2 user 7 critic
Justice Department agent Quentin Locke must investigate a powerful cartel protected by a robot (here referred to as "The Automaton") and using a gas weapon "The Madagascar Madness".


Harry Grossman, Burton L. King (as Burton King)


Arthur B. Reeve (author), Charles Logue (author) (as Charles A. Logue)




Cast overview:
Harry Houdini ... Quentin Locke (as Houdini)
Marguerite Marsh ... Eva Brent
Ruth Stonehouse ... Zita Dane
Edna Britton Edna Britton ... De Luxe Dora
William Pike William Pike ... Paul Balcom
Charles E. Graham Charles E. Graham ... Herbert Balcom
Floyd Buckley ... Q the Automaton
Jack Burns Jack Burns ... Peter Brent


Justice Department agent Quentin Locke must investigate a powerful cartel protected by a robot (here referred to as "The Automaton") and using a gas weapon "The Madagascar Madness".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You have heard about "The Handcuff King" and the mysterious manner in which he escapes from everything. So far it has been impossible to confine Houdini in anything he could not get out of. He shows how it is done in the greatest serial ever produced. (Print Ad- Daily Colonist, ((Victoria BC)) 30 March 1919)


Did You Know?


A special showing of the first four episodes were given at the Strand Theatre, New York, November 6 [1918]. Each episode contained one of Houdini's famous escapes. (The Moving Picture World, November 23, 1918) See more »


During the fight on the staircase at the end of chapter one, a large vase can be seen both in long shots and close-ups, sitting on the banister. Then, as the fight continues, the vase disappears in close ups, but remains in long shots. See more »


Edited into Days of Thrills and Laughter (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Not much story, but a priceless curio
4 August 2008 | by TheKingOfLasVegasSee all my reviews

It's been around a century since Houdini's superstardom, and the fact that EVERYONE still knows his name is nothing short of phenomenal, especially when you consider how much of his legacy is word-of-mouth ONLY. Therefore, Kino Video's restoration of this 15-chapter serial (along with four other features and performance footage on this FABULOUS 3-disc set) is of ENORMOUS importance. Too bad the serial is more than a little bit tedious, and even with a few chapters gone forever due to nitrate rot (Kino's done their level best to compensate with some summarizing title cards), the four remaining hours are a challenge to endure. BUT...nearly EVERY surviving chapter cliffhangs with Harry bound and/or dangled in some heinous manner, and each ensuing chapter opens with a no-camera-tricks escape, and that's why any further complaints about this title become meaningless. And that robot...the 'trivia' on this page states that it may be the first in the annals of cinema, but BOY OH BOY is it goofy! But I do believe that with the re-emergence of this title and its companions, the Houdini legacy is guaranteed PERMANENCE.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





None | English

Release Date:

18 November 1918 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Houdini Serial See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rolfe Photoplays See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed