A Look Back at 2017

2017 was an amazing year for Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence (HHCE) for a number of reasons.

Started the year off by sharing some amazing information about Houdini’s relationship with Hardeen, the Keaton’s, and Hackenschmidt. Included new insight to Coney Island story, additional info on Buster Keaton story, and evidence of Houdini promoting wrestling matches.




Shared some thoughts and answers to the following questions:

Shared evidence of a second prison cell and Barrel Mystery poster:

Shared Chef Houdini recipes while honoring Chef Gene, a fellow Houdini Nut, who just got married this year:

Shared beautiful 1976 Volare Auto brochures and 1977 Pharmaceutical calendar ads of iconic Houdini feats:

Shared some amazing Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh ads:

Shared Houdini’s last week leading up to his death as reported by The Philadelphia Record Newspaper:

Shared some national holiday related posts:

Shared my holiday travels:

Shared news from Houdini Museum – Scranton:

Last but not least, shared some incredible ads, photos, and not widely known info about Houdini and his movies.

Master Mystery:

Grim Game:

Terror Island:

Man From Beyond:

Thanks to all the readers out there for your support. And a special thanks to Dick Brookz, Narinder Chadda, John Cox, Dorothy Dietrich, Leo Hevia, and Fred Pittella for your many contributions to this site.

Also would like to give a shout out to my fellow Houdini bloggers for keeping Houdini alive and well in 2017 at their excellent blog sites:

2018 should be another amazing year for Houdini.

LINK: How About Some Magic for the Holidays

Dayton Daily News, Dec 11, 1916, page 4

Traveling back 101 years this week to December 1916 in Dayton Ohio, Houdini was one of three performers competing for viewers.

Dayton Daily News, Dec 10, 1916, page 8

Below is a link to a 2016 Dayton News Archive article by Bill Stolz about families seeing a performance during the holidays which has some nice references to Houdini performance at B.F. Keith’s Theatre in 1916.

H A P P Y  H O L I D A Y S ! ! !


Back to Work on Dec 4th

I am back to work on Dec 4th after a vacation that wasn’t long enough.

In 1911, Houdini also returned to work on Dec 4th after a vacation that wasn’t long enough:

“I…am confined to my bed with strict instructions not to move,” he wrote Goldston on November 20, “So I am taking a vacation laying on the broad of back and doing some thinking. I have cancelled a number of weeks, but I will be able to go to work as the hemmorrage [sic] has already stopped, but must give the broken vessel [that burst early in Nov during one of his escapes in Detroit] a chance to heal.”

By November 30, Houdini was walking around. “I am allowed to go to work next week, under the condition that I do not do any strait jackets for several months,” he wrote Dr. Waitt. [Source: The Secret Life of Houdini p269; Image: Collection of Joseph Hanosek]

On Dec 4th, Houdini opened in Columbus, Ohio at the B.F. Keith’s Theatre.


School of Visual Arts Master of Arts Program with Elane Bryne and Dorothy Dietrich

On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, New York’s Prestigious School of Visual Arts Master of Fine Arts program presented world famous artist Elaine Byrne who spoke about her works including her recent video installation, “women boxed”.

“women boxed” features found footage of the magic trick of women being sawed in half and an interview with barrier-breaking magician Dorothy Dietrich.

women boxed is a three-channel video installation that invites dialogue about how women’s labor is viewed in society, using the magic trick of sawing a woman in half as a pivotal metaphor.

Dorothy Dietrich.is known as “the first lady of magic,” “The Woman Who Saws Men in Half”, and the first and only women in history to accomplish the jinxed catching of a bullet in her mouth, often called the stunt that scared Houdini.

Dorothy Dietrich was scheduled for final interview portion of the event.

Byrne observes, “The world of magic has been dominated by men, where the magician actively drives the story and the female assistant functions as a spectacle for the male gaze. The magician’s assistant brings the action to a stop and captures the spectator’s attention—she freezes the flow of events for moments of erotic contemplation.” Evoking ever-present gender inequality, the female assistant plays the role of victim. She is a woman literally encased in a box, seeming to await her fate. In actuality, the female assistant is largely responsible for the success of the trick, but her labor is hardly recognized.

One of Byrne’s three videos was recently filmed on location at the Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the artist filmed the renowned female magician, Dorothy Dietrich. Dietrich speaks about her role as a female magician in a male-dominated industry. At a time when women continue fighting for many freedoms and equalities all over the world, women boxed alludes to these struggles through the arena of magic and illusion.

“women boxed” was coordinated by Alexandra Friedman, Program Coordinator, ISCP. ISCP supports the creative development of artists and curators, and promotes exchange through residencies and public programs. This exhibition was supported, in part, by Yoko Ono, by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

“Maker” magician Mario Marchese gave a fun magic performance, and an interview and question and answer session between the guests followed. Dorothy Dietrich was asked by an audience member is she could do a magic trick. She took a sheet of newspaper from someone in the front row and proceeded to tear it in half in whimsical manner, and the audience gasped when she instantaneously restored it, that brought on resounding applause.

Book The Houdini Serial that was shown 99 years ago

In my last 2 posts (Nov 4 and Nov 11), I shared two color ads announcing different release dates for the Houdini Serial that premiered 99 years ago today:

What I didn’t share was the reverse side of these ads telling you to book the Houdini Serial (The Master Mystery):

I also didn’t share that 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.

Houdini Serial to be released on Armistice Day

The Houdini Serial, The Master Mystery, to be released on November 11th (Armistice Day) as opposed to November 4th, according to the following ad (Oct 26) from Motion Picture News:

As it turned out, the first showing of The Master Mystery was November 18th, 1918 in Boston.

That said, production plans have been shattered by the epidemic and the war.  Peace means profits according to the following ads (Nov 16, Nov 30) from Motion Picture News:

Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November.  Please honor and remember those who have served in the Armed Forces.