Sometime in the late 20th century, around 1974 or earlier, a crooked magician stole Harry Houdini's old disappearing chamber, the Cabinet of Mystery. The magician eventually took on the stage name of the "Great Calamari" and was booked at the Magic Theater in Broadway, New York. During rehearsals, Houdini's ghost manifested and caused trouble for the staff. The manager, Joe Magic, was annoyed with the development and decided to invite the Ghostbusters to the opening show with front row tickets. During a water tank trick performed by Calamari, Houdini appeared again and shattered the tank's glass. The act was the same as Houdini's popular suspended straitjacket escape.
The Ghostbusters went to work, unaware that Calamari was trying to sabotage their investigation. Ray Stantz was not convinced of the ghost's malevolence and believed it wanted to communicate with them. However, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore believed the ghost tried to kill them and immediately trapped it. Unfortunately, Houdini was still an escape artist and he kept on managing to escape the ghost traps no matter what the Ghostbusters did to keep him in them. He managed to lead the Ghostbusters to Calamari's dressing room where they discovered his checkered history. Winston, Egon, and Ray later resorted to sealing him in a trap by throwing it in a crate then filling it with cement.
When the Ghostbusters confronted Calamari, Egon noticed something among his belongings. It was the stolen secret notes of Harry Houdini originally hidden in the Cabinet of Mystery. The ghost was none other than Harry Houdini. Calamari attempted to strand the Ghostbusters in the Cabinet's realm but Houdini intervened. In exchange for his notes, Houdini stranded Calamari in the realm and helped Peter Venkman, his keys, and a long stranded volunteer named Irving escape.
Harry Houdini has the standard abilities of ghosts. His most unique ability is to escape the Ghostbusters' Ghost Traps, not an easy feat for the majority of ghosts.
- For legal reasons, the ghost of Houdini could not bear a direct likeness to the person.
- On page 24 of Ghostbusters 101 #5, Houdini is mentioned.
- ↑ Marsha Goodman (1986). Episode Call Sheet and SAG Report - "The Cabinet of Calamari" (1986).
- ↑ Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "The Cabinet of Calamari" (1987) (DVD ts. 18:16-18:20). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "Secret Notes. Keep Out. Harry Houdini."
- ↑ Edens, Mark and Edens, Michael (2009). The Real Ghostbusters Complete Collection Volume Three Disc Five, "The Cabinet of Calamari" Script p. 31. CPT Holdings, Inc.
- ↑ Edens, Mark and Edens, Michael (2009). The Real Ghostbusters Complete Collection Volume Three Disc Five, p. 29. CPT Holdings, Inc.
- ↑ Michael Swanigan (2009).The Real Ghostbusters- "The Cabinet of Calamari " (1987) Commentary (DVD ts. 10:26-10:30). Time Life Entertainment.
- ↑ 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #5" (2017) (Comic p.24). 101 Class Notes reads: "It was billed as a "compendium of nameless horrors" (a slight misnomer since, in fact, it gave names to most of the horrors of which it spoke) and was a favorite of both Harry Houdini and H.P. Lovecraft."