Tony Corinda (Thomas William Simpson)
May 17 1930 - July 1 2010
Remembered by David Berglas
Within our great international magic fraternity, there are only a few names that are instantly recognised, for instance - ERDNASE, SELBIT, DEVANT, VERNON, ELMSLEY - CORINDA.
Tony Corinda who wrote "13 Steps to Mentalism" could not ever have envisaged that this pseudonym would one day become so legendary. He picked the name Corinda which was an anagram of the famous German magic author and dealer Conradi (1870-1944).
My association with Tony goes back to the early 60's when he became a dealer, working from a tiny room in Berwick Street, London, selling mostly psychic related items and only a limited number of mentalist props.
I found him a fascinating and interesting individual with some unusual ideas, which suited my style of presentation. He became
a helpful sounding board, first on a friendly basis and then I employed him professionally for my many radio and television series. Eventually I found and rented a studio for him in
Mortimer Street where he established himself as a Dealer, specialising in mentalism.
There has been much speculation whether Corinda was ever a performer. Other than some excellent close-up effects, which he performed, mostly over a drink in the pub, I am only aware of one show which he put on at the Magic Circle, in the Chenies Mews headquarters. It was a spectacular fake sťance and he was assisted by the late Pat Page and myself.
Each one of the thirteen steps of his famous book were originally written as individual booklets, with much advice and contributions from Jon Tremaine, Eric Mason and myself. Jon and Eric illustrated the books but none of us ever claimed to have written it.
Tony Corinda rightly has to be credited with the inspiration and collating the material of "Thirteen Steps". When he retired, he became a virtual recluse, distanced himself from the magic community and lived the rest of his life quietly in Norfolk.
My memories and anecdotes of Tony Corinda could fill another book. I can sincerely describe him as a real life man of mystery. His reputation will live on.
David Berglas, July 2010