The Master Mystery (1918)

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This independently produced serial starred world-famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini as Quintin Locke, a secret service agent battling an international conspiracy to suppress any sort of scientific progress. Among the conspirators are the vicious DeLuxe Dora (Ruth Stonehouse), the "Madagascar Strangler" (William Pike), and a strange would-be robot known only as Q. (Floyd Buckley). The ubiquitously imperiled heroine was played by Marguerite Marsh, the older sister of Griffith star Mae Marsh. Despite Houdini's enormous fame, The Master Mystery proved a disappointing failure. The problem, apparently, was the great escape artist himself who, a stickler for authenticity, escaped his many perils too easily.