This article from the ‘Era’ of 11 January 1896 reports on the show nearly 25 years after Maskelyne first appeared at the Hall. It is a positive review, welcoming the return of the sketch ‘Will, the Witch, and the Watchman’. David Devant, Mr. R.A. Roberts and Mr. Cramer on theorchestraphone also receive good reviews.
This advertisement from ‘The Daily Graphic’ of 19 January 1894, page 6, gives rather more information about the show than is usually found in newspaper advertisements. Mr. M.B. Spurr introduced a new sketch entitled ‘Liberty Hall’. David Devant was also on the bill.
Maskelyne & Cooke’s Mysteries was at the Town Hall, Folkestone for nine nights and three matinees. The Managing Partner of the Provincial Company was David Devant, who was a major performer in this show. There were also two magical sketches: ‘The Gnome’s Grot’ and ‘Will, the Witch and the Watchman’.
We are grateful to Paul Freeman who has given us permission to include this PDF version of his talk, which he has given in England and Austria between 2008 and 2011. Paul relates the interesting and often surprising ways in which magicians have ended up with a well-known stage name.
The Magic Circle owns the original script for JN Maskelyne’s famous magical play Will, the Witch and the Watch. This is the play that brought Maskelyne’s Box Trick to the attention of the public. Anne traces the history of the play and paints a vivid picture of the story and how the magic fits into the plot.
Anne Goulden has used private letters from Charles Glenrose to Claude Chandler to paint a picture of the 1922 season in Aberystwyth. The letters provide an insight that would never be obtained from contemporary printed material. Despite Glenrose’s hope and optimism, it was a tough season.
The British Music Hall Society archive has a salaries book from the Leicester Palace. Anne Goulden lists the salaries of magicians and top acts of the time. She also shows the effect of the First World War on salaries.
Peter Brunning’s painstaking research has uncovered the most complete story yet about Devant and his family. This includes new insights into Devant’s marriage and his daughter Vida, topics which have puzzled many magic historians. Peter’s article is illustrated with seldom seen images from the Davenport Collection.
Anyone who has tried to read Devant’s ‘My Magic Life’ knows that it can be frustrating and confusing because of the way it is organised – or not organised! Anne Goulden has produced a useful guided tour that tells you where aspects of Devant’s life can be found. Equally importantly, it tells you what can be ignored if you wish to concentrate only on Devant’s life.
1897 was the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. There were to be Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and Maskelyne saw an opportunity to make a good profit by building a Grand Pavilion with a view of the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the ceremony was to take place. Unfortunately, the speculation did not turn out well. Dr Dawes draws on many sources to tell this story. We meet David Devant and Douglas Beaufort and learn about some rather surprising litigation that resulted from Maskelyne’s initiative.