SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 24, 2014

Show-stopper

Magic company auction marks end of era

BEVERLY — For 35 years, Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company sold an entertaining mix of illusion and spectacle on Sundays at the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre.

Yesterday, the company sold just about everything else.

In a five-hour auction at the former vaudeville theater in downtown Beverly, the magic company auctioned off 269 items from the show, which closed in 2012.

The items, many of them handmade by members of the company over three decades, encompassed everything from the equipment used to perform illusions, posters and paintings made to promote the show, decorative panels and curtain backdrops used in the show’s scenery, and hundreds of other eclectic “things” — a papier-mache dragon helmet, a mandarin head chopper, a baby giraffe statute.

You could buy the dragon mouth that customers walked through after buying a ticket. You could buy the carousel rocking horse that stood in the lobby for years. You could buy the gong that Marco the Magi struck to start the show.

You could buy souvenirs: Christmas ornaments, T-shirts, baseball hats, pins, tote bags, fanny packs, coffee mugs. There was a complete set of the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre newspapers, 37 volumes in all from 1976 to 2013. A reprint of the Time magazine story on the show. Five paperbook books.

David Bull, who played Le Grand David for 35 years, said the hundreds of items represented the “cascade of creativity” that poured out of Cesareo Pelaez, the show’s founder who died in 2012.

“Cesareo, I hope you’re sitting at the left-hand side of our creator and not spinning in your grave that this day has come,” Bull said in his remarks to the audience before the auction began.

Auctioneer Frank Kaminski said the auction raised about $150,000. It drew about 150 bidders to the theater, some from as far away as Florida and Canada, Kaminski said. Another 300 bid online or by phone from 15 countries, including China and Australia.

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