Houdini the Grim Game Glass Movie Slides

Congrats to the winner of this beautiful slide that just sold for $846.99 on eBay:

A similar slide sold for $2,350.00 on 10/11/2015:

Back in the day you could get this slide as part of a set of four for sixty cents:

Image from 1919 Grim Game PressBook

Today that set would cost you a tad bit more. Below are some sale prices/dates and color images of the other three slides from the set that sold at auction:

6/16/2015 $161.00

4/10/2016 $232.00

8/2/2015 $950.00

6/16/2015 $611.00

Silent Film Cards – What do these Ladies have in common?

Joe M. Notaro Collection

They each starred with Harry Houdini in one of his two-pictures under the Paramount-Artcraft banner. Ann Forrest in the Grim Game (1919) and Lila Lee in Terror Island (1920)

Joe M. Notaro Collection

They were together in Paramount-Artcraft’s The Prince Chap (1920)

And they were card 11 and card 17 of the 20 card Spanish Silent Movie Card Set (Series VII) from the 1920s. Harry Houdini was card 20.

Joe M. Notaro Collection

Related:

The Perilous Escape From the “Spanish Maiden”

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”.

Harry Houdini Mysteries & Scandals 1998 Documentary PLUS Grim Game Fragments

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Thought today I would share a E documentary that was hosted by AJ Benza. It was released 26 October 1998.

It contains fragments (0:08-11:00; 18:54-19:00; 28:32-28:36) from the Grim Game that also appeared on History’s Lost and Found (episode #22) that aired in 2000.

On Wednesday, December 8, 2010 John Cox at WildAboutHoudini first shared these fresh fragments from the Grim Game:

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)

Original Theme Music from The Grim Game

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:

Related:

LINK: L302-26 Grim Game Still in Color

The following is a snippet from an article by B.G. Henne that appeared on January 23, 2015

“It’s probably a good thing that Weeks waited so long to part with the film, if he handed over the reels in the ‘80s when TCM was bonkers for colorizing everything, it could have wound up looking like this:”

Click link below to read full article and see full still in color

A Look Back at 2016, Part 1 – The Year of The Master Mystery

2016 was an amazing year for Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence (HHCE) because it was the year of the Master Mystery (MM).

master mystery episodes 1 to 9master mystery episodes 10 to 15

Part I will cover movie highlights from HHCE and Part II will cover the other highlights from HHCE.

The year started out with a post about the Master Mystery opening in the State of New York the week of January 6, 1919 and that today footage is missing

TMM Kino

Well, it became my mission to find the missing footage and as much information as I could about the movie. 

So what did HHCE find?

Found out that the Master Mystery, opened in other states (e.g., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania) before New York, although it was shown at a special trade show on November 7, 1918 at the Strand Theatre in New York City, before it officially premiered in Boston on November 18, 1918

boston_post_mon__nov_18__1918_-1

Found a DVD that contained a movie short from the Master Mystery.

HH Seances Sonoma Documentary Special Features DVD back

Found evidence of four films based on The Master Mystery.  Reviewed them all and launched a series of posts that took a close look at each one and end with a post that summed up the mystery of all of these movies.

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Found that several versions of the 1918 serial exist on DVD, VHS, and in film archives. Reviewed them all and launched a series of posts that took a close look at each version, clarifying exactly what is missing and what is included.

TheMiracleFactoryMasterMysteryDVDTMM Kino imageMaster Mystery 1918 VHS McIlhany 1998 001

Although all versions by themselves are incomplete, we can now piece together a complete 15-episode Master Mystery serial as it first appeared in 1918, and I can now say that I have seen all of the Master Mystery.

In addition to the Master Mystery, HHCE undertook the task of sharing/restoring what is missing from Houdini’s Terror Island.

terror card disclaimer

While Terror Island is missing two full reels (3 & 4), HHCE (in 2016) just tackled restoring the missing Reel 3 scenes by using photos and script excerpts.

318-1 wmc318-20 wmc318-5 wmc

Hopefully one day, we will get to see the complete Terror Island

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2015 was the year of The Grim Game and 2016 the year of The Master Mystery.

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Is 2017, the year of Terror Island?

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OTHER 2016 HHCE MOVIE RELATED POSTS:

Terror Island:

TI Lobby Card of 318-24 StillTI Posters 001Catalina Rescue from Tao p153 Top

Terror Island/Grim Game:

GG FDCTI FDC

The Grim Game:

GG 24 sheet Moving Picture World p 1327 June 5 1920Lot 120 PP June 25

Master Mystery:

MotionPictureNewsJul-Aug1918Reversemm-e3-postermotionpicturenew18moti_7_0678

MOTION PICTURES FDCs WITH ADD-ON CACHET

Below are two great vintage 1944 motion picture First Day Covers with add-on cachets for Houdini’s movies, The Grim Game and Terror Island.  These items recently sold individually on eBay for $15.50 and $15.55 respectively.  Congratulations to the winners!

Grim Game FDC:

GG FDC

  • MAGICIAN HARRY KELLAR VISITING HARRY HOUDINI AND DIRECTOR IRVIN WILLAT ON THE SET OF “THE GRIM GAME.” [Note: Arthur Moses owns the original photograph which I was lucky enough to see.]
  • FREEMASONS: Harry Houdini was a member of St. Cecile Lodge, New York.
  • He became a Shriner in New York’s Mecca Shrine in October 1926.
  • Harry Kellar was made a Mason May 1875 in Lodge Fraternidad y Homa at Peltas, Brazil.
  • Received the Royal Arch Degree on the Isle of Mauritius.
  • 1850 received the Scottish Rite Degrees in Triple Esperance Lodge, Port Luis, Mauritius, and the 33 AASR in New York City.
  • FIRST DAY OF ISSUE, FIRST DAY COVER, FDOI
  • PENCIL ADDRESS ERASED, SEALED
  • POSTMARKED: NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 31, 1944

Terror Island FDC:

TI FDC

  • Harry starred in TERROR ISLAND (1920) and several other films produced by others and himself.
  • He has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and a place in motion picture history.
  • FIRST DAY OF ISSUE, FIRST DAY COVER, FDOI
  • PENCIL ADDRESS ERASED, SEALED
  • POSTMARKED: NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 31, 1944

Hollywood Reporter LINK: In 1919, Houdini Was Seduced by Movie Magic

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Hollywood Flashback: In 1919, Houdini Was Seduced by Movie Magic – Hollywood Reporter

The famed magician, whose life was the inspiration behind 2013’s ‘Now You See Me’ and its sequel (out June 10), made his Hollywood debut in silent action films such as ‘The Grim Game’ and ‘Terror Island.’

Click the Hollywood reporter link below to read the rest of the story:

Note: The above story mentions that [Harry] Houdini lived in L.A. at 1616 N. Curson Ave. which is not quite true; it was actually Bess Houdini that lived there with Ed Saint sometime around 1936.

Lot 120 One Sheet Grim Game Poster

Lot 120 PP June 25

On June 25th, Potter&Potter will be having a Golden Age of Magic Posters the Nielsen Collection auction that will include a beautiful one sheet Grim Game Poster (See Lot 120 Description below).  For more details on other items being offered and a downloadable catalog, you can go to Potter and Potter website: http://www.potterauctions.com/.

The estimate for the Grim Game poster is $40,000/60,000.

Lot 120 Description:

Houdini, Harry (Ehrich Weisz). Houdini In The Grim Game. Cleveland: Morgan Litho., 1919. Iconic one-sheet poster for this silent film presented by Jesse Lasky, and featuring the world’s most famous magician and escape artist, pictured at the center of the image in a straight jacket and being held back by a group of eight men, including police and hospital attendants. 28 x 41″. Minor restoration at old folds and a few tiny chips. A-. Scarce. Houdini starred in this stunt and escape-filled film opposite Ann Forrest, who played his fiancée. As Harvey Hanford, Houdini is framed for murder and falsely imprisoned, but escapes his jail cell and pursues the men who framed him and also kidnapped his fiancée. The film concludes with a mid-air collision of two airplanes, which was unplanned at the time of the filming, but was later worked in to the script to utilize footage of the crash, an event that had, until that time, never been captured on film. The movie was directed by Irvin Willat and featured a story by John Grey and Arthur Reeve. Produced by Famous Players-Lasky, it was distributed by Paramount Artcraft Pictures. All posters advertising this film are scarce and desireable, as they combine the allure of the silent film era with the unforgettable and iconic escapes that made Houdini the most famous magician of the century.

UPDATE:

  • The one-sheet for Houdini’s The Grim Game sold for $24,000 (including buyer’s premium) with just one bid! It fell well below the estimate.

Related: