Andre Kole Responds to the Magical Thievery of a Dr. Alex and How it Affects Us All

 

Andre Kole

RE: Andre Kole Responds to the Magical Thievery of a Dr. Alex and how it affect us all.

TO: Walter Blaney, and other highly esteemed practitioners of the art of magic.

Gentlemen (and others who are not so!):

Years ago when I brought my lawsuit against the FOX Broadcasting Company in my attempt to curtail the on-going exposure of magic by the Masked Magician, it was not because I was personally being severely harmed; rather it was because I considered it to be a blight against the entire magical profession.

Once again, the magic community is confronted with a situation that affects not only me specifically but, more than likely, the leading creators and performers of magic throughout the world.

To review this situation ? for those of you who just tuned in,? I will begin by quoting the most significant part of a paragraph in an article in the March 2005 issue of The Linking Ring, pages 135-136. It states the following:

On 9th January 2005, Dr. Alex our Vice President staged his Solo Illusion show for four hours non-stop. Dr. Alex is having almost all latest illusions performed by famous magicians throughout the world.  In India he is the only proud owner of a number of old and latest illusions. He is also popularly known for holding the Guinness World Record by performing the longest magic show non-stop for 24 hours.

I do not consider myself to be a ?famous magician.? However, what caught my attention in this article was the fact that out of only four pictures shown of his ?solo illusion show for four hours non-stop? two of the four pictures were of two of my original illusions.  I have never given permission to anyone to build or perform these illusions.  There is also a vague reference to a third of my original illusions. These were illusions that took many months, if not years, to perfect, build, and eventually perform after spending tens of thousands of dollars in their development.

I want to repeat and emphasize one of the above statements:  ?Dr. Alex is having almost all latest illusions performed by famous magicians throughout the world.?  This statement suggests that Dr. Alex may have used, without authorization, many other illusions belonging to leading inventors of magic in our community.  There are numerous and serious ramifications to be considered. 

If the truth were known, Dr. Alex might very well also qualify for holding the Guinness World Record for being the biggest thief of magical…

 

Andre Kole

RE: Andre Kole Responds to the Magical Thievery of a Dr. Alex and how it affect us all.

TO: Walter Blaney, and other highly esteemed practitioners of the art of magic.

Gentlemen (and others who are not so!):

Years ago when I brought my lawsuit against the FOX Broadcasting Company in my attempt to curtail the on-going exposure of magic by the Masked Magician, it was not because I was personally being severely harmed; rather it was because I considered it to be a blight against the entire magical profession.

Once again, the magic community is confronted with a situation that affects not only me specifically but, more than likely, the leading creators and performers of magic throughout the world.

To review this situation ? for those of you who just tuned in,? I will begin by quoting the most significant part of a paragraph in an article in the March 2005 issue of The Linking Ring, pages 135-136. It states the following:

On 9th January 2005, Dr. Alex our Vice President staged his Solo Illusion show for four hours non-stop. Dr. Alex is having almost all latest illusions performed by famous magicians throughout the world.  In India he is the only proud owner of a number of old and latest illusions. He is also popularly known for holding the Guinness World Record by performing the longest magic show non-stop for 24 hours.

I do not consider myself to be a ?famous magician.? However, what caught my attention in this article was the fact that out of only four pictures shown of his ?solo illusion show for four hours non-stop? two of the four pictures were of two of my original illusions.  I have never given permission to anyone to build or perform these illusions.  There is also a vague reference to a third of my original illusions. These were illusions that took many months, if not years, to perfect, build, and eventually perform after spending tens of thousands of dollars in their development.

I want to repeat and emphasize one of the above statements:  ?Dr. Alex is having almost all latest illusions performed by famous magicians throughout the world.?  This statement suggests that Dr. Alex may have used, without authorization, many other illusions belonging to leading inventors of magic in our community.  There are numerous and serious ramifications to be considered. 

If the truth were known, Dr. Alex might very well also qualify for holding the Guinness World Record for being the biggest thief of magical illusions in the history of magic!

At this time, I am working with the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) regarding the production of three separate one-hour shows.  One of these programs is based and themed around one of my original illusions that Dr. Alex has taken without my permission. Clearly, this intensifies my displeasure over Dr. Alex?s theft of my illusions.
But another major concern for the I.B.M. is the fact that Dr. Alex is the Vice-President of I.B.M. Ring 206.  Clearly he is in violation of the I.B.M.?s Code of Ethics.   According to the IBM website, Dr. Alex has clearly violated two of the six rules as agreed to by the I.B.M. Board of Directors in joint cooperation with the Society of American Magicians as agreed on May 8, 1993.  These two rules are as follows:

2.  Display ethical behavior in the presentation of magic to the public and in our conduct as magicians, including not interfering with or jeopardizing the performance of another magician either through personal intervention or the unauthorized use of another?s creation.

3.  Recognize and respect for rights of the creators, inventors, authors, and owners of magic concepts, presentations, effects and literature, and their rights to have exclusive use of, or to grant permission for the use by others of such creations.

Even if no more evidence were presented, these two facts are enough to warrant disciplinary action against Dr. Alex.

Fact #1:  The two photographs appearing in the March issue of The Linking Ring can clearly be identified as my original illusions.

Fact #2:  I did not grant permission to Dr. Alex to build or perform these illusions and, therefore, they are an ?unauthorized use of another?s creation.?

Dr. Alex has displayed a clear disregard for the respectful and hard-working magicians/inventors in the magic community and has violated our Code of Ethics.  This can only cause disillusionment and sincere disappointment to those who feel betrayed by a leader in magic who has undermined both the secrecy and ethics that have been (or should be) a hallmark of the I.B.M. and our profession.

This whole debacle has implications and ramifications that will affect the creativity, building, performing, selling, and legal aspects of the overall magical entertainment profession.

The members of the I.B.M. Ethics and Grievance Committees have been informed of this situation and have already begun their investigation of this matter. Given the clear violations of our Code of Ethics, these committees are obligated to issue some type of reprimand and sanction.

But the issue is much bigger because of the statement that Dr. Alex performs ?almost all latest illusions performed by famous magicians throughout the world.?  The investigation by the committees should attempt to secure an accurate list of all the illusions that Dr. Alex has in his possession and a determination as to whether he has secured permission to build and perform illusions that require authorization from their creators/inventors.  Someone within Ring 206 would surely have video tapes of each of these shows.

It has been inferred by several people that, perhaps, Dr. Alex is totally oblivious to the unethical marathon of thievery with which he has apparently been involved for years.
I cannot help but wonder when it was established that a crook is not a crook just because the crook does not realize that he is a crook. It has always been my understanding that a person is judged by the evidence.  And the evidence is clear based on the photographs in The Linking Ring and the rules of our Code of Ethics.

It is one thing for a person to innocently take and use a single routine of a single performer not realizing that it is wrong.  However, when the behavior extends to many routines belonging to many performers, the behavior must be addressed.  And when the actions of this person infringe on the rights of the creators who have spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars, it is inexcusable to allow the behavior to continue.

When Jesus drove the money changers out of God’s holy temple for commercial swindling and stealing from God’s people, He openly proclaimed, “The scriptures declare the temple will be called a place of prayer. But you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Jesus didn’t first take a poll of the thieves to find out how many of them realized they were thieves. He minced no words and called them exactly what they were.

NEXT ? THE MORAL MAGICIANS OF INDIA

Unfortunately there is another serious issue related to this that should also be addressed.  It was brought to light in another article in this month?s The Linking Ring on pages 46-49. The title of the article is The Moral Magicians of India.

The article was very well written and was very inspiring to me personally.  Our art has so much to offer beyond entertainment value.  Reading of the genuine good that magicians in India are accomplishing through magic is an uplifting encouragement.

However, the article devotes considerable space to a major event at the conference.  I am referring to the ?Felicitation of one of India?s most senior and respected magicians, K. Lal, who is billed as ?The World?s Greatest Magician.??

 

The relevance to our discussion comes from a statement made by Phil Willmarth in which he wrote, ?[K. Lal] had David Copperfield thoroughly upset as he had ripped off Death Saw.?

 

Considering the title of the article, The Moral Magicians of India, the question arises; Does using the stolen property for a moral purpose make an unethical and immoral practice more moral?

Since I was involved with David in the early creative stages of the Death Saw illusion, I also share the emotion of being thoroughly upset with this totally unethical and immoral action. I have some knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for the months of experimental work David put into this project.  In addition to the eventual construction, David spent many thousands of dollars to bring the Death Saw illusion to completion.

I rate illusions on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being given to the greatest illusions. Along with David?s Flying, I consider the Death Saw to be one of the other very few illusions that I would put into the ?10″ category.  Knowing David, I am sure he would have used far more descriptive words than just my five-letter word ?crook? to express his thorough disgust not only with K. Lal, but also with others who have also stolen and produced inferior copies of this great illusion.

Having worked with David on quite a number of illusion projects over the years, I am well acquainted with his relentless pursuit of perfection for every illusion — large or small.  It is my conviction that his persistence on this uncompromising perfection has contributed greatly to many considering him to be the all-time greatest magician.

I also believe the entire magical world has benefited from the standard David has set for himself.  This standard has brought him the worldwide recognition that he has received and, in turn has elevated the respect and prestige of our profession.

Regarding David, I would just like to digress for a moment to give credit to David for how his friendship and influence has contributed so much to help fulfill my real passion in life. As most of you know, even though I thoroughly enjoy creating new illusions and continue to perform throughout the world (79 countries so far), magic is not the most important thing in my life; rather it is my deep personal faith. David?s help to me can be seen through the following timely example.

This weekend, over 1 billion people throughout the world will be celebrating Easter. The real meaning of Easter is simple:  IF Jesus Christ is God (as He claims to be and as the overwhelming evidence confirms Him to be), then there is no other single thing in life that is more important than our relationship with Him.

 

Our present lives represent just a fraction of a second compared to eternity that lasts forever.  Neither religion nor church-ianity will ever get anyone into heaven.  That realization depends solely on our personal relationship with God.  In this regard, I believe that many thousands of people who have come to our programs and found a personal relationship with God through the Jesus of Easter was, at least due in part, because of David?s recognition and his stated encouragement for people to attend our programs.

 

Michelangelo, one of the greatest painters of all time, once said regarding what people referred to as his ?masterpiece,?  If people knew how long it took me to create one of my masterpieces, then they wouldn?t think it was a masterpiece at all.  Much could be said for the illusionary masterpieces that David Copperfield has created through the years.

Since I started out performing close-up and stage magic before I branched out into illusions, I am convinced that those who perform close-up and stage magic ONLY are not capable of comprehending the time and expense that is involved in the creation and performing of a new illusion. Some of the projects I have had a small part in working on with David have taken up to two years, and sometimes more, to complete.  This is true of a couple of his new projects on which he is presenting working.

I would like to return to Michelangelo again for a moment: You may have heard the story of how Michelangelo is working on his painting in the Sistine Chapel for months when someone entered and called out, Come on down, Michelangelo, we just took a vote and decided to wallpaper instead!

As humorous as that story is, the sad fact is that we have far too many ?wallpaper magicians? today who want to take the easy route by ripping off the intensive and expensive work of other magicians.  These magicians have made the huge sacrifice to create and perfect the tricks and illusions only to have them stolen.

I am very grieved that this Dr. Alex situation had to take place in India.  Of the 79 countries in which I have performed, India has always been my favorite country to visit.  I have performed in India during five of my world tours.  I love the people there and all of the magicians I have met in India have been extremely friendly and hospitable.  So, it is with deep regret this unpleasant situation had to take place in that country.

Finally, in one of the e-mails I received regarding Dr. Alex, I was requested to ?Please keep in mind that according to the article, all proceeds from the magic show in question were donated to a home for orphans and the elderly.?

The only response I can offer to that admonition is to mention that among the charitable contributions which my wife, Kathy, and I make on a regular basis, we have continued to contribute to the support of orphans in India – every month, month after month, year after year – for 27 years.  And we did not use the stolen property of another I.B.M. member to provide the money for our donation.

 

I thank you for taking the time to read through this rather lengthy letter.  I hope you will find the contents helpful and the actions of these two magicians objectionable.  I look forward to hearing the recommendation of the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the I.B.M. regarding this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Andre Kole

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