The New Houdini Chronology ☛ A.D.

| 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | A.D.

Last update: 4/19/18
The following are significant events in the afterlife of Harry Houdini.

1927
January 17: Hardeen begins touring as "Brother and Legal Successor of Houdini" in Bridgeport, CT.
April: Bess fights New York Life for double indemnity insurance and wins. Receives $50,000.
June: Bess sells Houdini's theatrical collection to Messmore Kendall.
July: Houdini's magic and spiritualism library donated to the Library of Congress.
July 30: Nathan Weiss, 56, dies of pneumonia in Columbus, Ohio.
August: Hardeen's home broken into by thieves said to be in search of Houdini secrets.
April: Bess sells 278 to neighbors John and Filippina Bonanno.
Oct. 31: Houdini bust and S.A.M. embalm revealed on grave.
December 30: Bess previews "frozen man" act at 420 West Fifty-Third Street, New York, NY. Announces upcoming vaudeville tour.

1928
Feb. 8: Medium Arthur Ford claims to make contact with Houdini's mother ("Forgive"). Widely reported by A.P.
March 8-10: Bess does plate glass box escape and Frozen Man during 3-day vaudeville engagement at the St. James Theater, Asbury Park, NJ.
May 3: Dunninger conjures Houdini's "luminous ghost" and handwriting during mock seance for Bess and press.
June: Publication of Houdini His Life Story by Harold Kellock.

1929
Jan. 5: Arthur Ford claims to have received the 10th and final word of Houdini Code via a series of seances.
Jan. 8: Arthur Ford holds seance with Bess and press at Payson Ave, reveals full Houdini Code. Widely reported in press.
Jan. 10: New York Graphic claims Ford seance a "hoax." Bess threatens to sue paper for $1 million.
Jan. 25: Arthur Ford ousted from the United Spiritualist league for "conduct unbecoming a Spiritualist minster." Houdini message story dies down.
October: Modern Mechanics prints first R.D. Adams "exposure" of Houdini feats.

1930
January: Bess opens tea room Mrs. Harry Houdini's Rendezvous in New York.
March 19: Bess issues statement saying she never received a legitimate message from Houdini and renounces the possibility.
April 5: Bess closes tea room.
July 7: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies at 71.
October: Publication of Houdini's Escapes by Walter B. Gibson.
[Date?]: Bess meets Edward Saint in Rye Beach, NY.

1931
April 9: Medium Nino Pecoraro confesses to being a fraud and duping Conan Doyle.
September: Publication of The Secrets of Houdini by J.C. Cannell.

1932
February: Bess spends season at Waters' cottages in Florida with niece and nephew.
March: Publication of Houdini's Magic by Walter B. Gibson.
March: Publication of Houdini and Doyle: The Story of a Strange Friendship by Bernard M.L. Ernst and Hereward Carrington.
May 6: A.P. report Houdini estate insolvent due to "over-generosity."
Nov. 24: Bess begins tour with The Mantell-Houdini Show.
December: Papers report RKO making movie based on Houdini's life, Now You See It, with Adolphe Menjou starring.
December: Houdini's real birthday and birthplace revealed in German magic magazine Die Magie. Not reported in U.S.

1933
Jan. 17: Camel Cigarette's controversial "It's fun to be fooled" ad campaign begins with Milk Can exposure.
Hardeen opens "Houdini's Temple of Mystery" in Atlantic City, NJ.
Oct. 31: Baltimore chapter of S.A.M holds Houdini seance at the New Howard Hotel. Milbourne Christopher in attendance.

1934
February: Houdini's Escapes and Magic combined edition by Walter Gibson released by Blue Ribbon.
April 13: Houdini book collection is displayed in rare book room at Library of Congress.
October: Papers report Fred Keating will star in Houdini biopic for Columbia.

1935
March 26: Cache of Houdini equipment discovered in NY theatrical warehouse.
March 30: Hardeen fails in his first performance of Double Fold Milk Can at Grand Congress of Magicians in Allentown, PA.
July 25: Bess and Ed Saint have Houdini Seance at 2435 Laurel Canyon, Hollywood, CA.

1936
April: Hardeen stars in Vitaphone short Medium Well Done.
April 13: Howard Thurston dies.
October: Houdini on cover of second issue of Genii Magazine.
Oct. 31: The Final Houdini Seance in Hollywood, CA

1937
[No significant events found.]

1938
March: Bess films Religious Racketeers at The Grand National Studios (Poinsettia and Santa Monica Blvd.) in Hollywood.
July 21: Edward Saint and Los Angeles chapter of SAM establish Halloween as National Magic Day.
April 12: Religious Racketeers previewed.
April 19: Bess denies "rumors of a secret wedding."
Sept. 10: Hardeen begins 4-year run in Hellzapoppin' on Broadway.
Nov. 28: Bernard M.L. Ernst dies at 59.

1939
Jan. 26: A plumber trapped for 10 hours in cave-in credits his survival to remembering Houdini's writings about the Shelton Test.

1940
June: Religious Racketeers is re-released as The Mystic Circle Murder.

1941
Aug. 1: "A Few Untold Facts about Harry Houdini" appears in Walter Winchell column.
Oct. 11: Bess attends Houdini Club of Wisconsin Convention in Appleton, WI.
Nov. 1: Mina "Margery" Crandon dies at 53.

1942
March 6: Jim Collins (60) dies.
June: Hardeen gives Sidney Radner the Water Torture Cell.
Oct. 22: Edward Saint (52) dies in Hollywood, CA.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1943
Feb. 11: Bess Houdini (67) dies aboard a train in Needles, CA.
Feb. 18: Bess is buried in Gate of Heaven cemetery in Hawthorn, NY.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1944
April: Orson Welles reported as cast in David O' Selznick's "The Life of Houdini" biopic (never made).

1945
Jan. 25: Hardeen appears on television, WCBW, New York.
May 29: Hardeen names assistant Douglas Geoffrey as successor, Hardeen Jr.
June 12: Hardeen (69) dies in Doctor's Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.
June 15: Hardeen buried at Machpelah cemetery.

1946
Publication of The Great Balsamo by Maurice Zolotow.

1947
Hardeen Jr. and Sherms tour with show "Houdini Lives Again."

1948
Oct. 31: Friends of Houdini and Hardeen hold seance at 12 Gay Street, NY. First of the "Official" Houdini seances?

1949
Seance inside 278. Rose Bonanno claims to receive phonecall from Houdini.

1950
Publication of The Great Houdini by Beryl Williams and Samuel Epstein. First book to note Martin Beck's contributions to Houdini's career.

1951
Feb. 7: "Yesterday's Newsreel" on WMAL-TV includes film of Houdini.

1952
February: Papers report Paramount on a "worldwide talent hunt" for actor to play Houdini.
July 11: Tony Curtis announced for lead in Paramount's Houdini.
September-November: Houdini films at Paramount studios in Hollywood (Stage 9).
October 31: Joseph Dunninger holds 25th Anniversary Houdini seance in NYC.

1953
July 2: Paramount's Houdini starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh released in U.S.
July 15: The life of Harry Houdini on "You Asked for It", WMAL-TV.
Publication of Houdini on Magic by Walter B. Gibson. (Never goes out of print.)

1954
Paramount's Houdini continues to play in theaters.

1955
Paramount's Houdini continues to play in theaters.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1956
Paramount's Houdini continues to play in theaters.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1957
Paramount's Houdini continues to play in theaters.

1958
James Randi recreates Houdini's Shelton pool test, proving Houdini used no trickery.

1959
January: Houdini's sister Carrie Gladys Weiss (77) dies.
July 10: House at 2400 Laurel Canyon burns in massive brush fires. Papers report it as "Houdini Mansion."
Aug. 3: Publication of Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls by William Lindsay Gresham. First biography to show Houdini's birth as March 24, 1874 in Budapest.

1960
Sept. 22: Portions of The Man From Beyond air on ABC's Silents Please hosted by Ernie Kovacs.
June 1: Publication of Houdini Master of Escape by Lace Kendall (Adrien Stoutenburg).

1961
Sept. 27: Publication of Houdini's Fabulous Magic by Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1962
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.
Oct. 5: Leopold Weiss (70) dies by suicide.

1963
The Magic Castle opens in Hollywood, CA.

1964
June: The Man From Beyond plays the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, CA.
October: Genii Magazine Houdini Memorial Issue.

1965
January: Houdini (1953) airs for first time on television (NBC).
Aug. 10: Fire endangers Houdini collection at the University of Texas in Austin.

1966
Feb. 17: Gladys Hardeen dies at 64.
Nov. 16: Man of Magic stage musical opens in London. Runs 126 performances.

1967
June 28: Elise Hardeen dies at 95.

1968
May: Houdini Magical Hall of Fame opens in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Oct. 31: Seance at Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, CA.

1969
March 16: Publication of Houdini The Untold Story by Milbourne Christopher.

1970
July 4: Papers report discovery of Houdini voice recordings.
Dec. 29: The Truth About Houdini airs on BBC. First full length Houdini documentary.
Remains of Laurel Canyon "Houdini Mansion" demolished.

1971
Water Torture Cell put on permanent display at Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, CA.

1972
October: Genii Magazine Special Houdini Issue.
The Houdini Birth Research Committee's Report officially recognizes Houdini's birthplace as Budapest and birthdate as March 24.
Arno Press reprint of Houdini's A Magician Among the Spirits published.

1973
June 7-30: Houdini exhibition at the California State University Northridge (CSUN). Manny Weltman collection.

1974
March 1: The Grim Game screens at the New School, New York, NY.
March 24: Franklin Mint strikes medal commemorating centennial of Houdini's birth.
May 28: The Magic Show with Doug Henning opens at the Cort Theater on Broadway.
Sept. 18: Variety reports competing Houdini movie projects at Paramount and Columbia.
Oct. 31: Seance at Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, CA. Attended by Dunninger and James Randi.

1975
April 9: Houdini's grave bust smashed by vandals.
June 12: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow published. Features Houdini and becomes #1 bestseller.
Oct. 31: Houdini receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, CA.
Nov. 16: Houdini (1953) airs on KCOP in Los Angeles (seen by a young John Cox).
Dec. 26: Doug Henning does Houdini's Water Torture Cell live on NBC special "The World of Magic."

1976
March 19: Milbourne Christopher as Houdini in Magic Vs. The Occult at Lincoln Center, NY.
March 24: S.A.M. restores bust to Houdini's grave with replica.
April 28-May 25: The Great Houdinis films in Los Angeles.
May 15: The Truth About Houdini documentary airs in U.S. for first time.
July: Publication of The Original Houdini Scrapbook by Walter B. Gibson.
August: Publication of Houdini: A Mind in Chains by Bernard C. Meyer.
October: Publication of Houdini His Life and Art by James Randi.
October: Publication of Houdini A Pictorial Life by Milbourne Christopher.
Oct. 8: The Great Houdinis starring Paul Michael Glaser and Sally Struthers airs as ABC Friday Night Movie.
Oct. 30: Saturday Night Live broadcast from Houdini's grave.
Dec. 23: Doug Henning does Houdini's Vanishing Elephant live on NBC special.

1977
Sept. 29: Houdini A Circus Opera opens at Carre Theater in Amsterdam.
Dec. 1: Publication of Houdini His Legend and His Magic by Doug Henning and Charles Reynolds.
Dec. 15: Doug Henning does Houdini's Walking Through a Brick Wall live on NBC special.

1978
Sept. 27: Steve Baker does Water Torture Cell on Dick Clark's LIVE Wednesday.
Oct. 31: Houdini seance inside Room 401 of Detroit's Grace Hospital.
Dec. 5: Fonzi does Milk Can escape on Happy Days.

1979
Oct. 30: The Executioners Song published with claim by Gary Gilmore that he's the illegitimate grandson of Houdini.
Houdini Never Died documentary released in VHS.
Grace Hospital in Detroit is torn down.

1980
April: 278 sells to Louis Moise.
June 13: Final contents of 278 auctioned in New Jersey.
Aug. 3: Houdini Never Died airs on HBO.

1981
March 1: Publication of Death and the Magician: The Mystery of Houdini by Raymund Fitzsimons.
Nov. 20: Movie version of Ragtime released with Jeffrey DeMunn as Houdini.

1982
May: Houdini Houdini book of poetry by Luria-Sukenick released by Cleveland State University Press.
August: Houdini a "top contender" for a U.S. postage stamp along with Elvis and Peter Rabbit.

1983
April: Movie Modern Day Houdini starring Bill Shirk Poorman and featuring Milbourne Christopher plays limited engagement in Indianapolis.
August 14: Bust is stolen from Houdini's grave. Again replaced by S.A.M.

1984
June 17: Milbourne Christopher dies at 70.

1985
May 25: Houdini Plaza dedicated in Appleton, WI.

1986
Oct. 31: 50th anniversary reenactment of the Final Houdini Seance at Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles.

1987
March 15: Young Harry Houdini airs as ABC Disney Sunday Movie.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini seance held as live television event.

1988
Deal made to house Sid Radner collection to Houdini Historical Center in Appleton, WI.
Third Houdini bust is stolen from grave. Again replaced by S.A.M.

1989
The Houdini Historical Center is established in Appleton, WI.

1990
Jan. 14: Douglas Geoffrey aka Hardeen Jr. (82) dies.
November: Fourth Houdini bust is stolen from grave. S.A.M. decides to not replace it.

1991
April: Houdini Houdini Historical Center launches first issue of quarterly newsletter devoted to Houdini.
Fred Thomas buys 278.
Water Torture Cell is refurbished by John Gaughan. Displayed at the Los Angeles Magic History Conference.
Robert Zemeckis signed to direct Houdini movie at Columbia.
Houdini (1953) released on VHS.

1992
May: A large cache of uncatalogued Houdini material in the Library of Congress is discovered in an off-sight warehouse.
Sept. 23: Robert Zemeckis drops out of Houdini movie.

1993
November: Genii Magazine Special Houdini Issue.
Publication of The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini by Ruth Brandon in UK.
BBC's Houdini The Life of the World's Greatest Escapologist documentary released on Home Video.

1994
May 25: Houdini's grave suffers major vandalism.
June 20: A&E airs Houdini: The Great Escape first airs on Biography. First of many half hour Houdini documentaries to air on similar cable series'.
Houdini (1953) released on LaserDisc.

1995
March 23: Houdini is character in Las Vegas show EFX (played by Michael Crawford).
April 30: Houdini Magical Hall of Fame closed by fire. Water Torture Cell and Swansa straitjacket destroyed.
May 24: Houdini Unlocking His Secrets airs on NBC.

1996
Sept. 1: Publication of Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss by Kenneth Silverman.
Oct. 15: Gene Gamache's Houdini People Came To See Him Die documentary released on VHS.
Dec. 8: Houdini appears as character in stage musical Ragtime.
Houdini's vandalized grave is restored with funds from David Copperfield, James Randi, and S.A.M.

1997
April 6: Publication of Houdini Unlocked two-volume set by Patrick Culliton.
July 10: Paul Verhoeven signed to direct Houdini movie at Columbia. Tom Cruise to star.
Oct. 24: FairyTale: A True Story with Harvey Keitel as Houdini released by Warner Bros.

1998
Dec. 4: Houdini starring Johnathon Schaech and Stacy Edwards airs on TNT Network.
June 2: Director Paul Verhoeven drops out of Houdini movie at Columbia.
The Master Mystery is released on a 2-tape VHS set by William H. McIlhany.
Terror Island released on VHS in 2-pack with documentary, Houdini Exposed.

1999
October 13: Cremaster 2 featuring Norman Mailer as Houdini released in NYC.
Nov. 5: Items from the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame auctioned at Butterfield & Butterfield's in Los Angeles.

2000
Jan. 24: American Experience Houdini documentary airs on PBS.
Feb. 7: Doug Henning dies at 52.

2001
Houdini is character in bestselling novel Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold.

2002
March 8: Police recover grave bust stolen in 1983 in New Hyde Park.
July 5: U.S. Post Office issues first class Houdini stamp.

2003
Sid Radner pulls collection from Houdini Historical Center in Appleton, WI.

2004
Oct. 31: The Great Houdini Auction (Sid Radner collection) at Liberace Museum, Las Vegas, NV. Restored Water Torture Cell sells for $300,000 to David Copperfield (price later reduced to $150,000 due auction irregularities).
Nov. 2: Houdini's niece Marie Blood dies.

2005
Sept. 28: Publication of The Man Who Killed Houdini by Don Bell.
Oct. 31: Houdini Unlocking the Mystery documentary first airs on History Channel.

2006
January: Houdini-Lives.com launched (my first Houdini website).
Feb. 6: Patrick Culliton sells Houdini's original Metamorphosis trunk on eBay for $44,500.
Oct. 31: Publication of The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero by Bill Kalush and Larry Sloman.

2007
Jan. 11: Haldane of the Secret Service screens at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles (previously unknown print).
March 23: Authors Bill Kalush and Larry Sloman announce plan to exhume Houdini's body to test for poisoning.

2008
April 8: Houdini The Movie Star 3-DVD set released by Kino. Collects all Houdini's movies except The Grim Game.
June 3: Houdini (1953) released on DVD for first time.
July 11: Death Defying Acts with Guy Pearce as Houdini released in LA and NY.
Oct. 24: Houdini Hollywood Walk of Fame star restored and rededicated.

2009
March 27: Summit buys The Secret Life of Houdini to turn into action franchise.
November: Australia mints coin commemorating Houdini’s first flight.
November: Disneyland's Main Street Magic shop becomes "Houdini's Magic Shop."

2010
March 18-21: Houdini Centenary Flight celebrations in Diggers Rest, Australia.
Oct. 29-March 27: Houdini Art and Magic touring exhibition in New York, NY.
Oct. 31: Publication of Houdini The Key by Patrick Culliton. Reveals secret of USD.
Nov. 10: WILD ABOUT HARRY launched.

2011
March 20: Dorothy Young (Houdini assistant) dies at age 103.
April. 28 to Sept 4: Houdini Art and Magic in Los Angeles, CA.
Sept. 29: Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz of Houdini Museum in Scranton restore Houdini's grave bust.
Oct. 7 to Jan. 16: Houdini Art and Magic opens in San Fransisco, CA.
Oct. 20: Publication of Houdini and Conan Doyle by Christopher Sandford.
Nov. 23: Houdini straitjacket, first revealed on Pawn Stars, sells for $46,980 at auction.

2012
Feb. 11 to May 13: Houdini Art and Magic in Madison, WI.
Oct. 23: Houdini Museum of New York at Fantasma Magic opens.
Oct. 26: Publication of The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini by Bruce MacNab.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in Ft. Worth, TX.

2013
July 10: New Houdini Plaza opens in Appleton, WI.
July 15: Lost spiritualism scrapbook discovered in California.
Sept. 30-Dec. 14: Houdini Miniseries films in Budapest, Hungary.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dec. 3: The Grim Game poster sells for $67,166 at auction.

2014
April 20: The Magic of Houdini with Alan Davies documentary premieres airs on ITV.
Aug. 23: Houdini's Double Fold chest sells for $55,000 at auction to David Copperfield.
Sept. 1 & 2: Two-part Houdini Miniseries starring Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly airs on History Channel.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in Danvers, MA.

2015
March 29: "Houdini Day" in City of Los Angeles.
March 29: TCM's restoration of The Grim Game premiers in Hollywood.
Oct. 6: Publication of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World by David Jaher.
Oct. 18: The Grim Game airs on TCM.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in San Fransisco, CA.

2016
March 13: Houdini & Doyle begins airing on ITV Encore in UK.
May 2: Houdini & Doyle begins airing on FOX in U.S.
May 9: S.A.M. rededicates cleaned and restored Houdini grave site.
June 16: The House of Houdini museum opens in Budapest, Hungary.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in Milwaukee, WI.

2017
Feb. 4: Houdini Water Torture Cell poster sells for $114,000 in auction to David Blaine. Record price for a Houdini or magic poster.
April 8: Bess's "royal crown brooch" sells for $72,000 at auction to David Copperfield.
June 18: Houdini's 278 goes up for sale with Open House.
Oct. 31: Official Houdini Seance event in Cleveland, OH.

2018
March 24: The New Houdini Chronology is launched!
May 5 to Oct. 7: Houdini: Terror on the Magic Isle exhibition at the Catalina Island Museum.
June 24 to Jan. 21, 2019: Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini exhibition at The Jewish Museum of Maryland.
July to August: Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

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