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.

I’ve known Steve Cook for many years, he is a frequent Lounger and regularly travels over from his home in Grimsby to attend lectures and sessions here.

Around twenty years ago I saw him lecture for the Sheffield Circle of Magicians. I was impressed by the range of practical, commercial magic he presented and persuaded him to write a book for us. This was Point Blank, first published in 1992 to excellent reviews, and still available!

Like many magicians he was a great fan of the inimitable Ken Brooke, and in 2008 he published Legend: An Anecdotal Tribute to Ken Brooke. I was happy to play a part in the production of this book, which is an extensive and fascinating collection of stories and memories of Ken by famous and not-so-famous magicians from all over the world.

I’m pleased to say Steve has agreed to accept a repeat booking in Sheffield with his brand new lecture of close-up and mental magic suitable for most performing situations. This is on Friday 15 October at 7.30 here at the Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Cost is £10.

In developing material for this lecture Steve’s criteria has been to offer simple, direct magic with the accent on comedy, and the emphasis more on psychological subtleties and ruses rather than technical sleights. He will also deal with realism in comedy, acting, scripting, wording/phrasing, plot, story-telling, structure, and those all-important ‘fine details’.

Steve has spent considerable time over the last few years working on equivoque. He will be giving his thoughts on the many guises and applications for this much underused, maligned and underestimated technique.

Exclusive! This is the only lecture Steve will be doing in the UK this year. Extra! Steve will be available at the Lounge on Saturday morning (16 October) from 11.00 a.m. t0 1.00 p.m. for anyone who attended the lecture who has further questions or who wishes to go over in more detail anything they saw the previous evening.

Don’t miss it!

The trailer for the great new Visions of Ken Brooke DVD is finally up. It’s not exactly a prime example of video-making craft, but I hope it will give a flavour of the DVD and its contents. There’s about an hour of video altogether, ranging from silent shorts put out by Harry Stanley’‘s Unique Magic Studio in the late ’50s to material recorded shortly before Ken’s death in 1983 (was it really that long ago?).

The DVD is available from us now.

Although this clip is not on the Visions of Ken Brooke DVD, here’s a little taster of Ken Brooke performing in cabaret. The quality isn’t great, but good to see anyway. The introduction is by Pat Page.

Just a note to say that the Ken Brooke DVDs Visions of Ken Brooke arrived yesterday. Those who pre-ordered; they’re on their way. Ready for your order now! Been putting together a quick trailer, which should be up here shortly.

Adam’s Weekly Wheeze?

Had my car stolen the other day. Didn’t see who did it, but I’ve got the license number.

Some time ago Martin Breese passed to me several silent films originally released by Harry Stanley over 40 years ago. Many of these featured the amazing magic of the inimitable Ken Brooke. I was virtually a weekly visitor to the Unique Studio (14 Frith Street) while at University in London, where I first met Ken, and was later a regular visitor to The Magic Place. I was pleased to be asked to help with the editing and production of Steve Cook‘s magnificent publication Legend: An anecdotal tribute to Ken Brooke. When Martin approached me with the Stanley material I was delighted to become involved with this too. It seemed almost like the other half of a total project.

I had some material I had collected myself, and Martin was able to secure permission from Patrick Page to use this together with some raw sound film of Ken in later years performing Chase the Ace, his Chop Cup routine and Bucks and Does.

Patrick also provided a fascinating and informative commentary on all of the effects that you will see on this DVD. Patrick Page knew Ken Brooke very well so you will not only see Ken Brooke at work but will also hear about the history of the tricks and routines he performed. There are too many tricks and routines to list here, but the highlights include Ken’s version of the Vernon Linking Rings, Coins 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.

A lot of work went into re-mastering and editing all this material. Now the NTSC master has been produced and has gone to the duplication house. The finished DVD — Visions of Ken Brooke — will be available very shortly at £25, post free anywhere for pre-publication orders. Check the About Magick page for PayPal details.