Ring History

The local chapter in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area is Ring 22. Charles Deak, one of our founding members, informs us the Detroit Ring did not start as Ring 22, that it started as Ring 11.

A 1927 copy of the Linking Ring, (shown left),has an article that the Detroit area petitioned to become an IBM Ring in 1927. However the charter was not granted until 1941 when Detroit became Ring 22. The Ring was established as a non-profit organization with the objective of promoting and improving the art, science, and skill of magic and allied subjects. The Ring accepts junior members starting at age 14, who are inspired to use magic as a learning tool for public speaking, presentation, and leadership skills.

The Ring was originally named in memory of Harry Cecil, who was a magical enthusiast and promoter in addition to his career as salesman and part owner of the Cecil Chocolate Company.

In 1941 Harry Cecil attended the I. B. M. convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his long time friend Bob Anderson was the I.B.M president. It was suggested that Detroit should have an I.B.M Ring. Harry returned home and set up a meeting which about 40 people attended.

On November 17, 1941 the charter membership was closed with 43 members and Ring 22 was started. Wm. C. Smith moved that the organization be named The “Harry E. Cecil” ring and it received a unanimous vote. Others very active in the organizational plans were W.C. Smith, Del Raymond, Al Tabor, Lewis Peters, Gerald Rafferty, Bob Underwitter, Al Monroe, William Heisel, Charles Pasternacki, Harold Sterling, and Harry Cecil.

During the golden years of magic, the Ring was fortunate to have several outstanding members such as Milt Kort (who contributed a majority of the work in BOBO’s Coin Magic), Karrel Fox (Crazy like a Fox), Harold Sterling (the famous Sterling Magic), Claire Cummings “Milky the Clown” (a standard household name during the mid 20th century), Wally Wilson (the Magic Police Officer), and many others.

On July 11, 2006 the members decided to rename the Ring The “Warren Stephens Ring”. This was done for two reasons. First, only two of our members remember Harry Cecil. Second, to honor Warren Stephens who was a long time member of the Ring, a previous Territorial V.P. of I.B.M, an inventor of magical effects, and a generous contributor of ideas and workshops to the Ring. He was a walking encyclopedia of magical knowledge, and never hesitated to provide help for our members or the Ring. During the period between 1975 and 1995, his magical effects accounted for approximately 10 percent of the Abbott Catalog of Magic.Over time, many of his effects were renamed and marketed without his permission or knowledge.

 

 

 

Age 74. performed his final disappearing act on April 4, 2006 at his home after an extended illness. Warren was a husband of 50 years, father of eight & grandfather of 14. He had a 30 year career as a Roseville High School Teacher , was a lifelong internationally known magician, inventor, world traveler, antique collector & an avid reader. He served in Germany for the United States Army. He is survived by his college sweetheart that became his wife, Alice. Father of Debbie (Rick) Tarnowski, Michael, Mark and Lora Stephens, Lisa (Dave) Griggs, Randy (Karen), Danette and Renee Stephens. Grandfather of 14 wonderful grandchildren. Brother of Roger, Jake and Gwen. He will be missed dearly by his many magical friends.