The New Houdini Chronology documents every week of Houdini's life with known performances and notable events. On this page you can view some 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 research tool and enjoy the previews!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Year end update

Has it really been another year?

Well, my plans to consult some outside archives and collections in 2020 sure didn't happen! But a year of Covid-19 lockdowns did not stop progress on The New Houdini Chronology, which I'm happy to report continues to grow and grow. Also expanding is my ambition as far as a future book is concerned. I'm now beginning to envision the chronology as part of a much larger work -- the Houdini book of my dreams. But there's still work to be done. 

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

Have a safe and happy holiday season. I'll see you all in 2021!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Houdini's Night With the Spirits?

Here's a discovery that initially had me very excited. We know Houdini did spiritualist exposure shows early and late in his career. But here's one mid career!

Chester Times, December 8, 1911

Unfortunately, The New Houdini Chronology tells us this can't be the real Houdini. Houdini was performing at the Keith's Theater in Columbus, Ohio, all this week. On this very night, December 8, he accepted a challenge from the Lazarus Company to escaped from a packing crate. (The original challenge playbill is in the Fred Pittella collection.) 

It's 466 miles between these two cities and even today it's a 12 hour train ride. So it appears this is someone using Houdini's name, or someone using a Houdini-like name that the newspaper misconstrued. But it's still a strange coincidence that it foretells Houdini's future performances and spirit lectures. And it sounds like a good show!

And if this is Houdini performing in two places at the same time...well, we would have all the proof of the supernatural we need!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Handcuff King in England

I recently subscribed to The British Newspaper Archive, and I'm losing my mind! I'm adding volumes of information about Houdini in the UK to The New Houdini Chronology. I'm also coming across many photographic gems, such as the below. This comes from the February 17, 1904 Tatler magazine. Not much to say except, wow, what a pic!

For the record, Houdini appeared in the UK in 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, and 1920.

Okay, back to work!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Houdini to the minute

Here's a clipping from the January 15, 1923 St. Louis Post Dispatch that is unlike any other Vaudeville advertisements I've encountered while working on The New Houdini Chronology. Most ads are in the style of playbills that list the performers by importance. Houdini, of course, tops the bill. But this ad shows the acts as they actually appeared during the course of the twice daily shows.

I love this for the insight it provides. Here we can see Houdini took the stage at exactly 3:19 PM (matinee) and 9:19 PM (evening). It also shows us Houdini's act was exactly 25 minutes in length, matching the Morgan Dances as the longest acts on the bill. Houdini's act on this tour featured the Needles and the Water Torture Cell, although sometimes a challenge would be performed instead of the USD.

Here's a bit of extra trivia about this particular engagement. On the evening of January 17th, St. Louis Mayor Henry Kiel went on stage as part of Houdini's committee.

Okay, back to work...