Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

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Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby Pistol » Jan 8th, '23, 09:30



This is Mandrake’s son, Pete.
Sadly, a few days before Christmas, my father Paul Stevens (better known here as Mandrake) died.

bananafish did publish a Broken Wand post in Magic News after it happened but frustratingly it was automatically deleted after a few days. So I thought that I should create a new post for those that didn’t see it and to provide a little more information about this unique man. If you replied to that original post then please comment again here.

Dad survived gastroesophageal cancer in 2014/15 after major surgery and chemotherapy. He received the ‘all clear’ a few years later and, whilst he had to make some adaptions, he was able to continue life without any other problems. Unfortunately, in April 2022 he was diagnosed with bone cancer and had a tumour removed from his spine. For a few months after that he was focused on recovery and rehabilitation. We even managed to go to FISM 2022 Quebec together at the end of July (and had a wonderful time!). We bought the tickets in 2018 so he was determined to go, even though he’d completed 5 days of radiotherapy the week before!

In early December his health declined rapidly and he was admitted to hospital with bone marrow failure. The blood and platelet transfusions didn’t work so the palliative care team organised for him to return home for his final few days.

Paul Stevens died peacefully at home on Friday 16 December. He is survived by his wife, two sons and one grandson.

I have attached part of the eulogy that I read at his funeral so that you can read a little more about this wonderful man (Memories of Dad.pdf linked below), along with two photo montages from the funeral.

Dad loved magic. He rarely performed, only to family typically, but he loved the art and science of magic. I caught the bug from him too and have also loved magic for my entire life. Dad and I would regularly discuss magic, share videos, go to shows and conventions, and generally share our love for the art. I will miss him terribly.

Over the last almost 20 years as a moderator here Dad contributed 27494 posts to Talkmagic!?! He would always have Talkmagic open on a tab on his computer. He enjoyed interacting with and learning from all of the people here. I know that in recent years there has been less traffic but Dad still continued to diligently check the forum every day (multiple times!), sharing news, replying to posts, dealing with spam, etc. He was still doing this from his bed only a few days before his death.

I don’t know what this means for the future of Talkmagic, perhaps that discussion is best for a separate post. But I hope that Talkmagic continues and I will do what I can to help with that. One of the last things Dad did was to turn off new registrations because he wanted to protect the forum from spam.

Finally, thank you to all of you for being part of this forum and for your love of magic. Dad dedicated his time here because he passionately shared that love and enjoyed interacting with all of you. I will continue to honour Dad’s love for this art. We were due to go to Blackpool together in a few weeks. I will still go, so if any of you are there and would like to raise a glass to him then that would be lovely.

Please comment below with any messages or stories about Mandrake/Dad/Paul, it will be wonderful to read them.

Paul ‘Mandrake’ Stevens 29 December 1947 – 16 December 2022

Attachments
Memories of Dad.pdf
Memories of Paul 'Mandrake' Stevens, written by his son Pete.
(38.76 KiB) Downloaded 440 times
Montage-2lr.jpg
Montage-1lr.jpg
Last edited by Pistol on Jan 9th, '23, 13:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby magicofthemind » Jan 8th, '23, 10:38

Hi Pete

Thanks for posting this. I only 'knew' your Dad from his postings here as Mandrake - I didn't even know his real name - so it's good to hear more about him and see the photos.

So sorry for your sad loss. I'm sure everyone here will miss him, as well as everyone who knew him personally. RIP.

Barry Cooper

Last edited by magicofthemind on Jan 9th, '23, 10:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby moonbeam » Jan 9th, '23, 00:15

Thanks for posting an update - so sorry for your loss.
I met him once at the Blackpool Magic convention in 2009 - we only chatted briefly for 10 mins ish, but I can still remember it well.
His contributions on here were enormous .... I just hope this forum continues, as it would be a great shame to lose all these posts and all the knowledge and wisdom that's been acquired over the years.

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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby Barry Allen » Jan 9th, '23, 23:54

Many thanks Pete for your message.

Dad clearly was such an inspiration to you - and I'm sure that he will continue to live on fondly within your heart, mind and happy memories of the times that you spent together.

I'm one of the newer members on this forum (albeit not new to the Art). I greatly admire the sterling work that Paul put into this place - and it's sad to see not so many new posts appearing lately. Hopefully, the interest can be kick-started; as keeping this forum alive would, I'm quite sure from what you've said above, be a fitting tribute to Dad's memory.

With every best wish as you move forward mate.

Best regards,

Baz

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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby Blaab » Jan 10th, '23, 09:18

Thanks Pete for posting, very sad time. It was good to see you and the family at the funeral.

I'll never forget the first magic kit a purchased, I was on holiday down Cornwall with your dad when we went into a magic shop. It was a Paul Daniels beginners set, had so many hours of fun practicing and showing everyone the tricks. Your dad's love of magic was infectious, and although I haven’t done any magic tricks myself for several years, I still love to watch others perform their routines.

I’ll also always be grateful to your dad for the time he came to my rescue after my first car crash, as my parents were away on holiday. Even though he was working, he came out to assist me and even took me out on the evening in the courtesy car, as he knew if I didn’t get back behind the wheel quickly I was likely to lose my confidence and struggle to drive again.

To be honest, I have so many great memories of your dad after all the family events, holidays and Christmas’ which our families spent together.

He will be missed very much. x

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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby Pistol » Jan 11th, '23, 15:00

Thank you all for your kind words. Dad/Mandrake really was a wonderful and unique man. You can read more about him in the PDF attached to my original post.
Whilst this is obviously a very sad time, I am very happy for the life we had together. I learnt so much from him and got my love of magic from him too.

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Re: Broken Wand - Mandrake (Paul Stevens)

Postby bananafish » Jan 11th, '23, 23:34

Paul/Mandrake was indeed one of the greats. Not just for his contribution to Magic, which definitely should never be forgotten, but because he was a true Gentleman in all aspects of life. I really mean that sincerely, and I am confident that anyone who has come in contact with him, whether it be here at Talk Magic, or in real life will agree with me.

The name he chose to use on this forum was itself very fitting. Mandrake the Magician was a comic strip, created by Lee Falk before he created The Phantom, back in the 1930's.

"Mandrake is a magician whose work is based on an unusually fast hypnotic technique. As noted in captions, when Mandrake "gestures hypnotically", his subjects see illusions, and Mandrake has used this technique against a variety of villains including gangsters, mad scientists, extraterrestrials, and characters from other dimensions. In short he used his magic skills fighting off evil."


Image

I first met Paul here at Talk Magic, but still remember fondly the first time we met in real life at a seedy B&B at a Blackpool Magic Convention many years ago. For some reason we picked a B&B that felt like it was several miles from the convention hall, but that just gave us more opportunity to chat on the long walk in every morning. In the years that followed we discovered the Boltonia Hotel in Albert Road, which was closer and friendlier by far, and it became our annual meet up place. In fact I think it was there that I also first met Peter, Paul's son.

Whenever I got to Blackpool Paul was always the first person I wanted to meet up with and we would always go out for a meal that first night, to catch up. He was such a gentle character, who always made that little bit of extra effort in everything he did. Even going to the stage shows at Blackpool he would always be immaculately suited and booted - respecting the event for what it was. A truly great night of magic.

He will certainly be missed. Not just by his family, but for the many close friends he made on the journey.

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