Wally Davenport was the second eldest of Lewis’s four children. He was seldom seen serving behind the counter at Davenports because he was the key family member for ensuring that mail orders were dispatched promptly. Davenports were known for this prompt service.
This very short clip shows Wally with a Botania, which was a well known trick for producing flowers. The purpose of the film is not clear. It is almost as though the family had a short length of colour film to finish off and, instead of wasting it, they took this film of Wally.
The Davenport family loved London and theatreland. This colour film was probably taken by George (Gilly) or Walter David (Wally) Davenport. It captures celebration decorations in London in the 1930s at a time when Davenports business was at a peak, prior to the problems and shortages associated with WW2.
George Davenport did not invent this trick, but he was the first person to perform it in England. The plot is well known. The magician separately swallows razor blades and thread, after which he produces them from his mouth strung along the thread. This 1930s film was made by the Ideal Sound Cinemagazine.
The International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring held their 8th Annual Convention at Malvern in 1938. This Gaumont British News film was aimed at the cinema-going public. It features an upside-down strait jacket escape by Les Levante and an underwater escape by his daughter Esmé. It uses a breathless tone to capture the excitement of these and other magical happenings. Gus and George Davenport briefly turn up from time to time, most noticeably at the end having fun with the production of two giant bunches of flowers using a double Botania, no doubt on loan from the Davenport stand at the convention.
The Noah’s Ark shown in this film is the Oswald Williams illusion which the Davenport family purchased in the 1930s. The illusion has rarely been performed since that time. The performance shown here was in the Gala Show at the First Pentacle Club Magic Convention held at Churchill College, Cambridge on 29 June 1980. It was performed by Pentacle Club member John Whitmore. John was a school teacher, which was very useful because the illusion requires a large rehearsal space and he was able to make use of the school hall. The show was compered by Jack Delvin.
This film was taken by the American magician Frank Lane (Frank Caldwell) when he visited Stanyon in London in the late 1930s. Stanyon was a magician and magic dealer, perhaps best known for the magazine Magic which he published from 1900 to 1920, with a break during WWI. Lewis Davenport in his early days as a performer bought items from Stanyon. For example, in the Magic of September 1903 we find: Lewis Davenport writes: – “I was working a return date with Second Sight Act, your method, when the manager said he knew how nearly every Second Sight Show worked, but he said our show fairly staggered him. Result, two more return dates.”
The American magician and family friend, Frank Lane, often visited the Davenports with his wife Francis. This film from the late 1930s was put together by Frank Lane. Frank and the Davenport family had a well-developed sense of humour, which explains some of the zany antics on the film. The footage includes George (Gilly) Davenport floating a match and Gus Davenport performing some coin magic. Frank doesn’t appear much in the clip: he was either shooting the film or, at the very start of the clip, relaxing in a deck chair being served a drink and cigars by Gus Davenport.
The people in the line-up, in order of appearance, are Wyn Davenport, Francis Lane, Gus Davenport, young Betty, George (Gilly) Davenport, young Jean and Eve Davenport.
In 1983 John Davenport had the opportunity to visit Le Grand David spectacular show in Beverly with Frank and Francis. As was their custom, the company made a huge fuss of the Lanes (see illustration), which they certainly deserved.
The Cardinis, with their pekingese Me Too, visited the Davenport family home on the same day as a visit by magician Bill McCaa. The time was the late 1930s, when Betty and Jean Davenport were young children; Jean being three years younger than Betty. In the line-up at the start of the clip we see Lewis Davenport, Cardini, Bill McCaa, Cardini’s wife Swan, Gladys (who at some point married Bill McCaa), Lewis’s wife Wynne, Wyn Davenport and young Jean Davenport. Immediately after the line-up we see Eve Davenport showing Me Too to Jean. At the end of the clip, Gus Davenport and Bill McCaa walk towards the cine camera.
Chris Charlton was a bill topping magician on the variety stage. In this clip from the 1930s you can see him performing tricks with pebbles. When the group pop up from behind the wall, from left to right we have young Jean Davenport, Eve, Wyn, Lewis, Betty Charlton (daughter), Chris Charlton, Dorothy (wife), Wynne and an unidentified lady said to be a friend of the Charltons. Later in the clip we also see young Betty and Gus Davenport.
This late 1930s visit to London Zoo allows us to see Cardini in relaxed mode, as well as allowing us to appreciate how much zoos have changed over the years. Rides on elephants or in llama carts were very popular as was the recently opened penguin pool. The pool, designed in modernist style by Berthold Lubetkin and completed in 1934, became a well-known feature at the zoo.
Walking along with the llama cart is Eve Davenport, Gilly’s wife, with young Betty and Jean Davenport having a ride in the back of the cart.
The Davenports and Bartls were great friends. Elly’s father was János Bartl, from whom Lewis had been buying magic for years. Elly married Egon von Lautenstein who was a popular magician in Germany. If you are waiting for a train, what better way to spend the time than to walk along the platform and show each other tricks? The featured image shows Egon, Elly and Gus Davenport. The second image, which is a still photograph, shows Elly, Wynne Davenport, Egon and Lewis Davenport. Clearly Lewis and Gus took turns to capture the moment.
The 1936 German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) convention was the first one in Germany attended by the Davenports: Lewis, Wynne and Gus. It was a good opportunity to meet many continental magic dealers and magicians. This film, shot by the family, shows some of the attendees at the convention as well as shots of the Wittelsbach fountain in Lenbachplatz in Munich. We don’t recognize everyone but, as well as Lewis and Gus Davenport, there are good shots of Mayette, Venot, Dr Dhotel, Schreiber and Mr and Mrs Conradi-Horster. Conradi-Horster was a good friend and well known magician and dealer who supplied Davenports business with magic apparatus. A Conradi-Horster catalogue may be found here. The featured illustration shows Conradi-Horster on the left talking with Lewis Davenport.
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behaviour or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.