Dundee Magic Circle
DDundee Magic Circle was formed in 1938. For the first few months it took the name of the previously defunct Dundee Society of Magicians. The founder members were Harry Carnegie, William and Peggy Stewart, John Alf Scorgie (Al VeDare) and possibly Jock Beattie. The early meetings were held in the Atholl Hotel, Nethergate, Dundee. The club later moved to The Imperial Hotel 1952, Greens Playhouse 1956 and many more.
The club affiliated themselves to the Magic Circle in London in 1938.
The club honoured the following:
Jasper Maskelyne the famous magician (grandson of John Nevil Maskelyne) who toured the country with his own show. During the war years he was in the army using his magical skills to confuse the enemy. He published two books i.e. Magic-Top Secret and White Magic.
John Ramsay was born in Ayr and his reputation was worldwide.
His close-up work was unsurpassed and his ingenious use of misdirection was second to none. Victor Farelli wrote a number of booklets on the Ramsay methods. The titles include Ramsay’s routine for the cups and balls, Cylinder and Coins, Triple Restoration. Andrew Galloway also published books on the magic of John Ramsay. The titles were The Ramsay Classics, The Ramsay Legend and The Ramsay Finale.
Ken Brooke was a well known magical dealer and lecturer. He had his own style of presenting magic. He was presented with a Special Fellowship award by the Academy of Magical Arts in America. A book of his magic was produced by Edwin Hooper entitled The Unique Years.
Some other early honoured members included: Jack Le Dair, J.M.Fyfe, William Russell, Archie Duncan, Jock Beattie, Ian Spark, N’Gai, George Mussard, Bill Lockhart and June Leith.
The club soon had its own club badge which was designed by Jack Le Dair.
In 1950 the club started to produce its own magazine. It was entitled Monthly Mirror and the editor was John Geddes. Although it only ran for two years it was very informative.
Two members in particular carried the name of Dundee Magic Circle further than the city of Dundee. These were Harry Carnegie and Johnny Geddes. Both contributed magical articles to Magigram, Gen, Abra and Magical Digest. Both lectured in Scotland and England.
Like most clubs Dundee has had its up and downs. Probably the most notable was the breakaway group which formed another club in Dundee. It was suggested that the rift was due to a number of wives making too much noise knitting at the rear of the hall. This made it difficult for the magicians to hear what was going on. The accuracy of this explanation can’t be substantiated but it makes a good story. The breakaway group became the Scottish Magic Circle.
Dundee Magic Circle was one of the original six clubs who formed the Scottish Association of Magical Societies. Representatives of the club were soon winning the SAMS competitions. These winners include:
1965, 1966, 1967, 1981, 1987
Ramsay Rose Bowl
Harry Carnegie 1978, June Leith 1979, Stuart Leith 1980, June Leith 1981
Anne Warlock Cup
June Leith 1979, Stuart Leith 1980, June Leith 1981
McMillan Shield Harry Carnegie 1952, Stuart Leith 1978, June Leith 1981, June Leith 1985, June Leith 1989
Max Raskin Cup
John Geddes 1952, John Geddes 1953, John Carrol 1954, Harry Carnegie 1955, John Geddes 1956, Ian Gordon 1965, Harry Carnegie 1967
Stuart Leith 1968, Stuart Leith 1970, Stuart & June Leith 1983
June Leith 1985, June Leith 1986
Presidents of SAMS
Harry Carnegie, John Geddes, June Leith, Stuart Leith, Bill Lockhart.
The club celebrated its 60 years as a magical club. This took the form of a one day magical convention in Dundee which was held on 6th September 1998 in the Marryat Hall, Dundee.
The club is still up and running in 1999.
SAMS Magazine Volume 21 number 3/4 page 41
SAMS Magazine Volume 15 Number 2 page 28
Monthly Mirror the club magazine
Magic and Magicians T.A.Waters