I just saw Neko Case at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit. In the middle of the set, she mentioned that she had heard that Houdini had died in the theatre. I’ve heard the same story a number of times in the past, and I also remember hearing a few other bands mention it from the stage, so maybe someone affiliated with the Majestic complex is spreading the story.
At any rate, it’s not true. The basic sequence of events was:
- Tuesday, Oct. 19th – Punched in the stomach in Montreal
- Sunday, Oct. 24th – Performed last show at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit
- Monday, Oct. 25th – Hospitalized
- Sunday, Oct. 31st – Died at Grace Hospital, Room 401
This stuff is all pretty easily google-able — I used the ‘Houdini in the New York Times‘ section of houdinimuseum.org for the timeline above. There’s even an entire site devoted to Mr. Houdini’s death. The site in question is hosted by Geocities, so it could go down without any warning, but it’s worth noting that it includes photos of the Garrick Theatre and Grace Hospital; a copy of the death certificate; newsreel footage of the funeral (mpg); and recollections of the final show.
Detroitfunk (one of my favorite Detroit-centric websites) recently posted an entry with present day photos of the surviving landmarks of the story (here). Actually, I just found this entry on Motorcityrocks which mentions the Majestic rumor and correctly identifies the Garrick Theater as the site of Houdini’s last show, so this entire exercise was futile. Bah.