Broken Wand - Jim Reilly GMM

Broken Wand – Jim Reilly GMM

Jim passed away peacefully at 11pm last night.

More details to follow about his funeral arrangement.

Jim Reilly GMM
Jim Reilly wasn't well known in the magic community until the 1960-61 Hamilton magicians' convention, when he appeared on the bill of the Night Before show. He had created a Turkish-themed theatrical event filled with colour, humour and magic. After this his name began appearing in Magicana magazine in connection with his activities in Kawerau but it wasn't until the 1964 convention in Wellington that his act was to resurface. Several effects, such as the ribbon fountain he used for a finale, were new to New Zealand magicians at the time and were very well received.

Jim had joined the Waikato Society of Magicians in 1959 and was good friends with Eddie Ware. He became involved with a musical theatre group in 1960 and starred as a magician in their production of Sinbad.

By 1964 he was assisting Magicana Editor Colin Smith with material for publication.
In 1968 he moved to Hamilton and was Secretary for the 1970-1971 magicians' convention, which broke new ground with monetary prizes for main competitions, an attractive poster for advertising the event, close-up tables for the early risers, creche and other innovations.

Jim had his own style of performance and created many of his own props. These were shared with magicians worldwide though magazines like Magigram, Pentagram and New Tops. His creations also appeared in Adair's Dove Encylopedias, The Best From Down Under and Francis Marshall's Book on Children's Parties. He became a world authority and supplier of the novelty paper folding act Troublewit. Billy McComb called Jim's Troublewit the best in the business.

In 1980 Jim took over as the Editor of Magicana from the departing Colin Smith. The Waikato Magic Circle had divested itself of any interest some years before and Colin had been carrying the risk and debts on his own. Over the next twenty years Magicana grew from strength to strength, growing from around 50 subscribers to 250, a third of whom were overseas readers. He was able to draw on his experience as an employee of INL - Independent Newspapers Limited - and substantially improved the professionalism and content of the bi-monthly publication. Jim also boasted that he was never once late in producing an issue.

or twelve years Jim, with the assistance of wife Pam, organised and ran the annual Magicana Day in Hamilton - a mini-convention featuring competitions, lecturers and dealers.

In 1984 he was awarded a Scroll of Honour from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand in recognition of his work as Editor of Magicana. He was made an Associate Member of the Magic Circle with Silver Star in 1987.

The same year he was caught off-guard at Magicana Day when the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians presented him with the Grand Master Award, presented on behalf of New Zealand magicians to recognise his dedication and contribution to magic in this country.

In 1996 the Magic Circle elevated him to their highest degree - Member of the Inner Circle with Gold Star. Members who helped make this possible were Rovi, Billy McComb and Terry Seabrooke.

In 1989 Jim began researching the history of magic in New Zealand. He shared his fascinating insights in a long series in Magicana. The work was highly praised overseas as at that time little was known about the early history of magic in this country. He found New Zealand's first professional magician - Jane Whiteside, and wrote a monograph on her entitled Darling Jennie.

Then came Same Man, Different Clothes, the Life and Times of The Great Benyon. This publication received worldwide recognition.

Jim Reilly finally hung up his editorial pen in 2000, after twenty years of service as Editor of Magicana (and sixteen as Assistant Editor). His work was sorely missed.

In 2003 Hollywood's Academy of Magical Arts presented him with their prestigious Literary Fellowship.

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