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February 2015

Billed as a ‘centenary retrospective’, the March meeting treated members to a review of the first 101 years in the life of the League.  President Roger Woods had raided the archives to trace the MML’s development from the time when a handful of like-minded men met in a private house in Blackburn to create a local magic society as the Great War loomed.  With many complementary images he took us through many firsts – our first public show, our first outing to another Society, our first trophy competition, our first dinner, our first lady member and even our first winner of the Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year competition . . . along with the most recent.  We were delighted to spot on screen familiar (albeit younger!) faces which gradually began to dominate over those ghostly figures who remain as merely names and reputations, but who make up the intricate fabric of our current Society.  We also had a review of the last twelve months, with its two theatre shows, magic in the mall, school art competition, lectures and exhibitions, as well as an impressive array of star performers and lecturers.


In the second part of the afternoon, Roger focused upon honorary member Chris Van Bern, detailing his life and times, while your scribe brought members up to date with his hunt for the Young Houdini, which began with an anonymous handbill for a performer who turned out to be former MML member Bill Elvey.  Over the past twenty years details have gradually emerged, via interviews with friends, correspondence with Mrs. Elvey, contact with the Dobson family which provided more photographs and finally the tracking down of an original Hilbert poster which Bill had begun to amend for his own advertising purposes, but which has since been restored by Graham Morris.    

Centenary retrospective from Roger Woods

The session concluded with a re-run on screen of the headline illusion act from our centenary show, Rick Green, and included the final walk-down of the other participants.


I’m sure this afternoon of nostalgia stirred emotions for everyone, and made us all feel proud to be a part of the on-going history of one of the oldest magic societies in the world.