Birley Croft,

Curbar, Derbyshire.

Dear Peter,

I should be glad if you could find room in next month's Pentagram for one or two comments regarding your review of " Spirits in the House," in the July Pentagram.

First I entirely agree with all you say about the mistake made in claiming that Joseffy's skull is explained in the book. As soon as I received my first copy and read that on the dust jacket, I immediately wrote to the publishers and said that should not have been on. I said that Joseffy's method was entirely different to Abbott's, and that I had never written to Joseffy in my life. If I had seen beforehand what was to be written on the dust jacket, that would have been omitted. Regarding the absence of illustrations to the " Floating Ball," I want to be fair to the publishers. Had I published it myself, as I had intended doing so at first, there would have been no illustrations ; and I never suggested to the publishers that it could be illustrated, as the description is given in such detail that it should be quite easy to follow without them. Also regarding the " Violet " rising card, I sent the publishers the only diagram I had of the " release " mechanism, which was supplied to me by Mr. Violet when I purchased the effect from him. But I believe that anyone who is capable of making up the outfit would be able to understand how the " release " works from the text and the diagram. But if anyone who has bought the book, and is in any difficulty about any item in it, will write direct to me I will be pleased to help him in any way I can.

Best wishes, Yours sincerely,

It is certainly not-our business, but we think that the publication in " Abra " of the letter Mr. Chislett mentions would have done much good and certainly have saved us certain criticisms and, what is far more important, a large amount of space.

The Piddingtons.—It would seem that the greatest sin that the Piddingtons have committed is that they have been successful. To their vast public, through the medium of the Radio, they have steadfastly reiterated the fact that they make no claim to have .supernormal or supernatural powers. They present the act as a thought-provoking entertainment, and sign off with the phrase, " You are the Judge." Such well-deserved success has naturally stirred the minds of those who cannot bear the thought of anyone else attaining success. And so we have a Press exposure by those who do not wish to give their proper names. Madame Zomah wants to see the Piddingtons work, so that she can tell them how they do their act ! And now Helliwell, with his Aide de Camp David Mario, is trying to do a " Fogel " on them. We like to think that the Piddingtons' success is part of the small repayment for the ghastly three and a-half years that Sydney spent in Changi Camp.

The Genii-Orben Poll.—Article II. on this matter appears in the July issue of the Genii. If it proves nothing else, it shows that the majority of conjurers are as bumble-headed as they are bumble-fingered. Size of book, like size of act, would seem to be the indication of top of the poll voting, Greater Magic heading the list of the thirty-seven greatest books in magical history, whilst Howard Thurston heads the list of the forty-one greatest magicians in history. Stanyon's Magic and " Serials ", which without any argument whatsoever contain a wealth of information that cannot be so easily found elsewhere, are not in the list, whilst Hay's comic Cyclopedia of Magic comes up to twenty-eighth place. Among the greatest magicians, Kellar, who, according to all reliable contemporary reports, was the greatest magician America has produced, polls 451 votes to Thurston's 841. David Devant, who without any doubt has never had an equal, polls 59 votes, whilst Miss Dell O'Dell just tops one of the great performers of this century, Karl Germaine. Chung Ling Soo just gets in the bottom of the list with 5 votes, whilst Willard the Wizard arrives in place 26. Frances Ireland has well said, Magicians don't have to be Crazy ! "

Visitors.—No two more charming visitors have come to our shores than M'sieur and Madame Sardina. During their stay in London it was a great pleasure to meet them and talk of magic and other things. On July 25th (one of the hottest days of the year) both visited the Magic Circle clubroom to witness a special Monday evening show organised by the Monday Evening Host, Sid Emons. After the show the visitors witnessed a demonstration of the Japanese Mirrors.

Contributions.—This month's effect, " Shape of Things to Come," is contributed by that well-known B.B.C. Air Correspondent and commentator, Charles Gardner. We regretted that the effect did not make use of a crystal, so that we could have appropriately entitled it " Scrye-master."

The first number of the new volume will bring a complete description of Louis Histed's famous " Jiffy Slate." Those who have witnessed D'Albert's act (he holds the Music Hall rights) will remember it well. With fair going the next number will be dedicated to David Devant. The reception accorded to our Douglas Dexter issue has been accompanied with requests for similar numbers. We have therefore decided that we will, during the course of the next twelve months or so, deal with some lesser-known conjurers. Two that we have in mind are Medrington (we hope that Mr. Mole will help us here), whose work we only had the pleasure of seeing on one occasion, and Howard Spencer (here we shall need the help of Mr. .Goodship, who we knew was one of his pupils).

The Magic Circle.—On 31st August a programme of magic will be given on Television by Herbert J. Collings, Brian McCarthy, Billy O'Connor and Chris. Charlton (we have put them in order of appearance). Douglas Craggs will introduce the acts. This programme, we understand, was a quick fill in for the Piddingtons, who on that day will be appearing in variety at Swansea.


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