SORCAR IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
by Burns Scrandrett, Magician, Proprietor of DeLarno's Magic Center, Christchurch, New Zealand
On invitation from M/s. J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. and M/s. Edgley
Dawe Ltd. The Great SORCAR of India with his fabulous Magic Show Ind-Dra-Jal
visited Australia and New Zealand on a ten month's tour with twenty tons
of equipment and dozens of assistants.
They opened in His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, Western Australia on July 24, 1957. This show was reviewed in The Daily West Australian on July 25, 1957 under the bold headlines "MAGICIAN FASCINATES AUDIENCE" ... "Sorcar, a solid genial Indian with pearly buck teeth, had the capacity audience in His Majesty's Theatre fascinated." Then The Record on August 1, 1957 commented ... "Sorcar is a super magician! He has played to capacity houses in Perth." His six weeks run in the same theatre created great sensation throughout Australia. Even the USA show magazine Variety (New York) published in its issue of August 21, 1957 ... "Surprise hit at His Majesty's Theatre, Perth Australia, is a Magic Show led by Indian Illusionist P.C. Sorcar. Now in its third week at the 1,500 seater, the troupe has topped all box-office records of not only all other magic shows but of the Folies Bergere which preceded Sorcar. In a matinee and evening performance last Saturday (3rd August) the magician's company took in a terrific $2,475. The figure was computed after deduction of the entertainment tax."
After their triumph in Western Australia the party opened in the Opera House, Wellington, on September 18, 1957. This gala opening show was reviewed in Evening Post on September 19, 1957 as follows ... "This is one of the most colourful shows to have come to Wellington in a long time and it must be one of the best rehearsed ... Sorcar is excellent entertainment for all ages, but most of those who see the show will come away annoyed with themselves that they cannot solve any of the mysteries that they have been seeing. Sorcar is a truly worthwhile show." National daily newspaper The Dominion reviewed on September 19, 1957 under the bold headline ... "REMARKABLE MAGIC FROM INDIA" ... "Announced as 'the world's greatest magician' Sorcar, the mystery man from India, who commenced a season at the Grand Opera House last night, certainly went a good way towards substantiating that claim, even when one remembers the exploits in stage magic by such gifted exponents as Chung Ling Soo, Carter and Dante the Great ... Sorcar revels a pleasant personality and the liveliest sense of humour, so that the average member of the audience is amused while mystified by the magician's astounding dexterity." ... The National Weekly Freedom in its issue of October 2, 1957 wrote ... "Still doing record business in Wellington: The Great Sorcar Indian Magic Show. Sorcar has attracted big houses at every session." ... Then the party with their equipment flew to Invercargill and opened there at the Civic Theatre (October 7 to October 10) where Southland Times reported on October 8, 1957, ... "Sorcar is a magician of exceptional skill" ... The Great Sorcar show then played in Dunedin in His Majesty's Theatre, from October 11 to October 22, 1957. The Evening Star reported on October 12, 1957 ... "The whole show ran as smoothly as a well-tuned engine." ... The party then came to my home-town Christchurch in New Zealand and opened at the Theatre Royal for two local newspapers flashed the news of his arrival with many newspapers flashed the news of his arrival with many photographs. At the Christchurch railway station The Great Sorcar and company were welcomed by Mr. B. Clemons, representing the New Zealand Ringof the International Brotherhood of Magicians (USA), Mr. E. May, president of the New Zealand Magic Circle, Mr. C. Lewis, President of the Canterbury Society of magicians, and Mr. W.McNeill, Secretary of the New Zealand Magic Circle. On October 24, 1957 morning Mayoral Reception was given to the Great Sorcar in the Council Chambers. Deputy Mayor Mr. G. Manning said that "Sorcar was able to demonstrate the advances made in psychology as well as advances in magic as an entertainment." It may be recalled that during his Australasian tour Sorcar was given Mayoral Reception in almost all the big cities. The Mayor of Wellington Mr. F.L. Kitts, M.P. gave him the grand reception in the town Hall, on September 18, 1957. Invercargil Mayoress Mrs. A. L. Adamson gave a party in Southland Travel ClubElmwood Garden, on October 7, 1957. Mayor K.N. Buttle in Town Hall on November 18, 1957 honoured Sorcar with a fitting reception. It was arranged that all the three magical societies in Christchurch would combine together and attend the Sorcar show in the opening night and over hundred of our wand-wielders were there to enthusiastically greet the world famous magician. On October 25, 1957 issue of The Christchurch Star-Sun the review of Sorcar show appeared in bold double column banner headline "CROWD BEWILDERED BY SORCAR'S MAGIC" ... "Illusion, delusion, occlusion, or just plain magic? Nobody had time to sort out when Sorcar chattered his way rapidly from one act to another during his premiere at the Theatre Royal last night. His showmanship impinged itself upon the audience and bewildered it from start to finish." ... While speaking about Sorcar The Press, another national daily newspaper of Christchurch wrote on October 25, 1957 ... "Sorcar is genial, charming, and most enthusiastic about his work. He tells you what he is going to do; it is unbelievable; then he does it ... Sorcar reminds one that the gorgeous East still holds mysteries and strange powers that elude the western mind and imagination." The following Sunday evening we had Sorcar as our guest at a combined get-together of the local magicians and supper. As the highlight of the function: the emcee introduced the presidents of each and every Magic Society in Christchurch, who in turn presented an honorary to Sorcar.On behalf of IBM Ring 160 Vice-President Tom Hardie presented Sorcar with ring banner and welcomed him as their first Honorary Member. I was then the Treasurer of this Ring. Mr. R. Lewis, the then President of Canterbury Magic Circle (the post that I hold at the moment) made him our Honorary Member. This Honorary Membership to P.C. Sorcar must have been a 'must' for every Magic Society in the whole of Australia and New Zealand. As we find from our records that Sorcar was made Hony. Member of New Zealand Magic Circle, Christchurch, Hony. Member of Waikato Magic Circle in Hamilton, Australian Society of Magicians, Adelaide, New Zealand Magic Circle, Christchurch. The unique mark of recognition by the Ambassador of Magic Mystic Craig Gold Wand (specially flown to Australia from USA) was presented to Sorcar through Ring 136 IBM in Brisbane. To complete the magical society's contribution to Sorcar on the anniversary of Houdini's death, over 70 magicians and friends again attended the Sorcar show in a combined group and so paid tribute to the memory of the famous magician of the past (Houdini), and also to the famous magician of the present (Sorcar). On the morning of November 7, 1957, a big group of New Zealand magicians including myself attended the airport and saw him off. Sorcar next opened his triumphant session in the North Island. Sorcar opened at the PALMERSTON NORTH OPERA HOUSE ON NOVEMBER 8, 1957 and played there for one week. On November 9, Manawatu Evening Standard published his review ... "With a pleasing personality Sorcar has an instant appeal to the audience ... No expense has been spared with equipment of background scenery. It is spectacular, and does great credit to the show. Sorcar has set a high standard with his scenery. The costuming was colourful and spectacular. It was a treat to see a show which started sharp on the advertised time ... No one could have been disappointed with the show, and this was illustrated by the enthusiastic and prolonged applause which greeted the final curtain." From there the party played in New Plymouth, Opera House, where the Taranaki Daily News reviewed on November 16, 1957 ... "Sorcar was announced The World's Greatest Magician. He went a long way to prove this." Then they went to Auckland and played in His Majesty's Theatre for three weeks (from November 18 to December 7,1957) Auckland Star reviewed on November 19, 1957 ... "Working on the idea that is is possible to fool all of the people all of the time, Sorcar, World's Greatest Magician, succeeds in doing just that." ... His final shows in New Zealand were in Hamilton, Embassy Theatre (December 9 to December 11, 1957). Waikato Times published the bold banner headline .. "BRILLIANT MAGIC : : THE GREAT SORCAR BAFFLES AUDIENCE ... Sorcar showed that his reputation as one of the World's Greatest Magicians is well deserved." On December 8, 1957 on invitation of the Waikato Society of Magicians 130 people attended a special function at Riverlea to welcome the Great Sorcar. Mr. W. Truman, President of the Society made him their first Honorary Life Member and commented that "Sorcar is the outstanding magician of the century." After finishing his New Zealand tour the Great Sorcar went to Australia again and started from the East. He opened his season at Her Majesty's Theatre on December 23, 1957 and the review of the opening night appeared in the Telegraph (National Newspaper) on December 24 under the heading "MAGICIAN : : BAFFLING, PLEASING" ... "A person who makes others all too aware of their own stupidity is seldom popular. But Indian magician Sorcar, who opened his season at Her Majesty's Theatre last night, left a large audience completely baffled by his cleverness and pleased by his showmanship." ... " Kipling might have anticipated this programme of Sorcar when he wrote 'utterly absurd, the patently impossible and vain, when the thing that couldn't occurred' ... The thing that couldn't occur is the very thing that Sorcar set before our astonished eye throughout the whole evening." ... After four weeks he took his party to Sydney and opened his season at the Sydney Empire Theatre from January 31, 1958, for two weeks. Throughout his tour he has maintained his reputation of breaking box-office and theatre-attendance records. In Sydney Empire Theatre in one day (only two shows) on 8th February 1958 his sale figure was 2,098 pound, a sensational record indeed. His show created sensation in Australia. No wonder that Sydney Tourist Guite Vol. 4, No. 3, February 1958 had the photo of Sorcar on its cover. Australian Women's Weekly published big illustrated article on 'Noble Magic' with many beautiful colour photographs of Sorcar and his magnificent show in its issue of January 29, 1958. Then the Ind-dra-jal party left for South Australia and opened their season at the Theatre Royal, Adelaide, South Australia, on February 17, 1958. The Advertiser, which is the National newspaper incorporating "The Register" published in its issue of February 18, 1958 ... "Seeing is not believing where Sorcar the magician is concerned ... Sorcar's Magic of India is unusual entertainment, put over in a friendly, nonchalant manner. Brilliantly mounted and equipped, and featuring an efficient band of beautifully dressed assistants, the show is smoothly presented, with Sorcar cleverly alternating music and dialogue. Rich colors from elaborate costumes, lacquer boxes, gorgeous silks and well directly lighting make a feast for the eyes, and perhaps provide an effective foil to that swiftness of the hand which deceives the eye." ... In Adelaide also (his last station in the Australasian tour) he maintained his box office record high. Mr. Goodliffe, editor of the British Magical Weekly Abracadabra in his editorial on 15th March 1958 wrote: ... "There must be some magic in the way Sorcar does it. Again this week there's another batch of 'rave' notices from Australia, and some concrete facts; 2,098 pound taken in one day, February 8th, at the Empire, Sydney (two performances), and 1,134 pound in one day, February 22nd, 1958 at the Royal, Adelaide, 'Fantastic Success' seems an understatement." ... No wonder that his producers were all extremely pleased with his fantastic success. Sir Frank Tait, Managing Director, J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd., wrote on 18 July 1958 ... "Sorcar came to our country (Australia New Zealand) on a Theatrical tour but in addition, he proved to be a splendid ambassador of his own country, and in my opinion, his visit to us helped the relations between our two countries very materially." ...Sir Ernest Davis, Kt. ex-Mayor of Auckland, wrote on 16 September 1958 ... "P.C. Sorcar is undoubtedly the Greatest Magician in the World today. We have seen several here in New Zealand but they are not in the same class as Sri P.C. Sorcar." ... I am very happy that Sorcar is my friend. I saw his show, as a brother IBM Member. I always watch his movements, his meteoric successes all over the world. On my way of returning home from America I came via London, Europe and Calcutta. I made it a point that I must see Sorcar in his home town. Fortunately he was at home at that time. I became his house-guest in his 'Indrajal' (the name of his home is Indrajal too). We had heart to heart discussion about the future of Magic. I was struck to see his library of Magical books collected from all over the world. His factory builds all his big intricate illusions, his staff artists paint those costly beautiful and exotic costumes with great attention to details. Sorcar told me, "When asleep I breathe Magic; when awake I work Magic," in full sprit of ease and delight. Besides personal achievements in honour, fame and glory Sorcar's greatest contribution to the world of Magic is the installation of Indian Magic-his beloved Ind-Dra-jal- to the pedestal of pristine glory with greater halo round its crown.Under his light and lead it is now an Art of International attraction. Magic and Sorcar are inalienable.
International Articles on Sorcar
Cartoons on Sorcar