Back in the 1970s Martin Breese had the chance to record Robert Harbin on one of his early Magicassette releases. The Harbin Magicassette probably rates as the most popular of his recordings.
In 1983 Martin asked the late Owen Griffith to transcribe the words from the Harbin Magicassette. The late and great Eric Mason created the illustrations for The Harbin Book. One day at a business trade fair Martin saw a full scale photo litho printing machine being demonstrated and decided to leap in to the deep end and he bought the demonstration machine and had it transported by a lorry and about eight strong guys to the Magic Lounge in Richmond Way.
The very first time the machine was switched on Martin decided to print The Robert Harbin Book. He had metal plates made from flat artwork supplied by Eric Mason and when the pages had been printed they were sent off to Scotland to a binder who produced a very nice hardback volume.
Following the move of Martin's stock from Sheffield to Brighton a box without a label was found and lo and behold inside it were twenty four copies of this book and still in mint condition. They had been in the box and had lain undiscovered for 26 years!
The words are by Robert Harbin and the design and graphics and page layout are by Eric Mason. Many people who had Harbin collections were kind enough to give permission to use a number of Harbin photographs and items of ephemera for this book. Zee and Chris Woodward were most helpful and lent a lot of material such as original photographs and programmes and many other items relevant to Robert Harbin.
The story of Robert Harbin's life and times is absolutely fascinating. He was on the bill of the very first magic show that Martin Breese ever saw and it was held at the Westminster Theatre probably in 1946. Also on the bill were Jasper Maskelyne and Kuda Bux and young Martin Breese in his grey short trousers went up on stage to assist Jasper Maskelyn with a brilliant illusion called Through the Eye of a Needle. What an inspiration for a young man and no wonder that he developed a life-long passion for magic as a result of that wonderful show.
Robert Harbin was a true gentleman of magic. He was a kind and gentle man and little did he know that he had inspired a young man who would one day make a recording with him and then turn that recording into a rather nice book as well.
Only a few copies left!
1st edition 1983, 39 pages.