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

Les Levante

1938 Malvern Magic Convention Newsreel

1938 Malvern Magic Convention Newsreel

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 International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring Annual Dinner, 14 March 1937 at the Palace Hotel, London

The International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring Annual Dinner, 14 March 1937 at the Palace Hotel, London

The British Ring usually used The Palace Hotel, Bloomsbury Street, for their Dinners. This event was reported in The Budget for March 1937. The Davenports were there in force. In the front row, from the left, is Wally. his wife Hilda, Gus and then Wyn. In the second row, 8th from the left is Gilly. During the after dinner show Wyn Davenport assisted Brian McCarthy with a silk effect. Gus and Wally Davenport also assisted Levante with a new version of the Block Off Ribbon.

Film of the Levantes and Sticklands visiting the Davenports

Film of the Levantes and Sticklands visiting the Davenports

When magic visitors were invited to the Davenport family home, Ivydene in Kent, there was usually some fooling around. Filming was done outside because of the brighter light. On this film we see everyone having fun on the lawn. Bill Stickland demonstrates his doll made up of a body and Bill’s hand for its face. Bill is also pushing Wyn Davenport along in a wheelbarrow. Les Levante is fooling around with a pot on his shoulder. Gladys and Esmé Levante are there too. The children are Betty and Jean Davenport. Also appearing are Wynne, George and Gus Davenport.

Coloured image of Les Levante, signed

Coloured image of Les Levante, signed

The image is signed by Levante with the date 1954. This souvenir most likely originated from Cambridge magician Claude Perry, who went to see Levante at the New Theatre, Cambridge on week commencing Monday, 22 November 1954.

Dove caddy

Dove caddy

In a 1939 Davenports ‘Demon Telegraph’ this was advertised as the Great Canary Vanish, as featured by the Great Levante at all the leading music halls. There is a Davenport demon seal on the top of the caddy.