‘Chung Ling Soo’: the Chinese magician automaton created by Tony Middleton
In 2015 the bare mechanism of this electrically operated window figure was found in a Davenport store in very bad condition. The figure turned its head from side to side and raised and lowered its arms. In 2016 a Cambridge magician and family friend, Tony Middleton, had the vision to strip it down and re-engineer the figure, to convert it into a Chinese magician performing a magic trick. With the help of John Davenport, the figure now levitates a Chinese lantern up and down in the air, passing a ring over it to show there is nothing but magic holding the lantern suspended. Tony christened the magician Chung Ling Soo from the outset. The figure has been on display in the family’s magic museum in Norfolk, England. One of the photographs here shows Roy Davenport on the left and Tony Middleton on the right.