Chris North - Surviving Half a Century
A lecture for ‘The Gathering’ in Great Yarmouth
January 7th 2016
Reviewed by Steve Majes
Chris delivered a fascinating lecture about his 50 year career in the world of magic and really showed us how the trends have changed and how he changed with them. It was a great presentation featuring slide shows, clips and stories from the heyday of variety entertainment. I have known Chris for a number of years but was taken aback by just how much he has done and achieved along this journey.
It all started way back at Pontins and in the beginning Chris was not the magician we know him as today, he was the resident photographer. Performing must have caught his eye because before too long he had put together an act as a clown. Chris showed us photos of this time with him in full clown makeup, the act progressed and kept him busy and always looking for things to add to this growing repertoire it wasn’t long before the clowning magic turned into illusions. The rest is a very colourful history of which a high point was his appearance on the famous television show “New Faces”. Chris North and Jill, as the act was known then, came second in the final of the show but due to a contractual mishap the winner was disqualified and by default Chris was now the winner, this caused a sensation of publicity in the national press and Chris was propelled into the big time appearing on many of the top television shows and supporting major television stars of that time in their theatre shows and tours.
Chris told many fascinating stories about the stars he worked with and some of the often hilarious moments on and off stage. Many clips were shown from his television appearances as Chris joked at how politically incorrect some of the material would appear today. Chris also showed us some of his ever changing publicity photos and this really hit home as to how hard he worked to stay fresh and continue working in the business. Listening to Chris provided an amazing amount of advice and ideas that are still very relevant in today's market; it was inspiring to hear how he changed his act to get booked even when they didn’t want magicians. What I mention here is only the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine condensing 50 years of experience into a lecture is no easy task, Chris has more or less seen and done it all.
I would highly recommend this lecture for magic
societies as all that attended the lecture commented at how fast the evening had
gone by and how fascinating this lecture was.
© Steve Majes, January 2016