Fringe Box



Magician Holds 30-Year-Old Probus Group Spellbound

Published on: 14 May, 2013
Updated on: 14 May, 2013
... cuts the cake to celebrate the 3oth anniversary of Probus

Tony Stevens, Probus’ oldest surviving chairman, cuts the cake to celebrate the 3oth anniversary of Probus. He is being watched by current chairman Ted Humphpreys.

Members of Probus ’83 Club, in Guildford,  were held spellbound by magician Michael Bailey as they celebrated their 30th Anniversary at their May Lunch. 

After their  meal, the monthly lunch club for retired, semi-retired and soon to be retired men from all walks of professional, business and executive life watched as a cake was ceremonially cut by the club’s oldest surviving chairman, and now Honorary Member, Tony Stevens. 

The magician was Michael Bailey who, in his day, was the youngest member ever elected to the Inner Circle of The Magic Circle, and rose to become its president. He gave a talk entitled “The History of Mystery and the Famous Magic Circle” and covered the time from the first acknowledged magician in 1600BC to the present day.

Michael Bailey gets one member of the audience to fall under his spell

Michael Bailey gets one member of the audience to fall under his spell

One member said the magician’s talk was ‘brilliant’ and continued: “He held his audience spellbound with an historical sequence of magicians down the centuries interspersed with a series of hilarious anecdotes and intriguing tricks with some of the latter involving his audience.”

Mr Bailey explained during the talk that in 1934, 500 guineas was offered to anyone who could successfully perform the ‘Indian Rope Trick’ under controlled conditions in order to prove that it was not simply a myth; to date many have tried but no one has been able to claim the prize and it is still available today!

In 1918 the hottest act around was performed by Chung Ling Soo, a Chinese gentlemen who made a fortune from his act of catching a bullet in his teeth fired from a pistol held by one of his assistants. At a performance the trick went wrong and Chung was shot and died later in hospital where he was found to be wearing a wax mask; he was in fact a white American of no Chinese origin – so even in death, a great deception!

The Magic Circle, founded in 1905, now has 1500 members in 38 countries and, in the UK, meets every Monday night in London for an evening of magic, fun and puzzlement.  Recent members include the likes of J. B. Priestly, David Nixon, Paul Daniels, Tommy Cooper and Prince Charles.

A cheque was presented to Mr Bailey to be distributed amongst his 5 chosen charities.  For further information see the website

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