How Did He Do It!?

This item was sent to me by Steven Hill last year, and it’s one of my favorite type/film gaffes.

It’s from a thriller called Oxygen made and set in 1999. It stars Adrien Brody as a clever kidnapper with a Houdini fixation. In one scene, he instructs the husband of the woman he’s kidnapped to deliver the money to him at Houdini’s grave and there’s a close-up of the gravestone:

In case you don’t recognize it, that’s the TrueType version of the old Macintosh system font, Chicago, released in 1989.

I also think it’s funny how the numbers for the years are not carved into the marble but, instead they project outward. I don’t know much about cutting gravestones, but I would think you would waste a lot of stone to get that effect. I also wonder how those little pebbles got up there… Mysteries upon mysteries!

Update: According to Victor Caston, it’s a Jewish tradition to place pebbles on the headstone, and Houdini was Jewish. One mystery solved, anyway. Amazing yet intermittent attention to detail.

Further Update (June 25, 2005): According to reader Zaldamo, the real Houdini gravestone features raised letters. (It’s also quite a bit fancier.) I did say I don’t know much about how they make gravestones. One thing is still certain: Apple’s Chicago font didn’t exist in 1926.