Signed Stock Certificate "Houdini Picture Corp" - 1921
Houdini Picture Corporation stock certificate printed by Broun-Green Co. and signed by Harry Houdini as president of the corporation, dated June 21, 1921. This certificate (No. 401) is for 5 shares of capital stock in the Houdini Picture Corporation, issued to Alfred J. Gaudette. Measures 11.5" x 8.25". Slight water stain along bottom edge, partially affecting the signature, though it is still quite clear.
Houdini, son of a Hungarian rabbi who had emigrated to Wisconsin, had an early affinity for conjuring and took the stage name Houdini, but his great success came from public performances in England and the Continent from 1895. It was as an escape artist—with a decided talent for using the media—that Houdini became celebrated; he appeared in several movies after World War I and eventually launched his own motion picture production company. While the company issued some $500,000 in capital stock, few original stock certificates are extant today.
This certificate is printed in deep black and brown, with a fairly clear embossed "Houdini Picture Corporation" Seal impression at the lower left. The Houdini Picture Corporation was formed by Harry Houdini in 1920. He directed and produced only two movies: the first, "The Man from Beyond", was successful; the second, "Haldane of the Secret Service", proved a dismal failure. At that point, Houdini abruptly ended his film career. The Houdini Picture Corporation went out of business less than 6 years after its creation.