Will, The Witch and The Watchman.

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 05/12/07 11:04 AM


I was wondering whether any one can help me with my current research?

I'm looking for the fullest possible script for the Will, The Witch and The Watchman. An article in Genii (January 2007) suggests a 40 minute version. I was wondering whether anyone has a copy (or similar)?

Thank you in advance,

Nik Taylor
Senior Lecturer in Drama
The University of Huddersfield

Postby Guest » 05/12/07 11:39 AM

This site may have some info.


See file 43.8

I don't know what the file contains, but it may help.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 05/12/07 11:50 AM

Have you consulted The Magic Play by Sam Sharpe? A description of the sketch runs from pages 74 to 88, and the script itself goes from pages 89 to 105.

Whether that would equate to a 40-minute performance, I don't really know.
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Guest » 05/12/07 12:33 PM

I believe there was a large article on it in The Linking Ring some years back.

And when Kellar did it, he billed it as "The Witch, The Sailor, and the Enchanted Monkey." There is a marvelous poster that has that title about 1905. I can't recall if the script remained the same as the Maskelyne version, but something in the back of my memory says it was.

The prop that makes the magic and the various switches possible is a large cube. Kellar's was made in England and shipped to New York.

The Carter Collection in San Francisco had the prop (it may have been Kellar's, I don't recall) and I assembled it. It is massive and heavy, the mirrors being chromed or nickled steel. This was a prop made to troup and be used daily back in the day when things were made of steel and solid wood.

Back in 1957 there was an article in MUM on Bob Sherman who remembered his experience with Kellar.

Harry Kellar? That reminds Bob of a bruise he still has on the base of his right foot. It happened this way. When Bob was about nine years old, he saw the Kellar Show in Bridgeport, and came up on the stage for 'The Witch, The Sailor and The Enchanted Monkey" illusion. He was permitted to examine the large cabinet, and tried to put his fingers into a large crack (where the minor was concealed). He tried to pull the panel open, and yelled, "Look, Mr. Kellar, here it is - look, here it is!" Kellar had a long curtain pole in his hands. He slid this along the floor of the cabinet until it reached Bob's foot, which he hit real hard, and several times. Bob got the idea, and stopped yelling about the secret panel. While the bruise remains, there were no hard feelings. Many years later, after his retirement and on a trip east Kellar visited Bob in the Philadelphia Magic shop, and did his famous Torn and Restored Strand of Wool for him.

Postby Guest » 05/12/07 01:29 PM

David is correct. There was a whole series written by John Braun on the skit in the Linking Ring magazine in the mid 1950's. The series illustrates the apparatus, includes the script as used by Kellar, a short witch music score, cast members, photos of the Kellar apparatus, B&W pictures of associated posters, copies of ads for the equipment etc.

I was in college in the 1960's when I ran across a stack of back Linking Ring magazines in a used book store. I bought them all, cut out what items I wanted, and had these articles bound (I had no room to store years of the magazines). One of the items I saved was the series on this illusion/skit. At the time, I considered building the apparatus and presenting it with friends at "tourist traps" in the summers - so I wrote John Braun about doing so. He replied that it would no longer play. Listening to him was probably a mistake as I think we could have made a success of it in places like Silverton, CO ( to entertain train riding "guests" coming up from Durango), Tombstone, AZ, or the Old Tucson movie location in the summer. There is no question in my mind that it will still play; but 40 minutes might well be overkill.

If you have access to the LR CD-ROM sets, you should be able to find the info you seek.

Postby Guest » 05/12/07 10:28 PM

The routine would probably still play, but the script would need major amounts of editing.

Also, with modern techniques, the whole prop could be made much more deceptive.

Postby Guest » 05/18/07 03:27 AM

Thank you for all the suggestions.

I now have a copy of "The Magic Play" and it's going to provide an excellent resource for my research.

best wishes,


Postby Guest » 05/28/07 08:29 PM


Just ran across this and thought it might be of interest.


http://cgi.ebay.com/VHS-Will-The-WItch- ... tegoryZ869

P.S. If I remember correctly, there is some good information in The St George's Hall book published by Mike Caveney also. I will try and hunt down my copy and take a look.


Postby Guest » 05/31/07 02:12 AM

Hi Mark,

Sadly, I was away and missed the auction. It would have been lovely to see the 1997 production. As to the book you mention, I'm just checking with the British Library to track down a copy.

Thanks for you help.

Best wishes,


Postby Guest » 05/31/07 12:14 PM


Just curious, the video that was for sale on Ebay -- was this an authorized tape that was made at the conference, or was this someone's unauthorized taping?


Postby Guest » 05/31/07 08:24 PM

Hi Rick,

I posted the Ebay link, but do not know the seller of the tape, or its history. I only passed it along hoping it may be of help to Nik. You may want to privately contact the Ebay seller and see what he has to say. With over 300 feedbacks, and a 100% positive rating, the guy is probably on the up-and-up, but thats just my gut feeling.

Nik, the mentions to The WWW in the St. George's Hall book are just that, short mentions with little in the way of detail. My memory is good, but short I guess. Its been about 5 years or so since I read the book, and I thought there was more info. The book is still a very fascinating read about a truly wonderful time in Englands magic history.

Mike Caveney would be a great person to talk to with regards to the LA Conference on Magic History too. His contact info can be found at the his link I listed in my previous post.

All the best to you.


Postby Guest » 06/01/07 05:22 AM

If it is an authorised copy, then I'm hoping that it will be archived somewhere...

If it isn't, then I'm glad I didn't bid.

Postby Guest » 06/01/07 06:39 AM

IMHO these performances are what should be posted on YouTube to represent our craft. Far better than "exposure" or the usual fare.

Postby Guest » 06/01/07 10:44 AM

... and wouldn't it be wonderful to see such things online ... :)

Postby Guest » 06/10/07 11:16 AM

I know I'm almost answering my own questions now, but I would recommend Maskelyne And Cooke: Egyptian Hall By George Arthur Jenness (1967)

It's a wonderful read.

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