1933 Magic Mirror - Cover

1933 Magic Mirror - Index

- 1 -


 FATE, the Great Magician, has been playing tricks on your poor old Editor, which has caused the delay in publishing this issue of your journal. In fact the "Magic Mirror" almost seems to be a quarterly, instead of a monthly publication, as originally intended.
 The last issue, which appeared in October of last year has been praised for its improved appearance and wealth of news. Mr. R. Warren of Messrs. J. M. Shields & Co., Durban, is to be complimented on the attractive setting our of the Magazine and its clear reproduction. My sincere thanks are tendered to Mr. Warren for his kind help and advice, which has enabled me to present my readers with a much more attractive magazine.
 Mr. Warren, better known as the "Vicar of Mirth", who is the local Manager of Messrs. J. M. Shields & Co., the House of Typewriter Service, is keenly interested in our Society and gives his advice free in an endeavour to help us to improve our organisation. This issue represents a creditable sample of the work put out by the firm and which is a recommendation in itself.


 Dear Readers, if you have read this far, I will take the opportunity of explaining why the "Magic Mirror" has been delayed. Firstly, at the time that the issue was due, I heard that a celebrated Magician was expected in Durban, and with visions of an interview and a probable literary contribution, etc. etc. etc; I immediately stopped work on the Magazine, in pleasurable anticipation of the ‘feast of news’ I would be able to serve up for my many and staunch readers.
 However, the Great – he stood about six feet and a brick – Magician duly arrived and the interview took place as expected; and offers received for a "Write up" and some exclusive tricks for our magazine. Sad to relate, however, there ended the great dream of your humble servant, for nothing has come to hand yet from the Great Man, and the ‘dreamer’ came to earth "with a sickening thud.

- 2 -

 The last phrase leads me to the second and more unfortunate reason for the delayed issue of this magazine. A week before Xmas, like a dutiful hubby, I was engaged in the old time custom of hanging up the decorations etc. for the Wife. All went well until near the finish, when hubby – that is me – gave a wonderful impersonation of a contortionist, acrobat, juggler and weight lifter, all in one. Then the body hit the ground with a "sickening thud"; this time in reality. With visions of a broken leg – it felt like it – and perhaps a few ribs thrown in, a post-mortem, sorry, I mean an ante-mortem examination was made, which disclosed, fortunately, only a badly skinned and bruised shin-bone; which rather spoiled my Xmas holidays. All would have been well even then, if fate had not taken a hand again, and another fall occurred a few days before New Year; this time with very severe damage to the same leg and on the same place.
 This time the victim was ‘well and truly laid’, with a septic leg, which made him absolutely ‘hors de combat’ for over a month. However, the skill of three Doctors and a Dental Surgeon – I know it seem funny, that is why I mention it – fought the sepsis down and by the end of January the editor–joint was able to walk about a bit and take an interest in the scenery. All is going well now and I am again able to give attention to the daily round of irritating concerns and duties; but what annoys me more than anything, is, that all this display of acrobatics was NOT stimulated by even one tiny ‘spot’ of ‘spirited’ energy. My readers will now realise that the delay in publication was really unavoidable.


 It gives me much pleasure in announcing that our Pietermaritzburg Branch has been revived; and it will be seen from a report appearing elsewhere in this issue, that the members are alive, and keen to uphold the traditions of the Art of Magic.

- 3 -

 We wish the members of Pietermaritzburg Branch every success; and offer any assistance required in an endeavour to advance the status of magic up there.


 Leslie Stokes has been having a busy time in Johannesburg, since his return from the Homeland. With his increased stock of tricks, I am sure he gave a good account of himself during the Xmas Season, Leslie very considerately forwarded me a translation of a recent report, in Afrikaans, that appeared in Die Vaderland, of the activities of the Transvaal Magicians Club. Many thanks, Leslie. We were pleased to read in the i0report that the South African Magical Society is acknowledged to be the Senior Society of Magic in South Africa; with its own publication, the Magic Mirror.


 The Magic Mirror has proved itself to be a wonderful instrument for putting South Africa on the Map as far as Magic is concerned. The many requests for sets of our Magazine, that are being received from overseas, goes to show that others associated in Magic in far distant lands are taking an interest in our welfare; and for which we should be very grateful.


 The Hon. Secy. of the Richmond Bowling Club and our old friend, Alf Mellor have both sent letters of grateful appreciation for our efforts some time ago in raising funds for the Club. You will see from a separate report that the Concert we gave at Richmond was quite a success. Alf tells me that they netted a sum of £11 for the Bowling Club. Apart from our own association with the concert, Alf Mellor did the spade work, and it is largely due to his energy and hard work that the Concert was such a fine success.

- 4 -

 It was with no little surprise that I received a charming letter from Chris Charlton, Europe’s Illusionist, with a request for a set of the Magic Mirror and subsequent issues. Chris Charlton played in Durban in 1912 and again twice in 1925; and he states that he has happy memories of our delightful city. Thank you, Mr. Charlton.


 A very cheery letter from Jack Le Dair to hand thanking us for copies of the Magic Mirror. He encloses a photo of himself doing the rising cards from the box effect; and promises a literary contribution for our magazine later on. Jack Le Dair, at the end of November, had over 27 weeks bookings, which surely proves that Magic is not as dead as some people would have us believe. At last year’s Conference, Jack Le Dair won the Shield and Gold Medal with a wonderful new effect for which he has the exclusive rights. He has something to be proud of; but everything that Jack does is a winner.


 A letter also received from Professor Edgar, for which many thanks. The Professor has been very busy this Season; but hopes to send us some news for the Mag. In the near future.


 Letters from over the Pond are very welcome particularly if they have to do with Magic. I had one the other day form Milton A. Bridges, M.D. of New York, also asking for copies of our Popular Paper, the Magic Mirror. Thank you Doc. I shall be pleased to send you copies of our Magazine.


 A post card with seasonable Greetings, comes from Eric McDonald, the Ventriloquist. He is known on stage now as Valentine Vox. Somehow, I seem to remember the name mentioned in my very youngest days. Gee, Mac must know something about South Africa scenery by now, he sure travels some. Thanks Mac, Greetings; the same to you.

- 5 -

 Harry Venson with his good wife and daughter, had a few days in Durban during the Xmas week-end. The Society held a meeting in honour of Harry’s visit, which afforded us all an opportunity to revive memories of days gone by. Harry’s skill is still a joy to see; and he put some new moves across us, which had us all guessing as usual. A report of the meeting will be found elsewhere. Harry Venson’s address is Box 1551 Nairobi.


 Another old friend blew in the other day with his family, Alf Mellor of Richmond. They were on their way back home after a delightful fortnight at Umkomaas. Alf is full of pep as usual, and keen to get new ideas. He is a born humourist and can run a whole night show on his own. Don’t miss reading about his latest Musical Revue "Miles of Smiles", in this issue.


 The South African Magical Society is now represented in Bulwer, by Mr. L.M. Walker, a very keen and capable deciple of Magic. He has just recently joined up with us and should prove a very useful member. We wish him a long and happy association with us; and hope he will find much to interest him.


 The Magic Mirror has been reviewed in The Magician and The Linking Ring; which will help spread our fame further afield.


 A good make of playing cards, suitable for manipulation, are now obtainable from the Secretary; also celluloid tumblers. The cards are 2/6 per pack and the tumblers 6d each, cash with order or on delivery. Get in while the stock lasts!

- 6 -


 Mr. Alfred Mellor and his well trained amateurs are to be heartily congratulated on the tremendous success of their musical revue, "Miles of Smiles", at Richmond some weeks ago Mr. Mellor is well known in Durban. During the War, in South West Africa and Egypt, he was recognised as the Natal Mounted Rifles regimental comedian, and as a prominent member of the Thistle Concert Party, of the 9th (Scotch) Division in France, and in London, he made his name as a first class entertainer. He is a member of the South African Magical Society, where his popularity has followed him. Mr. Mellor is a deft manipulator of cards, balls, and other apparatus used in the ancient Art of Magic.
 With such a reputation there was no wonder that the hall was filled, on this occasion, with a thoroughly appreciative audience who laughed and applauded all through the evening. The programme was splendidly varied with just a touch of sentiment to throw into stronger relief the many jokes and comical situations.
 Where every item was received with enthusiasm it is difficult to single out any number for special mention.
 The opening chorus, besides many of the other numbers, was written by Mr. Mellor himself and made an excellent beginning. Supported by six young men, the eight young ladies in their smart black and white ballet dresses at once appealed to the audience. "Trooping of Colours" was a fine military spectacle, the "Guards" being splendidly officered by Miss. Sheila Crawford. Miss Lucy Simes and Miss Marjory Jones greatly pleased everyone with their sweet voices and happy style. "A Hunting Scene", in which Messrs. Dave Sklarchik, "Bill" Simes and Alf Mellor figured, caused prolonged merriment. The Chorus brought down the house with "The Fate of Nancy Lee", "Bill Simes made a perfect tramp in singing "Stoney but Cheerful", and in other numbers showed surprised advantage. "A nautical Scene" was very popular.
 Humorous interludes were frequent and jokes plentiful. The accompanyments were exceedingly well played by Mrs. Mellor.

- 7 -

 The scenery was done by Dennisons. The costumes, which were made by U. Seymour were very attractive, and the changes were quite brisk, the whole finished up with a spectacular "Goodnight".

 The proceeds of the concert were to benefit the Golf Club and the newly formed Bowling Club.



 An excellent variety entertainment was staged by members of the South African Magical Society, in the Agricultural Hall, Richmond on the night of November 19th. The Concert was held under the auspices of the Richmond Toc H, and the proceeds went to benefit the funds of the newly formed Bowling Club. The programme, which was thoroughly enjoyed by a large audience was lengthy and varied, the artists all acquainted themselves well. Messrs. Alexander and Bulman opened both halves of the programme with Banjo duets; magical items being rendered with considerable skill by Messrs. Bulman, Simpson, Howden, Ridley and Pollington. Jack Fowler with his inimitable humour kept the audience in roars of laughter; and the items of elocution, very cleverly rendered by Elaine Gericke, received well merited applause. Mrs. Ester Cartwright was equally popular with vocal members that proved winners all, and also received a good hand. The programme concluded with an exceptionally clever humorous sketch, "The Forgotten Forgiven", which was written by Jack Fowler; was very ably presented by the author with the assistance of Elaine Gericke, Queenie Archer and Stanley Simpson. The sketch, which was a huge success was a fitting conclusion to a very poplar and successful concert, the accompanist was Mrs. Fowler, without whom a noble effort would have ended in disaster. It is understood that the Richmond Bowling Club benefited to the extend of £11, which in itself is a very creditable achievement.

- 8 -


 An important meeting of the Pietermaritzburg Branch of the South African Magical Society was held on the 24th November 1932, when it was decided to extend membership to members of the public who were merely interested in Magic. These applicants, upon approval by the "Inner Circle" would be admitted into the "Interested Group", and would remain there until, by tuition from the former, and their own diligence, they prove themselves worthy of admittance into the "Outer Circle". This promotion would show that the person concerned would have a fair working knowledge of Magic. Then, those members of the "Outer Circle" who were desirous of still further extending their knowledge of Magic, would be required to pass certain tests in the performance of the Art, whereupon they would be admitted as full members of the "Inner Circle" and would be entitled to wear the Society’s badge and to represent the Society at concerts and the like.

 This decision was greeted with enthusiasm from the meeting, since it was felt that a beginner would be more keen to join the Society, provided he had the interests of Magic at heart, and those who were merely curious and would join to satisfy their curiosity as to how tricks were done, would thereby find it difficult to attain promotion and to learn the inner secrets of this fascinating and entertaining pastime.

 Several conjurers present then performed various effects with cards, balls, coins etc. to the entertainment of the meeting.

 Anyone who is interested in Magic from a practical point of view, will receive every help to attain proficiency from the "Inner Circle", and applications for membership should be addressed to the Secretary, Mr. Dan Baxter, P.O. SWEETWATERS.

- 9 -


 Under the Social and Personal Gossip, in a recent copy of the Glasgow Weekly Herald it was stated that-

 "Few people know the full extend of the Princ of Wales’ accomplishments. His ability as a dancer, is of course, widely known, but he laments that he seldom finds a partner who can "tango" with the intricate rhythm so necessary for the full enjoyment of the dance. The Prince is also a past-master in the art of conjuring, and, in fact, had lessons from a world-famed magician a few years ago. Such tricks as turning a handkerchief into a flag and producing rabbits from a hat are small fry to the Prince. His ambition in this line, however, is to be able to do the famous "needle-swallowing" trick. Several needles are swallowed (sic), and then a reel of cotton, and a glass of water. With the ejaculation of those very magic words, "hey presto" the needles are taken out of the mouth all nicely threaded together!"

- 10 -


"Full Inside" Referring to Magician passing Revenue Officer at Dock Gates, with six packs cards nicely vested.
"Hurry Along Please" Advised by companion of above, also "loaded", as tram-car approaches.
"It’s Warm" Remarks first magician, with a gasp as he becomes seated in aforesaid tram-car.
"Splash Me" Said the Chairman at a Sea-View Concert, when the mica slipped, as Gerald performed the "Hydrostatic Tube"
"Hot & Cold" Gerald’s feelings; naturally
"Chase Me" Said the ping-pong ball, when the Secretary let it fall, while doing he "Patriotic Billiard Balls"
"Push & Co" Referring to a famous "Car" owned by one "Mac". For further details see Stanley.
"Did you ever" Drop the half shell in the "Billiard Ball" trick.
"Got ‘em" As the Secretary would say, when catching the "cards on the plate"
"Business as Usual" So support your Secretary in his editorial adventure.
"It’s the Goods"
"And very nice too"
The "Magic Mirror", without a doubt said an elderly gent when he saw Harry Venson’s "Flossie" in neglege.
"A Holiday Problem" Says the headline. A "Coin" trick, to be sure

- 11 -


 There was a full attention at the Annual General Meeting of the S.A.M.S. which was held at the residence of the President Bro. D.S. Simpson, on Wednesday 7th December, 1932. At this meeting the Secretary’s report was presented and reflected a very happy and prosperous year of activity. The membership has increased; and in view of the state of depression South Africa has been experiencing, the Funds have been fairly augmented. The Concert Organiser’s Report, also showed that the Society and its members, individually , have done a good deal of entertaining during the year for may deserving causes. Both the Secretary and the Concert Organiser were complimented on the meritorious work done by them during the year, and which has been of inestimable value to the Society and Magic in General.
 The Rules of the Society were fully revised; and it will be practically impossible for "passengers" being admitted, who are always a burden to any Society.
 The Election of Officers resulted in the return of all office bearers, which shows the high appreciation in which these Officers are held by the members, for their untiring efforts in advancing the Art of Magic and uplifting the status of the Society.
 General Business concluded a very lengthy, but none the less successful meeting.

- 12 -


 By kind invitation of Bro. Neal Down, the last meeting of the year 1932 was held at his residence at Clairwood. A large number of members and friends, all in festive mood, were in attendance and very happy evening was spent. The success of the meeting was certainly due to the very fine reception arranged by our ever genial host and hostess, Bro. Down and his charming wife, whose untiring efforts in this direction are dominant factors in effecting the comfort and pleasure of all who are able to attend these functions.
 The Members, on many occasions have been honoured with the hospitality of Bro. Down, and the same good-will and harmony has always been a feature of these gatherings, due to the happy and care-free atmosphere cultivated by our charming Host and Hostess and to whom the Members owe a deep debt of gratitude.
 As usual the members were to the fore with their various tricks and patter, for the entertainment of the Assembly, supplemented with musical items and light hearted badinage.
 We were indeed pleased to have with us, Bro. Stevenson (Harry Venson), Mrs. Stevenson and their daughter Peggy, who were on a visit to Durban.
 Harry gave an exhibition of his usual skill in legerdemain and delighted his audience with many new moves.
 Bro. Bulman over-ready to do his bit, put over some old numbers but with that expert touch that makes old tricks look like new.
 The President, Bro. Simpson, whose card work is a wonder to behold, gave many clever effects which delighted us all. Bro. Simpson’s card manipulations, bear the hall mark of an expert and to him, nothing seems impossible.
 Bro. Cuthbertson from Herefordshire England held the floor with a few "new ones" which he rendered with a skill equal to any good professional. His presentation of the "Spider Web" effect was an agreeable surprise to all.
 Altogether his quota to the programme was excellent in every way and a credit to him.

- 13 -

 Of course a Secretary always has to vindicate his existence in his Society, and Bro. Ridley, certainly did so on this occasion. Most of his tricks had been seen before, but lost nothing in repetition. Some new ones were included, however, most notable of which, was the "Demon Card Slide", which is as near a miracle as any trick can be.
 To add variety to the evenings entertainment Bro’s Bulman and Alexander led the guests in community –singing with their Banjos. They rendered some very old numbers, which were well sung by those who could sing, and much appreciated by those who could not.
 The most important item on the programme of course was naturally "eats". Our host and hostess always treat us well in this respect, and Mrs. Down is indeed a Magician in Culinary Art. The dainties, most tastefully arranges, were a wonder to behold and together with the usual liquid refreshments did good service. During the evening Bro. Down kept the men-folk in good "spirits" of which he is a decided connoisseur.

- 14 -


 "IRELAND WRITES A BOOK", is a title that does not altogether convey a true impression of what the book might contain; but having just added this one to my collection, I can truthfully say that it is a really useful publication. Written by L.L. Ireland of Chicago, it contains a wealth of practical moves for silks, thimbles, balls, cigarettes, cards and rings with innumerable illustrations, with the half of which the instructions for each trick can be followed with ease.

 THE MAGIC CIRCULAR for January is complete with detailed reports ‘Smoker’ and Banquet held last November, in which the names of well known performers appear with a short description of each act.

 A further article on the "cups and balls" by Will Blyth, gives some good passes with the "muscades". The instructions are very clear, very useful to those who like this branch of magic.

 The MAGICIAN for December is particularly interesting, with its novel form of Seasonable Greetings. New Lamps for Old, gives a natty use for the Bruce Hurling Bowls and a good slate novelty. Those who saw Jasper Maskelyne’s show, while in South Africa, will be pleased to see a photo of Mr. Finley Dunn, the most versatile entertainer at the piano who always keeps his audience in fits of laughter. Mr. Dunn is also a magician. Other equally interesting items conclude a very bright number.

 THE LINKING RING for December, with it’s innumerable articles of value to conjurers is a most acceptable number. Very many useful ideas can be picked up from this breezy magazine of the I.B.M.

- 15 -

 L. DAVENPORT & CO. send new catalogue of latest effects many of which, appear to be really first class entertaining media. Further information may be had from the Secretary.

 WILFORD HUTCHINSON’S catalogue offers some fine material for a real good show and those interested in literature can obtain some of the best publications from this firm.

 PROFESSOR EDGAR whose reputation as an inventor and manufacturer is well known has some new effects that can be recommended.

 HARRY LEAT can always be relied on for serviceable apparatus; and his list includes many useful effects that would be a valuable addition to anyone’s program.