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E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator. The September 2023 issue included:
– Newsreel of the 1938 British Ring Convention.
– Radio dice box.
– The Great Modern Psuedourgos Dr Lynn.
– Is it just a puzzle or an entertaining trick?
– The Oswald Williams Noah’s Ark Illusion – now also on film.
– And have you seen . . . Eddie Dawes in his own words.
To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.
Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
This coin stack is from The Kaymar Magic Co. in Billericay, England. It was a gift from Harry Baron, the owner, to John Davenport in 1986. Six tenpenny pieces are placed in a stack on the back of a spectator’s hand, and then covered with the tray from a matchbox. The cover is lifted, the tenpenny pieces have vanished, and in their place is a stack of pound coins. Complete with instructions which give a routine by Harry Baron. The instructions also include a routine by Gus Davenport who was a very good friend of Harry. Harry explains that Gus made quite a cameo out of this trick in the earlier days when people were familiar with collar studs that men had in their collars. Gus would patter about Lord Derby, a famous racehorse owner of the time, who was also an inveterate one for making wagers. The story is that he was induced to wager his valuable Stud of horses on a certain race. The stake of cash was put up (represented by the stack of coins). However the culmination of the proceedings was that the gambler lost his money and Lord Derby still had his “STUD” . . . at which point the matchbox is lifted to show that the coins have vanished leaving a STUD in their place.
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 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 vanishing wand trick was very popular in the early to mid 20th century. The magician takes a solid magic wand and rolls it up in a piece of paper. The paper is then crumpled up, proving that the wand has vanished. The wand can then be produced from a place of the magician’s choosing. One approach used by (male) magicians was to pull up a trouser leg to reveal the wand tucked into his sock. In this comedy version the magician wears this colourful sock, which gets a laugh because such socks are not worn with a dinner jacket. A second laugh can be obtained by not wearing a sock at all on the other foot. This allows the magician to say: “Do you like my sock – unfortunately I’ve only got one of them” – as he shows the lack of any sock on his other foot. This was a gag used by Gus Davenport who always got a good response to it.
Soft soap was a very popular trick. Dirty handherchiefs are magically washed and come out clean. The audience think they know where the dirty ones are still hidden, but the magician shows them that they have been lead up the garden path. These tips which cover three typewritten pages mention variations, including some which came through Gus and Gilly Davenport. Note the Demon Series trademark printed on the Lux packet.
Each of these envelopes contains either a simple trick or a puzzle. The contents were produced by Gus Davenport who was friendly with Michael and Paula Baird. Most of the items are printed on card and item N2707 shows an example of the sheet on which they were printed. Two of the items, also supplied by Gus Davenport, are made in plastic.
The magician pins a safety pin on a handkerchief and makes it slide from left to right without tearing the handkerchief. Complete with original instructions. The illustrated advertisement contains a reference to Gus Davenport towards the end.
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.
The man behind the Miracle Series was Barrie Robin. He put out a series of tricks, jokes and magic in the 1950s. The instructions explain that this is The Famous Chinese Fire-Eating Trick with which you can produce sparks and smoke from your mouth. This doesn’t seem to be an appropriate trick for the younger purchasers at which this Series was aimed. The comment that “Reasonable care must be exercised” seems an understatement. The back of the packet contains a list of other items in the Miracle Series. Gus Davenport supplied Barrie Robin with some of the products in the Series.
The man behind the Miracle Series was Barrie Robin. He put out a series of tricks, jokes and magic in the 1950s. This trick is well known: of three bells placed on the table, only one rings. It is impossible for anyone but the magician to pick out the ringing bell. Complete with instructions. Gus Davenport supplied Barrie Robin with some of the products in the Series.
This particular trick may be the one used by Gus Davenport for the shows he did while in the Royal Navy during WW2. It certainly looks well used. The performer creates comedy by explaining that the letters of the word SAUSAGE can be manipulated to spell so many words, although not necessarily correctly spelt. On the cloth that is used to join the letters together a crib has been witten as a reminder of the words that can be spelt: U.S.A., USAGE, AGE, SAG, SAU [saw], SAGE, SAUS [sauce], AUS [‘orse].