Conan Doyle and Houdini: Private Investigators

  • Originally published on the site on Sunday, 27th March 2011

Not one, not two, but three upcoming media productions will pose the question; what if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini had teamed up as detectives?

In reality, master escapologist Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Doyle were close friends during the early 1920s, until disagreements over the reality of the “supernatural” strained their mutual admiration too far. Houdini was an arch-skeptic, wise to the tricks of confidence swindlers posing as spirit mediums, while Doyle was a passionate believer in, and defender of Spiritualism.

Dreamworks has acquired a script called Voices from the Dead from screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (ChanglingBabylon 5), about Houdini and Doyle joining forces with a medium to solve a bizarre series of murders in 1920s New York.

Jon Vinson’s self-published comic book series, Edge of the Unknown, is scheduled to be adapted into a live-action movie by Jack Reher (Red Machine). This project teams Houdini and Doyle in 1923 Hollywood, where they solve a supernatural mystery with the aid of horror author H.P. Lovecraft.

Meanwhile, Syfy has started pre-production on a series called Among the Spirits, based on a self-published graphic novel by Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. The series will center on Houdini and Doyle as, with the help of a policewoman, they use steampunk technologies to try to solve apparent hauntings.

Chances are very good that we can look forward to some fine antagonistic action from these projects …

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