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  Harry Houdini.
Photograph: Silent Era image collection.
The Master Mystery
Also known as {The Master of Mystery}
(1918-1919) American
B&W : Serial / 31 reels
Directed by Burton King and Harry Grossman

Cast: Houdini (Harry Houdini) [Quentin Locke], Marguerite Marsh [Eva Brent], Ruth Stonehouse [Zita Dane], Edna Britton [‘De Luxe’ Dora], William Pike [Paul Balcom], Charles Graham [Herbert Balcom], Floyd Buckley [Q the automaton], Jack Burns [Peter Brent], Bob Rose [Houdini stunt double]

Octagon Films, Incorporated, production; distributed on State Rights basis by B.A. Rolfe Productions. / Produced by B.A. Rolfe. Scenario by Arthur B. Reeve and Charles A. Logue + [Harry Houdini]. Cinematography by William A. Reinhart. Presented by B.A. Rolfe. / Premiered 4 December 1918 in Lowell, Massachusetts. 15 episodes (two reels each): [1] “Living Death,” (three reels); [2] “The Iron Terror”; [3] “The Water Peril”; [4] “The Test”; [5] “The Chemist’s Shop”; [6] “The Mad Genius”; [7] “Barbed Wire”; [8] “The Challenge”; [9] “The Madagascan Madness”; [10] “The Binding Ring”; [11] “The Net”; [12] “The Death Noose”; [13] “The Flash of Death”; [14] “The Tangled Web”; [15] “Bound at Last; or, Unmasking of the Automaton”. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / The earliest documented premiere of the serial is 4 December 1918 in Lowell, Massachusetts. In December 1918, episodes from the serial saturated Massachusetts theaters, with actress Marguerite Marsh making personal appearances on three consecutive days at five Boston area theaters in mid-December. By 2 January 1919, one theater was promoting the 10th episode. Circulation expanded in January 1919.

Drama: Crime.

Survival status: Print exists in the film holdings of the Cohen Media Group (Raymond Rohauer collection) [incomplete positive].

Current rights holder: Public domain.

Keywords: Acid - Barbed wire - Escapes - Patents - Poison - Robots - Secret Service - Serials - Strait jackets - Vamps

Listing updated: 24 January 2013.

References: Bardèche-History p. 113; Lahue-Bound p. 25; Lahue-Continued pp. v, 71-72, 196-197, 286; Lahue-Gentlemen p. 134; Stedman-Serials pp. 53-54 : Website-IMDb; Website-SerSq : with additional information provided by Bob Fontenrose.

Home video: DVD.

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