Meeting with Vanni Pule

It is very quite peculiar that a performer of illusions does not believe in magic.  But that is the situation with Vanni Pulé, who has been at the forefront of the performing art of magic for over fifty five years, now.  Magic and illusion for him are a passion and he is continually learning and practising new material and inventing his own ideas. Yet, he has become sceptical of fantasy and avoids reading fiction or watching movies that are based on imaginary aspects of unreality.  How does he explain this paradox?

For him, this is not a contradiction.  Many illusionists, over the years, have been very sceptical of the paranormal and supernatural.  One of the most well-known among the public, Harry Houdini, continuously argued with his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the existence of spirits and fairies, since the latter, notwithstanding his intelligence was a very credulous person.  Conan Doyle’s creation, Sherlock Holmes, seems to be the complete opposite of his creator when it comes to critical thinking.

Yet, Vanni Pulé loves magic in performance.  His pioneering of new illusions has become quite legendary.  From humble beginnings as a young teenager, with no internet, minimal television to guide him, and not much money to spend on props and books, he enchanted his friends at parties with his home-made marvels and rapidly gained a reputation that took him around venues where parties were being held. With the growth of tourism and the mushrooming of the cabaret scene in Malta, one coincidental booking led to thousands of others,  Together with his bride-to-be, Mary Anne, he started commuting from hotel to nightclub, entertaining the  tourists who visited our isles.  His big bulk of performances was for overseas visitors and he performed mostly in English but sometimes also in French and in Italian.  For the local public he appeared in many stage performances but he is most widely known for his television appearances which must have achieved a record of the largest number of varied illusions any magician has performed on the small screen.  In the Eighties, he started using telephone calls on ‘live’ TV to create psychological illusions of reading minds and seemingly predicting the future.  In fact, he managed to ‘predict’ twice the lotto draw, twice the winner of the local ‘Song for Europe’ contest and, more recently, the very unlikely winner of the Eurovision 2016.

In the Eighties, too, he was asked to contribute his original ideas to journals of magic in the U.K. and the U.S.A.  This made him well-known among his peers.  Understandably, this was followed by lectures in various parts of the world and to an eventual nomination to the board of trustees of the largest organisation for magicians in the world, The International Brotherhood of Magicians.  He became International President of this organisation in 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  In the meantime, in the U.S., he also won the much-coveted Howard Bamman trophy for his original ideas in magic.  The world-famous London Magic Circle awarded him the Gold Star Inner Circle membership in 1987.

Notwithstanding his high profile in magic, he does not like to be pigeonholed in any one category.  He was a lecturer for many years and he is also a prolific visual artist having his works displayed locally and on in private collections in various parts of the world.  His last one-man exhibition at Spazju Krejattiv was part of a project relating to mysteries and deception.  Nevertheless, magi is a hobby that has consumed him and has taken him on cruises and to many parts of the world, making him a household name in his own country and an influence among his peers.