Houdini, nothing on earth can hold Houdini! Fred Ray & Co. in an intensely funny "Roman travesty" ....
At head of title: Orpheum Theatre, advanced vaudeville, week opens Monday evening, Oct. 14, matinee every day except Monday.
Created by "The Smith-Brooks Co., Show Printers, Denver."
Transferred from; LC Rare Book and Special Collections Division; 1956.
Forms part of: Magic poster collection (Library of Congress)
Forms part of: McManus-Young collection of pictorial material relating to magic.
Exhibited in: Conjuring Houdini, The Jewish Museum in New York and other venues, 2010-2012.
Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist began his career in 1891, focused initially on traditional card tricks, but had little success. In 1893, while performing with his brother as "The Brothers Houdini," Houdini met a fellow performer, Wilhelmina Beatrice "Bess" Rahner and married her in 1894. For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess worked as his stage assistant. Houdini's big success came in 1899 when he met Martin Beck in St. Paul, Minnesota. Impressed by Houdini's handcuffs act, Beck advised him to concentrate on escape acts. In 1900 Houdini started to tour Europe and gave a demonstration of escape from handcuffs and became widely known as "The Handcuff King." He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In each city, Houdini challenged local police to restrain him with shackles and lock him in their jails. In many of these challenge escapes, he was first stripped nude and searched. In Moscow, he escaped from a Siberian prison transport van, claiming that, had he been unable to free himself, he would have had to travel to Siberia, where the only key was kept. In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who imitated his escape stunts. Houdini made several movies, but quit acting when it failed to bring in money. He was also a keen aviator, and aimed to become the first man to fly a plane in Australia.
The collection includes posters advertising individual plays and operettas, burlesque, vaudeville, and specialty acts, dance companies, extravaganzas produced by the Kiralfy Brothers, portraits of entertainers, and stock posters. Featured performers include Julia Arthur, De Wolfe Hopper, Joseph Hart Vaudeville Co., Thomas W. Keene, Andrew Mack, Robert B. Mantell, Mathews & Bulger, Lewis Morrison, Phil Sheridan's New City Sports Co., Royal Lilliputians, and Jennie Yeamans. Directors, managers, and producers include Edward J. Abraham, Blaney, and Vance, William A. Brady, Sidney R. Ellis, W.J. Fielding, Charles Frohman, Hoyt & McKee, the Kiralfy Brothers, Jacob Litt, Rice & Burton, Rich & Harris, A.Q. Scammon, Sam S. Schubert, Thall & Kennedy, Fred E. Wright, Charles H. Yale, and others. Playwrights include David Belasco, George H. Broadhurst, Bartley Campbell, Charles Turner Dazey, Gilbert & Sullivan, William Gillette, Seymour Hicks, David Higgins, Bronson Howard, Cecil Raleigh, William Shakespeare, Sutton Vane, and others. Plays include such popular titles as Arizona, At Piney Ridge, By the sad sea waves, Devil's auction, Evangeline, Faust, Female drummer, H.M.S. Pinafore, The hidden hand, The last of the Rohans, Ole Olson, The Queen of Chinatown, Shenandoah, Siberia, The sporting life, Uncle Tom's cabin, Venice, The war of wealth, Way down East, Yon Yonson, and others. Images depicted include scenes from plays, portraits of performers, and performers performing. Featured entertainers are not always depicted in the image. Some posters are mainly textual with peripheral images.