Classic Magic


Around four years ago I edited an amazing collection of films of Ken Brooke for Martin Breese, mostly from material originally released on 8 mm film by Harry Stanley of Unique Magic.

I was pleased and honoured that Martin asked me to do this; I’m a big fan of Ken Brooke and was a regular visitor to the Unique Studio at 14 Frith Street in the heart of Soho while at University in London. I rarely had much money to spend but Ken would always make me welcome and seemed happy for me to sit and watch the demonstrations, and the comings and goings. It was here I first met many of magic’s ‘greats’ who were regular visitors. And in later years I would spend time at Ken’s ‘Magic Place’ not far from Frith Street.

Martin rightly described Ken as “one of the most loved British magicians of all time”, and said that this was one of the most exciting projects he had ever been involved in his 50+ years in magic. And those sentiments go for me too.

The edited collection was sent to Patrick Page who kindly provided a highly informative voice-over commentary on all of the effects.  Pat knew Ken very well, and he knew the tricks that Ken performed. So here you will not only see Ken Brooke in action but will also hear a great deal about the history of the tricks and routines he performed.

There are many delightful Ken Brooke interludes that will take old-timers down memory road and which will inspire relative newcomers to magic as well.  It’s all here from Ken’s version of the Vernon Linking RingsCoins through Table, the KB Coin Box plus many of the tricks featured over the years in the Unique catalogues. Truly a feast and inspiration for all.

As a very special bonus Patrick Page also allowed us to include some sound material. This was filmed just before Ken died so sadly.  The sound material filmed by Vic Pinto and Patrick Page includes Chase the Ace and The Chop Cup routine and even the wonderful Tamariz Rabbits.

As Martin went on to say, “Oh what a treat awaits every viewer!”

The Visions of Ken Brooke DVD — NTSC region free — is available off the shelf at £25 or $40, post free anywhere. Check the About Magick page for PayPal details.

October is turning out to be a classic month for lectures here at the Magick Lounge. First up, on Thursday 7 October at 7.30, is Michael Vincent. There can be few magicians who have not come across Michael’s work, either through his DVDs or his performances at conventions, at the Magic Circle, Hollywood’s Magic Castle, or at the FISM World Magic Championships in Stockholm.

Eschewing the current trend for ‘street magic’, Michael embodies the teachings of history’s masters of magic, performing classic sleight of hand and making it relevant for the 21st century, all delivered with style and panache. The magician’s magician, Michael is the only person ever to have been named Best Close-Up Magician three times by the Magic Circle. A regular performer in Hollywood, he has been voted International Magician of the Year and ranked world number 2 in a career that continues to demand his presence at celebrity parties, international casinos and high end corporate events.

I’ve enjoyed Michael’s card work on many occasions, but I must say that one of my favourites of all his routines is his take on the classic cups and balls. Watch it here…

This is a rare opportunity for you to learn from a master who has studied the craft of close-up deception from the perspective of the performer and the audience. This lecture is free for members of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians, or a mere £10 for others.

In the years I’ve been involved in magic I must have seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of magical performances. Correction: I’ve seen many magicians, but rather fewer performances which could be considered truly magical. Certain names come to mind, sometimes because of their general excellence, sometimes because of one particular moment of magic that sticks in my memory. I’m thinking of Slydini, Tommy Wonder, Chan Canasta, Cardini, Channing Pollock… and, of course, Fred Kaps.

I was lucky enough to see Fred Kaps perform live — on stage and close up — on several occasions. Here was a man who understood theatre, whose undoubted skill was always used to serve the performance. His version of The Recurring Card is an absolute classic. Watch and learn.