Today we conclude the series on Houdini Grim Game Cards throughout the years. Last time, we looked at the Sketch Card category. This time we are taking a look at the Miscellaneous Card category which will include Post Cards, Magic Cards, Playing Cards and a First Day Cover (FDC).
- L302-84 Harry in the Paramount Picture, The Grim Game, 1919 Courtesy of the Sidney Radner Collection at the Houdini Historical Center, Appleton, WI 54911
- Harry Houdini with is costar Ann Forrest in the Paramount Picture, The Grim Game, 1919 Courtesy of the Sidney Radner Collection at the Houdini Historical Center, Appleton, WI 54911
- B&W Post Card
- Green Poster Post Card
- Magic Act 11 The Wonder Wallet
- Houdini’s Great Escape
- Houdini Escapes
First Day Cover (FDC):
- July 3, 2002 FDC
Today we continue the series on Houdini Grim Game Cards throughout the years. Last time, we looked at the Modern Trading Card category. This time we are taking a look at the Sketch Card category.
Let’s start by looking at the one of one Weird Tales Sketch Cards:
Next, let’s look at the one of one Sketch Card I own from Houdini’s The First World Super Hero Series:
- 2012 Worlds First Super Hero Sketch Card (Dan Gorman)
The sketch is from the following famous 298-47 still:
Cropped Image courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Today, I am going start a series on Houdini Grim Game Cards throughout the years. I plan to break it down by the following categories:
- EARLY CINEMA CARDS
- LOBBY CARDS
- MODERN TRADING CARDS
- SKETCH CARDS
- MISCELLANEOUS CARDS (Post Cards, Magic Cards, FDC)
I am going to start with the Early Cinema Cards category.
Let’s start by looking at a couple cards that were handouts used at movie theatres:
Next, let’s look at some inserts:
This is a large paper insert issue given away with comics. It measures 212mm x 103mm.
The writing at the bottom of the card reads:
Presented with No. 3 of the Kinema Comic, May 8th, 1920.
The Handcuff King
Note: Paramount-Artcraft was the picture company that made “The Grim Game”. The Handcuff King image on the card is from still L302-55:
According to Arthur Moses, the British Boys weekly “The Kinema Comic” ran a serial “The Amazing Exploits of Houdini” (“Written by Houdini Himself” – or so it says) and always began on page 6 and continued on to others. These were tales of pure fiction with maybe 2% fact thrown in. The weekly serials began with the v1n1 April 24, 1920 issue.
Harold Kellock says in his book “Houdini His Life-Story” (1928) that “The Kinema Comic” serial ran for seven years.
Rare circa 1924 Toledo Ohio promotional advertising card from the old Lyric Theatre that was located on Broadway Near Western. This advertising card from the theatre features the Great Silent Movie actress of the era GLORIA SWANSON. The card measures 3 1/2 in by 5 3/8 in. The Lyric Theatre has long since been gone from Toledo and any material from it is scarce.
On the back in April of 1924 they were showing Harry Houdini “The Wizard” in the Movie “HALDANE OF SECRET SERVICE”. It should read HALDANE OF THE SECRET SERVICE; the word THE is missing on the advertising card. According to the card, HALDANE was a gripping story of International counterfeiters interwoven with delightful romance, miraculous escapes and endless surprises!
See below for other HHCE blog references to Gloria Swanson and Houdini:
See below for a few Gloria Swanson and Houdini photo references in books:
- J.C. Cannell – The Secrets of Houdini on page 122
- Doug Henning – Houdini His Legend and His Magic on page 119
- Kalush and Sloman – The Secret Life of Houdini Laid Bare on page 222
And last but not least, see below for an amazing photo of Gloria Swanson and Mr. and Mrs. Houdini from the Houdini Album of Jon Oliver:
Jon Oliver Collection
Lately, we have seen a number of these cards for sale. I have seen them sell anywhere from $67.66 to $400 and I have seen them listed as high as $1,499.99 on eBay. Check out Kevin Connolly’s blog (Buy Me Now Before I Cost $3000) and the comments section for a discussion we had regarding price, condition, and grading.
Now, let’s focus on the card itself. The card with Houdini was number 4 of a set of 24 famous heroes that was issued in England by Boys Cinema as an insert in their magazine March 25th, 1922. It measures 2 1/16″ x 3 1/16″.
The image on the front is from still 298-63 of the Grim Game.
The bottom of the front of the card only lists Artcraft as opposed to Paramount-Artcraft; Paramount and Artcraft Motion pictures were part of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation; In January 1918 Artcraft became a subsidiary of Paramount and in 1921, Paramount was part of a Federal monopoly investigation that caused Artcraft to be closed.
Now for the image on the back, it shows his birthplace as Appleton, Wisconsin which is not at all surprising. But what is surprising is that “Deep Sea Loot” is listed as chief among his films. So what was Deep Sea Loot?
During the 1910s, Houdini worked with underwater filmmakers J.E. and Ernest Williamson on a never-completed film (prospectively titled Houdini and the Miracle) that promised to show Houdini’s escape from a photosphere (an observation chamber that housed a camera that was attached to the bottom of a barge by a long tube). This film project was included in Houdini’s typewritten list of screen credits as Deep Sea Loot but was never made. [Disappearing Tricks by Matthew Solomon, pages 95, 98-99]
See the Movie Picture World, April 28, 1917, “Houdini For Pictures” article on page 622 and John Cox’s blog (Houdini’s Underwater Epic that wasn’t ) for more details on this Deep Sea Thrill.
The above photo of a classic Houdini pose just sold on eBay February 9th for $204.70; congratulations to the winner.
Below are other classic Houdini publicity poses taken when Houdini was working for Paramount-Artcraft Pictures:
The above image of Houdini appears on the cover of the pressbook for The Grim Game as well as the pressbook for Terror Island. This image of Houdini may have been used more than any other image of Houdini for publicity abroad; See Kevin Connolly’s blog.
The signed photo above will be auctioned by Lawsons in New South Wales on Friday, February 22, 2013. See John Cox’s blog for more info on auction.
Note: All of the above images can be found on various cards. Below are some examples from eBay that as of this date are currently for sale:
The image above is the front and back of card #38 from Houdini: The World’s First Superhero” cards. And once again the image on the right (back of card) is
misidentified. But instead of misidentifying the actress as Gloria Swanson like William Kalush and Larry Sloman did on page 360 of their book, The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of Americas First Super Hero; the card misidentifies the actress as Marguerite Marsh. Close, but no cigar. The actress is not Gloria Swanson or Marguerite Marsh, but Ann Forrest (Houdini’s co-star) from the Grim Game. Houdini did spend time with Gloria Swanson on the Lasky set, but was never in a movie with her. See my blog Harry gets cozy with a young Gloria Swanson (and Ann Forrest) at Lasky Studios. Houdini also cozied up with Margaret Marsh when he made the serial The Master Mystery. As the card above points out, Margaret Marsh played Eva Brent, the imperiled damsel in distress in the Master Mystery.
Houdini cozies up to Marguerite Marsh in The Master Mystery