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!


This is a sample page from The New Houdini Chronology by John Cox

Jan. 6-12:
➤ Mon., Jan. 6: The Master Mystery opens in sixteen Keith & Proctor theaters in New York City and state. [2]
Jan. 13-19:
➤ Fri., Jan. 13: Houdini makes personal appearance at Keith & Proctor's 5th Avenue Theater to introduce The Master Mystery[2]
Jan. 20-26:
➤ Fri., Jan. 24: Houdini performs at Annual Benefit of the Actors Fund. [1]
Jan. 27-Feb. 3:

Feb. 3-9:
Feb. 10-16:
Feb. 17-23:
➤ Sun., Feb. 23: Benefit for the Camp Upton Athletic Field Fund, Century Theatre, New York, NY. [2][11]
Feb. 24-March 2:
➤ Fri., Feb. 28: The Sphinx Club "Ballet of Victory" ball at Waldorf-Astoria. [2]

March 3-9:
➤ Sun., March 9: New York Tribune reports that Houdini has signed a contract to make movies for Famous Players-Lasky. Work on first picture to start May 1 in Hollywood. [2]
March 10-16:
March 17-23:
March 24-30:
➤ Sat., March 28: Houdini attends grand opening of the new National Vaudeville Artists clubhouse on W 46th St., New York, NY. [2][11]
March 31-April 6:
➤ Mon., April 1: Houdini is toastmaster at farewell dinner for Mr. and Mrs. Martin Johnson going to "South Seas Isles in search of out of the ordinary screen material." Held in College Room of Hotel Astor, NY. [8]
➤ Wed., April 2: Houdini acquires a 51% controlling interest in Martinka's & Co. Magic Shop in New York and becomes President of the company. [13]
➤ Sun., April 6: Houdini celebrates 45th birthday.

April 7-13:
➤ Sat., April 12: Benefit commemorating the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Hippodrome, New York, NY. [2]
April 14-20:
➤ Mon., April 15: Los Angeles Evening Herald reports that Houdini "Gets Out Quickly" after being buried alive. Time and place not specified. [Might be from Master Mystery pressbook.] [2]
➤ Wed., April 16: Houdini leaves for Los Angeles. [2][11]
➤ Sun., April 20: Houdini, Bess, and Julie Karcher arrive in Los Angeles. Initially stay at Hollywood Hotel, 6811 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA. [2]
April 21-27:
➤ Sat., April 26: Houdini tied to cannon during Liberty Loan "Wonder Night" at Victory Ship in Pershing Square. [2]
April 28-May 4:

May 5-11:
➤ Sat., May 10: Houdini repeats his Liberty Loan cannon challenge at Victory Ship in Pershing Square. [2]
May 12-18:
➤ Mon., May 12: Harry Kellar gives Houdini the gift of his automaton "Psycho". [5]
➤ Tues., May 13: Los Angeles Daily Times runs photo of Houdini and Cecil B. DeMille at Lasky Studio in Hollywood. [2]
May 19-25:
➤ Sat., May 24: Jesse Lasky writes to Houdini saying The Grim Game is the "consensus of opinion" best title for new movie. [5]
May 26-June 1:
➤ Tues., May 27: Papers announce The Master Mystery will be distributed by World Film Corp in several states including California, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas. [2]
➤ Sat., May 31: Planes crash during the making of The Grim Game[2][12]

June 2-8:
June 9-15:
➤ Fri., June 13: S.A.M. diner held in Houdini's honor in Los Angeles, CA. [2]
➤ Sun., June 15: Houdini pens condolence letter to Will Goldston for the loss of his dog. [4][5]
June 16-22:
➤ Sat., June 22: Houdini and Bess hold Gala Silver Wedding Anniversary Dinner at the Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, CA. [3][6]
June 23-29: The Master Mystery plays Clune's Theater (528 S. Broadway) in Los Angeles, CA (opened June 22). [2]
➤ Wed., June 25: Houdini makes personal appearance at Clune's during 9:30 showing of The Master Mystery[2]
➤ Sat., June 28: Houdini breaks his wrist while filming The Grim Game at the Lasky studio. [2]
June 30-July 6: The Master Mystery plays the Pickwick Theatre (4th & Broadway) in San Diego, CA. Houdini unable to appear in person as planned due to broken wrist. [2]
➤ Mon., June 30: Houdini informs Oscar Teale that his broken wrist will delay completion of The Grim Game by two weeks. [3][9][5]
➤ Sun., July 6: Houdini makes personal appearance at the Pickwick Theatre in San Diego, CA. [2][5]

July 7-13:
➤ Sun., July 13: Houdini and Will Rogers perform at the Actor's Fund Benefit at the Mason Opera House, 127 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, CA. [2]
July 14-20:
July 21-27:
➤ Sat., July 26: Los Angeles Times reports Houdini has "just completed" filming on The Grim Game. Will embark on tour of UK, France and Italy "last week of November." [2]
➤ Sun., July 27: Houdini visits Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton on set of Back Stage at the Comique studio on Alessandro Street in Edendale, CA. [2]
July 28-Aug. 3:
➤ Mon., July 28: Houdini departs Los Angeles via the "Salt Lake" train. [2]

Aug. 4-10:
Aug. 11-17:
Aug. 18-24:
✪ ➤ Mon., Aug. 18: Screening of The Grim Game at 8 PM in projection room of the Famous Players-Lasky offices at 485 5th Avenue, New York, NY. [1][5]
Aug. 25-31: The Grim Game begins exclusive engagement at B.S. Moss' Broadway Theater (Broadway & 41st St.) with personal appearance of Houdini at every showing. [2]
➤ Mon., Aug. 25: The Grim Game opening day at B.S. Moss' Broadway Theater. [2]
➤ Sun., Aug. 31: Papers report Houdini has signed a "long term" contract with Famous Players-Lasky and will begin production on a second film in September. [2][8]
➤ Sun., Aug. 31: Houdini performs at benefit for Barney Fagen ("Father of Tap Dance”) at the Manhattan Opera House in New York City. [2]
Sept. 1-7: The Grim Game continues at B.S. Moss' Broadway Theater with "Houdini in Person". [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 3: Houdini applies for new passport.

Sept. 8-14:
Sept. 15-21:
➤ Mon., Sept. 15: Houdini and Bess return to Los Angeles and "secure apartments near the Lasky studio in Hollywood." [1][8]
Sept. 22-28:
➤ Sat., Sept. 27: Papers report Houdini interested in buying the Oakland Oaks baseball team. [2]
Sept. 29-Oct. 5: The Grim Game opens at the Rose (Madison near Dearbon) and Orpheum (State near Monrore) in Chicago, IL. "Exclusive Chicago Showing" [2]
➤ Mon., Sept. 29: Houdini performs at veterans benefit for Hollywood Post of the American Legion at Toberman Hall, 6412 Hollywood Blvd. [2]
➤ Mon., Sept. 30: Houdini performs at Advertising Club luncheon at Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles assisted by actress Mabel Julienne Scott. [2]

Oct. 6-12:
➤ Fri., Oct. 9: Houdini sues Octagon Films for $40,000. [1][2]
➤ Fri., Oct. 10: Houdini begins shooting Terror Island at the Lasky Studio in Hollywood (Vine & Selma). [2][8]
➤ Sun., Oct. 12: The Grim Game goes into wide release. [2][8]
Oct. 13-19:
➤ Mon. Oct. 13: Houdini performs handcuffs and Needles at meeting of American Legion Post 43 at Toberman Hall, 6416 Hollywood Blvd. [2]
➤ Fri., Oct. 17: King Albert of Belgium visits the Lasky Studio. Houdini performs escape in studio water tank for Royal party. [2]
Oct. 20-26:
➤ [n.d.] Houdini entertains at Los Angeles Elks Club meeting with more than 1000 members present. [2]
Oct. 27-Nov. 2:
➤ Sun., Nov. 2: Houdini writes letter to Don Turley of Southern California Music Co from Mission Inn, Riverside. [5][8]

Nov. 3-9: Houdini films underwater scenes at La Elliotta Springs in Riverside, CA this week. [2]
➤ Tues, Nov. 4: Houdini experiences earthquake in Riverside.
➤ Thurs, Nov. 6: Riverside Daily Press reports Houdini and crew "left Riverside today at noon." [2]
➤ Sat., Nov. 8: Camera! reports Terror Island crew "will leave Monday to start the ocean scenes." [2]
Nov. 10-16: Terror Island films on Catalina Island. [2]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini travels by seaplane to Catalina Island. [2][3]
➤ Fri., Nov. 14: Houdini inscribes The Unmasking of Robert Houdin to James Cruze. [10]
Nov. 17-23: Terror Island films on Catalina Island. [2]
Nov. 24-30: Terror Island films on Catalina Island. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 26: Houdini writes letter to Don Turley saying he expects to return to L.A. "early next week." [5]
➤ Thurs., Nov. 27: Houdini attempts to rescue stalled boat drifting into rocks. Incident filmed. [2]

Dec. 1-7: Houdini completes Terror Island with "a few days of location shooting" in Los Angeles. [5]
➤ Sat., Dec. 6: Terror Island is announced as title of second Houdini Lasky feature. [2][8]
Dec. 8-14:
➤ Tues., Dec. 9: Houdini departs Los Angeles for New York via the "Santa Fe Limited" train. [2][8]
Dec. 15-21:
➤ Sat., Dec. 20: Papers report Houdini is back in New York. [2]
Dec. 22-28: Houdini spends week going through massive new auction acquisition for Theatrical Collection. [3][9][5]
Dec 29-Jan. 4:
➤ Tues., Dec. 30: Houdini sails for England aboard the Mauretania of the Cunard line. [1][2]

Primary Sources:
[1] Koval, Frank. The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary, Part 5: 1916 to 1920. Chadderton: 1994.
[2] Original newspaper story or advertisement via or other archival source.
[3] Silverman, Kenneth. Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[4] Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini The Untold Story. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1969.
[5] Original letter, cable, contract, or signed item.
[6] Original pitchbook, program, playbill or poster.
[7] Houdini diary.
✪ Denotes a first or possible first.

Additional Sources (1919):
[8] Motion Picture News.
[9] Silverman, Kenneth. NOTES to Houdini!!! Washington: Kaufman & Greenberg, 1996.
[10] Culliton, Patrick. Houdini Unlocked: The Tao of Houdini. Los Angeles: Kieran Press, 1997.
[11] Wood, Brent. Film Notes on Houdini The Movie Star DVD, Kino, 2008.
[12] The Daily Mirror blog: "Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Houdini’s ‘The Grim Game’ Scares Up Thrills"
[13] Caveney, Mike. Carter the Great. Mike Caveney's Magic Words, 1995.

© 2019 by John Cox. All rights reserved.

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