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Max Andrews' Magic Magazine
by Max Andrews


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Max Andrews' Magic Magazine by Max Andrews

This is the entire five years of The Magic Magazine published by Max Andrews. The first issue appeared in April 1952 and the final issue on September 1956. This was one of Britain's leading magazines and, although it was a house magazine for Max Andrews' Vampire Magic business, it was packed with outstanding magical contributions from the leading magical creators of that exciting period.

Amongst the many contributions are George Blake, Eddie Joseph, Robert Harbin, Ken Brooke, Richard Himber, Eric P. Wilson, and Hank Vermeyden.

You will also find a hyperlinked index to conveniently navigate from trick to trick.

A Brief History of Max Andrews’ Magic Magazine
By Martin Breese

Max Andrews' Magic Magazine was published monthly in London and the first issue appeared in April 1952. Publication ceased in September 1956 with the publication of the final issue Vol. 5 issue No. 6. After Davenports, Max Andrews' Vampire Magic organization was the second largest dealership in the UK. Max Andrews ran his business from several addresses including one in Grays Inn Road, London but opened his largest studio at Archer Street in London's busy West End. Earlier he had run his business from within other larger shops such as Hamleys but with the move to Archer Street, he concentrated his magic dealing and publishing from that address.

Davenports took the approach that they were supplying magic to the top professionals whereas Max Andrews claimed that the magic and routines that he supplied would help to turn his customers into top magicians. Max Andrews had an outstanding reputation for producing and selling excellent magic. His props were well made and his instructions were clearly written and illustrated. As his business developed he gathered in a number of distinguished magical thinkers and performers who helped him develop his range of magical offerings. Eddie Joseph and Lenz both worked full-time for Max Andrews and they too contributed to the pages of the excellent Magic Magazine.

The Magic Magazine was well produced and each month featured a star magician on its front cover and within the magazine. The magazine had contributions from the majority of serious magical thinkers of the 1950’s. George Blake, who has invented numerous dealer items and effects, ran a regular column packed with ingenious and excellent ideas. Eddie Joseph also ran a column, which mainly featured outstanding close-up magic. Billy McComb was a regular contributor and his articles featured routined magic culled from his own performances and these articles alone must have helped some of the younger readers to become serious professional entertainers. There were few contributors from the USA but one who contributed a few items, all written as challenges to Robert Harbin, was Richard Himber. Several times Robert Harbin replied with his own comments and suggestions. Other contributors included Eric P. Wilson, Alan Kennough – who later became an important showbiz writer for many of the leading TV magazines – and Peter McDonald. Hank Vermeyden who was one of the leading teachers of manipulative acts and was, largely responsible for Fred Kaps' success, was a regular contributor throughout the magazine and wrote extensive articles on every kind of manipulation. Amongst the other contributors were Fred Barlow who was a very close friend of Robert Harbin. You will see offerings from Harry Leat, Roy Baker, John Bourne, Johnny Geddes, Jimmy Flowers, Alex Gordon, Arthur Leroy and even Ken Brooke made one contribution. Other names that appear are Victor Farelli, Tan Hock Chuan and Edmund Rowland. The subject matter covered every kind of magic from stage and cabaret, to children's effects and serious mentalism. There were articles on balloon magic and many contributions relating to mathematical magic. The magazine will be a treasure trove for card magic enthusiasts as it is packed with an excellent range of card effects. It was well designed with excellent photographs and drawings; most of which were produced by Max Andrews himself.

Robert Harbin remarked to Val Andrews one day that, although everybody seemed to think that Edwin of Supreme Magic was going to be the biggest dealer in the United Kingdom, the man to watch was Max Andrews who had never lost his interest and hunger for magic whilst at the same time running a business.

Sadly the magazine terminated without any advance warning in September 1959 and, I am told that the expiry of the magazine and of the entire Vampire Magic business was as a result of Max Andrews' own difficult and colorful domestic life. Max Andrews sold his business and left for New Zealand where he died in 1988. In Bart Whaley's excellent bibliography it is mentioned that Max Andrews was born in 1918 and his surname was McAndrew.

The majority of information contained in this introduction was supplied by the author Val Andrews. He told me that Max Andrews was an excellent dealer who produced a wide range of well-manufactured, innovative magic ranging from pocket effects to stage and cabaret illusions. Val Andrews met Max Andrews on many occasions and remembers the impression that he would make at any magic convention that he attended. "He would have a large stand filled with colorful, yet practical, apparatus and he would willingly demonstrated any item without making the potential purchaser feel that he had an obligation to purchase." Val Andrews recalls the impact that Max Andrews had on his arrival at a convention: "He would have an entourage of magical associates with him including Eddie Joseph and his family, Lenz and many others. At times there would be around twenty people in the group and once the stand had been set up for the convention, Max Andrews would head for the bar in the convention hotel and would order drinks for almost everyone present."

Terri Rogers once ordered an inexpensive vent item but in error Max Andrews sent her the expensive vent head manufactured by the renowned vent maker, Insull junior. Terri Rogers not wishing to cash in on Max Andrews' error pointed out the mistake and Max Andrews replied to her, "You have purchased and paid for the item in all good faith. The error in sending the more costly item is my own and you must keep it." That very vent head become the head of Terri's first vent doll Bobby and that was the beginning of her career as a ventriloquist.

Copyright 2001 Martin Breese
1st edition 1952-1956, 1519 pages.