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The Catchpenny Club - TONIGHT!

The letter that started the Merlin Awards controversy

Here is the letter allegedly sent from Tony Hassini to Kirby & Bambi Van Burch on October 21 this year.

According to iTricks, the letter was posted on Bambi Van Burch's website by a disgruntled Kirby Van Burch staff member, and though Kirby asked him to remove it, it remained up until Bambi took control of her website from Kirby's server.

In the letter, Mr Hassini states he contacted Kirby Van Burch in June this year when he received complaints from several magicians that Bambi was using plagiarised material in her new solo show.

The letter implies that Kirby reassured Mr Hassini that Bambi was not using other people's material in her show. (A show put together by Bambi, or Kirby?) Yet in iTricks Kirby says: "The IMS contacted Bambi with concerns she was using other people's material. She was aware, she continued using them.This is the result of her action." 

Mr Hassini goes on to say that he recently got proof that she had copied others and has decided to revoke Bambi's 2007 and 2008 'Female Magician of the Year' Merlin Awards.

(This sets an interesting precedent. Will Tony now revoke the awards of other Merlin winners who are using other people's material?)

Mr Hassini goes on to say that Bambi cannot claim to have received the Merlin Award for 'Female Magician of the Decade' as he never presented it to her. (An April post on this forum says Mr Hassini was scheduled to do so on June 1 in Branson)

Yet here is a picture of the Award he says he never gave Bambi, and here is an article where Bambi's ex-husband Kirby says the Award must be doctored. 

Strangely enough, in this article it states that on June 8 the award was presented to her (not by Tony Hassini but by the mayor of Branson) and Kirby was present that night and witnessed her receiving the award. (From June to August she was doing a solo afternoon show, 'Bambi - Princess of Magic', while they were both doing their duo show together in the evenings. When her afternoon show ended in August, they filed for divorce).

Mr Hassini's letter goes on to say that she cannot claim to be 2009 'Female Magician of the Year' as he gave that title to Arian Black. Indeed her website confirms she holds that title, along with 2004 and 2008 'Female Magician of the Year'.

However, Mr Hassini agrees that Bambi was 2008 'Female Magician of the Year' in the letter. Did he accidentally give the award out twice?

And iTricks reported Mr Hassini presented 'Scarlett - Princess of Magic' with a Merlin Award in 2008 as well...

It's all very confusing but all of these problems could be avoided if The International Magicians Society would simply spend 20 minutes putting up a page listing, year by year, all of the Merlin Award winners.