To kick off September, thought I would share a Pharmaceutical Calendar Ad from 1977, I recently acquired about The Perilous Escape From the “Spanish Maiden”:
Imagine a man stepping into an upright casket lined with sharp steel spikes and having it firmly shut and padlocked. Houdini escaped from such a device without the slightest injury and without leaving a clue as to how he did it.
The casket, painted with a resemblance of a Spanish maiden, was modeled after an instrument of torture used during the Spanish Inquisition. Spikes lined the interior in such a way that the body was trapped, but not pierced. It was hinged on one side, and on the other there were padlocks.
[it then goes on to explain in detail how he escaped]
You gotta love the image of Houdini they used from “The Grim Game”.
If you don’t own the Miracle Factory and Kino DVDs on Houdini, you will definitely want to check out the Houdini Historical Film footage (taken from high quality 35MM nitrate originals which no longer exist) found on the following two tapes:
Tape 1 includes Straight-Jacket Escape, Houdini’s Funeral, Master Mystery Footage from Episode 4/5, and Paris street footage.
These clips come from History’s Lost and Found (episode #22) which showcased Houdini’s Water Torture Cell and first aired in 2000. In the introductory montage we see a collection of Houdini footage. Much of it is familiar — but then pops up three (two) distinct fragments from, yes, The Grim Game!
So where did these fragments come from, and how much footage was trimmed away? Is it possible these full sequences exist somewhere outside the infamous Larry Weeks print?
The show credits still and stock footage from all the segments together, but within the list we see a handful of suspects who could have supplied the clips: Houdini Historical Society, Sidney H. Radner Collection, Houdini Tribute.com, John Gaughan, Morris Young Collection, Archive Film and Photos, Budget Films/eFootage, Hot Shots Cool Cuts, Steamline Stock Footage, and WPA Film Library.
Okay, fess up! Who (else) is squatting on footage from The Grim Game?
Photos & Footage on the 1998 documentary are credited as follows:
So based on the documentary credits, that narrows these Grim Game footage fragments to:
Sidney H. Radner Collection Houdini Historical Center, Appleton WI Outgamie County Historical Society
Hot Shots/Cool Cuts
That said, as far as I can tell these fragments still exist (as flipped or reversed images) on the Larry Weeks (now TCM) print.
Anyhow, enjoy the documentary that includes some interesting comments from the late great Ken Silverman:
One of the stunts he done was stand on top of Bi-plane and jump into Lake Michigan handcuffed. (18:04-18:08)
Ruptured appendix caused peritonitis to set in. Peritonitis comes from bacterium and appendicitis comes from the bacterium and he couldn’t have got that from a punch in the stomach so he must have had it before. (20:17- 20:24)
In 2015, TCM aired the restoration of The Grim Game on October 18th.
The first airing at 8:00 PM (ET) was the new Brane Zivkovic musical ensemble score.
The second airing at 11:45 PM (ET) was the new Steve Sterner piano score (which included a Main theme, Love theme, Villain theme and Servant theme).
Steve Sterner The Grim Game Main theme Copyright 2015 Steve Sterner All Rights Reserved
Well what was the music like in 1919? Below is the Musical Synopsis from the 1919 Press Book for “The Grim Game”.
Unfortunately, a recording of this music played on the piano does not currently exist. That said, I was able to track down the original 1911 sheet music, Premier Amour, by Andre Benoist that was used as the theme for The Grim Game in 1919: