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Behind The Scenes At The Master Mystery

While unrelated to my Houdini & Kansas research, I did discover something recently of personal interest I thought I would share. My "day job" involves dealing with antique diving helmets, hence my interest in Houdini's diving suit patent and his underwater battle in The Mastery Mystery movie.

(If you happen to have an original copy of the poster above, I would pay dearly for it)

The Master Mystery is a silent movie from 1919 starring Houdini. As with many movies from this time period, this one is a serial, meaning it was broken up into chapters that would be shown each week. The movie poster for episode 4 is shown above and hints at the underwater action featured.

While doing unrelated Houdin research for my book, I did discover a copy of Picture-Play Magazine from March 1919. In this early movie magazine is an article titled "Seeing Is Believing" by J.B. Waye.

Mr. Waye reports on his visit to the movie set of The Mastery Mystery.

On this day, Houdini and the crew were preparing for the underwater battle scene. To my surprise, the tank and apparently Houdini in his diving helmet are shown and described in the article - plus a fun extra photo at the end of the piece.

Enjoy this fascinating and fun behind-the-scenes peak into silent movie underwater production!

Don Creekmore can be contacted at or 316-371-1828 or


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