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The Master Mystery

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The Master Mystery (1920) starring Harry Houdini

The Master Mystery stars Harry Houdini as Justice Department agent Quentin Locke, who is investigating a powerful cartel that’s protected by a “menacing” robot (referred to in the film as “the Automaton‘); the cartel is using a gas weapon called “the Madagascar Madness” — and, given that this is an old-time silent film serial, there’s a cliffhanger ending at the end of each chapter.  And, since this is a Houdini film, there’s plenty of escape artistry to get out of them. The Master Mystery is available on DVD as part of the DVD collection, Houdini: The Movie Star.

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The Penalty

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The Penalty (1920), starring Lon Chaney, Ethel Grey Terry

Synopsis of The Penalty

In The Penalty, Lon Chaney stars as Blizzard a criminal mastermind crippled in his childhood by a young doctor’s mistake. He takes his revenge on the world through his crimes. But is the person he has become his fault or is there some other explanation?

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So Long! Oo-Long

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Song lyrics to So Long! Oo-Long (How Long You Gonna Be Gone?) by Bert Kalmar / Harry Ruby, 1920

(sung by Fred Astaire and Red Skelton in Three Little Words)

Ming Toy loved a boy,
Happy little Japanee;
Oo-long was his name,
Set her heart a flame.
One day he say, “Soon I gotta go away;”
When he leave Ming Toy grieve;
Everybody hear her say:

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