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Magicians Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz, from the Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA, tell the story of the finding and restoration of the long lost Houdini silent movie from 1919, "The Grim Game". Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz from The Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA revealed, "The film has not been shown to the general public for 96 years. This was one of the most sought after items in Houdini History. It has been considered the Holy Grail of Houdini history!"
Houdini's movie "The Grim Game" made in 1919, has been unavailable until now and has been considered lost by film historians. Brookz commented, "The only complete copy of the film was hidden in the collection of juggler, magician, Houdini collector Larry Weeks. Dorothy and Dick had kept a friendly relationship with Larry Weeks and that is what helped to make this happen. Larry Weeks called himself "Houdini's biggest fan" and amassed a Houdini collection. He had the only known print of Houdini's lost film, "The Grim Game." He was known to show it at various occasions in his life time. It is the best of Houdini's five films. Dick Brookz commented "Over the years Larry invited us to see the film on two occasions. He found it odd and incomprehensible when I, Dick Brookz, told him that some magicians berated him for hoarding the movie that he preserved over the years at great personal cost."
We called Larry Weeks on his private number and told him about our desire to have the film restored. It took several calls and over two weeks to convince Larry to meet with a go-between. Larry finally agreed and gave us permission to pass along Larry's number. A meeting was set up and he arranged to acquire the film for Turner Classic Movies who he done a job for. He then put the pieces together to pick up the film, have a company restore it and Turner Classic paid to also add an original movie score. The wonderful thing is that the film content is complete, although it required a lot of work by the restoration company. Just prior to this time we had spoken with Larry several times and he informed us of his rapidly diminishing health so time was of the essence. The deal was made!" The last time we spoke to Larry after the deal he said to us "Thanks, enjoy the film. The next time you will see me I will be in a box!" Larry Weeks died October 13, 2014, before the public would get news of the acquisition on January 23, 2015. Many years ago Larry Weeks had bought a plot in the same cemetery as close as possible to Houdini and is buried there.
The restored film has a musical score composed by Brane Zivkovic an award winning film, television, and theatre composer. This was all done with financial help from Turner Classic Movies, who premiered it as the climax at the 2015 4 day TCM Classic Film Festival Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Hollywood to resounding praise and approval. It was the finale of the event.
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