Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Mr. & Mrs. Harry Houdini wish you A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Merry Xmas Happy New Year to TF from HH

Image courtesy of


“Just to remind everyone, Houdini and Tom Froggatt [Mirror Cuff Maker (?)] were friends for 20 years. His first Christmas card was sent to Tom at Christmas 1904, and the last one was Christmas 1924.

If Nathanial Hart [Mirror Cuff Maker (?)] existed (and I still think he did) I think it would be inevitable that he and Tom would meet up, considering that he was interested in handcuffs, was himself a metal worker, and they lived in the same city.

I originally thought that Tom and Nathaniel were the same person, but now I’d like to think that they knew each other.”

[Michael Hanzlik quote dated November 25 2014]

Master Locksmith, Houdini historian, an authority on the Mirror Handcuff Challenge passed away on the 1st of November 2015 after a battle with Cancer.

Rest in Peace Mick Hanzlik!

HHCE Plans for the future

HHCE HomePage

In 2011, when I started (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 II – Other Highlights

2015 was an amazing year for Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence (HHCE) because it was the year of the Grim Game, but also for the following other highlights:

Shared a couple paraphrased parts of the not widely known story treatment titled:  HOUDINI THE GREAT by Frank O’Connor and Dore Schary, dated January 3, 1936:

Buzz Saw HoudiniDo Spirits Return

Pearsons Weekly Week Ending Oct 15 1908

Discovered and shared some fascinating information on the famous Mirror Handcuff Challenge which included locating the original article with the identity of the Mirror Representative:

William Bennet the MirrorRep and HHNYPL image of Will A Bennet

Shared a not widely known story and some correspondence about Houdini and Ponzi Gwynne, the chicken that Jack Gwynne gave to Houdini, then back to Jack and finally to Hardeen:

Jack Gwynne performing the Chicken TrickRialtoTh-159x300

Shared full reports about my amazing Houdini travels and adventures to PA, NY, and SF:


Shared some evidence that Houdini set up roadshows with other magicians to promote The Man From Beyond.

Genesta and TMFB Pittella Collection AGenesta Pittella Collection A

Shared some thoughts and answers to the following questions:

Ernst houdiniEarly HH and Doyle pastiche - Arthur MosesLastTrickedSpiritPhoto

Shared information on some of Houdini’s not widely known literary work:

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Shared some thoughts on trying to date some famous Houdini Photo’s

Harry_Houdini-sitting10DCwithHoudiniPhoto_zps7986e002-1-300x234HH Postcard Around 1904HRC 1904 photoFrank Koval photo1900 Photo signed 1906

Shared some info and behind the scenes shots of where the underwater footage of the Master Mystery was filmed, as well as some amazing publicity cards:

Seeing is Believing Picture 435080989_8_l

Shared some very interesting info on Houdini’s Last Interview he gave during the week of October 18-23, 1926 when he was performing at the Princess Theatre, Montreal Canada.  The interview took place in the same dressing room where Houdini got punched in the stomach:

Houdini Last Newspaper Interview October 1926 Montreal Daily Star

Honored Mom’s, Dad’s and Veterans:


Shared some amazing photos of Houdini with his leading ladies from his movies:

HVD Leading Lady Image 1a298-82 snippetHVD Leady Lady Image 5

Last but not least, I was blessed with another beautiful granddaughter.

Baby Photo taken by Houdini

Image courtesy of Houdini and John Hinson

I look forward to 2016 where HHCE will shift its focus from The Grim Game to some other areas.

Stay tuned!

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


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.

the-grim-game-and-cops_page_08 (2)Cahuenga alley harrythe-grim-game-and-cops_page_17 (1)

[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:


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:


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

photo-28-A-225x300GG AM Gift Bag Photo of Contents 001 Aphoto (23)

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


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


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


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:


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