May 2019

The business meeting started with the announcement that our current location for next month’s meeting will be the last at this very pleasant building.  It suited us well throughout the years.  Unfortunately, the building has been sold. We are unable to remain. Our new location, to start July, will be at First Presbyterian Church of Springfield We look forward to that!

A final announcement introduced Bob Little’s Super Sunday to be held on June 23rd. We will host a table to talk with prospective members about joining our Ring.

Bill McElvenney performed a delightful, easy yet powerful Teach-a-Trick for the evening.  He fancied us with a fantastic version of the 8 Card Brainwave performance piece.  This piece uses the Charlier Shuffle involving multiple single cuts instead of a true shuffle.  Using the Olram subtly he performed the effect two times, once for each of the red and blue backs.  Amazing!

Thomas R. Ewing, official SAM historian, was the featured speaker for the evening for a fantastic presentation on the biography of magician Fredrick Eugene Powell, 1856-1938.  He recited sections and showed photos from his most recent of many books, entitled, Fredrick Eugene Powell, Master of Magic & Mystery.

Few now have heard of Powell from the latter half of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries due to the passage of time but his impact on the global scene of magic was phenomenal.  He traveled and performed throughout the world. Much was in Mexico and South America.  He was well received.

Tonight’s talk focused on the catastrophes he encountered and the impact he had. Fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, revolutions, floods and the loss of his magic supplies on multiple occasions were parts of his travels.  He performed for audiences of all sizes, emperors, kings, in theatre of different types, for P.T. Barnum, during the Vaudeville Era, and much, much more.  He promoted Houdini’s movies. He originated many effects still in use today. He was the Society of American Magicians 2nd President.

Mr. Ewing was very enthusiastic and educated about the subject matter. He had access to hundreds of thousands of personal letters, documents, photos and magic effects.  It was a captivating talk and an overwhelming success.

Next month’s meeting, the last at this location, will feature Francis Menotti, a fantastic magician who fooled Penn and Teller and consulted on the TV series, Deception.