The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

1936

Film of Gus Davenport with the 3 Shell Game at the 1936 Munich Convention

Film of Gus Davenport with the 3 Shell Game at the 1936 Munich Convention

The 1936 German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) convention was the first one in Germany attended by the Davenports: Lewis, Wynne and Gus. Gus had a great time there. The organisers captured aspects of the convention in a silent 16mm film taken by F.A. Brandt. The film includes a clip, shown here, of Gus Davenport performing the 3 Shell Game. Items N2895 and N2937 will tell you more about this convention.

The Radio Dice Box

The Radio Dice Box

The magician gives a dice and a box for examination requesting that the dice is hidden inside the box with the lid on top. Without opening the box, the magician is mysteriously able to tell the number on the top. Complete with instructions. The red and pink boxes in the Davenport Collection are of slightly different sizes. The Davenports advertisement for this trick, illustrated, includes sketches which give a totally false impression of the size of the box. It looks as though the box is as large as a boy’s hand. John Davenport remembers magician Ken de Courcy telling him how disappointed he was when he bought this trick as a youngster and saw how small it actually was. One of the illustrations here, from ‘The Budget’ of April 1958, allows you to read Ken’s comments in his own words.

Come Seven!

Come Seven!

The magician takes two dice and places them together so that the numbers on each of the four sides, as well as the numbers at the two ends, add up to seven. Try as they might, spectators will not be able to do this. Complete with instructions. The Davenport Collection contains two sets, one uses 15mm dice and the other 18mm.

Welcome to the 1936 Munich Magic Convention

Welcome to the 1936 Munich Magic Convention

Luckily, the Davenport family is not prone to throwing things away. This allows John Davenport to share something of their attendance at the 19-21 September 1936 Munich Convention. Lewis, Wynne and Gus Davenport travelled to Munich for their first German Magic Circle Convention (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland). It was a good opportunity to meet many continental magic dealers and magicians. John Davenport’s article reproduces letters, photographs and other ephemera from the occasion. In addition to downloading a PDF of the article, you might also wish to view the film taken by the family, which may be found here.

Film taken by the Davenports at the 1936 German Magic Circle convention in Munich

Film taken by the Davenports at the 1936 German Magic Circle convention in Munich

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.

Syko the mental mystery game

Syko the mental mystery game

This is really a magic trick although it is called a game. The approach is rather like the typical ‘Guess Your Age’ cards approach, but this is much more complicated. If you know the secret, you can tell a person which one of the 52 items they have selected from the MAIN GROUP card. All they need to tell you is which of the other nine cards include their selected item. The rest is up to you and arithmatic. Complete with instructions. The instructions explain the secret, but don’t tell you how to make a performance of it entertaining!

The likely source of Davenport Demon Series seals

The likely source of Davenport Demon Series seals

These seals were found with an advertising leaflet put out by W.R.F. Avery & Co. There are two types of seal, both with the Davenport Demon Series logo in the middle. One had ‘Sugared Almonds Samples’ around the edge, the other ‘Eau de Cologne The Mark of Quality’. We do not know if these seals were samples from Avery, or whether Davenports actually used them on joke products. Either way, it seems likely that Davenports purchased their seals from Avery.

The Avery leaflet is illustrated in View Details. Its purpose was to encourage customers to purchase seals commemorating the coronation of King Edward VIII, which was scheduled for 11 May 1937. Examples of such seals are shown on page 3 of the leaflet. In fact the King abdicated in December 1936, so there was no coronation for him.