And the winner of the Grim Game vs Terror Island at Potter & Potter’s Auction is?

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On April 9th, Potter & Potter had a Houdiniana Auction that featured a large number of Houdini Movie Stills from the Grim Game and Terror Island.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

There was 16 Terror Island Movie Still Lots:

  • 178, 179, 184, 186, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 202, 209, 210, 219, 220, 230

There was 14 Grim Game Movie Still Lots:

  • 175, 176, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 203, 204, 217, 218, 221, 224, 231

Terror Island Notes: Lot 230 from Terror Island was misidentified as being a Movie Still from Haldane of the Secret Service. Lots 179, 190 and 210 listed the wrong serial number.

Grim Game Notes: Lot 232 from the Master Mystery was misidentified as being a Film Still from the Grim Game. Lot 204 listed the wrong serial number.

Terror Island lots brought in $9150 before buyer’s premium.

Grim Game lots brought in $8400 before buyer’s premium.

The highest Grim Game Lot (L302-87) below brought in $1700 before buyer’s premium.

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The highest Terror Island Lot 230 (L318-19) below brought in $950 before buyer’s premium.

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So based on the numbers who do you think won?

If you log into Live Auctioneers you can see all the auction results.

HHCE Plans for the future

HHCE HomePage

In 2011, when I started HarryHoudiniCircumstantialEvidence.com (HHCE) my mission statement and purpose of this blog site was as follows:

  • Bring Harry Houdini and The Grim Game to life so that we will all feel like we have seen the movie
  • Plan to present all the evidence and research gathered to date one blog at a time
  • Evidence and research will consist of Exhibits (ads, newspaper articles, press clippings, lobby stills, lobby cards, related links, blogs, posters, eBay, books, etc…)

Well, now that just about everyone has seen The Grim Game (TGG), it’s time for a slightly modified mission statement:

  • Bring Harry Houdini and his movies to life so that we will all feel like we have seen them in their entirety with no parts missing.

I plan to focus on the following two Houdini Movies that have parts missing:

  • Terror Island (TI)
  • Master Mystery (MM)

TI MM 001Although my focus will be on TI and MM, I also have plans for the following:

  • Share parts of an Original Story and Screen Play for a Houdini Film that was never made
  • Share parts of the Original Grim Game Story by Arthur B. Reeves & John W. Grey before the screenwriter and continuity writer put their take on the story

In addition to movies, I am also planning to focus on:

  • Houdini’s connection with Lovecraft and Eddy

And whatever else sparks my interest.

A Look Back at 2015, Part 1 – The Year of The Grim Game

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Two of the people who were key to opening that lock! Copyright Houdini Museum

 

Thanks to the efforts of Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum and their long-time friendship with Larry Weeks and their acquaintance with film producer Rick Schmidlin, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) acquired the Larry Weeks print of Houdini’s 1919 feature, The Grim Game (TGG). Fred Pittella (Larry Weeks best friend) was also an essential part of the recovery of TGG. The recovered movie underwent a full restoration and had its world-premiere at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood on March 29th with a live score conducted by composer Brane Zivkovic. It was then shown in places like Wisconsin (Apr 16), Michigan (May 28), Pennsylvania (Jun 13, Jul 2), Texas (Jul 19), Finland (Aug 21), Scotland (Aug 22, 23), Illinois (Sept 16), New York (Sept 16), and England (Oct 11), before it was aired on the TCM network (Oct 18) with alternate scores, one by Brane Zivkovic and another by Steve Sterner.  And then as a grand finale, in November, John Bengston, “the great detective of silent film locations,” revealed many of the Grim Game filming locations and historic LA landmarks.

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[Harbour Apartments at 612 St. Paul Street; The Cahuenga alley; Bergstrom Estate 590 N. Vermont]

So 2015 was an amazing year for Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence (HHCE) because it was the year of the Grim Game.

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

Let’s get started. The Houdini news that I had been waiting years to hear finally arrived on January 23rd, 2015 in a press release from TCM:

298-14-239x300Ann Forrest Houdini Historical Center298-15 001

GrimGameScrantonTimes1Trim1-435x1024This was followed by a number of other press releases in February and March:

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Then one week away from the premier of The Grim Game at the 2015 TCM Film Classic, HHCE shared a different Grim Game productions still each day leading up to the event on March 29, 2015:

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In April, shared my review of The Grim Game and the Festivities in Hollywood:

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In June, HHCE and TGG went to Scranton:Scranton-Welcomes-Joe-Notaro-1024x766

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In July, TGG screens at a Magic Convention Once Again:

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In October, The Grim Game made its television debut, but was first shown privately and publicly in August 1919:

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Throughout the year, there were a number of posts on TGG music:

BraneScore_TheGrimmGame-300x200-300x200GG Musical Ensemble and Runtime 001A1919 Musical Synopsis TGGGrimGameMainTheme50SternerGrimGame153 Videos with new Piano Score

Other highlights on TGG included a series on Houdini Grim Game Cards throughout the years:

1920-Kinema-Comic-InsertGGPB Lobby Cards 200 001 AHH-Superhero-Card-21-002-300x204Weird TalesTheWonderWallet-1975-GG-cards-300x209houdini sketch cards gorman 298-47

And sharing a number of posts related to the Aeroplane incident:

Kennedy Forrest Thompson Pickup Wilson WillatPopular Mechanics Nov 1919 page 642Pickup Thompson Kennedy HoudiniThompson Upside Down Plane 001aimageRobert-Kennedy-After-Collision-300x241

What a year for TGG, now if we could just get a DVD:

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Photo Credits:

  • TGG film location images courtesy of John Cox and John Bengston
  • TGG Still images courtesy of A.M.P.A.S
  • TGG Movie Set image and TGG Souvenir Set image courtesy of Arthur Moses
  • B&W Aeroplane images courtesy of Cecil B. Demille Trust
  • Steve Sterner photo, TGG piano music, and Scranton Press release courtesy of Houdini Museum

The Grim Game hits San Francisco

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Click to enlarge

Although the Grim Game was first shown privately and publicly in August 1919, it was not officially released until October 12, 1919. And that’s when it first appeared in San Francisco with live orchestra music on October 12, 1919 at the Portola Theatre located at corner of Market Street and 4th.

96 years later, December 5th at 3pm, you can see the restored film with live piano music by Donald Sosin at the San Francisco Film Festival at the Castro Theatre located at 429 Castro Street at Market Street.  You can buy a full day pass to “A Day of Silents” or an individual ticket to “The Grim Game”.

TGG CASTRO THEATRE SF 001

I highly recommend seeing it on big screen.  I was fortunate enough to see the TCM premier in Hollywood on a big screen with live orchestra music, as well as on a big screen at the Houdini Museum.  Two amazing experiences that I will never forget.

Check it out in S.F.!

You’ll enjoy it thoroughly.

Bonus:

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San Francisco Chronicle Oct 13, 1919 Page 5

Private Showing of The Grim Game In New York

 

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Last month when The Grim Game made its Television debut on TCM, I mentioned that it originally made its debut at the B.S. Moss Broadway Theatre in New York City on August 25th, 1919.  Well prior to its original debut, Houdini gave a private showing in NYC, which I promised to comment on.

The following passage is excerpted verbatim, even to the punctuation from a private letter WRT to a private showing of The Grim Game on August 18th, 1919:

Monday night 8 o’clock shapr [sic] there will be a private show of my latest picture The Grim Game which will be shown only to a few chosen magic friends before the regular trade showing and if you have desire to see same would like to have pleasure of having you attend.  Takes place at the production room of Lasky Famous Players offices, 400 [485] Fifth Ave near 42nd St. Monday August 17th [Note: Monday was really August 18th] Tried to get you twice on phone and no answer. Regards sincerely yours Houdini. [The Houdini Code Mystery by William V. Rauscher, page 106]

Note:  Koval places the private showing at 485 Fifth Avenue, which was the address of the corporate main office right across from the New York Public Library.

Aug 18 – A private showing of “The Grim Game” is given to Houdini’s chosen friends at the Lasky Famous Players Offices at 485 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

The Society of American Magicians officially endorsed The Grim Game at this private showing:

The endorsement was given at a private showing of the picture for the members of the society in New York, which was attended by Messrs. Houdini, Howard Thurston, Francis E. Werner, G.G. Laurenz, Hardeen, William J. Hilliar and about forty others.

After the showing,  Mr. Howard Thurston said: “I have always thought Houdini was a great showman, but I expected nothing like this.  It leaves nothing undone.  Houdini may now retire, confident that he has done his greatest work.  It is one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen”.  At the conclusion of Mr. Thurston’s speech, Oscar S. Teale, Secretary of the S.A.M. said:

“Gentlemen, I move that the Society of American Magicians pronounce the picture a glowing success, worthy of highest commendation, and that it go forth as officially endorsed by this society.”

[The Sphinx, September 1919]

Bonus:

According to a 17 September 1919 New York Clipper article, the Famous Players also had New York City offices at 428 Fifth avenue, 729 Seventh avenue and at 469 Fifth avenue, but at the termination of the leases, the company will use the entire front of the Putman Building [at Forty-Third street and Broadway] for its offices:

NY Clipper 17 Sep 1919 Putnam Bldg To Become Theatre

Houdini Stanhope Lens Viewers

HH Sustained Flight Description 001

Houdini is generally acknowledged as the first man to fly a plane in Australia. He made the historic flight just north of Melbourne in 1910. Two variants of a Stanhope miniature brass telescope were manufactured to commemorate the historic event and are quite rare.

Stanhope Lens Viewer Diggers RestHoudini Stanhope Viewer

Houdini collector, Joseph Gargano is now offering a viewer which is a reproduction of the Stanhope made to commemorate Houdini’s first flight over Australia. It comes in a beautiful wood box engraved with Houdini’s signature on the lid. This piece alone has sold for $195 and is now available for $105 which will just allow Joseph to recoup the cost of production, and get some money to The Houdini Museum in Scranton for the continued maintenance of Houdini’s grave.

Stanhope Lens Viewer Interior View

Looking through this novelty lens reveals an image of Houdini making his historic flight at Digger’s Rest in Australia. Here, he is pictured both in mid-flight in his biplane, and a separate posed close-up shows Houdini behind the controls of the plane.

For questions, purchases and shipping rates, contact Joseph Gargano at conjuringhh@optonline.net.

Stanhope Lens Viewer Grim Game

Joseph also offers a quality brass mini viewer with embedded lens showing an image from The Grim Game reproduced from an original glass plate negative in the Joseph Gargano collection. It comes in a small film can with Grim Game advertising image on the lid.  While supplies last, this viewer is offered as part of a larger Commemorative Set that is released in two very limited editions (Standard and Deluxe).  See John Cox site for details of The Grim Game Commemorative Set.

Standard Edition

The Grim Game Standard Edition

Deluxe Edition

The Grim Game Deluxe Edition

Special Armistice Day Program

Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November. The First Official Armistice Day was held on the Morning of 11th November 1919. This would set the trend for a day of Remembrance for decades to come.

Please honor and remember those who have served in the Armed Forces.

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Tonight, TCM welcomes Houdini and “The Grim Game” to Television!

“The Grim Game” makes its Television debut tonight on TCM:

TCM TGG on TV Oct 18

Originally, The Grim Game made its debut at the B.S. Moss Broadway Theatre on August 25th, 1919.  Below is the front and back of a program from the opening:

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I hope everyone enjoys the restored 1919 thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish.  The question is –who did it?  Watch as the screen unfolds the secret!

Enjoy!

New Grim Game Glass Slides and DVD info

imageI recently did a post, 3 video Grim Game Clips with new piano music, that had a link to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Videos for The Grim Game Webpage:

If you click on the same link above, you will find they have made some additions which include a couple of glass slides for the film.

Glass slides were used by many theaters to promote coming attractions during slide shows between coming screenings.

You can also vote for The Grim Game to be released on DVD.image