Levante

From the bush of Australia to the West End of London, from entertaining in shearing sheds to the palaces of Royalty—that has been the life of Levante, known in practically every country in the world as the master craftsman in the world of magic. In 1939 at Battle Creek in Michigan, U.S.A., Levante was the guest of honour at a convention of magicians convened by the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He has been labelled as the finest exponent of stage magic in all its branches. J. C. Williamson Theatres brought him to Australia in 1941. He has remained here, and now devotes his Tremendous knowledge of the theatre to touring a marquee into the larger towns of N.S.W., Queensland and Victoria. No man is happier than Levante when the big top is up, and the audiences are enjoying the unusual entertainment that The Levante Show provides.

In the letter he wrote to us recently, he says, "This letter should have been written, ere this. I am living a strenuous life these days, and time for social affairs is practically 'non est'.

Some seven years ago, i decided to come out of retirement, and take a fly at running touring marquee theatres. I built three, and the only one that made any money, was The Levant Show, managed by myself. I stored the other two, and am now on my last four with this one. I will get "Hows Tricks" ready, and leave Australia in January next, for New Zealand, play there for about five months, and then on to England, with perhaps a stop over in South America.

"I'll advise you regarding the foregoing, when the matter is settled.

"Your "monthly" has been reaching me O.K. I note that you use Charles Sowden, as printer. I introduced him to the magical fraternity via the Budget, when we changed it over to a printed job. Charles is an excellent fellow. Your magazine is well edited, and of much interest. Congratulations on a good job.

"I am writing this in my caravan, at a place called Townsville, in North Queensland, this is a sub-tropical area, it produces sugar, tin, lead and is good cattle country. The cus tomers are mostly hill-bilfy types, but good spenders. We play for two weeks here. The marquee theatre holds 1200. The total company of 3 1 travel by road. It's a strenuous business, as the jumps are long. We frequently do 250 miles over a week-end. I'm very tired of it, and seek the easier life of theatres, and people to do most of the work.

" I do not see any mention of Dr. Shackle-ton in either your mag. or The Budget, is he still on deck.

"WeH that's all for now, and all being well, I should be with you in time for the 1954 l.B.M. Convention".

We have seen a copy of Levant's Programme Sheet, which is very attractively produced, and contains details of the prominent members of the company, together with two different complete programmes. He travels what is really a Magical Revue, with plenty of dancing lovelies, music and comedy to relieve the magic.

Good luck to you, Les Levante, and we look forward to seeing you again in England, and at the l.B.M. Convention, which in case you do not know, will be held at Brighton next year.

COUNT LE FOE writes—

"Recently I made for the B.B.C. a Tele-recording (film for TV) of the first of my memoirs. The title being "A Memory of A Melody"—which is told in the form of a Ten-minute story, solo.

"The producer—Alan Sleath—has five more of my stories at present, which I hope to perform for TV shortly. This first title that I have now made, is described and sub-titled as "Introducing Count Le Foe . . "

"NAILO"

New Streamlined Version. A large wire nail is examined and then magician bends it in half across his teeth. He at once throws it down on the table again, and try as they may spectators cannot bend it straight with their hands ! Very baffling. (Not a feat of strength).

PRICE 3/

THE MAGIC CIRCLE'S

GRAND FESTIVAL,, OF MAGIC

SCALA THEATRE OCTOBER 5th to 10th

Repetition of a show, and good rehearsals should, of course, make for improvement in the general presentation, but it does not always follow because to organise this yearly event is very difficult, with artistes coming from all parts of Great Britain and the Continent. This year, however, the Magic Circle excelled themselves, and presented for our delectation what certainly was the very best yet, of their Annual Festivals. Could it be because almost the entire programme was made up of professionals? I think so.

The programme was nicely balanced and backed with sympathetic musical accompaniment by Stanley Kilburn and his Orchestra, whilst our own Alfred Gabrielle, effects-master in chief to the magical fraternity, did his stuff on the Drums. The opening number was free and easy, with the Coiman Carnival-ettes in "The Spirit of Magic", a dance routine devised by Horace King, M.I.M.C., and introducing that most amiable host and Compere, David Nixon. Stanley Watson with Diane presented a fast and interesting series of items, with two entirely new presentations of tricks he has been working for some time, and extremely topical they were. His Ten Cards to Pocket using a child from the audience is always a complete lesson on the psychology of just how to handle a child. The Indian Moon Floating Ball has now given way to the "Floating Orb", the bejewelled symbol carried by H.M. the Queen during the Coronation Ceremony It is of course, part of the Crown Jewels and looked very fine on the stage. It was allowed finally to come to rest on a velvet cushion held by his assistant, when to our complete surprise • . it disappeared with a flash! Then followed the swallowing of electric bulbs and the reproduction from the mouth threaded and alight, the stand from which they were taken being a representation of the Royal Crown.

Afexandra and Event Compaen offered "Magic Rhythm", and this was quite entertaining as a dancing magic act for the first seven minutes or so, but when they started to do even more and more tricks after each dancing routine ... it seemed a lot too long.

Terry Hal?, "The English Ventriloquist with the Irish Dummy", is probably England's brightest new star in the Ventriloquial Firma ment. How strange it is that so few vents can ger a sufficiently new slant on their act, to make an act seem different. Terry Hall's lip mastery has to be seen to be believed There is a never a tremor at any time, and the dummy has a real live personality. His finishing stunt, with a small Lancashire Spinster dummy, and trailing a microphone, led him down into the audience, where 'she' carried on a conversation with various spectators! Truly delightful.

Benson Duiay and Company presented "The Sorcerer and his Apprentices," which is his usual and well known Music Hall Act. This popular performer has an amiable disposition which immediately puts him on good terms with his audience. The amount of entertainment he gets from volunteers (!) who go on the stage to assist him, is terrific, and all his large and small illusions are beautifully built and decorated, and worked with a celerity that is the professional hallmark.

Needfess to say, in between each act, the Compere made his appearance, and David Nixon is rapidly being acclaimed as a front ranker amongst magical comperes. His direct 'down to the audience' style seems to make him one of them, and as he attempts to do the tricks which he has learnt from the artistes backstage, he creates a lot of fun and merriment. In no small way was he responsible for the continuity and general success of the show.

Peter Warlock presented a number of his own original routines of restorations and transpositions of ribbons, papers, and small articles, worked silently, immaculately and magically. Most entertaining

Suzy Wandas is Belgium's Leading Lady Manipulator and Magicienne, and she is new to the Magic Circle, 'although she was at Hastings last year for the I.B.M., as many of you will remember. Indeed, if you saw her you could never forget her, for she is a lady of dynamic personality, splendidly good looking, with a style and polish as clean as a cut diamond. Her skilful manipulations with cards, cigarettes, balls, silks etc., had the audience constantly breaking out into applause. Even the back and front palming without gloves and almost in slow motion, was (Continued on Page 229).

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