HULLO MASKELYNE (1926)

Maskelyne's Theatre, London

This pleasant entertainment, first produced by Messrs. Oswald Williams and Jasper Maskelyne on July 19th, 1926, is described as ‘An all Magic Show in Ten Swindles.’


In the first scene, the two producers aforesaid proceed to show one another a few tricks. In reminiscent mood, Oswald Williams recalls the fact that his final effect—the rising and falling matchbox on hand—was shown him by a great Chinese wizard. The sudden appearance of the latter in the flesh causes the hasty departure of the earlier arrivals and in ‘Chinatown,’ Herbert Collings proceeds to magically transform the stage. This accomplished, a bowl filled with coloured fete balls becomes a bowl of grain. Eggs transpose themselves into squeaking ducklings, the eggs turn to paper butterflies, there is an episode with silks and a snake and finally a silhouette appears on a previously smoke blackened plate. 

The third swindle is entitled ‘’Tisn’t’—a very light trifle which serves to introduce ‘In the Queue,’ which is quite a funny episode. Itinerant performers—Oswald Williams, Jasper Maskelyne, Edward Victor, Herbert Collings and Harry Hemsley—do their best and worst. The queue a fantastic one with its tail terminating with ‘The Perfect Lady’—a clever character study by Miss Rae Warwick —is vastly entertaining. Edward Victor causes chalk marks to disappear and re-appear on a cricket bat, Herbert J. Collings gives paper tearing and so on. Eventually the queue disappears into the theatre and the last entertainer, to appropriate wording, finds himself left alone on the cold, cold kerb—minus his hoped-for collection. 

In ‘Yankee Panky,’ ‘Cul Williams’ and ‘Bo Maskelyne’ sing of their prowess—each, in his own estimation being the greatest wizard on earth ; the walking sticks of the two gentlemen perform certain gyrations and levitations known to the elect. ‘The Super Sharp’ is an item that affords Edward Victor scope for his remark- able card work and in ‘A Magical Recitation’ the spectators are treated to appropriate productions. 

‘The Jewel’ (Oswald Williams and Miss Rae Warwick) loses none of its brilliancy, however this glittering spectacle is known to our readers. Jack Le Dair concludes some very good conjuring with ‘Match Magic’—puzzles worked with Brobdingnagian matches on a blackboard. This is a pleasing novelty and, contrary to what might be supposed, proves of fascinating interest, simple though it be. 

The end comes with something reminiscent of the old Christy Minstrels. The corner men gag in approved fashion, but to magical purpose. A trumpet becomes a vase of flowers. A notice board with the words ‘A Ford’ transforms itself in a car of that ilk. A white mouse runs up a stick and vanishes, and peaches become a ‘pair’ via nimble fingers. The entire assembly then work a rapid production from inexhaustible ‘chimneys’ and the curtain falls on waving flags and scintillating lanterns. Conjuring en masse is no easy matter ; the harmonious blending of varying styles of presentation, of melody, magic and humour, is a difficult task. All praise to those energetic and resourceful ladies and gentlemen who in ‘Hullo Maskelyne’ can successfully run such a show—one wherein good taste is paramount. 

The revue proper is preceded by the regular magical and other acts of the majority of the entertainers. They and their charming lady assistants won throughout unstinted applause.”⁠

Source: The Magic Wand, Vol. 15, No. 131, George Johnson, Oct-Nov 1926.