this weekend for the not unreasonable price of $1,036.

This is not an unknown piece as all 4 pages are reproduced in Milbourne Christopher's Houdini A Pictorial Life. However, what's makes this one so exciting--apart from it being an original--is it contains a smaller tipped in program for the patriotic playlet "Soldiers of the Queen."

"Soldiers of the Queen" was a feature of the Alhambra bill when Houdini made his debut there in July of 1900. That suggests this is from Houdini's famous two month breakout run at the theater. "Soldiers of the Queen" was still playing at the Alhambra when Houdini returned in December, so it's possible this comes from that later engagement. But the play left that month, so this can only be from 1900. That makes it a pretty exciting and significant piece of early Houdini history.

Below is an ad from the July 4, 1900 Pall Mall Gazette showing Soldiers of the Queen, Chung Ling Soo, and Houdini all playing the Alhambra.

Congrats to the winner of this gem!



  1. Houdini at the Alhambra. What are we talking about here? Is it just HH exclusively for the evening and not a 15 minute act along with other performers?

    1. No, this is a typical music hall bill with a line up of variety acts. Houdini is one of those acts. But I guess some acts get their own special program. Like Houdini and Soldiers of the Queen. Maybe not correct to call this a program. But I'm not sure what else to call it.

    2. The caption in Christopher calls this a "four-page brochure distributed along with the theater program to patrons of the London Alhambra Theatre." I've changed it to "brochure" above.

  2. I agree, without any listing of his act I wasn’t even interested in this.
    It’s just like magazine without any mention of his act.
    Cool that it went for grand…

  3. Filling the brochure with his police station challenges was a shrewed move: Let your audience know you are authentic and mean business.