Magicol 191: Correction


Mike Caveney & Tina Lenert, photo courtesy of Bill Taylor, ASC

Michael Claxton’s review of the Fourteenth Los Angeles Conference on Magic History appeared in Magicol No. 191

Reader Peter Rodgers offered this correction regarding the provenance of the “Birth of a Pearl” illusion presented by Mike Caveney at the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History:

 My main interest was your revue of Mike Caveney’s presentation and performance of the Birth of a Pearl using an actual illusion built by Phil Davies and used by the Australian Illusionist Maurice Rooklyn in his tours of New Zealand and Australia from the mid 1940’s through to 1954. The illusion had been stored in the Sydney home of Steve Walker for about 6 years, when Steve died in December 2014. It was me that contacted Mike Caveney and arranged for the illusion to be shipped to him for his performance at the LA Conference.
Phil Davies came to Australia with the Chung Ling Soo show in 1909 but stayed in Australia as an illusion builder until his death in the early 1940’s ( Chung Ling Soo’s Mechanists, they Stayed Behind by Brian McCullagh 1998). He manufactured a Birth of a Pearl for the Australian Illusionist Jean Hugard (John Gerard Rodney Boyce) who performed it for the rest of his career.(Jean Hugard by James B. Alfredson 1997). Unfortunately Hugard left Australia, (and his family) for Fiji and then the USA in 1916 never to return. He took the Birth of a Pearl with him and performed it in the USA at I believe Coney Island in New York until 1929. Hugard’s Birth of a Pearl had an “inner shell of dainty pink” (A Lifetime in Magic by Percy Abbott). Hugard’s Birth of a Pearl could not have been the same equipment later used by Maurice Rooklyn as reported in your article because Hugards illusion never came back to Australia. (It would be interesting to know what happened to it.) The lining of Rooklyn’s, now Mike Caveney’s illusion is green not pink.
But Rooklyn’s illusion was also made by Phil Davies, this time for Australian magician Wong Toy Sunn (Claude Guest) who started performing a Chinese act in 2011 soon after the departure of Chung Ling Soo from Australia. Rooklyn acquired the illusion and toured with it for about ten years after World War Two. In the mid 1970’s he either gave or sold it to Sydney Magician John Bodnar. Who put it into storage. When John went into an aged home in 2008 his son, Stephen Bodnar contacted me and I got Steve Walker to come with me to check it out. It was in a sorry state, the timber packing case was rotting and rats had built nests throughout the illusion. We cleaned it up and shifted it to Steve Walkers garage until early 2015 when we gave it to Mike Caveney for him to perform at the LA Magic History Conference. The article in the January 2016 Genii magazine is basicly correct except that Mike did not buy the illusion. He paid for it to be shipped to Los Angeles but we gave it to him.


Potter & Potter: Old & New


Potter & Potter Auctions
Magic Old & New
Conjuring from the 16th – 20th Century
August 27, 2016

The catalogue for the next magic auction from Potter & Potter is now available for download and purchase. The auction takes place Saturday, August 27 in Chicago.

According to Potter & Potter:

This auction celebrates the history of conjuring both old and new, featuring antiquarian and modern books, magnificent prints, engravings, and posters, fine pieces of conjuring apparatus, and automatons. A section of Dai Vernon memorabilia includes books, silhouettes, and trophies and props owned and used by “The Professor.”


Download Catalog

Advance Online Bidding

Good luck to all those bidding!


Magicol 191 is at the printers!


Magicol, No. 191

Cover features Dale Harney

The latest issue of Magicol, No. 191, with a feature on Dale Harney, is on its way to the printers! Here is a preview of what’s inside:

Dale Harney is a Canadian illusionist who is best known for his role on the Canadian television series, The Magic Palace. The show began in 1979 and featured great magic and magicians on an unprecedented scale. While the original episode recordings were lost—for reasons explained inside No. 191—David Ben discovered a number of episodes preserved on VHS in the collections of Allan Slaight, P. Howard Lyons and Sid Lorraine. He was able to locate Dale Harney, still actively involved in television and theatre (with behind-the-scenes roles) and we are pleased to present this profile to our subscribers.

To go along with this issue of Magicol, we are making Dale’s work on The Magic Palace the focus of a new free online exhibition. With Dale’s encouragement, all of the footage we have been able to gather will be digitized and shared online. We will release the exhibition soon, so stay tuned. There is a teaser clip for you to see here:

This issue also launches a new work by Leo Benhke, Magic and Literature, which will be serialized in the next several issues. The manuscript is divided into twelve chapters, the first two of which are featured in in this issue. We also have George Daily on a rare collectible associated with Horace Goldin, Michael Claxton’s review of the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History and Gabe Fajuri’s remembrance of Dan Waldron.

You will also find information and a registration form for the Magic Collectors Weekend 2017!

So many nice things in this next issue and we hope you enjoy!



The Weekend is Back!


Registration buttonHotel Info


The 44th Magic Collectors Weekend in
Montreal, Canada in 2017

Magicana is delighted to bring the MCW to Montreal in May 2017. We will be staging this conference to coincide with the opening of the major magic exhibition, drawn from the Allan Slaight Collection of magic posters and Houdiniana, at the McCord Museum.

In fact, a large part of the conference will take place at the McCord Museum (which is located in the heart of downtown Montreal) where delegates will enjoy private tours of the exhibition and behind-the-scenes tours by curators and staff of the museum. The museum has an exquisite exhibition in the works, and MCW delegates will be the first to experience it!

The balance of the conference will be held at our convention hotel, the Delta Montreal which is, literally, around the corner from the McCord. And, as we have had in the past, there will be a broad range of speakers.

But space is limited! This event is restricted by the meeting capacity at the McCord, so we only have 125 places available. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

How much does it cost? Well, the regular convention rate is $250 USD, but Magicol subscribers are eligible for the discounted price of $225 for themselves and for spouses. (Canadians, when registering, please use the CANADIAN registration form.)

So, if you want to be the first to see the one of the largest, magic exhibitions featuring some of the world’s best magic posters—and a whole lot more—register today!

For more information about the conference, be sure to follow this blog for updates and details.



Potter & Potter Magic Poster Auction – June 25

The Collection of Norm Nielsen
The Golden Age of Magic Posters

(Part 1) June 25 in Chicago

On June 25, 2016, Potter & Potter Auctions will have part 1 of the collection of Norm Nielsen. The catalogue is now available online and also available for sale as a hardcover book with a dust jacket including large photographs of each poster with detailed historical information.

Even if you don’t want to participate in the auction, the catalogue by itself makes for a terrific coffee table book!

For more information: visit


Massive Two-Part Auction, April 9

On April 9th, Potter & Potter will host a two-part magic extravaganza. The first secion will feature choice memorabilia related to the most famous magician and escape artist the world has ever known: Harry Houdini.

Lithographs, Broadsides and Challenges, featuring the iconic “Houdini for President” three-sheet poster printed by Strobridge Litho. Photographs and Ephemera, among them Houdini movie stills, postcards, manuscripts, autographs and correspondence, including unpublished material. Associated memorabilia, magic props, handcuffs, lobby displays, scrapbooks, and more – all related to Houdini, his competitors, and escape artists.

The second half will feature items from the storied collection of Lewis Davenport & Co. of London. One of the world’s oldest and most successful magic shops and manufacturers, the Davenport family also owns and maintains one of the world’s great collections of conjuring memorabilia and illusions.

For the first time, items from the family’s well-known holdings will be offered for sale at public auction. Going on the block are scarce and collectible books, vintage stone lithographs, magic props (including several from the famous German firm of Janos Bartl), vintage magic supply catalogs, photographs, ephemera, Will Goldston ephemera direct from his private files, and more.

The auction takes place at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 9th in Chicago. See the items online now. Good luck!

For more information: visit


Sale of Larcom Theatre

Larcom Theatre

Larcom Theatre for sale

Larcom Theatre for Sale

On Thursday, March 31, the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis Street, in downtown Beverly, Massachusetts was publicly offered for sale. Sotheby’s International Realty has been engaged to market and sell the Larcom. 

The 1912, 564-seat playhouse was purchased by Le Grand David and his own Spectacular Magic Company in February 1984. After extensive renovations, in October 1985 the Larcom became the home for the company’s new two-hour show, “An Anthology of Stage Magic” that ran in tandem with their original production that opened eight years earlier at the Cabot Street Theatre, also in downtown Beverly. As respected stage magic historian, Dr. John Booth, wrote in Wonders of Magic, “Two different luxurious magic productions of Broadway calibre playing in tandem theatres in one small city constitutes a miracle no other era in time has witnessed.”

The Larcom, known as “The Jewel of the North Shore” at the time of its opening, was named for the beloved Beverly-born poet, Lucy Larcom. The theatre still retains its turn-of-the-past-century elegance and many original features, including antique pressed tin ceilings, a light bulb-studded proscenium arch, silk wall coverings, and horseshoe-shaped balcony. It also is equipped with a new digital projection system, a retractable movie screen, sound system, and extensive lighting equipment. Since the Le Grand David troupe’s last Larcom performance in February 2012, the theatre has served as a desirable venue for nationally renowned entertainers, regional talent, and corporate events. 

The decision to sell the Larcom came after many months of deliberation and preparation, and marks the end of an era in stage magic history. Kenneth Leva is the listing agent for Sotheby’s. To view the Multiple Listing Service entry, and for more details, visit

Auction of Le Grand David Collectibles

Coinciding with the Larcom Theatre sale, a special auction of Le Grand David illusions, original works of art, backdrops, curtains, costumes and memorabilia, as well as fine quality furnishings and decorations, will be conducted by Kaminski Auctions of Beverly. Kaminski Auctions conducted the previous Le Grand David auction on Feb 23, 2014 that attracted bidding by magicians and collectors worldwide, many of whom now proudly display pieces in their museums and collections.

The auction will be held on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, at the Kaminski Auctions Gallery, 117 Elliott Street, Route 62, Beverly, MA 01915.

Previews will take place at the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis Street, Beverly, MA on Thursday, April 7 through Saturday, April 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on the day of the auction beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Absentee, phone bids, and live Internet bidding are available by registering with KaminskiLIVE at For further information please call (978) 927-2223


Upcoming Auction: Le Grand David

Le Grand David AuctionSunday, April 10 with
Kaminski Auctions

Save the date!

We wanted to alert our subscribers to an upcoming auction of illusions, posters, original artwork and memorabilia from the collection of Le Grand David acquired during the company’s 35-year run. Bidding begins Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM following several days of previews at Larcom Theatre in Beverly, MA.

The auction is being run by KaminskiLIVE, who handled a similar auction from the collection two years ago. Soon, lots will be available for preview here.

Don’t miss out!


Upcoming Auction: Haversat & Ewing Galleries

Houdini Auction

March 23-24, 2016 with
Haversat & Ewing

A quick note to save the date for an upcoming auction through Haversat & Ewing, March 23 & 24, 2016. A full listing will be available in March, but we’ve been provided with a few teaser images to whet your appetites:

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From Haversat & Ewing:

On March 24, 1874, Erich Weiss was born in Budapest to humble beginnings. Eventually he rose to fame and fortune as Harry Houdini the world renowned escape artist who “laughed at locksmiths.” He also recognized the importance of collecting and preserving the history of conjuring. So, in honor of his 142nd birthday, Haversat & Ewing Galleries have assembled an Aladdin’s chest of choice magic memorabilia from our nation’s leading collectors which we will offer beginning March 23 and ending a day later on Houdini’s birthday.

In this auction we offer you the files and posters of the late Roy Snyder, Past National President of the Society of American Magicians. Snyder passed away in 2015, after a lifetime in the entertainment business booking acts for S.A.M. national conventions and for the Keswick Theatre in Philadelphia. Snyder was close friends with photographer Irving Desfor and throughout his life Snyder purchased live-action photographs of magic’s most famous personalities. This is an opportunity to get photos of Blackstone, Gwynne, Richiardi, Hugard, Mulholland, Kio, Dante, Vernon, Cardini and dozens of others. These photo files are often accompanied by programs, clippings, letters and supporting memorabilia. One unique lot from the Snyder collection is the contract between Kellar and Thurston.

One of the leading magic collectors and historians was the late Milbourne Christopher. He began auctioning his collection while alive and his wife Maurine continued that after his passing. Even though the majority of the collection was sold prior to her death in 2013, Maurine made previsions in her will for a number of special pieces to benefit the Christopher Foundation. Haversat and Ewing have been authorized by Christopher’s legal representatives to offer these magic items for auction. The proceeds of the Christopher lots will go to support the Milbourne Christopher Foundation which annually recognizes the best and brightest talent in magic.

The remainder of the auction is comprised of choice conjuring memorabilia from a dozen of the nation’s leading historians and collectors including very rare selections from the token collection of Randy Forgaard. You will delight at such rarities as a hand-made Christmas card by David Devant, John Mulholland’s S.A.M. membership card signed by Houdini, a rare autographed Malini program, Fu Manchu broadsides and flyers, J.H. Anderson program, memorabilia of Alexander and Adelaide Herrmann and much more. We hope you enjoy the selection we’ve assembled and of course, welcome the opportunity to bring your items to auction. Thanks for your patronage and friendship.
David and Tom

Preview and catalog available in March.



Allan Slaight Awards


Do you know someone who should be nominated?

Allan Slaight Awards for Magic Achievement are open for nominations.

Nominations are now being accepted and we want to leave no double un-turned-over in our search for the most deserving recipients.

So we ask all of you to rack your brains and consider nominating a worthy individual for this year.

There are five categories and you can nominate one person per category. The categories are:

Sharing Wonder – This is awarded for performances for the public completed during 2015. This could be live performances or televised. It could be work which was widely received or work of exceptional quality (or preferably both!) The inaugural award, presented last year, went to Penn & Teller.

Sharing Secrets – This is for work for the magic community released in 2015. This can be anything instructional or historical from books to DVDs to downloadable content. Again we are looking for material which has been widely received and has had a meaningful impact. The first award in this category went to Mike Caveney.

The other three awards aren’t 2015-specific and look at work spanning the individual’s whole career: Lifetime Achievement, Rising Star – Canadian, and Rising Star – International. Inaugural winners were: Johnny Thompson for Lifetime Achievement; Mahdi Gilbert for Canadian Rising Star; and Henry Vargas of Brazil for International Rising Star.

Nominations are made online at (scroll down to the Nominations link). After a submission is made, we reach out to the nominee so they have a chance to supplement whatever was said about them.

YES! You can nominate yourself and there is absolutely no penalty for doing so.

Now, we all know people who are deserving but are too modest to nominate themselves or ask someone else to do it for them, so this is your chance to do so for them! You can also make your nomination anonymously. Nominations need to be in by March 31.

Lastly, we’d greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word. Tweets, Facebook posts, personal messages, or email announcements are all a tremendous help. The page to direct people to is