PONGOLIAN VISITORS BOOK

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Message 90 - Tony Curtis
As a child I watched Ali Bongo on the David Nixon show. When I was a teenager he was on the Paul Daniels show. In adult life and as a magic dealer I saw and spoke to him at many magic conventions around the world. Sadly Ali Bongo is no longer with us but his memory will always remain.

Tony Curtis

Bangkok Thailand
14 March 2009

Message 89 - Niels Sayers
It was a pleasure to meet you . Thank you for all what you did in magic.
13 March 2009

Message 88 - Peter Gardner
Ali was and is a great man in magic. He shared some wonderful insights into his past on the David Nixon show with me.

Ali was also a very generous man and allowed me to put a copy of one of his lectures into our Fellowship of Christian Magicians (UK) members library.

He even phoned me at 11pm one evening to make sure that I had all the facts for the lecture.

He will be greatly missed by us all.
13 March 2009

Message 87 - Jahn & Gun Gallo
My wife “Gun” and I have some very nice memories of Ali Bongo! First time we worked together with Ali Bongo was about 30 years ago in Oslo Norway. We did a Gala show for The Magic Circle of Norway- the venue for the show was big Circus top.
Now, to work in a circus ring is very different from doing a stage or cabaret act! You find you self surrounded by people on all sides, and you have to adjust to that fact... Ali needed five seconds to do that!!! He was using the circus ring to 100% and it looked like he had been born and worked in the circus for his whole life. Very impressing!
Last time we had the pleasure to work together with Ali was in France, at the Casino Forges les Eaux, in 19th International Magic Festival of Magic 2006, and again he surprised us!
To us he was the typical British Gentleman and to see and hear him present the show in perfect French was just fantastic!
He was conducting the whole show and did his own effects between the acts he presented - In the Grand Finale he even did a song and dance act!
The time we spend with Ali in France will always be a fantastic memory for us!
Ali, you are greatly missed.

Sincerely
Jahn & Gun
13 March 2009

Message 86 - David Lait
We have lost a great magical mind and a good friend.
He was a gentleman and a gentle man.

David
13 March 2009

Message 85 - Brian Taylor
Ali has been such an inspiration to so many throughout the world. He was a most fascinating and amazing man, and I know that he name Ali Bongo will remain in the hearts of many forever. Rest in Peace Ali.
13 March 2009

Message 84 - Babs Bruce
I so wish Ali could read these tributes to him he would have been so proud! I have known him forever and am devestated at this loss, I cannot begin to tell you all about a friend.

With Love Babs
13 March 2009

Message 83 - Careena Fenton
I only knew Ali for a short time, but I am so proud to have met him! He showed me a wonderful card flourish and also gave me some sound practical advice on how to make a trick I was working on better! He was a lovely, welcoming and fun man and I will miss him.
13 March 2009

Message 82 - Jim Toth, Regina, Sask. Canada
I was very saddenned to hear of Ali's passing. He was a man bigger than life and for that reason gave much. He will be sadly missed at the many venues at which he performed - both deliberately and just by being there. farewell friend,
Jim Toth
13 March 2009

Message 81 - TREVOR LEWIS
I admired Ali and always listened to his advice, ideas and thinking. He loved magic and magic loved him. Val and I were so sorry to hear the sad news, especially since we had heard that he was making some progress towards a recovery. Alas it was not to be and sadly we bid farewell to another Master of Magic. Although he has left us, his name, creativity and ability will never be forgotten.
Val and Trevor Lewis.
13 March 2009

Message 80 - Edward Hilsum
Ali was a great help and a true inspiration to me and i'm sure many others at the Young Magicians Club. He was always there to help us with any questions we had and of course to share his amazing knowledge. He offered encouragement and golden advice whenever he could to help improve our magic. The workshops will never be the same without him and neither will the shows afterwards without the impossible puzzle halfway through!

Ali was an amazing person and will be greatly missed.

Thank you for all your help Ali.

You will always be remembered.

Edward Hilsum
13 March 2009

Message 79 - Don Wiberg
The magic world has lost another giant! However; we can all take comfort in remembering all the joy that Ali Bongo brought to audiences all over the world. Who can forget the “Shreik of Araby” stomping around the stage in those oversize shoes? Or, who can forget the subtle humor of just plain (or not so plain) Ali. (His wardrobe and performance always made him stand out on any magic program.

As I was looking through a number of magic books the other night, I was amazed at the number of authors who sought out Ali as an illustrator. His illustrations helped to make the tricks easier to understand and added life and humor to those books. His memory will live on forever in those books and in many other ways.

I’m sure I speak for his many friends in the International Brotherhood of Magicians when I say Ali will be missed but his legacy will live on forever.

Don Wiberg, International Secretary
International Brotherhood of Magicians
13 March 2009

Message 78 - Guy Philips
I was given the Ali Bongo book of Magic as a 7 yr old and studied and made all the tricks. I still perform a couple of them today. The book and Ali's work was a huge influence on my life.
I was fortunate to meet Ali at the IBM/SAM convention in Louisville KY. Ali signed the book and could not have been nicer. I am so honored to have met him and hope to pass the book onto my kids so they may experience magic the way I did.
Ali Bongo may you rest in peace - know that you have influenced generations of magician and will continue to do so well into the future.
With sincere appreciation
Guy Philips
13 March 2009

Message 77 - Rod Newman
Sad thoughts but happy memories of someone who took the time to teach me. My thoughts are with his family and freinds at this time. Both his biological and his magical family have lost someone very special but I can almost hear the angels now laughing with delight as Ali struts performs for then, no doubt dressed as conservatively as he always did! Rest in peace Ali.
13 March 2009

Message 76 - John Henley
As a friend of Ali's for nigh on 50 years, I like to look back on how much he has influenced the lives of so many people.

This is evident from the various messages posted on this site and on other tribute web sites. He was always willing to help and advise others. He provided all of the artwork for our 1966 magic catalogue, illustrations for his Bongo Bazaar column we ran in the "TV COMIC", the design for the Hamleys Magic Department that we set up in their store on Wigmore Street and his promotion of the Regent Street Hamley's magic department, in full Shriek of Araby regalia.

I was fortunate on my last trip to the UK in September 2006 to meet with Ali at the Magic Circle HQ and spend time with him there and at dinner afterwards - a time when we could chat about so many events and people from the past that we both knew.

He will be sadly missed.
13 March 2009

Message 75 - Helen Rose
A short tribute from me to Cousin Billy...
As a young child, as Alison said, I basked in his celebrity! (and being descended from Braveheart! Lol)
I have many memories of his visits - and visiting his flat. Always magical and very special.
Especially a birthday party when he entertained my friends.
Lost for words really/
xxxxx
13 March 2009

Message 74 - Scott Alcalay
On behalf of the Oakland Magic Circle, Oakland, California, we send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Ali Bongo. For those of us who have seen him perform and entertain, he was a true inspiration to all magicians world wide.

Sincerely,
Scott Alcalay
President, Oakland Magic Circle
13 March 2009

Message 73 - Marlene Clark - S.A.M. National Secretary
I shall remember Ali Bongo for his gentle and caring spirit, as well as for his frenetic stage character and sense of playfulness. We spoke only a few times, but I always came away enriched, and he made my visit to the Magic Circle memorable. Thank you, Ali, for making my magical journey so enjoyable.
13 March 2009

Message 72 - Rob Cox
The sad news of Ali's passing is so hard to take. I visited Ali in hospital last Friday - he was looking frail but in good spirits. As I got up to leave I took his hand and he squeezed mine tight as we said 'Goodbye'. It turned out to be the last 'Goodbye'.

They say no-one is irreplaceable but Ali came closer to that than anyone else I know. The world was the richer for his presence and is the poorer for his passing.

Rest in peace, my friend.
13 March 2009

Message 71 - Judith Fisken Andrew Fisken
A wonderful witty man who turned everything into a magical event!
It was an honour to have known him and count him as a friend

The Great Ali Bongo an end of an era!

13 March 2009

Message 70 - Abby Cadabra
Ali was such a generous man even giving 1to1 instructoin in the middle of a lecture i only met Ali on 4 occations but felt that i had known him my whole life whenever I do the pom poms it will have a new meaning from now on. Ali you will be truley missed

Love Abby
13 March 2009

Message 69 - Joe Derrington
Ali was an inspiration to everyone at the YMC
We loved his anecdotes and his Loud bow-ties
also his loud suits all glittery and of different colors.
A legend amungst magicians
you will be missed at the YMC
Rest in Peace Ali
13 March 2009

Message 68 - Craig and Joanne Dickson
We both loved this man, and shared some other special connections. The world of magic, and the world in general lost a very special friend. Ali made a difference, a huge difference. Rest in peace dear friend, we will remember all the light you brought to us both, always and forever.
13 March 2009

Message 67 - Derek W. Hilton
What a fantastic man.
Magic will never be the same.

Sleep well my friend,

Derek
13 March 2009

Message 66 - William ESTON
A very good human man and an incredible artist disappears.

Ali Bongo gives us a magical universe empty !

I am very sad. Condolences to the family of William Wallace
13 March 2009

Message 65 - Natalie Cro
When I found out that Ali had passed away, I was devistated. The way he would give you 110% of his attention when he'd talk to you, anyone would think he was talking to an old friend! He would always have time and a smile for people regardless of age, gender, magic experience or anything.

My first memory of being at the Young Magicians' Club includes Ali and I have to admit (due to my age) that I thought "who's that cheery old guy? He's got funny ears and sure likes to dress brightly!" (no disrespect!) I had no idea about any of the things he'd done and what a huge part of magic he was, and that was mostly because of my age but also because he didn't have any of that arrogant "look at me, I'm great" attitude about him that other people with his amount of acheivements might have, he was totally down to Earth, approachable and only too happy to advise you or to just have a chat! I quickly realised what a lovely man he was and that he loved nothing more than to help us YMC members to learn as much as possible and he was never short on enthusiasm, passion for the art and sheer excitement whenever he was around, it was pretty much like he was a little boy inside jumping about, eager to show us a funny trick or to share a great story that went along with how it came about. And I'm glad that I was able to join the Magic Circle when I did as it meant I got to speak to him and be around him away from the madness of YMC workshops.

I'll always remember the fact that when I entered Young Magician of the Year, Ali was sitting behind my mum in the audience, while he was judging, and she told me that he said to another judge "I like her, she's good" from the great Ali Bongo - what a compliment!

I'll certainly never forget him, his impact on my attitude to magic or the things he shared with us and I'll always be greatful for the chats we shared, even if they were relatively brief. My only regret in knowing Ali is that I didn't get to know him more.

Thank you and Rest in Peace, Ali.

Natalie
13 March 2009

Message 64 - Christopher Weller (Zanti)
Ali will long be remembered as a great magician and a real gentleman.
He will be hugely missed at The Magic Circle.
13 March 2009

Message 63 - Phil Peters
Ali was always very generous with his comments and encouragements. There will never be another like him!
13 March 2009

Message 62 - Joël and Jill
Ali was, no, IS one the best man and magician of the world.
We remeber him his talent, his kiendness and his ability to share withe all everyboby

Our eyes are full of tears

Ali. We will all miss you
13 March 2009

Message 61 - Davide Costi
Ali,
You will be missed by the thousands of friends and millions of admirers you have around the world, I will miss our shows together (Stockholm, FISM, Bologna, London etc.).
Thank you for sharing with us your knowledge and love for the Magic Art, thank you again.
13 March 2009

Message 60 - Donald Wallace
What I remember most about Ali was his great kindess in performing for my local magic club here in Bristol. Always asking for a much lower fee than other lesser known names. He was always willing to help.Loved and missed by all..
Donald Wallace
13 March 2009

Message 59 - Alan Mylecraine
A true legend who will be sadly missed, a man who always had time for you whenever you approached him, and that is such a rare quality these days.
13 March 2009

Message 58 - George Sc hindler- Dean S A M
The Society of American Magicians offers its condolences to the family and
friends of Ali Bongo. He was a loved and respected Life Member of our
organization. Our worldwide fraternity will never be same without him.
13 March 2009

Message 57 - Peter Din
All the organizing team of the Magic Circle of Paris and the whole of the French magicians are of any heart with our English friends and divide with them, the memory moved by an exceptional artist, whose memory will remain engraved of each one of us.

I will want to transmit to Alisson all the tenderness of our comfort and the insurance of our supports.

Goodbye, you we miss already Ali.

Peter DIN
President of the FFAP
13 March 2009

Message 56 - Jerry O'Connell
The World of Entertainment have lost a great man, he was best known as Ali Bongo. RIP
13 March 2009

Message 55 - Jimmy Carlo
I have to say, we have all lost a friend. Ali used to ring me up every time he was going to Japan and ask if I needed any wigs for my Sumo Act. The first time he actually gave them me as a present, saying the line, I have just been to Japan, saw these and thought of you. Many times after that he got us stuff from Japan.

He was a great person and will be missed by many. RIP Ali. x
13 March 2009

Message 54 - Carl Pettman
Ali was a real genius, a true gentleman, with generous spirit and kind heart. The Magic Circle will never be the same without him. He will be missed by all.
13 March 2009

Message 53 - Lee Alex
My dear Ali - what a great inspiration you have been from the very beginning.

A child could ask for no more than to wait eagerly in front of the television and catch a glimpse of you in your outrageous costume, or know that your hand had touched the magic of other artists on the same screen.

Your encouragement knew no bounds from the moment I produced chocolate from "your" production box right up to the very last moment.

I am grateful I have so many things around me that keep you and your magic alive - these I shall treasure more than I ever did, along with only happy memories.

Until we meet in the green room in the sky - rest in peace.
13 March 2009

Message 52 - Terry Herbert
Ali and I went back a long way. When I created The Great Fiasco Act he was the first to give me help and encouragement and through his kindness and generosity, introduced me to many contacts internationally.
He was, without doubt, a legend in his own lifetime and had a huge reputation, not only in the magic world but, as proved by the many testimonials coming through, by the general public.
He will be so missed. God Bless you Ali for the inspiration you gave to so many of us
13 March 2009

Message 51 - John Milner
Having spent a lifetime in magic Ali seems to have been a large part of it. He was always there to offer advice and encouragement. If I needed to know something in magic Ali would almost certainly know. At conventions and the circle meetings he was there. A friendly face to talk to. In later years he lectured at our magic shop and opened our extention. He also accepted an invitation to become patron of Stourbridge Magic Club.
We will miss him dreadfully.
13 March 2009

Message 50 - David Mather
I only met Ali once, when he lectured at the Surrey Society of Magicians. As a fairly new magician ( 6 years) I had lots of questions for him and subsequently contacted him about a prop he had spoken about. He treated me as if we had known each other for years and sent full details of the prop's working. A lovely man.
13 March 2009

Message 49 - Bernhard Schmitz
We will miss him - a great magician - a great man.
He is now conjouring with some of the greatest magicians ... in heaven.
Best salaams Ali !
13 March 2009

Message 48 - Spyros Melaris -'Dr Magic'
Ali was a devoted member of The Magic Circle. He was an inventor and he was an artist.
Whenever there was conflict at The Circle, and Lord knows I had my fair share, Ali was always level headed and he was always honest and fair. Ali often told me when I was right, and he also told me in no uncertain terms if he thought I was wrong. He had no enemies but some in The Magic Circle said "He can never be the President of The Magic Circle, because he has a silly name" (fact) I thank God that Ali WAS The President of his beloved Magic Circle, and he achieved this before he died. I have had the pleasure of calling Ali Bongo my friend. He taught me Magic. he supported me when the world seemed to be against me, and he showed me that it was alright to be silly sometimes.

When I passed my Magic Circle exam, I was more delighted by the fact that it was signed by David Berglas and the knowledge that Ali had written it out in his own calligraphy.
The most memorable event for me was when I was preparing for a show at The Magic Circle and I wanted to levitate a match stick in mid air and have it burst into flames in full flight. Ali got to work at once and we spent about 5 hours perfecting how I was going to achieve this miracle. We practiced and practiced and after having set fire to a Persian rug, and a table cloth we eventually perfected the trick. Ali was fantastic at this sort of thing and to say he gave with love and was selfless in everything he did is simply an understatement.

I know that I have written far too much already but writing this I feel that in some way, you might be listening. I know you would probably be very surprised to know just how many peoples lives you touched and that we miss you so very much.

Rest in Peace our dear friend. Save a place for me wherever you are, there is so much more I need to learn.
With Love always and fond memories,
Spyros.
13 March 2009

Message 47 - Fluke
Living near to Ali I gave him lifts whenever we both appeared at the same event. I never tired of hearing his life stories - the M1 became a shorter motorway with Ali in the car. His energy and passion inspired me and I loved his individuality and his sense of fun.

Ali was held in great affection not only by the magic community but by the public too. My partner's face always lit up when he answered the phone to find Ali at the other end. My father-in-law, John, was also a big fan. I only knew John at the end of his life when he was a very sick man but my mother-in-law said to me recently, "If John had known that you knew Ali Bongo it would have made his life!"

Ali, you are a legend. I will miss you greatly.
13 March 2009

Message 46 - Sam Cross MMC
Sometimes you don't realise how much someone means to you until they are no longer around. Many times I have chatted with Ali Bongo about this and that. Mainly magic of course. He was always interested in what I was doing, he was always enthusiastic and always offering advice, hints and tips that he had picked up over his many years dedicated to the art. At the YMC he conducted lessons on stage craft and I still remember the words he spoke and adhere to them when I perform.

Although I could not call myself a close friend of Ali Bongo - he always treated me as though I was. He gave me time and interest when I was younger and newer to magic. He was one of the main reasons I wanted to carry on. People like Ali don't come around very often and when they do and pass on they are always going to be sorely missed. I don't think anyone will ever forget Ali and those of us that were lucky to have chats with him, to hear him speak and lecture or even see him perform - wrapped up in the joy he found in magic - will keep his memory alive for years to come.

My favourite memory of him was walking to The Magic Circle from Euston station and back again at the end of the evening. Just talking. I suppose, with a heavy heart, I admit that in that moment I did not realise I was in the company of greatness and walking beside a true legend of magic. He was so humble in his approach even though he had more reason to boast that anyone else I know. The Magic Circle will be a strange place to go for some time. His presence will be missed and it will be obvious. His personality was massive and infectious and he really did light the place up.

Rest in Peace Ali Bongo - Thank you for your time, your dedication and your friendship.
13 March 2009

Message 45 - Gunnar Kr. Sigurjonsson
I was very lucky to meet Ali and he was truly a gentleman and a genuine ambassador of magic, keeping magic alive wherever he went. He was an inspiration to so many magicians and will be missed.
Rest in peace!
Gunnar Kr.
IBM Ring 371
Iceland.
13 March 2009

Message 44 - John Cheek (USA, IBM)
I was just getting ready to sit down and write him a get well card, when I read about him in the sick on convelecence page of the Linking Ring. the next day I saw that he had passed. the world of magic has lost a great man.
13 March 2009

Message 43 - Kevin Doig
I have nothing strikingly original to add to the tributes to Ali, but felt the need to record my feeling of devastation at his passing. Maybe my eyes were blinkered, but I just assumed he was going to pull through the illness which finally took him.

An extremely generous man, Ali was always there with suggestions and advice - and even surprise gifts when he saw something on his travels that made him think of you. How I enjoyed sharing ideas and opinions at the Young Magicians' Club workshops. Those members will miss him enormously.

Although as part of The Magic Circle stage crew I never managed to get him to think more modern than the cassette tape, Ali's interest in music for performance (and the quirky pieces he found) was very similar to mine and we also shared a passion for silent comedy and, particularly, Laurel and Hardy. I debated with him issues both small and huge about the world of magic in particular and entertainment in general often both of us in full agreement but at other times agreeing to disagree.

I'm going to miss you so very, very much, Ali. Now at least you will be able to resume your dicussions with one of your magic friends Billy McComb about which one of you invented every "new" trick a hundred years ago! Rest easy, dear friend.
13 March 2009

Message 42 - Craig Duffy
Ali fascinated me from the first time I met him with my father and mother - friends in the 50's until the last time I saw him at my fathers funeral 15 years ago. He was always a sight to behold and gentleman and I always looked for his name on any magic shows on television. He influenced my father in the coffee houses of London way back in the 50's and them my brother who followed suit so many years later in America. - A good man and a gentleman and when he performed magic for us while drinking tea in the sitting room of our house it was something special that I have always remembered. Aged 8 those shoes or shows never failed to amaze - he had great friends, was a great man - God bless and much love. - And I never forgot 'past your eyes milk'
12 March 2009

Message 41 - Chaz
A real gentleman, who had time for everyone.
It was Ali who gave me the name for my stilt walking wizard (Zandar) He will be missed in the magic world. A very much a hard act to follow
You will not be forgotten you have left a wealth of work with your name stamped all over it
Rest in Peace
12 March 2009

Message 40 - Chris Gasiorek
Very sad news. Ali was my first influence, in that I loved watching various TV progs as a kid and spotting his name in the credits as 'magical advisor'. When I first saw him many, many years later in real life at a Magic Circle event and then a short time later at the Zodiac Magical Society, it sent shivers down my spine!

A great man. A great innovator. He will be missed.

He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers
12 March 2009

Message 39 - Mark Fisken
I was very shocked and sad to hear of Ali's passing on Sunday. I last saw Ali in september at our Castle of Magic Event at Stirling Castle. We sat and enjoyed a lovely meal at the Portcullis dissecting the weekends events chatting late into the evening. Looking always of ways to improve the event and plan for the following year. Sadly the Castle of Magic -Stirling Castle was I believe to be Ali's last public performance in Scotland - a fitting curtain call for a man named William Wallace . Ali has been a true inspiration from watching him on television to receiving my 'Ali Bongo Book of Magic' to finally meeting him and enjoying his friendship over the last seven years. Ali was a magicians magician, a true entertainer , a wizard of wonder. Ali with his guidance and support has allowed me to develop my magic further and take my magic career to the next level. It was thanks to Ali's nomination- I am now a member of 'The Magic Circle' . To which i will always be very honoured. Each moment with Ali I will treasure. Ali will be missed but never forgotten.
12 March 2009

Message 38 - Elwyn Harries
As President of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians UK I would like to express the gratitude of our Fellowship to Ali for his generosity and kindness. We would like to assure his family and friends of our prayerfull support in these days of grief and pain.
12 March 2009

Message 37 - James Stubbs
Ali was one of the first magicians I ever saw on TV and a major influence on me wanting to get into magic in the first place. I loved the fun, the colour, the flamboyance, the frenetic pace and eccentric wildness of it all! His name was everywhere, to the point that when Paul Daniels was on Swap Shop once (I was about 10), and the question was "With which world famous magician do I share my birthday?", I was convinced it was Ali Bongo, because I thought surely he was the answer to ANY question about magic! I really did.

The only fight I can remember in the playground was over the Ali Bongo Book of Magic, because my "best friend" managed to get hold of a copy before I did. I told Ali the story when he signed it for me a couple of months ago. He liked that.

When I joined The Magic Circle, this childhood hero of mine became my friend. I couldn't believe that this genius with a worldwide reputation would make time for an amateur like me. His warmth, generosity of spirit, genuine interest in people, encyclopaedic knowledge, truthfulness, honesty, integrity, encouragement and wisdom will remain with me for ever as a very treasured memory.

Ali will be sorely missed, but remembered with much love and affection.
12 March 2009

Message 36 - John & Carol Pye
Ali was one of the greats of magig, the likes of which I doubt whether we will ever see again. His unasuming persona belied his great talent and ingenuity, he was always there with friendly advice. Having known him for almost a lifetime, we cannot envisage life without the chats and phone calls! His flamboyance and humour endeared him to all whom he met throughout the world. It has been my pleasure to serve with him on the Committee of The British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, he will be greatly missed. Our most sincere condolences and prayers go out to his family at this time.
12 March 2009

Message 35 - Matthew Buckland
I was fortunate to meet Ali twice both at conventions, and he was gracious and warm, taking time to talk and offer advice to me - I felt privileged to have this towering giant of the magical community talking to me.

He lives on in the magic and presentations he invented and in the joy he bought to so many.

Matt
12 March 2009

Message 34 - Lee Hathaway
What a unique person Ali was.....even in his passing it's difficult to be sad for too long - I only need think of his warmth and kindness, colourful attire and the privelidge and pleasure of having known him to fill my soul with joy and bring a smile to my face.

i'm sure, like many, if i started listing my experiences of Ali and the times he'd just turn up at a gig or show or meet somewhere I could go on forever, so suffice to say goodbye Ali, you were a truly amazing person and I'll miss our chats more than I put into words.

I'll think of you every time I wear my funky new bow-tie!
12 March 2009

Message 33 - John Woolvett
A truly magical man who will be deeply missed. An honour to have known him.
12 March 2009

Message 32 - Johnny Gapp
Hi Ali

Deaf magicians from all over the world thank you for your great friendship and support, you always stopped to chat with us, thought you could not sign, you have great patience with pen and paper to communicate.
wherever you went to conventions in many countries you always tried to meet a deaf magician.

as President of the Society of World Deaf Magicians I had met you several times and enjoyed a chat and laugh, I have a great photo of us together took a few months ago and will treasure it.

Ali enjoy yourself in that great big magic club in the sky and have fun.

always remember you as a true gentleman and great Magician.
12 March 2009

Message 31 - Stephen Kennard
The name Ali Bongo has always been part of my life and my love of magic stems directly from his time on the Nixon show.

On joining The Magic Circle it was an honour finally to meet Ali and to see his enthusiasm and inventiveness first hand. It was also a delight as he was always charming and generous to everyone with his time and advice.

Ali – you are an inspiration and are greatly missed by us all.

Stephen
12 March 2009

Message 30 - Mark Farrar
I only had the pleasure of meeting Ali a few times, although I was fortunate enough to see him lecture on many occasions.

What impressed me, apart from his sheer creativity and inventiveness and his penchant for coming up with the most unlikely solutions and methods, was the meticulous way he made notes about everything he did, so that if he returned to do another lecture for the same club, he wouldn't cover the same material again.

If Robert-Houdin was the father of modern magic, then Ali Bongo was the father of DIY magic - sticky-back plastic, cardboard tubes and all - it was like a magic version of Blue Peter.

It is a real shame that a man who gave his life to magic with such enthusiasm was robbed of his chance to serve his full term as The Magic Circle's President, as this honour was long overdue.

He will be missed by many, many magicians all over the world, and the best way his memory can be honoured will be to carry on his good work and follow the example he set to all, not only about magic but about life itself.
12 March 2009

Message 29 - Steve Giles
Ali was always there if you needed him.
If you needed any help or an idea Ali would come up with an answer.
He was a kind and dear friend.

I shall miss him, and so will countless others.
Good Bye Ali, I hope that we meet again in Pongolia under the Great Banyan Tree.
12 March 2009

Message 28 - Mark Lee
I will always remember Ali's friendship in recent years. I treasured and felt honoured to receive his phone calls. He was one of a kind, always willing to share ideas and tips on both the mechanics and performance of magic. He seemed to have limitless energy, indeed his passion to help everyone (one by one) enhance their ability to entertain with magic was plain for all to see.

I was honoured to work with him on the Club Night Committee for a period and know how much he aspired to be President of The Magic Circle. I attended the AGM in the hope of seeing him installed (as he was). I would otherwise have helped commiserate. Thank goodness his ambition was achieved. It ushered in a new dawn for The Magic Circle and I hope that this will be another testement to his memory. Like so many other members I have various copies of Ali's lecture notes as well as scribbled notes picked up from his talks and lectures. I wish he'd been be spared longer to serve as our President but at least he got there and we were able to share in his joy at fulfilling this most important of ambassadorial roles for The Magic Circle.

As others have said - he is irreplaceable and we'll not see his like again. RIP dear friend.
12 March 2009

Message 27 - Archie McIntyre
Ali Bongo - magician, inventor, gentleman, friend, and withal generous to a fault. So many adjectives available, not a single one does him justice.
12 March 2009

Message 26 - Alan Jones
A gentle-man, a creative-man, an inspirational man.

His contribution to magic cannot be overstated - a recognised mentor to our finest; the 'first' magic lesson for many and the un-named wizard helping actors, directors and producers to others.

His magic will go on...

We will hear it in the laugh of children and the gasps of adults when fellow performers take some of his may offerings and use them in their shows. From pom-poms, to prayer sticks, candy canes to mirrors being penetrated by dice - his creativity survives in the effects he developed and through the influence he has had on generations of magicians and magical thinkers.
12 March 2009

Message 25 - colin robinson
a sad loss... agreat man and entertainer
12 March 2009

Message 24 - Franklin Arbisman
The magic world will be so much the poorer for the passing of Ali, he was a great inspiration and helped many magicians and mentalists alike.
Up to the 1980's whilst living in London I use to be a member of the Circle until I moved up to Leeds, and on many occasions I use to see Ali there and he was always very approachable. I remember on one occasion I needed help with something I was doing, getting into conversation with him he came up with a working method for me that I used and later it went into one of his many magic lectures he gave.
Also how can anyone forget his highly entertaining Shriek of Araby act a highlight of many magical gala show?
Yes I certainly have great memories.
May his soul rest in peace
12 March 2009

Message 23 - Paul Gordon
I recall a 7 hour train journey with Ali. He made the journey seem short...what with all his stories. Great times!! Miss him...
12 March 2009

Message 22 - Boris Wild
Dear Ali,

I will never forget the last moments we have spent together in Paris: the Bongo song you sang for us at convention, your incredible enthusiasm when you opened your suitcase on your hospital bed to show some of the tricks you were planning to do at the lecture... and of course your inimitable impression of Gollum!

I will never forget these moments as well as all the other ones we have shared together for the past twenty years. They are engraved in my mind and in my heart. Your passion and love for magic have always kept you so young that I really thought you were immortal. I was wrong. I have never hated to be wrong like that.

Rest in peace my friend and keep entertaining everybody up there just like you did for us over here with your fantastic and unique style.

Thanks for everything. We miss you.

Love,

Boris Wild
12 March 2009

Message 21 - Barry Cooper
Ali was the first Council member to say hello when I joined The Magic Circle a few years ago and we had several chats after that - I just wish there had been a chance for more. The last time I spoke to him was immediately before the AGM when he was elected as President; I asked him how he was feeling - he was very nervous!

Tributes are always said to "pour in" - but in this case it's more like a flood, as he was so well loved by everyone who knew him.

A great magician, a great inventor and a great man.

Rest in peace, Ali.
12 March 2009

Message 20 - Michael Williams
My very first visit to the Young Magician’s club as a nervous newbie was greeted by Ali Bongo; full of not only amazing magic and deep wisdom but a bubble of joy that put me instantly at ease.

Every month Ali was there, unfailingly, and despite his prestige and fame always chatted on the level that he was your oldest friend, I was deeply honored when he proposed me for the circle proper.

I will remember him the way he was the last time we spoke, both dressed in outrageous pinstripes (him pulling it off much better than me) and joking about how it was shame the rest of the world, in his presence, always seemed so drab by comparison.

Many a true word spoken in jest.
12 March 2009

Message 19 - Roy Marsh
I first met Ali, when as a potential candidate for membership of The Magic Circle, I joined Jack Delvin (my host) and Ali together with David Berglas (then President of The Magic Circle) for a meal at Cafe Uno, just by Marble Arch, around the corner from the Victory Services Club where The Magic Circle then met. I could not believe that I was sitting in such exalted company. Ali accepted me as a friend straight away and from that day onwards after every Monday night meeting of the Circle we nearly always had a meal together with his friends.

Like others, I too provided transport for him on many occasions and often found myself sitting outside his flat in the early hours putting the magical world to rights. He was spontaneously generous. I was at a photo shoot with him one day and commented on a lovely scarf he was using. The next time we met he gave me one of several that he had purchased. I will treasure it for ever. Only last month he gave me a photo on canvas of Laurel & Hardy he had to give to a mutual friend who Ali knew is a great fan of the comedy duo.

I will miss his endless store of anecdotes and stories of magical inventions. I will miss his flamboyant sartorial style, his unmistakeable laugh but above all I'll miss the man and his friendship.

Rest in peace Ali...you define all that is good in the world of magic and entertainment.
12 March 2009

Message 18 - Keith Churcher
So many memories of Ali' help with the Reading Junior Days ... there must be many who owe a great deal to the generous help always so readily given.
Truly one of the "gentle" gentlemen of magic ... Rest in Peace.
12 March 2009

Message 17 - Geoffrey Durham
Ali Bongo sold me the first two tricks I ever bought. I was ten and he managed the magic department at Hamleys. He did a perfect demonstration of the Brainwave Deck, so I paid for that. And then he showed me a small, brightly painted metal Square Circle. I loved it. But in my precocious, ten-year-old way, I pointed out that the black paint on the load chamber reflected the light. So Ali calmly asked me to wait, walked briskly into the back room, and came back two minutes later with the little black tin can covered in densely illusive black flock. It was a perfect piece of prop-making and trick was a winner. I wonder how many other magic dealers would have done that for a kid who had just walked in off the street?

Ali was always generous to me. He gave me his time, his energy and his wonderful expertise for exactly fifty years. He had an infectious glee for all things magical. It came across unfailingly every time he opened his mouth, but perhaps it was best exemplified in his daft, colourful, Wilson-Keppel-and-Betty-inspired act in which he never said a word. The man was glee personified. It came sailing over the footlights. He just adored his work. We are all better magicians for having known him.

I’m truly sorry that I have to be out of the country on the day of his memorial. I’ll be thinking of you all. And of Ali, the kindest, brightest and most expert of magicians.
12 March 2009

Message 16 - Nik Taylor
We will miss your warmth and your inspiration.

RIP Ali
12 March 2009

Message 15 - Rob Page
Dear Ali,

I'm so sorry you had to leave us, what will we do without your inventive brain also the fun and colourful presentations you put together. Your "How to make it more magical" attitude hopefully will be taken on board by other people who loved you. A great philosophy!

Your a great loss to everyone and will be sadly missed.
I know your infectious enthusiasm will continue in our memories, these memories are gold dust.

I see you now resting under the great banyan tree performing magic to everyone and making everyone happy, just as you did here.

Love and God Bless

Ross and Tracey
AKA Rob Page
12 March 2009

Message 14 - Andrew Webb
The Magic Family has lost their grandfather, father and the child with a sparkle in it’s eye.

Ali you were the best, the most generous and warmest person in magic I met...

I hope we continue to build on the foundations that you laid down, and create a magic future that you will look down on and be proud of..

Rest in peace, Ali, we will all deeply miss you..
12 March 2009

Message 13 - Keith Fields
I met Ali in Davenports on a school trip to the British Museum. I was 12 and did not know who he was. I got his autograph on a brown paper bag supplied by the shop. I met him again 15 years later at the MC and he hadn't changed a bit. That was the thing about Ali - always there and always the same. A true gentleman of magic who we will all miss. I wonder what new effects he is creating in magic heaven. RIP Ali. We will all miss you
12 March 2009

Message 12 - David Weeks
I first met Ali when he was working at Harry Stanley's in Frith Street, so he has been a part of my magical world since I was a teenager. For everyone who came into contact with him, Ali was the equivalent of a magical Wikapaedia ~ full of information that is readily available.

The tributes of others describe him so well. Look through any shelf of magic books and you will find within them illustrations by Ali that are clear, fun, informative and have his distinctive style together with that caterpillar logo.

Ali was the great magical polymath and we are all the poorer for his passing whilst enriched by having had the pleasure of knowing him.
12 March 2009

Message 11 - Katherine Rhodes
I met and got to know Ali at The Magic Circle. Sometimes when I stopped to think it felt surreal - this massive figure from the magic world was sitting opposite, and talking to me! I was delighted when I was able to slightly repay some of the help (and book loans) Ali gave me over the years by providing copies of some old TV programmes he had worked on that he thought no longer existed.

I left the Magic Circle for a while and last year told Ali I would rejoin if he became President. Of course, he did, so I rejoined. I am saddened that he was my President for such a short time but am thankful I fulfilled my promise and could call him My President.

I will treasure my memories of the man who simply was, Magic.

Kate
--x--
12 March 2009

Message 10 - Duncan Trillo
When I think of Ali I will always smile. I think that's the same for everyone who knew him. To be in Ali's company was always such a delight.

We are all going to miss you loads Ali.
12 March 2009

Message 9 - Hugh Nightingale
Ali was one of the kindest, gentlest, easiest to chat to, people that you could know in magic. Always a friend to both Chloe and I. Any magical problem... "I'll ask Ali when I see him." If I wanted to know how to make a magical effect happen, within no time at all Ali would have made a miniature working model out of cardboard and tape! When impressed enough with that, he would then bring design number two out of his bag. Irreplaceable genius.
We will all miss his friendship and 'magic' will miss his mind.
12 March 2009

Message 8 - Alexander Crawford
Ali's enthusiasm and love for magic and life in general and his generosity and kindness of spirit will always live with me and, I am certain, the many others whose life he touched.

Ali, you will be missed but not forgotten.
12 March 2009

Message 7 - June & Peter Pinner
We always thought Ali was immortal, but sadly he is now gone.

He was such a lovely man treating everyone the same, and was so generous with his incredible knowledge. Everyone that knew him was better for it. We were so pleased and privileged to have him as a friend, and It was a real joy for us to be a regular part of his Saturday Nights Show Team.

Ali, you were a 'one off' and amongst the many other things we will remember with fondness, will be your wonderful wardrobe that only you could do justice to. You will be sorely missed by so many, but never ever forgotten.

Thank you for everything Ali.
12 March 2009

Message 6 - Anthony Owen
RIP Ali Bongo, President of The Magic Circle. You made the world a magic place.
12 March 2009

Message 5 - Fay Presto
I do not think there was any occasion that I asked Ali for help with an effect or advice about anything when Ali did not make time and his enormous expertise available. The same went for everybody else, young or old who approached him. I have never met anybody he would not make time for.

He embodied the unique attribute that many of the finest entertainers have in being truly 'Pan-Class.' He could talk to Kings and paupers with equal warmth and care.

The finest international ambassador for magic there ever was, he will be sorely missed. Thank the stars we have much of this man on film and tape, but future generations of magicians will be the poorer for not having the real man available as a resource and inspiration.
12 March 2009

Message 4 - Marc Paul
Ali was a true "one of", for me no one will ever come close to the quirky genius that was “Bongo”. I shall always remember his flamboyant dress sense, the bow ties, hats and of course that wicked sense of humour! Many times in our deliciously rich conversations did he set me up with some impossible effect only to release me from my torture with some ingenious solution moments later. We didn’t always talk magic of course. Ali’s passion extended to all things from culture to art, from languages to food. He was passionate in all areas and simply loved life. His passing is a great lose to us all but I’m convinced that he will ALWAYS be with us in spirit. Ali’s influence on the magic world can not be put into words. I personally, can’t think of one with out thinking of the other. When I’m faced with a difficult magical problem I usually ask myself the question “How would Bongo solve this?” Usually within seconds the solution comes…complete with double sided tape, felt hinges and brightly coloured paper!

Ali I miss you.
12 March 2009

Message 3 - Brian Sibley
Ali's passion for magic was legendary and, as such an inspiration to all of us. His life and work are a testament to the philosophy that if there's something you enjoy doing - whether it's work or hobby - you should do it with commitment, enthusiasm and, above all, love!

Ali also taught us another important lesson about life - to learn from the past (the successes and the failures), to be alive to the present and to have a vision for the future.

In his magic, Ali, drew on the history and heritage of his craft, constantly refined and redefined what was, is and might be magical and gave generously of his wisdom and experience to inspire, encourage and advise others - old and young - who shared his lifelong fascination with magic and the arts of entertainment.

It was a joy to watch him work; it was a privilege to be able to share time with him as a friend and, because he was such a larger-than-life character, he will remain forever alive in my memory.

The suits, the various-shaped and coloured spectacles, the bow-ties, the hats, the magical carrier-bags, the acrobatic matchboxes, the pom-pom sticks, the puzzles and quizzes, the cartoons and jokes and all the zany, madcap inventiveness... I loved it all and the man who came with it...
12 March 2009

Message 2 - Andrew Eborn
I feel honoured to have been part of Ali's brilliant life as a business partner, confidant and - most important of all - a very close friend.

The numerous tributes that continue to flood in from around the world are testament to one of magic's and The Magic Circle's greatest ambassadors.

An amazing man who touched the hearts and influenced the lives of so many of us. The world was enriched by his creativity, mischievousness and generosity of spirit and is all the poorer for his passing.

The end of an era.

Andrew Eborn
12 March 2009

Message 1 - Richard Pinner
When I first visited The Magic Circle as a guest with my father, at a tender 17 years old, I could not believe that I got to have dinner with Ali Bongo. Ali was an icon that had been around my whole life.

I am very pleased to say he became a very special friend and an invaluable mentor.

I am certainly a better performer, a better magician indeed a better person for Ali's influence.

Everyday I can be glad for the time we shared rather than sad for the loss I now feel.

With Love
Richard
12 March 2009

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