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Author Topic: Houdini Battles Killer Robot!!! Early Serial Starring the Master Escape Artist  (Read 774 times)
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
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« on: May 15, 2015, 04:55:33 am »

Houdini: The Master Mystery (1920) (Part 1 of 20)


Has anyone else seen this? It's one of Houdini's chapter films, but in this one, so it is claimed, he battles an evil robot:


I skipped through the first and last chapters but didn't find the robot, so it must have appeared in the middle chapters.

This was made in 1920, before the word "robot" was coined. The audience was ready for robots, even if the lexicon was not.
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Atterton
Time Traveler
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2015, 09:33:28 am »

I was not aware Houdini had been in serials. I might not get any work done today.
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Resurrectionist and freelance surgeon.
Rockula
Board Moderator
Rogue Ætherlord
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Nothing beats a good hat.


« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2015, 10:28:03 am »

I was not aware Houdini had been in serials. I might not get any work done today.


It would appear that there is just the one serial starring 'Houdini' and four movies.
A 3 DVD set comprised of all the existing footage plus actual footage of his escapes and lots of extras was released in 2008.
It's a bit rare now and goes for silly money (like $599 on Amazon USA!!!!).
But if you hunt around some places are still selling it at more reasonable prices....
http://www.magictao.co.uk/houdini-the-movie-star-3-dvd-set-dvd?language=en&currency=GBP&gclid=CMn8iMf_z8UCFRQatAodywkAKA
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The legs have fallen off my Victorian Lady...
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 10:32:24 pm »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Buckley
Wikipedia page for the actor that played "Q the Automaton". The article says that he later played Popeye on the radio. A link between Houdini and Popeye!

Extra points for the first person that can tell me why he wasn't credited as "Q the Robot".
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Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 11:21:15 pm »

I think you gave away the reason why in your first post.  Wink
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2015, 12:30:25 am »

So I did.

I'm watching this thing right now. Houdini is fighting a sort of syndicate that makes its money buy purchasing and suppressing patents. The robot is actually the leader of the gang and most of the action is done by his henchmen. The film makers missed an opportunity in not giving the robot's gang an armory of "suppressed" weapons.
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Mr Addams
Zeppelin Admiral
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2015, 10:34:57 pm »

I was surprised to find that the term Android, which I always thought of as a modern word, is used in Victorian speculative fiction to describe a humanoid machine.

Meantime, Part Five has a fairly good selection of robotic (Androial?) action.

Houdini: The Master Mystery (1920) (Part 5 of 20)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 10:38:31 pm by Mr Addams » Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2015, 04:30:04 am »

Android was originally an adjective that described something that was human in shape.

An Automaton was usually a mechanical doll, like the machine in the movie "Hugo".

The word Robot was coined in 1920 by playwright Karl Capek in when he wrote the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). The play premiered in January of 1921, less than two years after the Houdini serial.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=android%2Cautomaton%2Crobot&year_start=1700&year_end=2015&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Candroid%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cautomaton%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Crobot%3B%2Cc0
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2015, 04:11:16 am »


Spanish advertising for the film included a paper robot you could cut out and put together.
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