Magic Castle founder farewelled
Arthur Coghlan wrote:
Hello Shirley – You asked what news I could tell you. Firstly, some very sad news, my very good friend, George Carrett, passed away in July this year. In early 1977, I approached George when he first built a castle on the hill at Nobby Beach and it was reported in the press that he was not sure what he was going to do with it. I had a meeting with him and suggested he call it “The Magic Castle” and to give me a three month trial to put magic shows on the top floor.
He agreed but was not sure that it would work. Initially, he built a small stage with curtains. There were no chairs, the audience stood. I think for the first show, we had 12 people. At this time, there was no lining on the walls, no covering on the floor.
The show was such a success that, in no time, we had vinyl on the floor, the walls were lined and we had 100 chairs.
At the beginning, I did three shows a day, increasing in holiday times, to five shows a day. The top floor was packed with people.
One day, George came to me and said he was surprised at the popularity of the shows and for me to design a 700 seat theatre and he would build it especially for the shows. That was the beginning of a great friendship. I never had a contract with him and whatever I wanted for the shows, he agreed.
After six and a half years, he received a very good offer to sell and then it became “The Magic Mountain”. The shows carried on but it was never the same. George and I still remained best friends.
Secondly, I must tell you about a new escape I am planning in protest of the Federal Government’s attitude to investors who lost thousands of dollars when Kevin Rudd guaranteed money invested in banks in the financial crisis but had a “couldn’t care less” attitude to investors in other financial institutions. The result being, a run was made on these businesses and a lot of these did not survive. A lot of investors (my wife and I included) lost heavily. I am planning to be chained on a concrete block and lowered into the Sydney Harbour. I will not have any safety precautions.
A very dangerous escape. My family and friends do not want me to go ahead with it. But you know me.