William Oliver Wallace

Who you say, well this was the actual name of the legend that was Ali Bongo! Ali Bongo was a British comedy magician and former president of The Magic Circle who performed an act in which he was known as the “Shriek of Araby”.

The Shriek of Araby character wore an oriental costume (robes, golden curly-toed slippers, horn-rimmed spectacles and headgear that incorporated both fez and turban) and took the name Ali Bongo from a character Wallace had created for a youth club pantomime he had co-written and appeared in while in his teens.

The original character had sung a song which began: “My name is Ali Bongo and I come from Pongo, pong-tiddley-pongo land. Among his later magic catch-phrases were “Uju Buju Suck Another Juju”, “Aldy Bority Phostico Formio”, “Hocus Pocus Fishbones Chokus”.

Ali Bongo wrote many books on magic, many containing tricks of his own. He also illustrated them in his instantly recognisable style. He acted as a magic consultant for many plays, opera, ballets and TV shows including David Nixons Magic Box and The David Nixons Magic Show for Thames Television and for the Paul Daniels Magic Show which we ALL loved!

Sadly at the beginning of February 2009, Bongo collapsed while giving a lecture in Paris. He was taken to hospital and, whilst there, suffered a stroke. Bongo was subsequently returned to the United Kingdom and cared for in St Thomas’s Hospital, London, where he later died from complications arising from pneumonia on 8 March.

Ali Bongo’s cremation and broken wand ceremony took place on 27 March 2009 at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead.

He will always be missed and was one of our great legends.

Carol Cooper

Carol Cooper

Married to Antony, Mum to our children. Full time working in media for over 20 years, part time writer and assistant to Antony, which I guess makes me a magicians assistant :-)

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