Monday, January 15, 2024

Houdini liked The Bat (apparently)

The Bat is a mystery-comedy play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood that became all the rage when it first played on Broadway in August 1920. It ran for 867 performances in New York before touring. Bob Kane claimed seeing The Bat as a child influenced his later comic book creation, Batman.

It appears Houdini was also a fan of The Bat, as evidenced by his endorsement in an advertisement for the play at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio in November 1923. Houdini had played the Majestic the previous week.

San Antonio Light, Nov. 21, 1923.

The Bat was adapted as a film three times. Below is an excellent overview of those films from one of my favorite YouTube channels Dark Corners Reviews.

If you're interested in reading the original play, an illustrated version is available on



  1. Reading thru the plot on Wikipedia of the 1959 Vincent Price film adaptation is a struggle. It's a long and convoluted affair.