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

John Whitmore

Film of Cecil Lyle’s Chocolate Box Illusion

Film of Cecil Lyle’s Chocolate Box Illusion

This is a showy illusion in which a giant chocolate box is shown first empty, then full of giant chocolates. The box is closed again and, when reopened, there is a lady inside. Photographs of the illusion and background details have been on the Davenport Collection website for some time (N826). We can now share an AI enhanced video of a performance at the 1982 Pentacle Club Convention. The performer is John Whitmore, assisted by Chris Kostecki and Teresa Wallman. John and Chris were both members of the Cambridge Pentacle Magic Club.

Film of Oswald Williams’ Noah’s Ark

Film of Oswald Williams’ Noah’s Ark

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.

Still photographs from the Davenport family cine films

Still photographs from the Davenport family cine films

The collection contains cine film taken by the family, much of it from the 1930s. The film has been transferred to tape, and more recently converted to an electronic form, in order to preserve the images. During this process some of the more interesting frames have been printed out as photographs. The magician on the top sheet of photographs shown here is Gus Davenport performing in Berlin in 1937. The face of Ottokar Fischer can be seen in one of the photographs lower down in the pile.