Saturday 15 January 2022

The Saturday List #333 - A magic list!

 There is a song that called "Three is a magic number" as this is blog three three three, it must be triple magic. I've always been intrigued by magic. My Uncle Harry, a former Mayor of Southport was a member of the Magic Circle. When we were kids, it was always great to see him. He'd bring cakes, do tricks and was great fun. He taught my Sister Caroline how to perform fire eating. He tried to teach me tricks, but I told him I'd rather believe it was magic. Harry died in the 80's. In 2004, I was at an airport in France. I was at the bar,ordering a beer. A scouser in a Liverpool top was also at the bar. We started chatting. He mentioned that he wasn't really a Scouser and that he was from Southport. I said "My Uncle Harry was the Mayor of Southport". An incredulous look appeared on his face. He said "Paul and Elaine's Dad?". I said "yes". We had a long chat, it turned out that he was Harry's next door neighbour and Harry's kids were his best friends. He had the same stories of Harry's magic tricks. Harry moved to Australia as his daughters had moved out there. I was never actually sure how he was related to us, but he was probably our best loved rellie. He knew all of the famous TV magicians, he'd make a point of meeting them when they appeared at venues in Southport. Perhaps his best revealation was that Tommy Cooper was a fine magician, but unless the tricks went wrong, people felt cheated. He made more money playing the incompetent buffoon, so he stuck with it.  In these days of cameras everywhere, we are all cynics. I am always amazed at people who claim that they've been cheated because the magician didn't really saw the Lady in half! I thought a list of my favourite magic tricks would be suitable for todays list.

I sort of feel that much of the current TV and film content about magic lacks the joy of the 60's and 70's. I wasn't a fan of the Paul Daniels school of magic and the Harry Potter business leaves me cold.  So here is a short list of the magic on TV and in film that made a real impression on me as I grew up. 

1. We had to start with the Late, great Tommy Cooper. I still can't watch Tommy without laughing

2. Second on our list, we have Uri Geller. At the time, this was a sensation. Uri's USP was that it wasn't an illusion, it was the power of his brain. I seem to recall that about three weeks after this Harry turned up and did the same trick. It seems silly now, but this was a really big deal in more innocent times.

3. My father always spoke of Harry Houdini. Dad was nine when Houdini died. He had an obsession with Houdini. He watched films and documentaries and we'd have hot discussions on the subject

4. When I was little my favourite magician was Sooty! I used to love the section of the show where he did magic tricks.

5. I must also mentioned Bewitched. My sister Caroline loved this. I don't really remember too much of it, other than it was essential viewing in our house. I may have imagined it, but I think the Nuns at St Vincents may have ordered parents to stop the kids watching it, a it was the "work of the devil"

That's all folks

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