Voice of Britain
With the major British Ring IBM convention well over and the Magic Circles’ dealers day held in London gone, other events dominated our magic scene here in Britain. The forthcoming Blackpool Magician’s Club’s 46th Annual Convention at the famous Winter Gardens is almost upon us on 22nd Feb. 1998 to be exact, but now a three-day event.
GEOFFREY LAMB DIES
Bad news of the passing of veteran magician and author, Geoffrey Lamb (1904 – 1997) because of a road accident shocked us all. Geoffrey was a schoolmaster. His interest in magic involved the history of the craft and was a member of the Inner Magic Circle. He was in the past, a regular contributor to several magic magazines especially the Magic Circular, the magazine of the Magic Circle. He wrote numerous books on the subject of magic and was a master of Arts of the University of London. I remember inviting Geoffrey down to Bideford for one of our Supreme special weekend conventions. He hated animals of all kinds being exploited in circus and in magic and often dammed such practices in his books. He once upset me when I kept bringing out volumes of books on the art of dove magic! He will be sadly missed.
FIRST LADIES TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE INNER MAGIC CIRCLE
Just a few years ago ladies were not admitted or even considered to join the Magic Circle. Just recently, popular close-up and cabaret performer, Fay Presto and all-round entertainer, Janet Clare (a member of the British IBM committee) were awarded this honour.
26th INTERNATIONAL MAGIC CONVENTION
Ron and Martin MacMillan’s popular convention will be over by the time this report reaches Joe for publication. This year conventioneers will witness three great lectures all held at the famous Kennedy Hotel of which I have enjoyed many a stay. Many famous stars of magic will be appearing. Names such as Cellini, Burger, Camilo, ) Marshall, Bongo and scores more (I didn’t even have to mention their first names, did I?) will be featured. There’s also a superb Gala Show staged at the famous Her Majesty’s Theatre.
WAYNE DOBSON STILL ON TOUR.
Well-known television magician, Wayne Dobson, is still touring. I had the pleasure of seeing his full two-hour show at our Queen’s Theatre here in Barnstaple, Devon, England. His show is a real mixture of comedy magic and illusions, and his beautiful wife is part of the ‘secrets’ act which involves two other superb women, all presenting their magic in an elegant way. Wayne always comes out at the end of the show and meets up with the public. Suffering from M S he remains seated during his performances, but his patter quips and lines are way above most young magicians of his age. We wish him well in the remainder of his tour.
DAVENPORTS CENTENARY CELEBRATION
This superb event is to take place on the 24th and 25th of January of 1998. Held in Brighton, Davenports is the oldest family magic business in the world. Gala Show, close-up sessions of distinction, Champagne dinner party, star lectures are just but a few things which registrants will cherish and share. Paul Daniels, Jay Marshall, Steve Bedwell, Ali Bongo, Roy Davenport, Maxim, Tomoyuki Osaka, Larry Parker, Richard Griffin, Lennert Green will be just a few of the huge cast of international stars to appear.
SILVAN COMES TO LONDON
Flash news! Silvan, the well known and respected Italian magician of stage and TV, a great friend of mine, will be appearing on the international magic Convention organized by Ron and Martin MacMillan.
MARK RAFFLES (pick-pocketer) at LONDON PALDIUM
It is always the dream of any magician here (and it rarely happens) that he or she is engaged to appear at the famous London Palladium. Mark achieved a long-lasting ambition by treading the boards of this superb theatre of distinction! I remember 20 years ago, appearing on the stage of this theatre, but then, alas … I was asked to come on stage as a volunteer by the greatly known British comedian and singer, Max Bygraves. At least I wasn’t a stage floor sweeper!
2705 COPIES AND NOT OUT!
That’s the number of copies Abracadabra ( abbreviated as Abra) has published through 50 years. During that period the magazine, now edited by Donald Bevan has never been late. We just cannot but wonder how he and his very small team do it every week as well as serve customers with books through mailorders and at conventions.
SLUMP IN MAGIC DEALING HERE IN BRITAIN
British Dealers are feeling the slump, the lack of sales and many are going out of business. Far too many magicians, mostly semi-professional, retire early from their day jobs and automatically become magic dealers. A business card, catalogues of a few pages, a few props and an appearance at one or two magic conventions seem to automatically make them the latest magic dealer of the age. At one recent British Ring convention, some 64 dealers were on show! Many were selling the same props, numerous items imported from India, all at different prices. Knock-down prices on certain goods is becoming a day-by-day occurrence and confusing in the end. When we send through the post, the original high prices exist. Perhaps it will change but even advertising in British magic magazines is not working as many of my dealer friends have told me.
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Film star Sir Anthony Hopkins revealed on a top British national TV programme that he based the film and the Hannibal Lecter character on the late comedy TV magician Tommy Cooper. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
A national TV show which appears three times each week on our screens has given me the chance to show my ‘collection’ – magic of course. This consists of many different goblets used in Cups and Balls including the last set which the late Burtini presented to me, a major maker of chromed cups so many years ago. A magic wand, presented to me by David Nixon, then a great popular TV magician and a fez given to me by the same Tommy Cooper I have just referred to. But what I do cherish is a pair of handcuffs used by the later Harry Houdini. Sets of magic old and new, old books and posters and lots of magical memorabilia will be shown on the programme which goes out to several millions.
MAGIC CIRCLE PRESIDENT TO QUIT
David Berglas stated that he is standing down as being the President of the Magic Circle. Having been president for years he has done an excellent job. Attending so many functions, conventions and the weekly meetings too, as well as committee ones, he is well respected for being a figure-head in magic. David is writing his exclusive story why he is standing down in the magazine called “The Conjurer”.
SCRIPT WRITING FOR TV
Must go now. I’m right in the middle of yet another national soap opera programme on TV. It pays much, much higher than writing reports, writing up tricks for magic magazines and all that! And… wait for it….. more than 15 million, perhaps more. A little more than numbers who read my articles nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to write my report from Britain and I’ll look forward to being with you again!