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Joan Mangum’s Society Scene—Magicians Foundation Celebrates Soapy Smith To Help Fellow Magicians

A MAGIC NIGHT OUT– Hollywood’s Magic Castle was the scene of “Soapy Smith Night” celebrating a Yukon-style gaming experience for the benefit of The Dai Vernon Foundation. A bevy of beauties dressed up in their 19th Century best. Photo by Stephen Levine
Pop Haydn toasts the memory of Soapy Smith. Photo by Phil Gessert

The Inner Circle of Hollywood’s legendary Magic Castle was turned into a 19th century gaming hall to raise funds for The Dai Vernon Foundation, a non-profit which provides financial and health assistance to elderly magicians in need and educational scholarships for qualified members of the Academy of Magical Arts Junior Society.

The foundation ( was started years ago with a donation from Dai Vernon, a world renowned slight-of-hand artist and one of the 20th Century’s most influential magicians who lived out his last years at the Magic Castle. Its major fundraiser is the annual wake in memory of Soapy Smith, a notorious con man in the Yukon.

Among the costumed crowd of “gamblers” at this year’s “Soapy Smith Night” were TV personality Bruce Gold, Vernon Foundation President Stephen Levine, and its Founder/ President Emeritus Joan Lawton, former board of trustees chair of the Academy of Magical Arts.

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Another recent magical evening was the “Fellows Thank You Dinner” held by the Friends of Robinson Gardens on the great lawn and back terrace of the Virginia Robinson estate.

More than 75 guests were on hand to show their appreciation for the Fellows’ generous support of the restoration and preservation of Robinson Gardens and the children’s program.

President Patti Reinstein thanked everyone for their support, saying: “In the words of Audrey Hepburn, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,’ and Virginia Robinson certainly believed in tomorrow….We believe in all the tomorrows that we can give to the thousands of children who have visited Robinson Gardens. Not only do they come here for a day of fun, and science follow-up, but they enjoy the beautiful outdoors….and learn about conservation, sustainability and making healthy food choices. They are our tomorrows.”

She then saluted various patrons including Carolyn and Martin J. Bloom, Jamie Wolf, Leslie and Jack Kavanaugh, Kathy and Anthony Choe, Jacqueline Burdorf​, Patty and Michael Rosenfeld, Adrienne and Elliott Horwitch, Barbara and David Jaynes, Cindy and Edwin Fields, March Wiseley, Madeline Gussman, Ryan Kavanaugh, and the Callie D. McGrath Foundation represented by Hector Santillan.

Jeanne Anderson chaired the event.

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