The New Houdini Chronology documents every week of Houdini's life with known performances and notable events. On this page you can view a rotation of sample years as I continue to build on it. My plan is to eventually offer the complete chronology as a book. I hope you'll find this a useful reseach tool and enjoy the previews!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The New Houdini Chronology year end update

As we near the end of the year it may appear I've abandon this page and the chronology. But nothing could be further from the truth! I've been working on the chronology almost daily and it's growing into something truly spectacular. My plan remains to eventually publish it in a book, the exact form of which I've not yet entirely figured out. But it will be the Houdini book of my dreams.

However, to make this chronology as complete as possible, there's still work to be done. I hoping to mine some key archives and collections in the course of the new year. I really believe I'm building a monumental resource for historians, collectors, libraries, museums, and more. So rest assured, The New Houdini Chronology continues to grow and one day it will be in everyone's hands.

And in the meantime, I'm always happy to provide an assist to serious researchers who are looking to locate Houdini in a specific time and place. Chances are I have what you need. Contact me.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Now sharing the touchstone years

Today I'm updating this page with a random selection of what I'm calling the "touchstone years." These are years that are especially significant in terms of Houdini's life and career. I've also included my "A.D." page that tracks the amazing afterlife of Houdini from 1927 to the present.

As always, your comments and contributions are welcome.

I hope you enjoy this latest peek inside The New Houdini Chronology.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Those tricky Houdini imitators

In doing The New Houdini Chronology I rely a lot on old newspaper ads that provide many dates and places where Houdini appeared. But I've learned I have to be careful. Below is an ad for what appears to be Houdini at the Garden Theater in Buffalo during the week of May 11, 1907. I had even added this to the chronology. But then I had a closer look.

This is actually an appearance by The Great Alexander (presumably not the Alexander). But the placement of the text and the wording deliberately encourages a misreading that this is Houdini himself. And this isn't the only example of deceptive billing that I've come across. I've also noticed some who have attempted chronologies before me have have fallen victim to one of these tricky Houdini imitators.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Houdini's suspended straitjacket escapes

One of Houdini's most famous stunts was his suspended straitjacket escape. This iconic escape actually arrived relatively late in Houdini's career (1915). I've so far been able to document over 50 performances of the suspended straitjacket across the United States and Canada. Did your town make the list?

  • Sept. 8, 1915: Kansas City Post Building at 10th and Main in Kansas City, MO.
  • Sept. 30, 1915: Tribune Building on 4th St. between Nicollet & Marquette Ave. in Minneapolis.
  • Oct. 19, 1915: Seattle Times Building at 2nd Ave and Union St. in Seattle, WA.
  • Oct. 25, 1915: Oregonian Building in Portland, OR.
  • Nov. 23, 1915: First National Bank Building at Broadway & 14th in Oakland, CA.
  • Dec. 4, 1915: The Express Tribune Building at 719-721 S. Hill Street in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Dec. 22, 1915: Walker Bank Building at 175 South Main Street in Salt Lake City.
  • Dec. 30, 1915: Denver Post Building at 1577 Champa St. in Denver, CO.
  • Jan. 13, 1916: Star-Telegram Building at Throckmorton & 8th St. in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Jan. 18, 1916: Dallas News Building at Commerce & Lamar St. in Dallas, TX.
  • Jan. 25, 1916: Houston Chronicle Building in Houston, TX.
  • Feb. 2, 1916: Express Building at Navarro & Crocket St. in San Antonio, TX.
  • Feb. 10, 1916: Littlefield Building at 6th & Congress in Austin, TX.
  • Feb. 23, 1916: The Daily States Building on Canal Street in New Orleans, LA.
  • March 16, 1916: Milwaukee Journal Building in Milwaukee, WI.
  • March 28, 1916: Police halt advertised escape in Times Square, New York, NY.
  • March 29, 1916: Bowling Green subway construction site in Battery Park, New York, NY.
  • April 19, 1916: Munsey Building at Pennsylvania & E. St. in Washington, D.C.
  • April 26, 1916: The Sun Building on Charles St. in Baltimore, MD.
  • Aug. 2, 1916: Pier Tower in Atlantic City, NJ,
  • Oct. 18, 1916: Toronto, Canada.
  • Oct. 31, 1916: Erie Canal & Exchange St. in Rochester, NY.
  • Nov. 6, 1916: Post-Sun Building on Liberty Ave. & Wood St. in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Nov. 15, 1916: Pickering Building in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Nov. ?, 1916: Citizen's Trust and Savings Building at corner of High & Gay Street in Columbus, OH. 
  • Nov. 29, 1916: Roof of County jail in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Dec. 13, 1916: Daily News Building in Dayton, OH.
  • Dec. 20, 1916: John Harkness Brown Building at 1019 Euclid Ave. at 9th St. in Cleveland, OH.
  • Feb. 28, 1917: B.F. Keith’s Building at Tremont St. in Boston, MA.
  • March 7, 1917: Brownell Building at Exchange Place in Providence, RI.
  • Nov. 5, 1917: Subway construction site in Times Square, New York, NY.
  • May 15, 1918: Inside Madison Square Garden for NYPL War Stamp rally in New York, NY.
  • May ?, 1919: Harbour Apartments in Los Angeles as movie stunt for The Grim Game.
  • Aug. 21, 1920: NYPD Field Day Games at Gravesend Racetrack in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Aug. 28, 1920: Repeats NYPD Field Day Games at Gravesend Racetrack in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Sept. 10, 1921: NYPD Field Day at Gravesend Racetrack in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Dec. 21, 1921: Boston Post Building at Washington & Water streets, Boston, MA.
  • Jan. 5, 1922: Palace Theater at Broadway & 47th St. in New York, NY.
  • Jan. 12, 1922: Albee Building at 15th & G Street in Washington, D.C.
  • Jan. 18, 1922: Munsey Building in Baltimore, MD.
  • Feb. 17, 1922: 4th floor of City Hall in St. Louis, MO.
  • March 7, 1922: Pittsburgh Post & Sun Building in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Oct. 9, 1922: Fyfe Building at Woodward & Grand Circus Park in Detroit, MI.
  • Nov. ?, 1922: Newark, NJ.
  • Feb. 7, 1923: Tribune Building at 4th Street & Marquette Ave in Minneapolis.
  • Feb. 21, 1923: Free Press Building on Carlton St. in Winnipeg, Canada.
  • March 1, 1923: Vancouver Sun Building at Pender & Beatty St. in Vancouver, Canada.
  • March 19, 1923: Hearst Building at 3rd & Market St. in San Francisco, CA.
  • March 27, 1923: Tribune Tower in Oakland, CA.
  • April 4, 1923: Examiner Building in Los Angeles, CA.
  • May 7, 1923: Patterson Building at 17th and Walton in Denver, CO.
  • June 11, 1923: Park Avenue exhibit pavilion at Silver Jubilee Exposition in New York, NY.
  • Sept. 1, 1923: The Commercial Appeal building in Memphis, TN.
  • Sept. 6, 1923: World Herald Building in Omaha, NB.
  • Oct. 24, 1923: The Journal Building in Sioux City, IA.
  • Oct. ?, 1923: Dallas City Hall on Commerce Street in Dallas, TX.
  • Nov. 8, 1923: Chronicle Building in Houston, TX.
  • Nov. 12, 1923: San Antonio City Hall in San Antonio, TX.
  • Nov. 16, 1923: 5th floor of Littlefield Building in Austin, TX.
  • Nov. 22, 1923: Star-Telegram building at Seventh & Taylor in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Nov. 28, 1923: Beacon Building in Wichita, KS.
  • Jan. 23, 1924: State Journal Building on St. Carroll in Madison, WI.
  • Sept. ?, 1924: Providence, RI [unverified].
  • April 2, 1925: The Indianapolis News Building in Indianapolis, IN.

If you know of a suspended straitjacket escape that you don't see here, please shoot me an email or post it in the comments below.

When I ultimately produced a printed version of The New Houdini Chronology, listings such as this will appear as an appendix.

Last update: 5/7/20