An audience member takes a card and the magician has fun trying to identify it with the help of spectacles stored in a smart spectacles case. It’s an unusual and entertaining way of identifying a chosen card.

The magician invites a spectator to insert her finger into a hole that passes through a transparent frame. The magician then slides a solid blade into the top slot and lowers the blade. Magically, the blade penetrates completely through the spectator’s finger. Magicians have invented numerous guillotine illusions in the past, however none have utilised the principle incorporated in Smart Guillotine. Complete with instructions in Japanese and English.

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The March 2022 issue included:
– the launch of the Films Category and the Davenport Film Collection YouTube Channel.
– Ali Bongo version of the Gozinta Box with a double load.
– “Humpty Dumpty” children’s paper tearing trick.
– Devant’s early performing career.
– the staying power of traditional toys and novelties.
– “Shanroy” Scenery from The Servais Le Roy Company.
– an 1889 letter from J.N. Maskelyne and an unresolved issue

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

The 1948 advertisement (illustrated here) describes a long sheet of paper printed in red and black showing Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. To the well-known Nursery Rhyme, the magician tears up the sheet to illustrate how Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and became broken in pieces. The magician continues the story; ‘All the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men could not put Humpty together again’. Maybe not, but the magician squeezes the pieces and when opened out into a long strip again, there is Humpty back sitting on the wall. This trick came out in the period of post war shortages. A simple red and black picture would have suited the period. The example in the collection, shown here, is in red and green and is probably from the 1980s. This is a Davenports item, confirmed by the LD & Co in the bottom left corner and the DEMON on the standard carried by the horseman.

Lubor Fiedler invented the Gozinta Box. In his trick, the magician shows a box, opens it and takes out the box inside. To the amazement of the audience, the magician opens up what was the inner box, and promptly places inside it the box which started out on the outside. The trick can be repeated to return the boxes to their original positions. This particular Ali Bongo item is a variation. In addition to the boxes changing places, the magician discovers a 50lb weight (or 20kg for continental audiences) and a cannon ball inside.

The magician mixes together red, white and blue sand in a bowl of water and shows the audience that they are well mixed by pouring the wet sand through their hands. After a magic word, the magician is able to pull out a handful of each coloured sand separately, pouring it into a bowl to show that it is now completely dry. Complete with Davenports instructions. The illustrations here show the canisters of sand as well as two pages from a 1937 Davenports Demon Telegraph magazine. The magazine advertisement makes it clear that customers could purchase more than one option of the trick.

A photograph of this backdrop can be found on page 123 of Servais Le Roy – Monarch of Mystery by Mike Caveney and William Rauscher. This type of scenery was said to be invented and manufactured solely by the Company. The advertisements in Servais Le Roy’s Magical Monthly, one of which is illustrated here, claim a number of benefits compared with canvas. Not least, the scenery is said to be a third of the weight of canvas, three times as durable and can be folded or crushed without damage or creasing. Inspection of this piece, now over 100 years old, suggests the claims are true. Percy Naldrett, who at one time worked for the Company, said that the scenery was painted with aniline dyes which required expert knowledge because the colours changed markedly when the dyes dried. The colour photographs shown here were taken in 2022 by placing the backdrop flat on the floor, to avoid the possibility of damaging it by trying to hang it. The name Shanroy presumably comes from SHANtung fabric and Le ROY.

The magician shows a stand on which is placed a wooden frame which has been shown to break into two across the hole in the centre of the frame. The magician hands out a card for examination and then demonstrates that it fits inside the frame, the hole in the card coinciding with the hole in the frame. The card is placed back on the table. The magician then shows that the glass chimney fits through the hole in the frame, where it is left in position and a silk handkerchief pushed through so that it hangs out from both ends. The magician again picks up the card and pushes it into the top slot in the frame. It should of course come to rest when it hits the top part of the chimney but, with the correct magic word, the card is pushed right through the chimney and handkerchief and down to the bottom of the frame. The apparatus can be shown all around. The final applause comes when the magician removes the top half of the frame and lifts out the card and chimney, showing that the card really is threaded onto the chimney.

With help from Chris Cross and Philip Treece, the inventor of this trick has been identified as Brian Godfrey. In the ‘Demon Telegraph’ of October 1933 (illustrated) the trick is advertised as Brian Godfrey’s PHANTOM PENETRATION. This is the first mention of the trick we have found. The trick makes use of a glass tumbler rather than a glass chimney. A few years later Goldston and Stanyon advertised the trick. In America, the same effect called ‘Improbability’ was sold by the National Magic Company and Sherms. They do not credit the inventor. The trick is written up in ‘Goldston’s Magical Quarterly’ of September 1935. Bob Albo describes the effect in detail in Volume III of his Classic Magic series.