Tony Corinda

Remembered by Martin MacMillan

Tony Corinda has left the magic world with the incredible legacy of the book '13 Steps To Mentalism'. Now published in six languages, it is recognised worldwide as the formative book on Mentalism (imagine how many in this field of magic have been influenced by his writings?). I can safely say that this exalted book is to Mentalism, what 'Royal Road' is to card magic, 'Bobo' is to coin magic and the 'Tarbell Course' is to general magic and for this I think we all owe him an incalculable debt.

Tony's first magic studio was in Berwick Street, London. He subsequently owned shops in both Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. Although these shops were at street level and sold to the general public, his real love was for Mentalism at which he was a pioneer. He wrote the 13 Steps individually and published them one at a time as booklets between 1956 & 1958 (a clever system, as he had the book paid for before it was fully written). He had an incredible business brain as well as a head for magic, and retired in comfort to a reclusive lifestyle in Norfolk.

On a personal note, Tony was a very close friend of my father's and indeed was known as "uncle Tony" to my brother and I when we were boys, I feel as if I have known him all my life. Whilst many will know of his talents in magic and business, his generosity may not be so widely known and I'd like to take this opportunity to recall just a couple of instances here...During the early sixties, my mother was taken into hospital, Dad was busy working and money was extremely short. Tony came back to our flat in the East End of London, where he spent the entire weekend cleaning it immaculately; he filled the larder with quality items the like of which we had never seen, a real treat for mum on her return home. It's a little known story, but typical of Tony that he thought nothing of doing this. Another occasion was when he finally closed and sold his shops in the West End in 1975, there was one loyal worker who had little chance of finding new employment. Tony brought 'Jaro' (James A Roberts) over to our shop on the assurance that he would increase our sales dramatically. He even paid his wages for a short time to prove the point. Needless to say 'Jaro' proved to be a most loyal and incredible salesman and stayed with us for many years until retirement. I think Tony would have continued with his shop if he couldn't have found other employment for Jaro.

We stayed in constant touch over the years. Despite retiring to a remote part of the country, Tony always kept an eye on the "magic scene" via the internet, and was well aware (and often amused) whenever his name popped up on chat rooms. I shall hugely miss the contact as his humour, even in his latter years, was second to none.

His funeral takes place at 3.15pm on Thursday 15th July, and is being held at the 'Mintlyn Crematorium', Lynn Road, Bawsey, PE32 1HB. Perhaps we could all take a few moments at that time to remember him as he takes his 14th step.

I shall finish this piece in the same way that I finished many of my emails to Tony; I'll raise a glass, and for the last time say 'Cheers T.C.'

 

Martin MacMillan, July 2010

 

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