Charlotte Pendragon in Illusion Dispute

Waiting for MagicThere are few things we read religiously – other than religious things – and one of those few things is Maria Ibáñez’ weekly email Have You Heard?  She writes about important Magic things and she writes with such an easy style. 

If you are not on her list, you should be.  You will agree that she writes gooder than almost anyone you have readed before.  Present company occluded.  Subscribe by visiting her specially designed page at Merlina.Com

This week, we learned of some unfortunate Pendragon trouble.  They have been through so much in the last year and it does not sound like things are getting better.

What follows is a note from John R. Browne III (the IBM’s lawyer) detailing problems with purchasing illusions from Charlotte Pendragon. 

Editor’s note: we have no idea why he capitalizes some words in the text.  We do not interpret it to mean he is yelling those words.  Maybe he does intend the reader to think he is yelling the words but that would also make the reader think he is unstable because there does not seem to be a pattern to the all-caps style.

Well, actually, we do have an idea why he would capitalize some of the words.  Lawyers often put key words in ALL CAPITALS when writing legal documents.  In the biz, we call those words “Defined Terms.”  You see the practice in pleadings and contracts.  Perhaps Mr. Browne is contemplating a pleading or contract (such as a settlement agreement) and his letter includes some of the text verbatim.

We make it a point to never bear hug a dove worker before they go on stage or question another lawyer’s writing style.  We intend to live by these simple rules until it is somehow convenient or makes us look good. 

Inside Magic has no independent knowledge about the information in Mr. Browne’s letter but we were able to find a similar post on Alan Watson’s Magic New Zealand weekly newsletter.  That does not make it any truer – they are the same post from Mr. Browne – but it does increase the chances that Charlotte Pendragon would respond to the allegations.

We will update this story if such a refutation is published anywhere. 

Message by John R. Browne III

I write you now on my own, and not in my capacity as I.B.M. Legal Advisor. “CHIN-CHIN” (aka Gregory Chin) is a young, successful and very colorful (bright red hair) San Francisco stage show performer who brings a lot of energy and dedication to the Art of Magic.

I became acquainted with Chin-Chin several years ago, when he needed information about the I.B.M.’s stage contests. I have followed his career in magic since that time. Chin-Chin’s San Francisco Bay Area’s performance venues are continually expanding. His unique brand of stage and illusion presentations is getting him better and better engagements. Still, being devoted full time to a magic career and with no “day job” to help pay the bills, Chin-Chin has to watch his pennies.

Chin-Chin has wanted to perform John Gaughan’s Origami Illusion since he was 12 years old. Through magician friend Jason Latimer, Chin-Chin learned that some months ago CHARLOTTE PENDRAGON put out the word that ORIGAMI was for sale. Chin-Chin contacted Charlotte, who agreed to sell him ORIGAMI for $5,000. Since February of this year, Chin-Chin has scraped enough money together to pay Charlotte a total of $4700.

Eagerly anticipating shipment of ORIGAMI upon paying the final $300 to Charlotte, Chin-Chin contacted her recently to arrange for delivery. Shockingly, Chin-Chin was told by Charlotte that ORIGAMI is in Trinidad, and that there will be a storage charge of at least $10,000 to retrieve it from storage! Chin-Chin has now contacted me for help, as a friend in magic. Because I feel badly for Chin-Chin, I have offered to help him obtain ORIGAMI without payment of any fees for my legal services.

I began my quest yesterday by calling John Gaughan, who built ORIGAMI, to ascertain performance rights to the illusion. John confirmed that the original purchasers, THE PENDRAGONS, bought the performance rights along with the illusion, and that such rights pass to subsequent purchasers.

I then called JONATHAN PENDRAGON, who was in Boise, Idaho, where he is presently performing. Jonathan was nice enough to talk with me. Although Jonathan is not in personal contact with Charlotte because of a court order, Jonathan knows from speaking with Chin-Chin that Charlotte “sold” ORIGAMI to Chin-Chin without disclosing that the illusion was in Trinidad and subject to a costly storage lien.

Jonathan then told me that Chip Romero of Lake Charles, Louisiana, has also recently “purchased” illusions from Charlotte, which are also in Trinidad and are under the same storage conditions as ORIGAMI.  Mr. Romero confirmed today on the phone that he sent Charlotte an $11,000 check last October for Fire Cage and Sword Suspension, and that Charlotte promised him she would drop these illusions off in Lake Charles some months

ago on her way to perform at a convention in Daytona Beach, Florida, not disclosing that such illusions are also in Trinidad, along with ORIGAMI.  Mr. Romero told me he has retained an attorney.

Jonathan clarified that he was not aware of Charlotte’s actions until months after the fact, and that he played no part in them. He said he was never informed that she was selling their illusions and that she had left them in Trinidad.

Jonathan said that Charlotte had handled the logistics of their shows, that in June of 2009 she told him she had arranged to bring their props back, and that he didn’t learn until May of 2010 that she had not done so.

Jonathan told me he has not received one penny from Charlotte’s illusion sales, which include those he invented such as Clearly Impossible, as well as the illusions Charlotte sold to Chip Romero; i.e., Fire Cage and the unique Sword (broom) Suspension harness which Jonathan said he designed and helped build. Nevertheless, Jonathan says that he will do all he can to try and see that Chin-Chin and Chip Romero get the illusions they have paid for.

Although my investigation and any action I may take thereon on behalf of Chin-Chin is far from finished, I thought it would be appropriate to “put the word out” to the magic community about what I have learned so far, and also for another reason:

Jonathan Pendragon is very passionate about maintaining his rights to a deceptive “doll house” (little theatre) illusion designed by Jim Steinmeyer and built by John Gaughan. So I wanted to put the word out to fellow magi that neither Charlotte Pendragon nor anyone else has rights to “sell” this illusion.

Your readers should please feel free to send any information they may have about these matters to me at

Many thanks.

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