Ring History Through The Decades

The 1940s

Fifteen Milwaukee magicians founded Ring 41 in 1945. They were Adam Hudzinski, Howard Burns, John Reynolds, Jack Leser, Donald Groth, Rev. C. Wasniewski, O. G. “Rusty” Hagan, Ralph Seher, Elmer Johnson, Joseph J. Marzec, Robert Rimsnider, Stanley Ruthowski, Frank Pemper, Jack Hanson, and Richard Mossey, the only surviving member.

On January 1947, Ring 41 had its first guest lecturer, none other than the world famous Harry Blackstone. He was in Milwaukee on a snowy evening to present his full illusion show. Afterwards, Ring 41 threw a party for him and presented him with a pair of snowshoes.

On December 1947, Ring 41 held its first of many Cabaret parties, which 100 people attended. This event established Ring 41 community tradition that persisted for decades.

A new system was started (Aug 1948) to encourage attendance at Ring meetings; each member was given points for attendance and showmanship, including stage performance, such as opening, presentation and patter. The winner received a prize at the end of the 1947-48 season.

The 1950s

The annual cabaret nights continued throughout the decade. The annual Christmas party was held at the Brown Bottle, a tradition that continued for several decades. The Blackstone show returned to Milwaukee in November 1950 and was attended by most Ring members. On June 15, 1952, the annual picnic was held at the summer home of Past President Voelker at Nagawicka Lake.

To encourage membership recruitment, President Oscar (Rusty) Hagen proclaimed the June 1952 meeting as “Friendship Night.” Each member was urged to bring a friend interested in magic, one that does not currently belong to a magic club.

The 1960s

In September 1962, Ring 41 had 100 members and assisted in the Milwaukee Grandstand Show at the Wisconsin State Fair.  Stage acts included Anita Bryant, Wiere Bros., Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahony, Nelson Eddy and Gail Sherwood, and Mark Wilson and the Magic Land of Alakazam with Nani Darnelle and Rebo (Bev Bergeron).

Dr. Richard Mossey, who had previously served multiple positions at the I.B.M. international level, was elected president for 1964-65. Ring 41 was honored to have the International President as one of its Ring members. His picture appeared on the cover of the TLR.

Ring 41 won first place in the IBM Ring Award Competition, as cited in the July 1965 TLR.

Ring 41 held its 20th Anniversary Banquet on May 1966.  Frank Pemper was the general chairman.  Ninety-three (93) people attended the event that was held at the Maryland Hotel’s Steak Ranch. Also, in May 1966, Vern Peterka, published an article in TLR entitled Magic, Hobby With A Purpose. It described how Rings should reach out to Boys’ Clubs to engage youth in magic.

Ring 41 held a full-evening, seven-act public show production on Sunday night, June 2. 1968. Some 350 persons gathered in the massive and impressive auditorium of Nathan Hale High School. Performers included Jack Larkin, Abdul the Magician, Walt Bode, ventriloquist Bob Trent, Ron Fable, The Great Ricardo and Marshall Brodien and Company.

As announced in the February 1968 TLR, Ring 41 held its annual Christmas party at the Brown Bottle where the hospitality was superb. Member Frank Will and family provided 125 members, wives, and guests with a tasty buffet luncheon.

Ring 41 received honorable mention from the IBM Ring Awards Committee (1969) based on points awarded for the various Ring activities, e.g., planned meetings, inter-Ring visits, published Ring Reports, public shows, new memberships, etc. Categories chosen are those that would, in the judgment of the Committee, contribute to the overall strength and vitality of the Ring.

The 1970s

The traditions continue as the annual cabaret night attracts approximately 100 people. Also, the annual anniversary banquet held its 25th consecutive feast on May 1970. A further tradition is the annual Ring 41 auction, which, in 1975, which was covered by two T.V. stations and lots of outside publicity.

Periodically Ring 41 exchanged programming with Ring 43 (Chicago). The November 1976 exchange was particularly successful in promoting inter-Ring collaboration.

In 1979, Ring 41 again held its Christmas Parties in the Schlitz Brewery Brown Bottle Tap, as it has done for the past 20 years. In appreciation, Ring member Jack Leser, donated a self-portrait as he performed magic at age 30, to the spa.

The 1980s

The Ring 41 activities during the 1980s represented a systematic continuation of well-established traditions, including banquets, cabarets, and auditions. Ring meetings were well planned and carried out with a variety of program themes; monthly attendance ranged from 20-40 magicians. A few public events were held, most notably including Ron Fable’s upside down straight jacket escape while suspended over treacherous sites, an effect that garnered considerable publicity.

The 1990s

The 1990s stepped up the pace from the 1980s.  During this decade, Ring 41 won the I.B.M. Grand Medal (1991) for being the Most Active Ring in America. Frank Pemper performed at the Magic Castle – twice – during 1992 The annual Cabaret Night (1993) was one of our most successful shows in years and was a complete sellout with standing room only.

In 1994, Ring 41 held its 49th annual auction with over 100 present and 71 getting bidding paddles. It was the social event of the Wisconsin magical year with visiting magickers from Chicago, Racine, Madison, Wausau, Green Bay and Oshkosh. We sold about 500 items in five hours which in its faster pace makes for more excitement. It is reasonable to say that Ring 41 may be the oldest annual Ring auction still around.

In a new program initiative (1994), a close-up contest was held with five judges considering appearance, technique, showmanship, novelty, and audience impact.

As the decade closed, during 1999, the First Annual Ring 41 Halloween Magic Contest was held; matinee and evening shows were held at Walker Junior High, Ring membership consisted of 30 magic aficionados, and a Youth Magic Workshop initiative was launched. Most significant of all, Ring 41 was the recipient of the I.B.M. Ring Quality Award.

The 2000s

The decade began with a couple of top-flight lectures. Our senior illusionist, David Seebach, shared his experiences as a world-traveling entertainer. Few Rings are privileged to have a member of this caliber and reputation as David. In another lecture, Ron Fable arranged for a man who had begun as a magician and then gone into locksmithing full time, Bill Sylke. Bill worked for Moser Safe. Later he retired from the University of Wisconsin as their locksmith, and, for many years, worked on things like jail locks, safe deposit equipment, and on every type of security device throughout the county institutions.

Another honor was awarded to our founding member, Dr. Richard Mossey as London’s Inner Magic Circle has honored him with their most prestigious echelon of affiliation.

In its continuing tradition, Ring 41 put on its annual Cabaret Night at the Tripoli Shrine Temple on October 17, 2009. The evening featured music, magic, and food. Pre-show table magic was provided by Mark Martinez and Mike Miller. The evening was led by Shannon Kirkpatrick who sang” Come to the Cabaret.” She was followed by Kirk Kirkpatrick, who did his award-winning manipulation act. The first half presenters included Mike Miller and Rex Sikes The second half included Tom Burgermeister, Ron Fable, and Arden James.

The 2010s

Ring 41 held its annual Magic Cabaret Night on April 23, 2010. This year the show was coordinated with and held at a Milwaukee public school. Performers included Mark Martinez, Mike Miller, Bob Rath, John and Maria Kurtz, John Spansil, Julie Sobanski, Theodore Sneva, and Bob Salzer. Beyond audience smiles and applause, the school administration was also happy with the show, giving us an invitation to come back next year as we left.

Richard Mehring and Sylvester Adamski were cited as having spent 50 years of continuous service to I.B.M.

Ring 41 celebrated its 65th Anniversary in 2011. Forty Ring 41 members, spouses, and guests, officers to help celebrate at Meyers Restaurant in Greenfield, Wisconsin. During the cocktail hour, Mark Martinez performed bar magic. At the conclusion of dinner, Bob Rath had prepared an after-dinner show. Bob Salzer first presented a proclamation from the I.B.M. to the current officers commemorating Ring41’s sixty-five years as a charter.

In 2012, Ring 41 released version one of their new mobile phone app for the Windows Phone OS. The app is in English only but was released worldwide in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Already the app has been downloaded by users in twelve different countries. Ring 41 may be the first I.B.M Ring to have its own mobile phone portal available for free download to your phone.

In what may be its most historic event since its founding in 1945, Ring 41 officially changed its name in October 2015 to the Dr. Richard Mossey Ring 41. Six-seven individuals attended the celebratory banquet and honored our only surviving founding member. Dr. Mossey’s picture was featured on the cover of TLR, which contained an intriguing magical autobiography.