Trip to New York is Extra Special

Last week, I shared my adventures in Scranton, PA with my friends Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz (D&D). Well the adventure didn’t stop there.  After three incredible days of being treated like a celebrity in Scranton, D&D took me to NYC for one more extra special day.

June 15th, Monday morning, I picked up D&D at the Houdini Museum and between the three of us we had a lot of fun navigating our way to Queens, NYC.  Once we got to Queens, we made a pit stop (which I highly recommend, LoL) and had lunch before proceeding to Machpelah Cemetery.  It was a beautiful day when we arrived.

1099What an incredible feeling came over me, when I turned right into the cemetery and saw Harry’s bust sitting atop the monument in all its grandeur for the first time in person.

1175Thanks to the efforts of D&D, this bust returned permanently in September 27, 2011 after going headless since 1993.

1227Visiting Houdini’s gravesite had been on my to-do list for years and now I could check that box.  It was definitely a surreal feeling.

1092That said, I was surprised, as was D&D, about a few things we observed at the site.


  • The grass looked like it hadn’t been cut in quite a while – Dorothy made a phone call and was told had they knew she coming for a visit, they would have cut it
  • Houdini’s grave stone was covered with tasteless cards, rust deposits from various items left, and graffiti (i.e., someone had actually drew a heart on it).
  • There was no sign of any work being done on the SAM Mosaic emblem, other than the fact that there were some additional stones missing since D&D last visit.

1134While, we couldn’t do anything about the missing stones on the SAM Mosaic emblem, we could do our best to clean up the gravestone, tasteless playing cards, and weeds.

1127 1096 1125

And speaking of missing stones, D&D have made arrangements to have Leopold’s and Gladys’s (Houdini’s brother and sister) markers that got vandalized in the early 1990’s restored permanently later this year.  The Gladys and Leopold headstones were damaged when they were used as batterers to destroy the benches (which have since been replaced). So I was able to see the benches that got replaced in 1996 by S.A.M. with help from David Copperfield and James Randi, the bust that got replaced in 2011 by D&D, and in the near future, Gladys and Leopold headstones being replaced by D&D.  Plus the SAM Mosaic tile will be getting a face lift hopefully soon, courtesy of the S.A.M.

1230While we were at the cemetery, we wanted to also pay our respects to Larry Weeks who passed away on October 13, 2014.  He called himself “Houdini’s Biggest Fan” and was the previous owner of the only known complete print of The Grim Game before he sold it to TCM in 2014 just before he passed away.  After a number of phone calls, we were finally able to locate where he is buried; which is just on the other side of the hill from Houdini.


After a nice afternoon at the cemetery, it was time to go to our next special destination, which wasn’t too far away. Oddly enough, it started to rain as soon as we made preparations to leave the cemetery.  Thank goodness, we had nice weather during our visit with Harry and company.

By the time we arrived at our next stop, the brief rain had stopped.

1351Our next stop was at Fred Pittella’s apartment which was like a Houdini and Escapes Museum.  This was not only a first for me, but also D&D. Our jaws dropped as we entered this shrine where every wall, display cabinet and trunk was filled with Houdini, Hardeen, and Competitors memorabilia. Fred by far has the largest and best collection of escape king memorabilia that I have ever seen.

1279This included an incredible handcuff collection which included extremely rare pairs of Bean Giants.

1349One of my favorite items was the original box and keys for Houdini’s Defiance Handcuff Act.


Credit: Fred Pittella Collection

Note: The Defiance Handcuff Act did not provide keys for at least two of the handcuffs in this ad: the Houdini Bell-lock Cuff and the Russian Manacle.

1309He definitely needs to publish a book on Escape Kings. Fred was an amazing host and allowed us full access to his entire collection. It was amazing to see the originals of so many items that have been published, along with items that have never been published. I wish I could have spent another day just going through his albums of rare photos, letters, playbills, and programs.  If I am ever in the area again, I will definitely take Fred up on his open invitation to come back anytime.

1483It was getting late and we had 8 pm tickets to Monday Night Magic, New York’s Longest Running Magic Show.  So off we went. The theatre was located in Greenwich Village at the famous landmark, the Café Wha?

1475There is a reason, this is New York’s Longest Running Magic Show; it was “that good”.

MondayNightMagic NYC 001The MC and performers were all first-rate professionals and each one in their own unique way contributed to a fantastic evening of magic and entertainment.  And the management there was great as well. I highly, highly, recommend seeing Monday Night Magic.

1486After the show, we walked around the block to a diner, had some ice cream and hung out with all of the performers and people that made the show happen.  D&D shared their thoughts and expertise with the performers. We were having so much fun, we lost track of the time. It was now early in the morning the next day and we still had to drive back to Scranton, PA.

After hearing some more amazing stories from D&D, we pulled into the parking lot of the Houdini Museum in Scranton,PA  about 4:30 am and said our emotional good-byes.  This was an extra special trip and experience that I will never forget.

Special Thanks to Fred Pittella for sharing his amazing collection and to Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz for a trip of a lifetime.

How many times was Bess Houdini married?

earliestharrynbessHow many times was Bess Houdini married?

“I’m the most married person I know, three times and to the same man”.

She claimed the marriage ceremonies were performed by Johh Y. McKane, “Boss of Coney Island”, a Jewish Rabbi, and a Roman Catholic priest.

According to Kellock:

Bess and Houdini wondered how they might get married.  She thought of a man with whom her father had once had some business – John Y. McKane.  The date as recorded by the bride was June 22, 1894.

However, on that date John Y. McKane was securely behind the bars of Sing Sing!

According to Christopher:

Following the civil ceremony on June 22, 1894, Harry and Bess, to please their parents, repeated their marriage vows in separate ceremonies before a Catholic priest and rabbi.

According to a story in The Coney Island Clipper, a small weekly tabloid devoted to news of the Island, for the issue of July 28th, 1894, said in part:

“Miss Bessie Raymond, the petite soubrette, was married to Mr. Harry Houdini on July 22nd by Rev. G.S. Loui, of Brooklyn.” Note the date of July 22nd, not June 22nd.

However, there does not appear to be any such person named Rev. G.S. Loui, of Brooklyn.

According to a Letter from Houdini in an envelope marked “Not to be opened until after my death”:

Rabbi Tintner of Mt. Zion Temple married me. His father, Mortiz [sic] Tintner buried my mother.  He was a lifelong friend of my own father, Rabbi Weiss.  I wish Rabbi Tintner to say the last farewell over me — the man who married me to the woman I have never ceased to love.”

However, Rabbi B.A. (Benjamin Abner) Tintner who conducted the funeral services would have been only 14 years of age in 1894 and much too young to have performed any marriages at that time. [Weltman]

According to Silverman:

The rabbi who married Bess and Harry was the father of the Rabbi (B.A. Tintner), who buried Houdini.

However, there is no source or date mentioned.

Note: Benjamin Abner’s father was Rabbi Moritz (Morris) Tintner.

According to Weltman:

He could find no record anywhere of any registered marriage between Harry Houdini (or Ehrich Weiss) and Willhemina Beatrice Rahner.

As for the marriage vows repeated before a priest and a rabbi, Weltman, for one regards this as unthinkable.  Weltman, a Jewish man himself, says categorically that no rabbi anywhere back in 1894 would have presided over the nuptials of a Jew and a Catholic.  And the same was true in those days of a Catholic priest officiating at such a mixed marriage. [Rauscher]

EdSaintBessHoudini copyAccording to a reliable source at the Magic Castle:

Bess married her significant other and personal manager, Edward Saint, secretively sometime after Houdini died.

Note: Bess and Ed met in the early 30’s.

So Bess may have been married up to four times, one to three times with Houdini and possibly one time to Edward Saint. However, as far as I know there is no documentary evidence that shows Bess was legally married to Houdini or Edward Saint even once.  Perhaps one day, someone will publish some.

Anyway, Happy 121st Anniversary Harry and Bess!

When did Houdini’s Father depart for America and arrive in Appleton?

MS Weiss photo by JL Koonz

Mayer Samuel Weiss – photo by J. L. Koonz, Appleton, Wisconsin

Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I would do a post about Houdini’s Father, Mayer Samuel Weiss, born August 27, 1829, died October 5, 1892:

  • When did Houdini’s Father depart for America and arrive in Appleton?

According to Hardeen notes for an unpublished Houdini biography:

Chapter one

Father insulted by prince Eric — challenged to dule- which was fought following morning and _ather killing his opponent Then fled to London and stayed there for a time after which he took sailing vessel to New York.

After reaching New York kept going to Appleton Wis.  where he had friends by the name of Hammel, one being Mayor of Appleton at thattime.. About 1874.

A short time passed and as there were no syniogues in the town, the Mayor wanted to send to Milwaukee for one, but up spoke Mr. S.M. Weiiss and said “why I am a Rabbi” and was given the job.

He at once sent for Mrs. W. and soon after her arrival Houdini was born April 6th, 1874.  And he was named Ehrich Prach after Prince Ehrich.

[The Houdini Birth Research Committee’s Report]

Harry Houdini also gave dissimilar accounts of his father’s reasons for coming to America, and way of reaching America.

In one of them, Mayer Samuel had been an “honor student” in England who won a prize of a trip through America, given by Lord Rothschild.  On the train going to the Pacific coast, he met a congenial man who appealed to him to stop off at Appleton, in northern Wisconsin, as his father did, establishing himself as a rabbi there and making it his permanent home, and the birthplace of his son.

[Silverman Notes to Houdini]

Appleton Wis Birdseye view 1874a

Birds eye view of Appleton Wisconsin – 1874 shows a growing community along the Fox River

According to Weltman (Houdini: Escape Into Legend The Early Years: 1862-1900):

Soon after the American Civil War ended, between 1865 and 1866, the two sisters [of Cecilia], Rose and Sally, moved to the United States with their families and their mother, taking up residence in New York.  Rabbi Weisz, not having enough money to make the journey, had to stay behind.  He was to toil and save for several years before he would see his in-laws again [no date given].

Life in Budapest was hard.  One legend has it that Rabbi Weisz got into a duel with a Hungarian nobleman over an aspersion the nobleman cast on the Jews. It seems unlikely, however, that Weisz would have had the weapons or would have come into sufficient contact with nobility for this to have occurred, although as a people, Jews were forced to move from town to town and in fact, the birth records of his children list several different addresses.  In any event, with four children to feed, Rabbi Weisz needed more for survival.  It does seem likely, as has been reported, that answering an ad in a German periodical, Weisz was offered the position of Rabbi for a new congregation being formed in the small American town of Appleton, Wisconsin.  The purported annual salary of $750 being offered seemed like a fortune to the poor struggling Rabbi and his family.

According to Christopher (The Untold Story):

Shortly after this Samuel left Budapest [no date given].  It is said that a nobleman slandered him and his religion.  A duel was fought and his opponent was killed.  To escape arrest and the vengeance of the dead man’s family, Samuel fled to London and there embarked for the United States to seek refuge with Hungarian friends who had settled in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Cecilia, her mother, and the four children may have been there before Samuel arrived; if not, they joined him soon after.  There was no synagogue in Appleton.  When one was formed in the spring of 1874, Samuel became its rabbi at a salary of $750 a year.

According to Hilgert (Houdini comes to America):

castlegarden2Houdini, then Ehrich Weiss arrived in New York City with his mother and four brothers on Wednesday July 3, 1878 aboard the Frisia, a steamship of the Hamburg Line.


The Weiss family may have been met at Castle Garden by Cecelia Weiss’s sister, Rosalie Schonberger.  She lived in New York and may have helped the family to find a temporary place to stay before they left for Appleton. Mrs. Schonberger came to New York in the 1860s.  Her death certificate dated February 26, 1915 shows she had resided in the U.S. for 47 years, implying that she arrived in 1867 or 1868. The 1900 census shows the year of emigration to the U.S. as 1865.

On July 3, 1878, or some time shortly thereafter, the Weiss family was reunited with Rabbi Weiss.  Apparently within a few weeks the family set forth on their journey, probably by railroad to Chicago, Milwaukee and finally to their new home in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Rabbi Weiss was to lead a small congregation.  There Harry found his American home from which he was to go forth to become famous throughout the world as “the elusive American”.

Well, so far the above sources do not tell us when he actually departed for America or when he arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Not to worry, Silverman (Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss) finally provides an answer:

When he departed Europe, Weiss (originally Weisz) was no longer young.  A rabbi with several years’ education at German universities and some training in law, he emigrated from Budapest in 1876, when he was forty-seven.  He temporarily left behind his family: his second wife, Cecilia Steiner [who was pregnant with Hardeen], a small, stocky woman twelve years younger than he; their four sons, ranging in age from infancy [Hardeen not born yet] to six years; and a fourteen-year-old son from his first marriage.  After two years in America he located a rabbinical post in the Midwest, where Cecilia and the children joined him.  They embarked from Hamburg, among 322 steerage passengers of the single-screw steamer Frisia, a fifteen day voyage reached New York City on July 3, 1878, in ninety-five degree heat.  By September the family had reunited and settled in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Note: The September date is apparent from the announcement of Mayer Samuel’s arrival in the Appleton Crescent, 28 Sep 1878.  And the 1876 date is based on a remark Houdini made that upon Hardeen’s birth [March 4, 1876], Cecilia wrote to Mayer from Hungary, “Da haben wire in Dezso.”; Since Hardeen was two when the family arrived in America, the separation must have lasted about that length of time.

Ehrich 4 and Theo 2

Houdini and Hardeen 1877

If you are looking for additional information, I highly recommend you read the following posts by our friend David Saltman, who has done some extensive research on the subject:

H A P P Y  F A T H E R ‘ S  D A Y !

Trip to Scranton is Extra Special

Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz (D&D) made my trip to Scranton extra special.


Seeing the Grim Game was a lifelong obsession of mine and thanks to my friends D&D, I was able to see it for the first time at its premier in Hollywood. I didn’t think I would be able to top that experience until I went to Scranton to see it for the second time at the Houdini Museum where it was having the first premier to the general public.

And I have D&D to thank again for another Houdini experience of a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy my report of the trip that started on June 11th.

June 11th

Grace Hospital, demolished in 1979. Harry Houdini died here on Halloween night, 1926

Detroit – Only Place Houdini Couldn’t Escape

Took the red-eye to Detroit and thankfully after a three an half hour layover, I was able to make my escape.

June 12th

Landed in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton PA and checked in at the Microtel by Windham which I highly recommend. FYI, there is a Microtel in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre which became a running joke the whole trip, since I was staying at the one in Wilkes-Barre which was thirty minutes from the Houdini Museum as opposed to the one in Scranton which was only a few minutes away from the museum. I thought Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were one in the same.

My hosts D&D eventually show up at the right hotel (or wrong hotel depending how you look at it) and we drive down the road to the Mohegun Sun Casino for an incredible Dinner Buffet.

150612-Wisecrackers2-628x378After dinner, we were special guests at the Wise Crackers Comedy Club where D&D knew the owners, MC and feature performer.  At the club D&D introduced me as their Houdini friend Joe from Hollywood, which became “Hollywood Joe”  to everyone at the club.  I really enjoyed myself. The one thing you are guaranteed at Wise Crackers Comedy Club is is a good time and a lot of laughs.

June 13th

This was a special day for a number of reasons:

Visit with relatives


During the day, I went to McAdoo, PA and visited with some of my long lost relatives (Aunt Marie, Cousin Doreen, Cousin Patty, Cousin David and  his wife Joyce ) including my Aunt Arlene and Uncle Jack who came in from Connecticut.  They put on an Italian spread in my honor that included meatballs, sausage&peppers, scalloped potatoes, stuffed chicken, salad, strawberries, and homemade peanut butter pie and cheesecake. I really enjoyed the company and the food.

We then walked to the nearby cemetery to see where Nanny, Grand Pop  and my Aunt Sally are buried. We also visited with my Uncle Pete at the cemetery, who looked and sounded great. It’s not what your thinking, Uncle Pete came late to the house and drove to the cemetery to say a quick hello before he had to go.

We walked back to the house, visited for a little while longer before I had to leave for the Grim Game festivities that evening in Scranton.

Grim Game Festivities

6 to 7 pm Started with the VIP Dinner with the Houdini Family at the Stirna’s Restaurant established in 1908.


Dorothy Dietrich, Dick Brookz, Joe Notaro, Debbie and Jeff Blood

The excellent dinner was enjoyed by all and included Houdini’s favorites – Hungarian chicken, spatzels, and custard bread pudding with bing cherries.

HH Bread Pudding Recipe

7 to 8 pm  At the Houdini Museum, Jeffrey Blood displayed and discussed the Houdini collection he brought which included Houdini household effects like soup spoons, a salt and pepper shaker, a toy car, an embroidery signed by Bess, lock picks, keys, a pair of cuffs not connected, movie stills, photos, letters, and a very unique Houdini Wand that David Copperfield wanted for his collection.  He also had some First Day Cover Sets on display with a special announcement card with an impossible cut and some Houdini family replicas for sale.  And courtesy of the Bloods, everyone in attendance got a free Houdini Pen.


8 pm It was time to take our seats. There was a front  row seat reserved for me next to the Blood family (Jeff and Debbie Blood).


D&D made a number of announcements and introductions.

DanD IntroductionsD&D talked about the only known copy of The Grim Game existing with a collector in Brooklyn, New York. D&D met that collector at one day magic events in NYC and were allowed to see The Grim Game twice in their lifetime. For years, D&D tried to get the owner to share the film with no success. That is, until last year, when that collector turned 95 and he finally changed his mind.  And that collector was Larry Weeks.

“[Houdini] said of this film ‘The Grim Game:’ ‘The present generation can see me in person but I want my most thrilling feats on the screen so people in later years can assure themselves that I actually did them.’”

Dorothy introduced yours truly, Joe Notaro, as a Houdini Historian and expert on the Grim Game, as well as having one of the best blogs on Houdini,

Dorothy intoduces Joe Notaro

She asked me to say a few things about the film. I described my thoughts on Houdini’s “best movie” that I had studied for years without seeing (until 2015) and explained why the audience was in for a very special treat.

D&D then told the incredible story about how the Houdini Bust at his grave in Queens returned permanently in September 27, 2011 after going headless since 1993.  Check out the New York Times article, “Houdini Returns (Of Course)”, where Mr. Brookz and Ms. Dietrich tell the story.

HH Gravesite with Bust 2011

The guy (Clay Lepard) from WNEP walked in and Dorothy introduced him.

She then introduced Bernie who did Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton opoly; and is working with D&D on HOUDINI OPOLY.


This was the first public announcement of HOUDINI OPOLY.  In researching Houdini’s life, D&D have put together a game called HOUDINI OPOLY. The beautiful prototype you see above was shown. It is amazing because it is very accurate as to the history of Houdini.  You go around the board that has historic Houdini dates and places. You can buy things like the building he was born in, the ship line he came to America in, the building in Manhattan where he worked in a sweat shop, the building he worked in on Coney Island, a plot in the cemetery, and you can even visit or go to the jail from the Grim Game. Click here for details on how to order.

Dick then mentioned that The Grim Game has its own music.  He displayed the front sheet of the new original score signed by the composer, Brane Zivkovic.


D&D introduced Jeff Blood who shared the following story as told to him by his mom, Marie Blood.

The Fire Marshall came by his Grandparents house just to make sure everything was up to code.  In the basement, there was a bunch of canisters that the Fire Marshall asked what they were.  His Grandfather very proudly stood up and said those are all of Houdini’s films and I am preserving them.  The Fire Marshall then said thanks for telling me that, I am discounting your Insurance and you are no longer covered because these films are very combustible and it is no longer safe; and until they are gone you no longer have insurance.  His grand-parents were devastated and that night, they got put outside where they watched the trash man put them in the trash and take them all.

D&D introduced Tim from the Restaurant Stirna’s who provided the great Houdini dinner.

D&D shared the proclamation from the Mayor’s office showing June 13th was Houdini Day in Scranton.

Houdini Day Proclamation Scranton

And also thanks to D&D efforts, it was Houdini Day (March 29th) in Los Angeles for the premier of The Grim Game at the TCM film festival in Hollywood.

On that note, it was time to see the premier of The Grim Game at the Houdini Museum in Scranton.

TGG Premier Houdini Museum Scranton PABased on the applause that seemed to never stop, I would say the audience loved it and The Grim Game was a huge success in Scranton.


D&D led the Post Movie Discussion:

Dorothy talked about the director Irvin Willat and meeting his sons and discussing the plane crash and what caused it. Dick talked about Robert E. Kennedy (Houdini’s stuntman for the plane transfer) and also mentioned that all the villains in Willat’s movies smoke.

During the Post Movie Discussion, I was asked to tell the story of Ormer Locklear’s (Locke) connection to Houdini and The Grim Game. This also led to me telling this story:

Some years after the movie was released, Houdini used the final sequence (AKA “Desperate Chances”) in a vaudeville act. One night Tommy (aka David Thompson) took his wife to see the act and found that after running the clip in which the stunt man faltered and the planes locked, Houdini referred to this as his narrowest escape. He then invited members of the audience on stage. Wondering what Houdini’s reaction to him would be, Tommy joined the group. The great escapist recognized him at once and, without the flicker of a lash, identified him to the audience as “the hero who saved my life in The Grim Game.” [Hollywood When Silents Were Golden]

After Q&A, folks were encouraged to check out Jeff Blood’s collection and Houdini Family Replicas he had for sale:

HH Family ReplicasWhile people were mingling, I had the privilege to meet, Joe Patire and his wife Lisa who were in attendance. They are both well known in the magic circles. Hatari (Joe Patire) recently made history by escaping from a milk can at the 2015 Midwest Magic History weekend.


Image of Lisa and Hatari (Joe Patire) via WildAboutHarry

After the crowds cleared out, I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Blood’s collection and talk with them some more before they had to pack it up. They were so nice.


Joe Notaro with a Houdini Wand

June 14th

Houdini Museum welcomes Joe Notaro,

Scranton Welcomes Joe Notaro

the Grim Game and his relatives seen below.


It was 1 pm and time for the Houdini Tour & Magic Show at the famous Houdini Museum to start.


In the main show room, we learned about Houdini’s exploits in Scranton and saw rare films of Houdini in action. We then proceeded into another room in the Museum, where Dick Brookz shared the history of Houdini using visual aids in the museum.


We then proceeded into another room in the Museum, where Dorothy Dietrich was waiting to show and share some amazing artifacts and stories about Houdini.  I loved the story of the Mirror Handcuff Challenge that got everyone participating, especially the kids.


We then proceeded into the showroom for a magic show by nationally known magicians Dorothy Dietrich & Bravo the Great (aka Dick Brookz).

Bravo the Great opened the show and had everyone laughing.


He then introduced the world famous, Dorothy Dietrich, who performed her award winning routine.


The magic act incorporated live animals including doves, a duck, a rabbit and two poodles.



There was lots of audience participation throughout the show.


They even pulled someone out of the audience for an amazing levitation.


John Bravo did souvenir demonstrations that the kids loved and then D&D shared HOUDINI OPOLY with everyone.

983 982986

Three and half hours later, the incredible Houdini Tour & Magic Show concluded. I highly recommend it.  My relatives absolutely loved the experience.

After everyone left the Houdini Museum, D&D took me for a wonderful Chinese Buffet dinner.

After dinner, we went back to the museum and hung out for hours. I will cherish the stories and different things D&D shared with me. I was living a dream and didn’t want the day to end. But, we had plans for going to New York City the next day. I will share our special trip to New York in another post in the future.

Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz (D&D) are my heroes.


More background on Grim Game showing at Scranton’s Houdini Museum

Houdini’s Lost Silent Film “The Grim Game” To Have A General Public Showing For The First Time In 96 Years At Scranton’s Houdini Museum June 13th.

gg_scrantonGuests will be treated to meeting The famous Houdini Family, including Houdini’s Grand Nephew, Jeffery Blood. 
Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz, directors of Scranton’s Houdini Museum, convinced 95 year old Brooklyn resident and owner of the only print of Houdini’s “The Grim Game”, to sell it to TV network Turner Classic Movies.   The deal was brokered by film restorationist Rick Schmidlin, who spent six months putting the team together that restored the film.  The exclusive screening of “The Grim Game” will be on Saturday, June 13, at 8 p.m.  The movie has never been shown on TV, and film critics consider “The Grim Game” to be Houdini’s greatest movie. It features Houdini’s best escapes in a 71 minute black & white silent film with a newly adapted musical score by award-winning composer Brane Zivkovic.  Originally produced by Paramount in 1919, “The Grim Game” features Houdini as a journalist who gets framed for murdering a millionaire. The scenario allowed Houdini to show off his masterful escape artistry as authorities attempt to apprehend his character.  
TCM has given Ms. Dietrich and Mr. Brookz permission to exhibit the film here in Scranton. This will be its first showing to the general public. The Houdini Museum makes for a fitting location since they unearthed the film,  they are the only building in the world dedicated to Houdini, and  himself performed in Scranton exactly 100 years ago at Scranton’s Poli Theater in 1915.
Houdini said of his film “The Grim Game,” “The present generation can see me in person, but I want my most thrilling feats perpetuated on the screen, so people in later years can assure themselves that I actually did them. That’s why I have saved the most sensational stunts I have ever done for this picture and have worked my head off to make them as successful as possible.” HOUDINI
What: Screening of Harry Houdini’s “The Grim Game” The night will also include a fabulous VIP cocktail party, with hors d’ourves & free open bar.  Guests will be treated to meeting The famous Houdini Family, including Houdini’s Grand Nephew, Jeffery Blood.  Posters and memorabilia of The Grim Game & Houdini’s performances in Scranton a century ago will be on display before and after the movie screening.
Where: The Houdini Museum, 1433 N. Main Ave, Scranton, PA
When: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Time: 6 to 7 p.m. VIP cocktail party, with hors d’oeuvres & open bar.  The Houdini Family will be present.

7 to 8 pm Reserved admission, displays.  The Houdini Family will be present.
8 pm  Screening of Houdini’s long lost film ‘The Grim Game” Introduced by Houdini Historians Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz.
9:30 to 10:30 pm film discussion

Details: Advance tickets are 6 PM, $49 VIP; 7 PM, $19 reserved seating; and 8 PM. $9 general admission (sold out).  Tickets can be purchased at 570 342-5555.

By Reservation only.  No tickets will be sold at the door.

More information at
Dorothy Dietrich, The Houdini Museum

Scranton Screening of The Grim Game – Same date, New Venue


HoudiniMuseumGrimGameJune1On Saturday Night June 13th, I will no longer be seeing the Scranton screening of The Grim Game at the Leonard Theater as previously reported, but I will be seeing it at its new venue, The Houdini Museum, in Scranton.   And I am going to get to see it with members of the Houdini family, including his grand-nephew, Jeff Blood; what an added bonus.   I can’t wait.

Click the link below for a related article that was published today in the Scranton Times Tribune:

Click here for more screening details and ticket information.  No tickets will be sold at the door.