I’m sure my esteemed reader will have answered all the questions correctly. But just in case…
1. Who was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians?
Answer: David Devant.
2. What would you use a French Drop for?
Answer: To vanish a coin or other small object.
3. What was Houdini’s real name?
Answer: Erik Weisz.
4. How many cards are there in a standard tarot deck?
Answer: 78. (22 in the Major Arcana, 56 in the Minor.)
5. The motto of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is “Ars est celare artem”. What does it mean?
Answer: Literally, it is art to conceal art. In other words, true art conceals the means by which it is achieved. (It’s a maxim from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, which means that in the best works of art the audience is not distracted by the artist’s technique, but responds instead to the power of the work.) T. Nelson Downs also used a similar phrase in The Art of Magic: “Let art conceal art.”
6. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Olram Subtlety?
Answer: Ed Marlo (Olram is Marlo backwards).
7. Who said, “A conjurer is not a juggler, he is an actor playing the part of a magician.”
Answer: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.
8. Who was the Sheffield magician who gave Houdini the idea for the upside-down suspended straitjacket escape?
Answer: Randolph Douglas (Randini). In June 1914 Houdini was appearing at the Nottingham Empire. The teenage Douglas was at the show. Houdini was his hero and they had been corresponding for some time. They met after the show and it seems that Houdini was intrigued with the ideas of this enthusiastic young man. He travelled to Sheffield after his second show, to Carrington Street where Douglas lived with his mother. After supper Randolph took Houdini up to the attic, had himself strapped into a straitjacket, his feet tied, and then winched upside down on a block and tackle which hung from the roof. He struggled out of the jacket, which thudded to the floor leaving the teenage escapologist gently swinging upside down with his arms outstretched… Houdini recognised the image as a surefire publicity icon and continued to use Randolph’s idea throughout his career, as has just about every other escape artist ever since. (Source: Beedham, Ann. Randini: The man who helped Houdini, Youbooks, 2009. Kalush, William, and Sloman, Larry. The Secret Life of Houdini, Atria, 2006.)
9. Who wrote The 13 Steps to Mentalism?
Answer: Tony Corinda.
10. Balducci and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?
11. Under what name did the stage magician, debunker, and scientific skeptic Randall James Hamilton Zwinge perform?
Answer: The Amazing Randi.
12. In magic a ‘restoration’ is an effect in which something is seemingly destroyed or multilated, and then magically reconstituted. What well-known restoration trick was patented by Horace Goldin in 1923?
Answer: The ‘Sawing in Half’ illusion. The first time this was seen, historically, is a matter of discussion. Robert-Houdin wrote in his Memoirs of a magician named Torrini who performed the trick in front of Pope Pius VII in 1809, but there is no other record to support that claim.
Horace Goldin, in an effort to keep exclusive his rendition of the illusion, patented the format that many people would recognize, using a box with the woman’s head and feet showing, and using metal plates to insert into the box at the cut sections. In the end, his patenting efforts only served to document how the trick was performed, rather than maintain its secrecy.
13. Who invented The Curzon Envelope?
Answer: Roger Curzon. (Anyone naming D**** R**** will have two points deducted.)
Tie-Breaker: In what year was the inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians held?
Answer: 1920 (18 May).
That’s it. How many did you get right?