The Great Houdini (film)

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The Great Houdini
Also known asThe Great Houdinis
Written byPeter Benchley
Melville Shavelson
Directed byMelville Shavelson
StarringPaul Michael Glaser
Sally Struthers
Theme music composerPeter Matz
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production locations20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California
CinematographyArch R. Dalzell
EditorJohn Woodcock
Running time96 minutes
Production companyABC Circle Films
Original release
ReleaseOctober 8, 1976 (1976-10-08)

The Great Houdinis a.k.a. The Great Houdini is a 1976 American made-for-television biographical film which is a fictionalized account of the life of the Hungarian-American escape artist and entertainer Harry Houdini. The film was written and directed by Melville Shavelson and features Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch) and Sally Struthers (All in the Family) and originally aired on ABC on October 8, 1976.[1]


The movie features the early career of Houdini, the relationship between his wife and mother, and his and his wife's attempts to reach "the other side,” with him attempting to contact his deceased mother and her attempting to contact Houdini himself after his death. Although the film portrays a strained relationship between Houdini's wife and mother, in reality they got along relatively well.

Some notable performances were turned in by Vivian Vance as Bess Houdini's nurse (and the narrator), Ruth Gordon as Houdini's mother, Peter Cushing as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Bill Bixby as Rev. Arthur Ford.

When the film was rebroadcast on April 6, 1977, the title was changed to The Great Houdini.[2]



  1. ^ "Making of The Great Houdinis". Retrieved March 19, 2011.
  2. ^ "'Great Houdinis' title mystery solved!". Retrieved July 19, 2012.

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