Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

MAGICIANS unveiled a plaque in honour of the “godfather of illusion” in Camden Town on Monday.
Robert Harbin, who lived at 1 Camden Square in 1928, is renowned among members of the Magic Circle for creating the world-famous Zig Zag Girl, where an assistant in a box is seemingly sawn into three parts.
Chris Woodward, a member of the Magic Circle, based in Euston, said: “He came to Camden from Johannesburg and his original name was Ned Williams. He developed a series of illusions, including the Zig Zag Girl and the Blades of Opah.” Mr Harbin, who died in 1978, worked for Holborn toy store Gamages while living in Camden Square.

May Geasley, who lives in his former flat, said: “My dad Eugene was a magician and he used to do the Zig Zag Girl. I’m really amazed to find out Harbin lived here.” The illusionist is credited with bringing origami – the Japanese art of paper-folding – to this country. Throughout the 1960s he had his own television show, Paper Magic, and gave Rolf Harris his first job in this country, illustrating a book on the subject. Mr Harris could not attend the event because of poor health. Steve Megumi, of the British Origami Association, said of Mr Harbin: “He was a real gentleman off stage as well.”

February 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm
Vix says:

i like origami..

February 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm
Nopke says:

Ah, that’s what the zig zag girl (made me think of a sawing machine as it is a dutch brand .. zig zag .. haha).
Def. a trick that intrigued me when I was younger. I’ve seen a few more which include boxes which were quite interesting. Have no clue what they are being called though. Box tricks, that covers a whole lot of them.

I don’t like origami .. haha …

February 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm
Nopke says:

Wait .. in three parts??? I’ve only seen it done in 2 parts …

February 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm
Vix says:

no, i haven’t seen it in three parts either, but then I haven’t really been looking

I can make ducks :) (origami-wise, I mean)

February 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm
Berber Anna says:

I’ve seen assistants divided into various numbers of parts. Just visit a Hans Klok show… it does get a bit repetitive after a while 😛

February 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm
EMcB says:

I loved Robert Harbin’s show on origami. When I was at school my friends and I used to rush home from school to try to make whatever he was making ( we finished school at 4pm and he was on at 4.20PM). We would show each other our attempts the next day at school (which were always rubbish compared with his) and it brings back lovely memories. I didn’t know he was a magician He seemed a lovely man.

February 27, 2009 at 5:40 am
Grant says:


February 27, 2009 at 6:47 am
Tash says:

ooh – yes just checked u out on IMDB – so definitly Happy Birthday today. Just found out ur fear of spiders – and you’re middle name. How exciting. Oh and apparently you’re down 3% in popularity this week – but we all still Love you – so as long as you’ve got ur mad obsessive (only joking) fans then you’ll be fine. lol. Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY. lots of love. xxx

Oh and i love oragami – i just can’t do it. Oh and hope Rolf Harris gets better – he’s a ledge!

February 27, 2009 at 7:32 am
Danel Kirch says:

Happy Birthday Derren!!!!

February 27, 2009 at 8:05 am
Sabina says:

Happy Birthday Derren!!! May your day be filled with stuffed animals, cake and books. And more cake…xxx

February 27, 2009 at 8:58 am
sue says:

As there doesn’t seem to be an appropriate thread yet, I shall put it here:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DERREN, have a fantastic day.

Love Sue xx

February 27, 2009 at 10:35 am
Mandi Dempster says:

Dearest Derren,

I was going to start this letter with a birthday wish, but I’ve decided to withhold my well wishing until you or one of your crew, or whoever it is that is in charge of you, can please tell me if there are any plans for you to bring your spectacular little balding head down under to the glorious sunburnt country that I call home….Australia!

Please come to Australia Derren! Seriously you have a HUGE fan base in OZ…. the Facebook page dedicated to you that’s exclusively for Aussie fans only has a total of 12 fans!

I KNOW!! 12 fans….!! Pretty good huh……….!

So? Tempted? Australia wants you!

February 27, 2009 at 11:10 am
Donna says:

Happy Birthday Derren! Hope you have a good one :)

Lots of Love
Donna x

February 27, 2009 at 11:35 am
manigen says:

Assuming that everyone has the right day:

Happy Birthday Derren!

June 28, 2009 at 9:02 pm
May Geasley says:

It’s surprising to me to find something online where I am quoted…
This was a really special day. Everyone in attendance was very interesting and I really enjoyed my chats with those from the Magic Circle. I actually struggled to get the day off so I could be there but am so glad I twisted my bosses arm! I feel honoured to have this plaque on my home and if anyone ever wan’t to come see it feel free to ring the bottom bell and I’ll make you a cuppa!


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