Houdini Believes in Posters

Houdini is one of the worlds greatest showman.  He believes in posters more than any other advertising method.  He attributes his fame to his lavish use of paper.  Follow his example on his picture and see what happens. [Pressbook for Houdini’s 1919 Movie]

Below are the One Sheet Posters for The Grim Game which many of us have seen:

Reproductions of the one sheet posters are available for sale on the internet.

Next blog on posters will include the Three Sheet Posters for The Grim Game.  Then a Six Sheet Poster and last but not least, a Twenty-four Sheet Poster.

You will SEE in ‘The Grim Game’

An ad in the newspaper told audiences what shockers they could expect to SEE:


  • SEE  Houdini escape from handcuffs, chains and a prison cell!
  • SEE Houdini plunge  between  the wheels of a speeding motor-truck and foil his pursuers!
  • SEE Houdini climb the side of a prison and crawl for a rope to the end of a flagpole swaying far from earth!
  • SEE Houdini on the brink of a gorge fight a terrifying battle with his foes!
  • SEE Houdini leap from the roof a skyscraper and release himself from a straitjacket while  hanging head downward on a rope!
  • SEE Houdini risk his life in a deadly bear-trap and set himself free!
  • SEE Houdini in all the other amazing scenes in this stirring story of love, mystery and dare-devil adventure!
  • SEE Houdini, above everything else, in the most astounding feat ever caught by a motion picture camera: – Two aeroplanes race through the sky – The hero is lowered from one to the other – Just as he is about aboard his enemies car the machines clash in an accident turn over and over and plunge to the ground thousands of feet beneath.

Another newspaper add described what You Will SEE as: Every one a real incident.  ALL THRILLERS

I am still waiting to SEE!


Unbelievably RARE Houdini Movie Still Movie Card

A 1919 Unbelievably RARE Houdini “The Grim Game” Movie Still Franklin Kimema Theatres Movie Card just sold on ebay.  Below are the photos and description of the rare item:


1919 “The Grim Game” Harry Houdini Kinema & Franklin Theatres MOVIE STILL Movie Card (Oakland, CA)


Houdini’s Best and Greatest LOST FILM!

“Shackles, Fetters, Chains Fail to Hold HOUDINI in “The Grim Game””

These little cards (2 3/4 x 1 & 1/4 approximately) were EXCLUSIVE to the Kinema, Franklin and the T& D Theatres in Oakland and San Francisco  (All owned by the Turner & Dahnken Theatre Circuit on the West Coast based in San Francisco!!)   These cards were NOT nationally distributed – and were exclusive to T&D Theatres! 

As far as I know – this is the only one of this image in existance.  (Correct me if I am wrong!)  This real photo collector card is advertising the UPCOMING showing at the Franklin in San Francisco, the year was obviously 1919 (Maybe 1920), but UNFORTUNATELY – the actual play dates are not printed!  FACIMILIE signature in white.  Card is in PHENOMONAL condition!  No rips, tears or ANY damage!  A ‘bump’ in the photo under certain light.  (This needs to be preserved in an acid free environment!)  SEE PHOTOS.  The 2 right corners have VERY slight bumps as well – you have to look under magnification.

EXTREMELY RARE still image from Houdini’s FIRST feature Length Silent film where he starred and produced!   This still is AFTER the mid-air plane crash, and he is bloodied and holding the limp body of his lady love – she lived!  This is actually a very handsome photo of Harry.  YOU CAN SEE IT HERE!!!  At about the 5:10 mark!  THE ACTUAL FILM FOOTAGE OF THIS STILL!!!! 


(I wish I could tell what she is holding in her right hand – I can’t even tell in the photo using a loupe!  It looks like a rock?  or a Walnut??  It obviously was part of the plot – a memento from her love, Harry?)

FROM WIKI:  The famous mid-air plane collision was not scripted. It was a real accident caught on film over the skies of Santa Monica, CA. Stuntman Robert E. Kennedy was doubling Houdini at the time. Miraculously, no one was killed, and the story was rewritten to incorporate the accident. Publicity was geared heavily toward promoting this dramatic “caught on film” moment, claiming it was Houdini himself dangling from the plane..

This card is also promoting Charles Ray in “The Egg Crate Wallop”.


L302-55 versus L302-60 Part II

My previous blog, L302-55 versus L302-60, which we will call Part I showed two famous images of Houdini standing shackled in a Jail Cell with cuffs and ball & chains that are similar but slightly different images.

This blog which we will call Part II presents some physical evidence of where these images have shown up.

In the Los Angeles Times, The Book Review Section, on Sunday, January 22, 1978, the L302-55 image appeared in the article that Ricky Jay did on the book Houdini: His Legend and His Magic by Doug Henning with Charles Reynolds.  The funny thing is that in the actual book, the L302-60 image is the image that appears in the book on page 147.

Also, there was a seller on E-Bay who was selling an item titled, Famous HOUDINI with chains photograph-Antique NegativeOne of the better quality portraits of Houdini extant that had a picture of the actual negative for sale and a picture of what it would supposedly look like developed.  On closer inspection, the negative was of L302-60 and the developed picture was of L302-55; note both pictures on E-Bay had the L302 numbers cropped off.

See below for more evidence.



L302-55 versus L302-60


Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


New York Public Library

Just about everyone of us has seen a famous image of Houdini standing in a jail cell with cuffs and chains.

But which one did you see?

  • L302-55 or L302-60

And where?

  • Television, VHS, DVD, Book, Baseball Card, Magazine, Newpaper, TV Guide, Ebay

How do you tell them apart?

  • Look at location of Houdini’s right thumb
  • Look at location of the top of Houdini’s hair

Which is your favorite and why?

  • L302-55 or L302-60

Next week’s post will include other evidence of where these images have appeared.




Excitement in Every Foot of Picture Showing at Moore’s Rialto Theatre

On January 1st, John Cox at Wild About Harry, posted a blog titled: Is 2012 the year of The Grim Game.  Check it out.  He kindly gives a shout out to my new blog site and also mentions Dean Carnegie’s newly redesigned site and a newspaper ad for The Grim Game appearing at the Moore’s Rialto at 713 9th St. NW Washington D.C.; check out the site to see the add and a photo of what the theatre looked like in Houdini’s day.

See below for some additional newspaper ads for The Grim Game appearing at Moore’s Rialto Theatre:

Washington Times October 12, 1919 Final Edition, Section Two, Page 14, Image 14

Washington Times October 12, 1919 Final Edition, Section Two, Page 15, Image 15