The New Houdini Chronology ☛ 1919

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Last update: 5/27/18
Weeks run Monday to Sunday.

Jan. 6-12: The Master Mystery continues to open in various cities. [2]
Jan. 13-19:
Jan. 20-26:
➤ Fri., Jan. 24: Houdini performs at Annual Benefit of the Actors Fund. [1]
Jan. 27-Feb. 3:

Feb. 3-9: The Master Mystery continues to open and play in various cities. [2]
Feb. 10-16:
Feb. 17-23:
➤ Sun., Feb. 23: Houdini performs at benefit show for the Camp Upton Athletic Field Fund at the Century Theatre in NYC. [2][11]
Feb. 24-March 2:
➤ Fri., Feb. 28: Houdini performs at The Sphinx Club "Ballet of Victory" ball at Waldorf-Astoria. [2]

March 3-9: The Master Mystery continues to open and play in various cities. [2]
➤ Sun., March 9: New York Tribune reports that Houdini has signed a contract to make movies for Famous Players Lasky. Work on "initial picture" to start May 1 in Hollywood. [2]
➤ Around this time Houdini acquires a controlling interest in Martinka's & Co. Magic Shop in New York.
March 10-16:
March 17-23:
March 24-30:
➤ Sat., March 28: Houdini attends grand opening of the new National Vaudeville Artists clubhouse on W 46th St., NYC. [2][11]
March 31-April 6:
➤ Sun., April 6: Houdini celebrates 45th birthday.

April 7-13: The Master Mystery continues to open and play in various cities. [2]
➤ Sat., April 12: Houdini performs at benefit commemorating the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Hippodrome, NY. [2]
April 14-20:
➤ Wed., April 16: Houdini leaves for Los Angeles. [2][11]
➤ Sun., April 20: Houdini, Bess, and Julie Karcher arrive in Hollywood. Initially stay at Hollywood Hotel. [2]
April 21-27:
April 28-May 4:

May 5-11:
May 12-18:
➤ Tues., May 13: Los Angeles Daily Times runs photo of Houdini and Cecil B. DeMille at Lasky Studio in Hollywood. [2]
May 19-25:
➤ Sat., May 24: Jesse Lasky writes to Houdini saying The Grim Game is the "consensus of opinion" best title for movie. [5]
May 26-June 1:
➤ Tues., May 27: Papers announce The Master Mystery will be distributed by World Film Corp in several states including California, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas. [2]

June 2-8:
June 9-15:
➤ Fri., June 13: S.A.M. diner held Houdini's honor in Los Angeles. [2]
June 16-22:
➤ Sat., June 22: Gala Silver Wedding Anniversary Dinner for Houdini and Bess at the Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, CA [3][6]
June 23-29:
June 30-July 6: The Master Mystery opens at Clune's Theater (528 S. Broadway) in Los Angeles, CA. Houdini makes personal appearance. [2]
➤ Fri., June 30: Houdini informs Oscar Teale that he has broken his wrist while filming The Grim Game and it will delay completion by two weeks. [3][9][5]

July 7-13:
➤ Sun., July 13: Houdini and Will Rogers perform at the Actor's Fund Benedit at the Mason (hotel?) in Los Angeles. [2]
July 14-20:
July 21-27:
➤ Sat., July 26: Los Angeles Times reports Houdini has "just completed" filming on The Grim Game. Will embark on tour of UK, France and Italy "last week of November." [2]
➤ Sun., July 27: Houdini visits Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton on set of Back Stage at the Comique studio on Alessandro Street in Edendale, CA. [2]
July 28-Aug. 3:
➤ Mon., July 28: Houdini departs Los Angeles via the "Salt Lake" train. [2]

Aug. 4-10:
Aug. 11-17:
Aug. 18-24:
✪ ➤ Mon., Aug. 18: Screening of The Grim Game at the Lasky Famous Players offices at 485 5th Avenue, New York, NY [1]
Aug. 25-31: The Grim Game opens at B.S. Moss' Broadway Theater (Brodway and 41st St.) with personal appearance of Houdini and every showing. [2]
➤ Sun., Aug. 31: Papers report Houdini has signed new contact for 2nd Lasky film. [2]
➤ Sun., Aug. 31: Houdini performs at Barney Fagen benefit at Manhattan Opera House, NY. [2]
Sept. 1-7: The Grim Game continues B.S. Moss' Broadway Theater with "Houdini in Person". [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 3: Houdini applies for new passport.

Sept. 8-14:
Sept. 15-21:
➤ Mon., Sept. 15: Houdini returns to Los Angeles. [1]
Sept. 22-28:
➤ Various papers report Houdini interested in buying the Oakland Oaks baseball team. [2]
Sept. 29-Oct. 5: The Grim Game opens at the Rose (Madison near Dearbon) and Orpheum (State near Monrore) in Chicago, IL. "Exclusive Chicago Showing" [2]
➤ Mon., Sept. 29: Houdini performs at veterans benefit for Hollywood Post of the American Legion. [2]

Oct. 6-12: The Grim Game opens wide in several cites. (The Master Mystery is still playing.) [2]
➤ Fri., Oct. 9: Houdini sues Octagon Films for $40,000. [1][2]
➤ Fri., Oct. 10: Houdini begins shooting second Lasky feature (working titles The Isle of Hate, Salvage, Deep Sea Loot) at the Lasky Studio in Hollywood (Vine and Selma). [2][8]
Oct. 13-19:
➤ Fri., Oct. 17: King Albert of Belgium visits the Lasky Studio. Houdini performs escape in studio water tank for Royal party. [2]
Oct. 20-26:
Oct. 27-Nov. 2:
➤ Sun., Nov. 2: Houdini writes letter to Don Turley of Southern California Music Co from Mission Inn, Riverside. [5][8]

Nov. 3-9: Houdini in Riverside shooting underwater scenes at La Elliotta Springs. [2]
➤ Tues, Nov. 4: Houdini experiences earthquake in Riverside.
Nov. 10-16:
➤ Fri., Nov. 14: Houdini inscribes The Unmasking of Robert Houdin to James Cruze. [10]
Nov. 17-23: Film cast and crew arrive on Santa Catalina Island. Houdini travels by seaplane. [2][3]
Nov. 24-30: Catalina shooting continues. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 26: Houdini writes letter to Don Turley saying he expects to return to L.A. "early next week." [5]
➤ Sat., Nov. 28: Houdini attempts to rescue stalled boat drifting into rocks. Incident filmed. [2]

Dec. 1-7: Houdini completes filming with "a few days of location shooting" in Los Angeles. [5]
Dec. 8-14:
➤ Tues., Dec 9: Houdini departs Los Angeles for NY via the "Sante Fe Limited" train. [2][8]
➤ Sat., Dec 13: Terror Island is officially revealed as title of second Houdini Lasky feature. [2][8]
Dec. 15-21:
➤ Fri., Dec. 19: Some sources show Houdini performing at the London Palladium, but there's clear evidence that Houdini is still in the U.S. at this time.
➤ Sat., Dec. 20: Papers report Houdini back in New York. [2]
Dec. 22-28: Houdini spends week going through massive new auction acquisition for Theatrical Collection. [3][9][5]
Dec 29-Jan. 4:
➤ Tues., Dec. 30: Houdini sails from New York aboard the Mauretania of the Cunard line. [1][2]

Primary Sources:
[1] Koval, Frank. The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary, Part 5: 1916 to 1920. Chadderton: 1994.
[2] Original newspaper story or advertisement via or other archival source.
[3] Silverman, Kenneth. Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[4] Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini The Untold Story. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1969.
[5] Original letter, cable, contract, or signed item.
[6] Original pitchbook, program, playbill or poster.
[7] Houdini diary.
✪ Denotes a first or possible first.

Additional Sources (1919):
[8] Joe Notaro, Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence.
[9] Silverman, Kenneth. NOTES to Houdini!!! Washington: Kaufman & Greenberg, 1996.
[10] Culliton, Patrick. Houdini Unlocked: The Tao of Houdini. Los Angeles: Kieran Press, 1997.
[11] Bill Mullins.


  1. 23 Feb 1919 -- appeared at the benefit show for the Camp Upton Athletic Field Fund at the Century Theatre in NYC. (Ref: NY Clipper, 26 Feb 1919, p 20)

    28 Mar 1919 Attended grand opening of the new National Vaudeville Artists clubhouse on W 46th St., NYC. (Ref: NY Clipper 2 Apr 1919, p 5, 33).

    16 Apr 1919 Houdini leaves for Los Angeles. (Ref: NY Clipper 16 Apr 1919, p 3)

    27 Jul - 2 Aug: "Harry Houdini returned from California last week." (Ref NY Clipper 6 Aug 1919 p. 32)

  2. Tues., Dec 9: Houdini departs Los Angeles for NY via the "Sante Fe Limited" train. [Ref: camera! Dec 13, 1919 page 14



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