Thursday, May 19, 2016


I don’t know much about The Great Marlo other than he worked as a mind reader with his adopted daughter Georgina. Oh, and that he was the informant for journalist Leslie Helliwell when it came to the attempted but unsuccessful exposure of The Piddingtons. But since this blog was posted I have been contacted by a member of The Great Marlo's family, Shelleigh Marlo, who has provided further details. See the Notes below. David Marlo seemed a performer of rare ambition if the following is anything to go by. It’s a piece written by Norman Rashleigh in his column In The News published in The Budget magazine.

Told with sly humour this brief but enlightening article is from the September 1953 issue. If you want to see The Great David Marlo in action you can go straight to the British Pathe website and watch the buried telepathy stunt that Norman Rashleigh refers to. You’ll find it here.

Judging by the obsession for big broadcast magic stunts the Great Marlo wasn't so much misguided as merely ahead of his time.

David Marlo has been trying to get into television. His act, with the aid of his eighteen year old daughter is, we are told, 20 per cent mindreading and 80 per cent showmanship. He has performed various spectacular stunts with the idea of catching the BBC’s eye. He buried Georgette seven feet under the ground and let her read his mind from there. The BBC took no notice, but Georgette spent fourteen weeks in hospital. He sent Georgette 2,000 feet up in an aeroplane and she picked up his thoughts. The BBC took no notice. Marlo is working on a new stunt. His daughter will go out to sea in a motor-boat which will be going at a speed over 40 miles an hour and so fast that it will be impossible to signal it. “I shall take up my stand by a pigeon loft and the local dignitary will read out to me from any book a message of between twenty and fifty words. When the boat is two miles out at sea I shall transmit this message to Georgette by mental wave and she will write it down and send it back to the shore by pigeon. If the BBC still take no notice I shall send Georgette up in a helicopter at half-time over a football match. I shall transmit any chosen message to her and she will parachute this message to the ground. If the BBC still take no notice I am teaching my daughter to swim. She will dive into a swimming bath carrying the type of ball-point pen that writes under water, between her teeth. She will stay under water long enough for me to transmit a message and she will write that message down under water.” The reporter says that he hopes the BBC will use Mr. Marlo’s act before he sends Georgette to the moon.

NOTES: Shelleigh Marlo, The Great Marlo's granddaughter, wrote with some information about Norman Rashleigh's report and the background to the perilous stunts. David Marlo's real name was David Lindsay and before he was The Great Marlo he also worked as Death Defying Duncan.

Georgette, not her real name, the assistant who featured in the Pathe video was actually a 'jobbing showgirl' hired to replace Georgina Lindsay who was The Great Marlo's daughter.

You can find out more about The Great Marlo at a website set up by Gary Markwick, The Great Marlo's grandson. Go here.