The first talk was given by Anne Davenport and focussed around a selection of interesting items she has found while organizing the John Salisse Archive. Following Anne Paul Freeman gave a talk and Herr Adalbert Frikell, focusing the time he spent in England and especially his mysterious death in Scarborough (Paul’s home town). The last talk before lunch was given by Marco Pusterla about the Italian illusionist Chefalo. A highlight of this talk was some archive footage of Chefalo performing: first on stage, and then in a circus setting.
The afternoon started off with a talk about Linga Singh by his grandson, Nigel Dutt. Nigel had researched his grandfather extensively and told an especially fascinating story of how Singh moved from India to the West amongst others. Richard Kaufman gave the next talk which was about Theodore DeLand (the subject of an upcoming book by Richard). Richard described DeLand’s involvement in the mass marketing of gaffed card tricks as well as some of the problems he faced outside magic. He interspersed his talk with the demonstration of some of DeLand’s gaffed cards, many of which were very fooling. The last talk of the day was given by Fergus Roy and Roy Davenport and was about the Davenports’ magical business. Fergus talked about the history of the business and Roy demonstrated some of the effects that have been produced exclusively by Davenports.
Overall the day was clearly a success. A point highlighted by the fact that while everyone who attended agreed on the success of the day almost every talk was picked out as a particular highlight by one attendee or another. Hopefully more magicians will discover this fascinating event and future attendance will grow, especially amongst the newer members of The Magic Circle who may not be aware of quite how much the day has to offer.
Reported by Will Houstoun