Alan Alan Remembered

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The Master of Escapes


It is almost one year to the day that my friend and mentor Alan Alan passed away. Shortly after his death there was a memorial service held at The Magic Circle Headquarters. This proved to be a fitting tribute to an extraordinary human being.

It has been a very difficult year trying to reconcile Alan not being here, considering the fact my last memory of him was in hospital as I watched him take his very last breath. As one of the guest speakers at the memorial service I said my relationship with him transcend the subject of magic. I described watching  his final moments as a painful privilege.

A few weeks ago, after returning home from Washington DC, The Magic Circle hosted another evening entitled “Alan Alan  A Remembrance”. My friend Noel Britten organisied the event and coordinated all of the guest speakers. He also worked in partnership with Bob Hamilton – together, they created a video montage of Alan working in his shop, The Magic Spot and film footage of Alan performing the escape that made him world famous.

The lineup of speakers featured; Noel Britten, Chris Wood, Quentin Reynolds, George Kovari, Richard McDougall and myself.

As I was the last speaker, I had the opportunity to listen to the others share their remembrance and recollections about Alan and what he meant to them. I was deeply moved by how this one man was able to affect all of us in such a positive way. His magic shop was the meeting place where we received first-hand coaching in the craft the magic, theatre, show business and life.

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image© Mark Hesketh Jennings with thanks.


My contribution focused on two key areas that impacted me greatly from the moment I first met him. Keep in mind, I met Alan when I was 14 years old and from that moment, he continually stress two things which I still think about today and pass on to my own students. The two things are; “Magic is a means of communication”, and “Misdirection is the initiation of trains of thought”.

My recollections and sharing was supplemented by the performance of two pieces of magic; “The Mystery of the Gold Pins “and “The Two Card Monte”. I chose those two routines because they embodied everything Alan taught me about communication and psychology. 

It is difficult to talk about Alan without talking about the greatest magician I ever saw, the legendary Slydini. Because of Alan, I was able to meet Slydini when I was 18 years old. My first lesson with Slydini was the master teaching me “The Mystery of The Gold Pins”. Slydini spoke very little English, so it was up to Alan to fill in the gaps in Slydini’s communication.


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image© Mark Hesketh Jennings with thanks.


This remembrance, and the contribution from of all the speakers allowed me to finally come to terms with Alan’s death and to feel extreme gratitude for having met him and share a small part of his life. He gave me more than I could ever repay him for. Not just in magic, he became a part of my life and family. It was very easy for me to take care of him and to share his journey right to the very end of his life – for that, I will always be grateful.

I want to thank Noel Britten for all the hard work he has done in supporting Alan and making this event the great tribute that it was. Finally, congratulations to all the speakers who added their little bit of magic to the event, Alan would have been proud.


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Alan Alan 1926 – 2014

1 thought on “Alan Alan Remembered”

RIP old friend – until we meet again.
Dear Alan,
Thank you for all the inspiration and sharing your time in The Magic Spot, with all of us. You may have disappeared, but you will never vanish from our minds.

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