The Macic Circle

Monthly Concert held on February 11th. at King George's Hall, London, W.l.

These monthly shows are probably the biggest ever sponsored by a private magical society, and no fee is charged, admittance being limited to members and friends. Since the hall holds about five hundred seats, and they are invariably full up at each of the two performances, one can realise that quite a lot of people are interested to see these shows. They are not held with the specified intent of presenting all that is best in talent or tricks, but to give amateurs and professionals alike the opportunity of presenting their act in a private theatre.

The artistes on this evening programme were introduced by Michael Bailey, A.I.M.C., and first to appear was Len Wallace, A.I.M.C. He is large, smooth, and obviously bubbling over with good humour, and soon had the audience right in his palm, as he wended his way skilfully through a varied routine which included the Vanishing Candle and Silk Trick, Optica, and his own particular manipulation of having any card called for, and then springing part of the cards from hand to hand. The face up card in the portion left being the one selected. This he repeated a number of times, and with uncanny accuracy Len was always correct. I have seen Len do this for over fifteen years, and he is still the only one I have ever seen attempt this difficult feat.

Donald Cooper M.M.C., came next, and worked a cut rope routine, a slate routine with a gag, much comedy business introducing a spring rat, and finally Production Tubes from which came a Hot Water Bottle, a Nightcap and finally a Lighted Candle—with which suitable accessories he thought fit to retire.

Weaver Smith presented his act called "Fantasy With Flame," and it certainly was as daring as any I have seen. His routine included the continuous plunging of various types of lighted torches into his open mouth, the blowing of a six foot long flame from his mouth . . . right across the stage, and finally allowing a flaming ball to run down a glass rod gripped solely in the teeth, and catching it in the mouth. This extraordinary stunt was repeated in an even more spectacular way, when he held a glass spiral and the ball ran round and round ... to be finally caught between the lips in like manner!

Ernest R. Butcher M.M.C., then gave his manipulative act with cards and billiard balls, involving many attractive moves, and finished with the transposition of blocks in tubes.

"Steve" A.LM.C., assisted by "Sunshine," appeared in immaculate light grey morning dress, and that was as refreshing a thing to start with as any I have seen for a long time. His usual bright and breezy self was again very much in evidence, as he ran through the effects of changing Red, White and Blue Ribbons to a Union jack, and Penetrating a solid wand with a playing card. Then followed a Slate and Paints effect, to finish with a production of a tremendously long rainbow-hued silken streamer from a tube. The whole was interspersed with comedy, gags and humour in true 'Steve style'.

Ram Das, assisted by Kim, was billed as presenting "Mysteries from India", and truly lived up to the impression of this title. I understand that this is a new act in which father is assisted by son. I know them well though his true name escapes me for the moment. It says much for the labour of love that goes into magic, for the act was smooth, vastly entertaining and nicely presented. Many oriental effects were presented, with a continuity gag of large Lota Vase being used to pour water out in between each effect. We could not describe everything in this brief report, but hope to do so one day at a later date.

Tommy Cooper was announced unexpectedly as a guest artist and although I have known Tommy since his army days, I have never seen him in better form. Britain's number one Comiconjurer—who has endeared himself to millions in his entertaining efforts fo perform at least one trick on each of his Tel evision shows, has to be seen to be believed! A real giant of a man—he is over 6 fe et 4 inches in his socks, and everything about him is proportionately large . . even to his infectious giggle when things go wrong! A really good laugh ensued and the act was a fitting close to a good show.

stand iiir up by JACK NIGHTINGALE

The Woolworth Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, and even the much publicised Tower at Blackpool—all stand up on the sky line well above eye level", said my friend the Psychologist. "So what?" I replied for I knew that his statement, though geographically impeccable, would sooner or later be manoeuvred by him to have some sort of reference to magic—my magic, to be precise. His response interested me. It may even interest you. And this was the manner of it.

That item which, I understand, you call "The Golden Spider" is quite a good one with most of the requirements of your audience well catered for, but, as you present it, it doesn't rise above the level of being a very good trick. Yet, with a little extra trouble, on your part, it could be converted into an i cm with enough psychological appeal to be described as an Illusion.

What has that to do with the Eiffel Tower, or these other sticking-up erections, I wondered. But not for long, for my friend v\ ent on:

The first essential is to lift up the framework in which your Golden Spider's web will eventually appear, so that it is considerably above the eye level of your audience. Doing it on a table-top is not nearly so valuable, psychologically speaking, as doing it in a position where the audience literally have to look up to it. It would put increased interest in"o the affair if you elevated, and at the same time isolated, your frame on the top of one of those telescopic erections which raise and lower music on a violinist's music stand.

Here I was able to butt in and flourish under his nose the page of the Max Andrew catalogue, where that universal supplier of Magicians' needs announces his Vampire "Revolutionary" Table Legs.

Those are exactly the kind of thing vv'Vc'i wouid accomplish what I am suggesting went on the Psychologist, something which makes it stand up. He went on developing his reasons for advocating this erection business, but I was concerning myself with the effec; of his suggestion on the further technique of the item. For example, I wondered if my friend had any special hints about simplifying the "force" which is necessary to ensure the selection, as the wool with which the Golden Spider will work, of the ball of red wool? He rose to this with the practical technicalities of a full-blown Magician. The method he recommended, and said he was prepared to justify, was to ask the audience audibly to announce the five available colours, and, under the pretext of writing down what they so announced, to write the word "RED" on five bicycle blank cards from which, at the next sfage a member of the audience would "select" a card which would obviously say "RED". Next he recommended that the Golden Spider should pick up the ball of the selected colour, by means of a small magnet secreted in the winding of the wool ball.

So far, this idea seemed to be developing nicely, but I couldn't quite see how the folding screen of the outfit was going to function— and I said so. I know that he was right when he went on to suggest that to draw a fabric curtain across the front of the elevated frame was much more likely to disarm the audience of criticism than to show them the two sides of the cardboard screen. Moreover, I knew that a hem to such a curtain could actually form a wallet for depositing the ball of wool which the audience had seen the Golden Spider select. Besides which, the pretext of pu'ting the final touch to the drawing of the front cutrain would provide an opportunity for operating the necessary mechanism which creates the actual web.

Psycho'ogically, my friend explained that the drawing aside of the curtain on the eievated frame would be a much more satisfying finish to the item.

The end of the story? Just that I spec-u:ated on a "Revelation" set of table legs, did some m nor adjustments and presented "THE GRAND ILLUSION OF ANCIENT CATHAY—The Co'den Spider" with phenomenal success.

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