Number 300 - 25th March 2006



Channing Pollock, 16th August 1926 - 18th March 2006. Channing Pollock died at home in Las Vegas on Saturday March 18th 2006, following a battle with cancer. He was 79. In 2000 he visited The Magic Circle for a one-off event titled Channing Pollock in conversation with John Fisher - Your chance to meet a true living legend of magic and it was a truly magical afternoon. I've decided to re-run the report below. For younger readers who never saw Channing Pollock's act I do hope that his performances will one day be compiled and released as an authorised DVD. His impact on the world of magic will last forever. Channing Pollock is survived by his wife, Joann, and his son, Russell. A memorial service will be held at 1pm on May 13th at the Monte Carlo Hotel, Las Vegas. 25.3.06

Channing Pollock in conversation with John Fisher

19th November 2000


On Sunday 19th November 2000, following the special presentation of the Magic Circle's David Devant International Award to Channing Pollock at the Magic Circle Awards Banquet the evening before, The Magic Circle hosted "Channing Pollock in conversation with John Fisher - Your chance to meet a true living legend of magic." This was a wonderful afternoon, that offered a vivid insight into the life of a man who changed the course of magic, and became the quintessential magician.


John Fisher and Channing Pollock


Born in 1926, it was on seeing a demonstration of a Svengali deck 21 years later that Channing thought to himself "there's something here" and decided to delve deeper into the world of magic. An advertisement in Genii advertised a "College of Manual Dexterity" (The Chavez School of Magic) and Channing applied. Neil Foster, famed for his presentation of the Zombie ball, was his instructor and we were shown a rare clip of Channing performing the Zombie. Noticing an advertisement in a local paper for "rabbits and pigeons" Channing decided to take a look and returned home that night with a pigeon "about four times the size of a dove and totally unsuitable." The pigeon had to go and in its place he acquired two doves. And so the act that was to take him to the top of his field started to take shape.


An early TV appearance


Nightclub engagements started to happen and when asked how he developed his stage image, he replied "fear made me look sophisticated!" (Take note those who over-theorize!) "I like what I saw kid - you got the Sullivan Show" agent Mark Leddy told Channing after making a long journey to see him. In those days an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show served in two ways. It said that you’d "arrived," but also that you were going somewhere. In 1955 he performed at the London Palladium, and during that period played London on many occasions.


The Channing Pollock "Twin-Sawing" 1965


In 1961 Channing was playing at the Latin Quarter in New York when in walked a pair of young magicians who were performing on a cruise ship, their names... Siegfried and Roy. They were very excited about their magic and invited him on board for a meal. "They told me 'we have a cheetah' and I thought 'good luck!'" We saw a video clip of Channing presenting the first twin-sawing illusion on television in 1965. He had started to develop an illusion act but at that time the Vegas Casinos weren't ready for a full-blown illusion show. The whole talk was interlaced with rare video clips selected by John Fisher, of both Channing's movie and television appearances.


Channing Pollock with Liberace


Channing's act was filmed in London for the movie European Nights which was shown all over the world. Enjoying film work, he went on to Rome and starred in Les 3 Flibustiers (below), which in turn lead to more movie appearances. But then in 1969 Channing Pollock, at the peak of his career, decided to retire from magic. He had fallen in love and together with his wife had decided to set about creating an "ideal" organic farm. For the next year he did everything from sowing seed to ploughing the land before deciding that "a farmer has a hard life!" and employing others to help.


Channing Pollock in Les 3 Flibustiers


What does the future hold for magic? Channing has a very positive outlook and stressed that it all comes down to the character and personality of the magician. He cited Tommy Cooper as an example and commented what a great comedy magician Basil Fawlty would have made! Asked what were the true secrets of magic he replied that they lay in the Heart, Mind, Body and Soul, and then elaborated. John Fisher's unobtrusive interviewing technique throughout was just perfect, offering everyone present a real insight into Channing Pollock's fascinating life.


Channing Pollock and Guy Hollingworth


After the talk Channing chatted informally with magicians in the Devant room. Photos were taken and autographs signed. People had travelled from all over the country, and indeed, all over the world, to be there. On a personal note I'd never met him before and knowing that he had retired from magic at the end of the sixties, thought I never would. I'm sure that I wasn't alone. I think that made the occasion all the more special. A magical afternoon - Channing Pollock was a true delight and inspiration.

Duncan Trillo, 25th November 2000.


Videos: John Fisher

Photos: Duncan Trillo



Corporate Zone Magic Day - Sunday 23rd April. Marc Paul, Michael Bailey and Chris Dugdale present individual lectures, followed by a major Q & A session at the end of the day. Marc Paul's all-new lecture on trade show magic covers: pulling crowds, type of audience, type of shows, getting specialised trade show work, converting leads, and more. Michael Bailey turned full-time professional in 1971. His lecture will cover magic in business, and will detail the many opportunities that still exist. Chris Dugdale's lecture will consist of some real insider secrets, psychological applications for magicians, motivation and, above all, informative, practical and direct business methods for the corporate performer. The day is being organised and produced by Gary Young (Top Secret Magic Day) and places are strictly limited. For more information, and registration details, visit: 25.3.06


End of the mind games for Derren? There's a downside to being Derren Brown. "I tell you," he rails, "every single time I'm in a shop and I say, 'So, how much is this?' all I get is, 'You tell me!' Every single time!" It's frustrating, but perhaps an inevitable by-product of a career spent performing seemingly impossible acts of illusion. Ever since his first TV special in 2000, the 35-year-old psychological illusionist has been raising the bar in jaw-dropping stunts. Writes Graham Kibble-White for Manchester Online, Click Here. The first of Derren's new series starts on Sunday 26th March at 9pm on Channel 4. 25.3.06


Kernow Magic will be welcoming Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger into the UK on Wednesday, 29th March, in preparation for their one date only show at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth on Friday 31st March. Tickets are still available, so if you don't want to miss this unique chance to see them live call Angi at Kernow Magic on 01326 211713 Radio Magic listeners will be pleased to hear that Jay Fortune and Jon Randall will join Jeff and Eugene at Kernow Magic's premises for a live session in the Radio Magic chat room on the Tuesday; immediately after the Masterclass on 4th April. They will be on hand to answer your questions and give their views on a number of topics. Visit and create an account - it's free. 25.3.06


Fabrice Delauré Productions proudly present their latest product Fabrice's Black Tabletop - brilliantly clever "the possibilities are endless" (to quote Eddie Izzard). Find out all about it here: There's a demonstration video online too. 25.3.06


Dale Salwak in Hull. On Friday 7th April Dale Salwak tops the bill at the Hull Magicians' Circle Annual Dinner and Theatre Show. Appearing with him are Amethyst (Danny Hunt and Annette), Alan Hudson, Jonathan Shotton and comedy illusionist Martyn James, without his illusions as he'll be compering the show. "Dale Salwak is the director of the Chavez School of Magic and he is known for his sophisticated and elegant act featuring classical magic. He has performed in all the top spots, on the USA's top TV shows and at countless conventions. He has just returned from the Flasoma convention, the world's largest Latin American Magicians' Convention, held in Colombia." Hull is his only UK appearance on this occasion, and on Thursday April 6th he will be lecturing at the Hotel Elizabeth, Ferriby, near Hull, hosted by Hull Magicians' Circle. Dinner Tickets at £27.50 are available from David Hand: 01724 850518 Lecture details from Michael Harrop: 01482 648671 25.3.06


Poz to lecture at The Mystic Ring. Acknowledged for many years as one of the country's leading children's entertainers Poz will lecture drawing on inspiration from a magical repertoire that spans more than fifty years. Venue: The Dunstable Conservative Club, 49 High Street North, Dunstable on Thursday 6th of April. Visiting magicians welcome, admission £5.00. For further information visit or email 25.3.06


Magic Stars! Marvin Berglas and Marvin's Magic will be seen on up to 5 million US supermarkets' own-brand cereal packs, giving millions of families a magical start to their mornings. The promotion runs from now through April 30th 2006. In total there are around 15 different cereal packet versions featuring Marvin. Magic collectors get munching! 25.3.06


Mel's Jacuzzi Magic! Mel Harvey has spent the past two years cruising the world aboard luxury liners with his comedy magic shows. Later on this year he plans to bring out All at sea with Magic - "so that other performers who would like to get into this line of work can avoid the pitfalls which are out there." Mel will be out of the Jacuzzi and back on dry land later on this year with a dealer stand at both the Bristol Day in May, and the Eastbourne Convention in September (see What's On). 25.3.06


Fire on cruise ship kills 1, injures 11. "Montego Bay, Jamaica - A fire possibly started by a cigarette broke out aboard a giant cruise ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, leaving one passenger dead, 11 people injured and at least 100 rooms scorched. The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bore evidence of the nighttime drama as it pulled into Montego Bay's port. About 85 exterior cabins were blackened by the fire, a stark contrast to the otherwise gleaming white exterior of the ship. Metal was twisted, evidence of the heat of the blaze." To read the full story in The Seattle Times Click Here. 25.3.06


Don Moses performs at The Comedy Store, London, on Thursday 30th March. An experienced magician and comic, he'll be presenting his unique blend of comedy and magic for a second time at this famous venue. More information: and 25.3.06


Peterborough Sale, Exchange and Lecture Day. Sunday 9th April 2006. Admission £12.00 (£6.00 concessions) which includes lectures from Mark Shortland, Chris Wardle and Alan Maskell and a workshop with Stephen Tucker (photo). Venue: Millfield Community Centre, Lincoln Road, Peterborough PE1 2RE (Map). Doors open at 9am to let dealers in, official opening at 10am by British Ring President Mark Raffles. Ends 4.30pm, refreshments available. For more information contact Keith Downs 01778 343167. 25.3.06


Look out for Jon Allen on Panorama this Sunday (BBC1, 10.15pm) in The NHS Blame Game. "An investigation into how Labour ministers are pointing the finger of blame for the NHS's £800,000,000 spending deficits at a handful of bad managers." Jon will be seen making money vanish in a variety of ways, and linking topics together magically. 25.3.06


The Wizard PK Ring from "Stop time on a person's watch using the power of suggestion, Make items such as cutlery or stationery move, using the power of a person's mind, perform a chopless chop-cup, make coins vanish and reappear..." Find out all about this amazing prop via and visit their dedicated site as well: 25.3.06


Congratulations to Will Gray who won Leicester Magic Circles' close-up competition on March 20th. Seven performers competed for the Roy Johnson Shield presented by Roy himself. The magical judge on the night was Keith Bennett. 25.3.06


Graham Lee's next Care & Share Balloon Jam/Workshop Funday sponsored by Sempertex Balloons is in Bristol on Wednesday 29th March, visit for details, and see What's On for dates throughout the year. 25.3.06


Howard Brown, close-up trickster and opportunistic pickpocket, will be performing in the Tegernsee area of Germany for the two day Sandoz International Global Sourcing and Purchasing Conference cruise. "Apologies now to the Cotswold Magical society for missing a meeting!" says Howard 25.3.06


Owen Lean has uploaded an online video "TV special" featuring magic shot in London and Dublin. There's no charge to watch the four parts which can be seen if you Click Here. Owen's new DVD Negatives should be released later on in the year. 25.3.06


"Graham performs family magic" Click Here • "More tricks up his sleeve" Click Here • "'V - The Ultimate Variety Show' keeps vaudeville alive" Click Here • "The partnership that's just magic" Click Here • "Playing Out of Pocket" Click Here • Next week we'll bring you a new DVD clip - that's it for this week, your UK magic news is always welcomed, thanks to everyone who contributes (we're 300 today!) and see you next week, Duncan. 25.3.06