A Brief History of Magic in Thailand

by Chalee Prajongkitkul
Siam Magic Club
Bangkok, Thailand

 


Thailand
has long history in Magic. The first record was back in 17th century in the book "History Naturelle et Politique du Royaume de Siam" by Nicolas Gervaise, French traveler who came to Thailand around 1681 - 1686 with a group of missionaries. There was record about the flower production trick that was probably performed by Portuguese.


The history of magic in Thailand could not be found until the King Mongkut era (1851 - 1868). Thailand conducted trade with foreigners. Indian and Chinese conjurers, who came along with merchants, performed geek in various places. Thai people adapted their shows into Thai style magic.

King Rama IV


30 - 50 years ago, conjurers usually performed at Royal Plaza (Sanam Luang). The shows were mainly cobra and weasel fight to attract people for selling herbal medicines and charms.

 

The most popular conjurer was the late Sri lam-sa-ard who turned magician in the stage name of Houdina.

 

Houdina

 
In the King Chulalongkorn era (1853 - 1911), the King travelled to Europe and watched magic. He then established the first magic association in Thailand called "Royal Magical Society" in 1876. Prince Chomphunooch was the president of the society.

King Rama IV


Max Malini, a famous Jewish magician, claimed that he performed magic in front of many royal members from many countries including Thailand as appeared the pictures of royal members in his poster. The Thai royal member who appeared in Malini's poster was Prince Vajiravuth who was then King Vajiravuth.


Around the end of King Vajiravudh era (100 years ago), magic books were available in Thailand. However, all books were translated from other languages.


Around 1965, there was a short (about 2 minutes) magic show on TV weekly, before TV movies.


In 1971, there was a magic competition on TV. Ten magicians attended this event. About the same time, Central Department Store แทรกรูป brought magic props from Tenyo for sell in Thailand.

 


In September 1976, Mr. Pairach Tarasarnsombat (and 3 others) established Siam Magic Club. The club's headquarter moved from place to place many times in the past 40 years. Now the club is located at Siam Maya House, Rama II Road, Bangkok. The members of the club have a regular meeting every last Sunday of the month.

Mr. Pairach Tarasarnsombat


Siam Maya House, Rama II Road, Bangkok.


In 1976, 72 Promotion company broadcasted world class magic show for 30 minutes weekly. This TV program made Thai people know world's famous magicians such as Shimada, Seigfried and Roy, Doug Henning, David Copperfield, Sillivan etc. This TV show was the starting point of Thai monthly magic magazine published by Mr. Somchai Methmaolee's Pan Max Media Company. After Siam Magic Club was established, Mr. Pairach, the club president, attended many magic conventions around the world making Thai magicians became being recognized. Foreign magicians who came to Thailand usually visited the club. The club was then accepted to be a member of The Society of American Magicians (SAM) and The International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM). In 1982, Siam Magic Club organized the magic competition and Mr. Phillip was born as he was the winner.


Magic Society of Thailand was established on 5 May 1985 by Mr. Man Rattanapitak, Mr. Thana Ngamwat and Mr. Narain Sarapaiwanich. After Phillip won Siam Magic Club competition, he competed in Tokyo Magic Symposium in Japan, organized by Ton Onosaka. Phillip took the 6th place.


Mr. Man Rattanapitak, Mr. Thana Ngamwat and Mr. Narain Sarapaiwanich.


Mr. Phillip Paiboonpan

Ton Onosaka


Magicians from Siam Magic Club took part in FISM competition. In 1988, Phillip competed in Manipulation category in FISM Netherland. In 1991, Charoen Udomwansuktawee took part in general magic and Pichit Tangkachainan in close-up magic in FISM Switzerland.

 

 

In 2003, Mr. Pairach Tarasarnsombat was elected and appointed from FISM to be an executive committee of Asian region.

 

 

In 2017, Magic Society of Thailand became Magic Association (Thailand).

 


Assistant Professor Dr. Jessada Denduangboripant was the first association president.

And another association is Thailand Magician Association. Mr.Pawat Pasitsakul was the first association president.

 

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