Restored Houdini movies features a fight with the first ever robot in a motion picture

Dwiff sez, "Great trailer for Kino's upcoming release of Houdini the Movie Star, restored editions of Harry Houdini's silent era action blockbusters - including a truly 'teh awesome' sequence from 'The Master Mystery' with Harry Houdini battling THE FIRST EVER ROBOT IN A MOTION PICTURE." Link, Link to Houdini the Movie Star on Amazon (Thanks, Dwiff!)


  1. They can’t have called it a robot, ’cause that word wouldn’t be used to refer to an artificial servant for another two years when R.U.R. premiered.

  2. One has to wonder if it’s really the first robot in film, or just the earliest surviving depiction.

  3. Per IMDB, robot= “Q the Automaton”. Also per IMDB a version of R.U.R appeared on TV in Europe (?!??).

    My wife bought me a “Master Mystery” reproduction movie poster, complete with scary mechanical man looming in the background. Awesomely cool. And the poster is nice, too.

  4. Also per IMDB a version of R.U.R appeared on TV in Europe (?!??).

    should have read

    “a version of R.U.R appeared on TV in Europe in 1938 (?!??)”

    ah, that’s better.

  5. Harry Houdini was quite the innovator and consumer advocate at the time.
    He was the consummate showman.
    His work against crackpot mediums, tarot readers and other phony wizardry was a great service to so many left bereaved by World War One.

    Truly one of the first modern Super Stars.

    “The greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin,” Harry Houdini


  6. I just want say that Kino is a great distributor of silent era films. I recently bought the TOM VERLAINE AND JIMMY RIP: MUSIC FOR EXPERIMENTAL FILM (2007) DvD from Kino. An awesome juxtoposition of Verlaine/Rip’s guitar instrumentals with avant garde silent classics like “Etoile de Mer” and “Emak Bakia” from Man Ray, and Richter’s Rythmus 21 and several others. Check it out

  7. That music is really amazing. And now someone has to do a Houdini vs. The Robots comic or something.

  8. Do we need that tutorial on URL masking again?

    <a href=”URL”>VERBIAGE</a>

    Also, when it’s via google images, you can amputate the first part of the URL until you get to the last http.

  9. I thought upon that. An URL that is legible usually offers clues to the attentive reader as to what they might be about to open. A masked URL possibly contains hazard to the socially constrained reader. Consider how many here have commented on NSFW data.

    A stylistic/functional trade-off. Also, I am far too lazy and old to be taught with anything less than a large stick with TWO nails in it.

    I appreciate your work though and have decided not to kill your puppy.

  10. I am aware that Master Mystery predates Rossum’s Universal Robots.

    “They” didn’t call it a robot. I did. Because we do.

    And “first ever automaton” hardly conveys teh awesome that is “Q.”

    Sometimes an error ain’t nuthin’ more than sidewalk hucksterism.

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