I am deeply saddened to report the passing of
Burns "DeLarno" Scandrett

"Photo courtesy Magicana"

I am deeply saddened to report that Burns died at Christchurch hospital today at 11.00am (Sunday 9th April). The cause of death was lung cancer, after a short bout with pneumonia.

More details will follow soon on his funeral arrangement.

Burns made a major contribution to New Zealand magic over many years as the articles below show....

The following message was published in Magic New Zealand, Sunday 22nd September 2002, Issue Number: #139, which I sure will be of interest

Grand Master of Magic - Burns "DeLarno" Scandrett
Message from Geoff Diggs - President Canterbury Society of Magicians

In 1969 the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians (Incorporated) established an award, "The Grand Master of Magic", honouring New Zealand Magicians who are acknowledged by their peers as having made an outstanding contribution to the art of magical entertainment over a period spanning many years.

The Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians has decided to bestow the award again this year and have selected for this unique honour a man who has devoted a considerable part of his life to all facets of the magic scene.

The Canterbury Society of Magicians (Incorporated) is extremely proud to have supported the selection of their member Burns "DeLarno" Scandrett as a distinguished master of the art and craft of magic.

It is widely known that for many years Burns owned and operated a focal point of magic - DeLarno's Magic Shop - in Chancery Lane, Christchurch. At a later time he was also involved (along with Alfred Hayes) in operating DeLarno's Magic Shop in Sydney, Australia.

Burns is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star (London, England), Past President of New Zealand Assembly 250 of the Society of American Magicians and Past Territorial Representative of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (USA).

During his forty-seven years as a member (now life member) of the Canterbury Society of Magicians he has served in virtually every capacity, including nine terms as President. Burns has always willingly shared his vast knowledge with all magicians, from those starting out to the more experienced.

Burns is a national and international entertainer having travelled the world making guest appearances on live shows and approximately 200 television appearances in many countries. His talent and vast experience has enabled him to perform in all venues from Department Stores and Shopping Malls to Trade Fairs and Overseas Cruise Ships, from Restaurants and Cabarets to Magicians' Conventions and Touring Variety Shows.

This award follows a Citizens Award bestowed on Burns in 2001 by the Mayor of the City of Christchurch, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to charity. This related mainly to his work in helping to form the Variety Club of New Zealand (South Island) and Camp Quality - a Lions project for Children with life-threatening health problems. He also served several years as Entertainment Director for Camp Quality and as Organiser of the Annual Variety Club Children's Christmas party.

It is very apparent that Burns "DeLarno" Scandrett is a very worthy recipient of this exclusive award and fully deserves to join the Roll of Honour as Grand Master of Magic.

The presentation of this inscribed medallion, by and on behalf of the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians (Incorporated) and the Canterbury Society of Magicians (Incorporated) to Burns Scandrett signifies that he is indeed a Grand Master of Magic.

Bart Whaley's "Who's Who In Magic" listing on Burns Scandrett
DeLarno, MIMC
(New Zealand: fl.1950s-90s) Stage name of Robert Burns Scandrett, known as "Burns". Learned around age 7. Pro dealer (DeLarno's Magic Centre) 1956-1996.. His main shop was in Christchurch, New Zealand, with a branch (owned by Alf Hayes) in Sydney, Australia, since 1966. Was one of largest magic dealerships in South Pacific.

Has done cruise-ship magic and performed in Britain, USA, Australia, & Japan. Over 200 TV appearances in 4 countries, including own TV show in New Zealand. Pet effect: The Sawing. Made MIMC in 1989, making him the only magician of that rank in New Zealand at that time.

Tricks in Genii & MUM.

Message published in Magic New Zealand
Sunday 11th November 2001, Issue Number: #96

Civic Award from the Mayor of Christchurch
Message from Burns Scandrett

Three weeks ago, I received a letter from the Christchurch City Council to say that I was being presented with a Civic Award from the Mayor of Christchurch, Gary Moore, in the form of a medal and scroll for charitable work.

Tuesday night, 6 November I went to the City Council buildings for cocktails and food, then into the Council Chambers with other recipients, the Town Clerk read out the citations, how I was well known for performing and supporting people with disabilities, how I was a founder member of The Variety Club (South Island), founder member of Lion's Camp Quality (S.I) (for children with life threatening diseases) plus a pile of other stuff, worked for the Child Welfare Dept., Japanese Government doing orphanages in Tokyo, etc.

They did a great lot of research on me. The Mayor shook my hand then placed a large bronze medal on a blue ribbon around my neck and presented with a framed scroll.

Message published in Magic New Zealand
Sunday 23rd December 2001, Issue Number: #102

My Life In Delarno's Magic Centres
Message from Burns Scandrett

I have been asked many times over the recent years, about the history of DeLarno's Magic Centre, especially how I first started. After leaving high school, I worked for two years at Canterbury University as a technician in the Chemistry Department, with the idea of making chemistry my profession. I was also performing magic on a semi professional basis. My father owned a Gun & Sporting shop at 16 Chancery Lane, a small lane running off Cathedral Square in the heart of Christchurch, and told me that a shop was becoming vacant at number 3, and it would be an ideal situation for a magic shop.

At that time, operating a magic shop was not in my plans. After some thought, I decided that there was merit in the idea, even though there was a 'part-time' magic shop operating (Friday nights and Saturday mornings) on the outskirts of the City, I grew to like the idea, so leased the small shop for five years. DeLarno's opened late February 1954. In the week that I was setting up the shop, people kept knocking on the window to ask if I would open and sell them a mask or some other tricks, as a magic shop was a real novelty to Christchurch.

I found that I had to educate customers as they would enter and say that they wanted to buy magic. I demonstrated the Egg Bag, Six Card Repeat and others. They said, "No, not that sort of magic" "What sort?" "Magic ink that you squirted people, or Magic cigarette loads that blew the cigarette to pieces, etc." Then I began to ask customers to give me an example, so solved that problem. I had to get most of the better quality magic manufactured, e.g. Water Lotas, Dove Pans, Ghost Tubes, Genii Tubes and production boxes. Many are still in existence and performing well.

When the famous Indian magician, P.C.Sorcar played a week in the Theatre Royal, Christchurch, in November, 1957, he did a "Publicity Walk" from the Theatre to my shop with his party of twelve assistants, all magnificently dressed in colourful costumes of Royalty. This was fantastic publicity for both Sorcar and my shop. He gave me a large autographed photo and wrote on it, "I was certainly very much impressed with the quality of the magic props in the Magic Centre - they are all tested, dependable and nicely finished. I like every bit of this." Some five years later, I was his invited houseguest in Calcutta, India where he was a perfect host.

My small shop at number 3 did not have sufficient showroom space, so when a much larger shop at number 16 became available three years later, I purchased the lease and continued in Chancery Lane for a total of forty two years.

Over the years, I purchased and took over stock holdings of many magic shops, either which had closed, or in the process of closing. The first, shortly after I opened my shop, was a mail order magic business in Wellington, operated by JOHN BRENNAN. After that came "PROFESSOR WOOFLEDUST MAGIC" (Wilf. Truman, Hamilton); HUGH RAY (Auckland); previously manager of Stewart's Studio of Magic in Wellington ANDRADE - ALLAN'S Shop, 276 Collins St, Melbourne; J.ABERT BRIGGS, Mascot, Sydney; GREEN FROG MAGIC (Jim Flemming), 27 Enmore Rd. Newtown, Sydney. MAX HOWARD ENTERPRISES (Max Andrews, who operated Vampire Magic Studios, 10 / 11 Archer St. London W.1. before immigrating to New Zealand); NZEDDA MAGIC STUDIO (Richard Walls, Dunedin, which also included Stewart's Studio of Magic, (Wellington), Don's Magic Shop, (Christchurch) and Lindbergh Studio, (Hamilton).

The final stock acquisition was, perhaps, the most significant. It was from WEIRDO'S MAGIC SHOP, Piccadilly Arcade, Sydney. As a youth I purchased magic by mail from Weirdo's, owned and operated by Scotsman, Steve McKechnie. Like most youngsters, I waited eagerly each day for the postman hoping he would bring a parcel of goodies for me. I was never disappointed. I was not to know that many years later we would become very firm friends and fellow merchants.

When he passed away, his son Bruce headed the operation, disposed of the Piccadilly Arcade shop and extended operations to gift and tourist shops throughout the Southern Pacific area. The magic sat in Weirdo's massive warehouse for some years before I bought it and shipped it back to New Zealand.

My lifelong friend and colleague, Alfred Hayes, opened DeLarno's International Centre in the shopping heart of downtown Sydney, late April 1966. Opening and continuing stock was strongly supported from Christchurch. A second Sydney magic 'studio' was opened in Chinatown on the first day of 1970. DeLARNO'S DEN was exclusively designed for magicians only, being equipped with the latest video recording facility for teaching purposes. Many overseas magicians lectured there and a "junior club" was also hosted at the 'Den' for several years. It operated as a 'private magic place' for a little over a decade. The City Centre closed mid-1988, due pending demolition and a new style studio theatrette, again exclusive to magicians, opened and continued for almost ten years, ending DeLarno's name in the Australian magic scene.

With the assistance of my good friend, Ted Regan, DeLarno's opened in Auckland on Karanghape Road, early December 1977. It was managed by local personality Roger Jackman. However, due to being located in a reasonably high rent area, lack of parking spaces, heavy freight costs, and the desertion of city shoppers to suburban Malls, we disappeared some two years later.

Time brings changes, and as the last century began to slip away, so many life-style changes came about - not to mention the thought of part-time retirement after countless enjoyable, but demanding years. With the expiry of the lease for 16 Chancery Lane on 17 February, 1996, after 42 years trading, the door at the portal, where so many had passed through into DeLarno's Magic Centre, was sealed - and the spell of those two magic words, "Open Sesame" - forever gone. Perhaps more correctly, gone, but not forgotten. The closure, being something out of the ordinary, was very well covered by national and local television stations, newspapers and radio news.

Burns Scandrett (a.k.a. DeLarno)

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