Cover of Genii (1969)
|Born||Edward Richard Charles Williams|
February 14 (or 12), 1909
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Died||January 12, 1978 (age 68) |
|Resting place||Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, London|
|Categories||Books by Robert Harbin|
Robert Harbin (1909-1978) was a British magician and writer born Edward Richard Charles Williams in Balfour, South Africa. He is noted as the inventor of a number of classic illusions, including the Zig Zag Girl. He also became an authority on origami.
The young Williams, known as Ned, first got interested in magic after an unknown ex-serviceman appeared at his school with a magic show later described as "rather poor". Williams came to London at the age of 20 and began by working in the magic department of Gamages toy shop. He began performing in music halls under the title "Ned Williams, the Boy Magician from South Africa". By 1932 he was appearing in the Maskelyne's Mysteries magic show in various London theaters.
He was the first British illusionist to move from stage performing to television, appearing in the BBC TV show Variety in 1937 and in his own show which began in 1940.
Much of his inventive genius was put into written form and he is known as one of the most prodigious authors on the subject of magical effects. However, although Harbin was brilliantly creative in the field of magic he was not a particularly good writer and his friend and associate Eric Lewis has stated that many of Harbin's titles were ghost written for him.
In about 1952 Harbin appeared in a minor part as a magician in the film The Limping Man, produced by Cy Endfield. In 1953, Harbin and a friend of Endfield's, Gershon Legman, discovered a common interest in the Japanese art of paper-folding. Harbin wrote many books on the subject, beginning with Paper Magic (illustrated by the young art student, the Australian Rolf Harris who in the middle of the project, caught the origami idea and contributed several intricate models himself) in 1965, and was the first President of the British Origami Society. He was the first Westerner to use the word origami for this art-form. He also presented a series of origami programs for ITV in its "Look-In" shows for children in the 1970s.
His grave is at Golders Green Crematorium in London.
Awards and honors
- Masters Fellowship from Academy of Magical Arts (1976)
- Something New in Magic, Davenport, (1929) as Ned Williams
- Psychic Vision, Davenport, (1930)
- Six Card Creations, Davenport, (1930) as Ned Williams
- Demon Magic, Davenport, (1938)
- How to Be a Wizard, Oldbourne, (1957), ISBN B0000CJUT3
- How to Be a Conjuror, Sphere, (1968), ISBN 0-7221-4322-2
- The Magic of Robert Harbin, C.W. Mole and Sons, (1970)
- Magic (Illustrated Teach Yourself), Knight, (1976), ISBN 0-340-20502-4
- Harbincadabra, brainwaves and brainstorms of Robert Harbin (1979) [i.e. N. Williams]: From the pages of Abracadabra, 1947-1965, R. Harbin.
- Magic (Illustrated Teach yourself), Treasure, (1983), ISBN 0-907812-39-2
- The Harbin Book, M. Breese, (1983), ISBN 0-947533-00-1
- Have Fun with Origami, Severn Ho., 1977, ISBN 0-7278-0225-9
- Have Fun with Origami, ITV, 1975, ISBN 0-900727-26-8
- More Origami, Hodder, 1971, ISBN 0-340-15384-9
- New Adventures in Origami, 1982, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-463555-4
- Origami: Art of Paper Folding, Coronet, 1969, ISBN 0-340-10902-5
- Origami: Art of Paper Folding, Coronet Books/Hodder, 1972, ISBN 0-340-16655-X
- Origami: The Art of Paperfolding, HarperPerennial, 1992, ISBN 0-06-092269-9
- Origami: Art of Paper Folding (Illustrated Teach Yourself), Picture Knight, 1975, ISBN 0-340-19381-6
- Origami: Art of Paper Folding (Coronet Books), Hodder Headline Australia, 1977, ISBN 0-340-21822-3
- Origami Step by Step, Hamlyn, 1974, ISBN 0-600-38109-9
- Origami (Teach Yourself), NTC Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-8442-3935-6
- Origami A/H, Hodder Arnold, 1976, ISBN 0-340-27950-8
- Secrets of Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding, Dover, 1997, ISBN 0-486-29707-1
- Secrets of Origami, old and new: The Japanese art of paper-folding, Oldbourne, 1964, ISBN B0000CM4YW
- Teach Yourself Origami, Teach Yourself Books, 2003, ISBN 0-07-141979-9
- Teach Yourself Origami, Hodder, 1968, ISBN 0-340-05972-9; 1992 reprint ISBN 0-340-56527-6; 2003 reprint ISBN 0-340-86008-1
- Origami: Art of Paper Folding (Teach Yourself), Hodder, 1973, ISBN 0-340-16646-0
- Paper Folding Fun, Oldbourne, 1960, ISBN B0000CKUYQ
- Paper Magic, Oldbourne, ISBN 0-356-01013-9
- Paper Magic: The art of paper folding, Oldbourne, 1956, ISBN B0000CJG8R
- Secrets of Origami, Octopus, 1972, ISBN 0-7064-0005-4
- Waddington's Family Card Games, Elm Tree, 1972, ISBN 0-241-02111-1
- Waddington's Family Card Games, Pan, 1974, ISBN 0-330-23892-2
- Party Lines, Oldbourne, 1963, ISBN B0000CLQIH
- Instant Memory: The Way to Success, Corgi, 1968, ISBN 0-552-06091-7
"Magic Marches on", which includes unpublished tricks, illusions and escapes, is to be included in "The Davenport Story" Volume Two, The Lost Legends (2010).
- ↑ Genii Magazine, Vol. 44, No. 4, April 1980, Memories of Robert Harbin By Bayard Grimshaw, page 266
- ↑ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7374226
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- Smith, Eric C. Introduction to Genius of Robert Harbin quoted at The Magic Depot. Aaron Smith.
- The Times, "Varieties, &c.", 9 Mar 1932, p.10, col. E
- The Times, "Broadcasting", 9 Feb 1937, p.9, col. A
- The Sphinx, Vol. 43, No. 6, August 1944, Tomorrow’s Devant, by Verrall Wass, page 153
- The Linking Ring, Vol. 29, No. 9, November 1949, Robert and Dorothy Harbin Visit Canada, by Bruce D. Postgate, page 18
- Cover, Genii Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 8, April 1969, Our Cover, If Ever A Wizard There Woz, by Bayard Grimshaw, page 327
- Cover, Genii Magazine, Vol. 42, No. 1, January 1978, Robert Harbin (February 12, 1908 – January 12, 1978), by Eric Lewis, page 37
- The Magic Circular, Vol. 72, No. 784, January-February 1978, Obituaries, Robert Harbin, A Tribute by Frederick Barlow, page 25
- The Times, "Obituaries", 13 Jan 1978, p.16, col.F
- Cover, The Magic Circular, Vol. 72, No. 785, March/April 1978, Robert Harbin – Service of Thanksgiving, page 29, Obituaries, Robert Harbin, page 34
- Cover, Genii Magazine, Vol. 43, No. 1, January 1979, Robert Harbin – As I Knew Him, by Eric Lewis, page 23, Ned Williams, by Robert Harbin, page 32
- Genii Magazine, Vol. 44, No. 1, January 1980, My Dear Friend Robert Harbin, by Frederick Barlow, page 38
- The Magic Circular, Vol. 103, No. 1111, February 2009, Robert Harbin Centenary: A Wizard if ever there Woz, by Bayard Grimshaw, page 44
- Cover, Magische Welt, Vol. 58, No. 2, März-April 2009, Biographie Robert Harbin, page 67
- Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Williams, Edward Richard Charles „Ned“ = Robert Harbin, engl. Zauberkünstler (*12.02.1908 Kookstaad, Südafrika; †12.01.1978), page 370
- Eric C. Lewis, The Genius of Robert Harbin: A Personal Biography, Mike Caveney's Magic Words (1997), ISBN 0-915-18130-8