Still 298-22: Who is the other man in this still?

This still 298-22 has intrigued me for a long time.

We know that is Harry Houdini playing Harvey Hanford (Cameron’s nephew) and we know that is Ann Forrest playing Mary Wentworth (Cameron’s ward and heiress), but who is the other man in this still?

Feel free to read The Grim Game Cast and Story and use the actor photos below for clues.

Your choices are as follows:


Harry Houdini (Harvey Hanford)


Thomas Jefferson (Dudley Cameron)


Augustus Philips (Clifton Allison)


Tully Marshall (Richard Raver)


Arthur Hoyt (Dr. Harvey Tyson)


Unidentified Actor (Old Servant Banks)


Or you could choose NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Care to take a guess before I share some more thoughts on the matter:

Well, it is not Harvey Hanford [Harry Houdini] unless Dixie Dooley’s story is correct and Houdini has a twin brother in disguise.

It possibly could be Dudley Cameron [Thomas Jefferson]. Could this be the scene when the following Cameron spoken title appears?

“I’ve told you to keep away from Mary, you – spendthrift! I have other plans for her. Now get out!”

Cameron has disinherited his nephew.  He has never got over his hatred of the young reporter who once forced his way into his presence to get a story and whom he had thrown out. He has repudiated and forbidden HH to enter his house. Cameron also want’s Mary to wed Dr. Harvey Tyson not HH when he dies.

It possibly could be Clifton Allison [Augustus Phillips] since we know he carried a revolver and shot Dr. Tyson and Cameron in the movie.

I think we can rule Richard Raver [Tully Marshall] out; he was never at the house at the same time as HH and Mary, and does not come across as the type to have a gun.

It possibly could be Dr. Harvey Tyson [Arthur Hoyt]. There is a scene in the script where Dr. Tyson see’s the couple HH and Mary before him.  Their attitude shows him that there is a rival in the field who may upset his matrimonial plans. Dr. Tyson shows his bitter anger at what he has seen.  He starts as though to confront the lovers…  However, Dr. Tyson has a moustache in the movie.

It possibly could be Old Banks [unidentified actor], the man-of-all-work who is Cameron’s servant, butler and guard at times.  The following subtitle appears in the movie:

The main entrance is guarded by old Banks, the man-of-all-work, who admits only the chosen few.

On one occasion when HH pays a visit to Mary, HH is discovered by Banks. By a clever trick, Banks drops the gun and HH seizes it.  Banks calls attention to the fact that HH has no business on the grounds and in a spoken title adds:

“If anything happened around here, we’d have circumstantial evidence on you – prowling about these grounds with a gun!”

HH places gun just inside the gate just before closing it and making his escape.

Okay, so based on knowledge of the movie, the above descriptions and photos of the actors; who do you think it is now?

Cinema Chat Series Part 3 of 3

Number 42, March 8, 1920 [page 16 and 17]

Below is the text from the ad:

Houdini the handcuff king, who is here seen in pictures from his latest film is one of the highest paid men in vaudeville, and one of the most famous men in the world. He started in life as a locksmith. Soon he learned he could pick any lock. He conceived the idea of going into vaudeville as a handcuff expert. He was instantly successful and toured the world in an act which took the form of escaping from any kind of handcuff with which he had been manacled. Escapes, however, were the least of his many stunts, as a list of some the remarkable things he has done would prove.

As an instance he was once handcuffed, tied and sewn in a canvas sack, and thrown from Eiffel Tower, Paris.  Halfway down Houdini was out of the manacles and the sack and clinging to a parachute.  He was thrown from Brooklyn Bridge locked in a steel safe.  He came up in one minute.  He escaped from a strait jacket whilst suspended head downwards from the “Times” Building, in New York.  He has also escaped from every famous prison in the world including the Tower of London, and the Conciergerie in Paris. So far he has never been successfully challenged on any feat, and we will permit anyone to tie him, nail him in a box or seal him up in glass!

Houdini has appeared before all the crowned heads of Europe.  He has been locked and manacled in practically every prison in America. Before he is manacled he is always stripped and examined carefully for keys, etc.  He has also escaped from time-lock safes.

In his first Paramount-Artcraft picture, The Grim Game, Houdini does practically all the stunts that have made him a world-famous figure, a perpetual mystifier, an entertainer par excellence. His aerial feats in this photo-play will cause one all to gasp, for they are simply extraordinary.

In future blogs, I will attempt to describe the scene, character(s) and actor(s) that are depicted in each picture still from The Grim Game.

See below for related links:

I’ve Seen Most of The Grim Game

Poster Image created from still photo 298-8

That is, I have had the distinct pleasure and honor to be allowed access to the Margaret Herrick’s Library Special Collection file of original production stills from The Grim Game.   I can tell you it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  There were 10 envelopes in the file that contained 87 unique stills ranging from Production# 298-1 to Production# 298-92.  All 92 production numbers were accounted for with the exception of these ten: 298-3, 298-33, 298-34, 298-35, 298-36, 298-37, 298-58, 298-66, 298-76 and 298-90.  Now, there were four stills in the file that did not have the production number on it, so they could account for four out of the ten missing; plus I have also seen 298-3 (L302-3, mid-air collision), 298-34 (plane), and three other stills (jail scene and two other mid-air plane images) without the production number that could account for five more of the ten missing. Plus, the infamous L302-55 (298-55) image was not in the file, but a totally different image for 298-55 was in the file.  And there were two images of 298-27 in the file that are totally different images.  So, there is no guarantee the stills are all correctly numbered.  In addition:  Production numbers 19, 20, and 21 were marked with 289-19, 289-20, and 289-21 as opposed to 298-19, 298-20, and 298-21.  And, some of the production numbers were written in pen on the still.

So, based on this circumstantial evidence, I can pretty much say that I have now seen and cataloged most of the production stills for The Grim Game.

Poster Image created from still photo 298-71


Here are some interesting counts of the 87 unique stills found in the special collection file at the Margaret Herrick’s Library:

  • Harry Houdini was in all 87 stills; Yes, I said ALL.  I don’t think you can say that for his other movies.
  • Ann Forrest was in 21 stills.
  • A Straw Hat was in 17 stills.
  • The Jail was in 15 stills.
  • An airplane was in 13 stills



If you or someone you know has a 298 or L302 image from The Grim Game with any of the following numbers (33, 35, 36, 37, 58, 66, 76 or 90) on it, please send me an email describing the image, so that I can correctly catalog all of the stills for The Grim Game.

Also, if you have an image from The Grim Game that is missing the production number on it, and would like to know what the production number is for that image, send an email and I will be glad to identify it for you.

The Grim Game Core Experience

I decided to go for it.  That is, I took a day off from work and drove to the Margaret Herrick Library with the hope of making a future appointment to finally see The Grim Game, Master File 681 Paramount Script Collection and Archive of photos (original stills).

I showed up at the Margaret Herrick Library with a notepad, pencil and driver’s license.  The guard at the front greeted me, took my drivers license and had me fill out some paper-work.  After signing in, he told me to take the elevator to the second floor and check in at the desk.

My heart was pounding as I got off the elevator.  I was given a library card that was good for the day; I was then directed to go discuss my research project with the librarian.

Within moments, the librarian filled out a card for me to see the core collection for The Grim Game and the core collection for Terror Island.

The Grim Game core collection consisted of three envelopes:

Contents of Envelope 1 (1 card)

Contents of Envelope 2 (4 pages)

  • Copy of November 1919, Photoplay article (Page 112 and Page 115)
  • Copy of New School , program notes by Wm. K. Everson, “3/1/1974” (1 page)
  • B&W Copy of Page 19 from MUM Society of Americans Magicians Monthly Magazine August 1919 (Click here to see it in color)

Contents of Envelope 3 (Six stills): The two in bold (298-19 and 298-51), I had never seen before

  • 289-19 (Note:  prod#  is mis-labeled on still, should be 298 not 289)  Harry Houdini and Ann Forrest reading The Daily Call Illustrated Magazine
  • 298-51 (similar to this Library of Congress image) minus the chains and cuffs
  • L302-64 (same as this Lot 271 image that sold at Potter and Potter auction)
  • 298-16 (same as image found in MAGIC April 2001 magazine on page 106) Harry Houdini risks his life to escape by leaping out of moving car
  • 298-53 (same as this Kevin Connolly’s L302-53 image but with 298-53 prod# on it)
  • 298-87 (same as image in Grim Game Press Book  and image in The Adventurous Life of Versatile Artist) Harry Houdini lying down on the top wing of an airplane


After reviewing the core files, the librarians showed me how to use the library computers and helped me locate some other references on Houdini.

While I was there reviewing other Houdini references, I also had the opportunity to discuss my research project with Barbara Hall, Special Collections Research Archivist and Faye Thompson, Photograph Department Coordinator.  And schedule an appointment to see The Grim Game, Master File 681 Paramount Script Collection and Archive of photos (original stills).   Stay tuned!

Have you seen Ann Forrest in The Grim Game?

John Cox launched a blog post today featuring a look back at the leading ladies who starred the bill with Houdini in his silent movies.  He started off with Ann Forrest who co-starred with Houdini in “The Grim Game”.  This inspired me to do this post on “Have you seen Ann Forrest in The Grim Game?”:

How many photos of Ann Forrest from “The Grim Game” have you seen?

So far, I have seen the following:

This photo above also appears on page 360 of The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush with the caption: “Harry gets cozy with a young Gloria Swanson”.  Note: This is an error: it is really Ann Forrest.


The above photo also appears on page 148 of The Original Houdini Scrapbook by Walter B. Gibson with the following caption: “Agile and acrobatic as well as physically powerful, Houdini stages a heroic film rescue”.


The photo above is identified as being from the movie “Haldane of the Secret Service” more times than not, but it is actually from “The Grim Game”.

Click on the links below to see other photos of Ann Forrest:

Also, in Milborne Christopher’s, Houdini A Pictorial Life, on page 96 there is a rarely seen photo of Houdini and Ann Forrest with the following caption next to it: Only the heroine believed he was innocent, not guilty of an alleged murder.

American Heritage April 1972 Houdini’s High-flying Hoax by Art Ronnie on Page 108 has a picture of Ann Forrest posing with the principals of the air collision after the accident.   Robert Kennedy seems to be thinking more about film star Ann Forrest than about his brush with death.

Have you seen any others?