Ken Brooke

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 19th, 2003, 12:21 pm

And a very good book too Anthony !!

I also liked the fact that Ken would refer to his customer as being different to the customers of other dealers.
He told me of a fellow walking into the studio and asking for a magic wand, here Ken went in to the salesman mode and showed him the standard model and de-luxe version for just 1-00 more and finally the luxury item for a fiver,all offered on his famous money back guarantee.
Two days later came back in waving his wand about and said,
"I want my money back. The bloody thing doesn't work"
(Probably one of his Pro stories)

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Pete Biro
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 20th, 2003, 10:13 pm

Sir Brahams... just the other night I was going through your book with Ken's instructions, etc. and ran across a gag that I had done on me once.

Ken would lean over to whisper in your ear and secretly link a button on his jacket to your jacket... when you straightened up you would be hooked together!

Never a dull moment at "The Studio." :p :cool: :p
Stay tooned.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 21st, 2003, 5:32 am

Yes, Pete, it was very funny-saw him do it in a pub. The lamp post bit great, too. First great gag I ever saw him do was at a Harry Stanley one-day convention, on stage, the Elephant. Probably old but had the audience, mostly magicians, in stitches.
Anthony

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 21st, 2003, 10:38 am

The Elephant.

I assume you mean the bit where you pull your coat up over your head and stick one arm through one sleeve to make the elephant's trunk.

Yes, very funnny....

Also, the way he did the routine about the guy getting fitted for a new suit.

(The customer was crippled with one short leg and one short arm) and Ken would go through all these physical bits that had one crying with laughter.

The great punch line was, "Well, you're a difficult figure to fit."

I have tried to do that routine a number of times and could NEVER get the reaction Ken did. :D :D :D :D :p
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 21st, 2003, 10:40 am

Another great routine was... oh, too much today, wait 'til tomorrow!! Hehehehe
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Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 21st, 2003, 11:53 am

The tag line that I like to do with the bad fitting suit gag is that when the sucker is standing in the light so that his wife can see the colour of the cloth in broad daylight, a couple walk past the shop front .......
Looking up at the sign above the shop window
the man says to his girlfriend,
"He must be a damn good tailor finding a suit to fit that poor bugger."

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 21st, 2003, 12:15 pm

Just re~read your thread Pete,and for explanations sake the sucker is not actually a cripple, but a victim of an over enthusiastic salesman who makes him adopt this stance as a ruse to convince the wife that with a few "minor adjustments",the suit would fit like a glove.
I hope this makes sense......e~mail me for further clarification.

Another great routine ended up with Ken going home on a train without a buffet car. Having had missed breakfast and with all his cases to look after he looked forward to a long and hungry journey, when the train made a stop at a railway station. Seeing a slim chance he called over to a young boy, "Here lad, take this ten bob note,pop down to that cafe and bring me back a cup of tea and a meat pie and by the way,have one yourself."
Ken thought that it was likely he wouldn't see the lad or his 10 shilling note again.Even then the train might pull out before the boy could return.
But right enough, here came the lad running up the platform with a cup of tea in one hand and eating a meat pie with the other. Handing the cup of tea over to Ken with a few pence in loose change chirped up,"Thanks for the meat pie mister."
Ken asked him,
"Where's my bloody pie?" the lad answered,
"Sorry mister,I but they only had one left!!"

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 21st, 2003, 10:37 pm

Ken had a great bit with the little square Mirror Production Box...

He would have in the load a razor and shaving cream in a little aerosol tin...

He would show the box "empty" -- spring the latch and open it to produce the shaving cream and razor...

Then he would Lather up and shave LOOKING AT HIMSELF IN THE MIRROR!!!

:rolleyes: :p :rolleyes:
Stay tooned.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 21st, 2003, 10:39 pm

A nice bit of routining he gave me was with a Vanishing Birdcage and a Jumping Stool.

(I use it today)

Walk on with cage, 'Can you see it in the back?" he'd say, "No, just a minute." He would go off, get the stool and say, "I'll stand on this."

He would start to get onto the stool, it would jump up in the air and as he reached out to catch it the cage would vanish!!!

"Where's the bloody cage?" he'd say...

I love this bit... :D :D :D
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 22nd, 2003, 1:35 am

Yes, you correctly detailed to the elephant gag I referred to.

Love the stool/birdcage one :D
Anthony

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete McCabe » January 22nd, 2003, 11:27 am

Pete Biro:

Ken had a great bit with the little square Mirror Production Box...

He would have in the load a razor and shaving cream in a little aerosol tin...

He would show the box "empty" -- spring the latch and open it to produce the shaving cream and razor...

Then he would Lather up and shave LOOKING AT HIMSELF IN THE MIRROR!!!
I saw a fellow lecture at Tannen's Jubilee about a hundred and fifty years ago (note to self: this may not be correct) who showed a mirror glass empty, then used it to produce a comb, then pulled out the mirror and used it to comb his hair.

Heck of a nice guy and a great lecture. Can't remember the fellow's name it was so long ago. ;-)

Pete

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 22nd, 2003, 1:56 pm

I still have that comb!!! :D
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete McCabe » January 22nd, 2003, 2:12 pm

Forget the comb -- do you still have the hair?

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 22nd, 2003, 5:57 pm

Hey - you can buy either one or both, if needed. :D Very entertaining, this Pete and Pete Show... Asrah

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 23rd, 2003, 10:00 am

Hair today, gone tomorrow... I still have some...

Question: Bill Bowers asked me about the small carved bust of Ken that used to be on a shelf in the studio. He wanted to know if it was still in existance and who might have it?

Bill was there with Dai Vernon, and saw it during Vernon's lecture. :confused:
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2003, 3:46 am

Ken was nearing the end of the demonstration of Sidewalk Shuffle using those huge jumbo cards and when he "came to the bat" the customer asked,
"How can I carry them about all day ?" :confused:
Turning around Ken tucked the giant cards underneath his braces ;)
Needless to say I too went home that night with a set packed in a brown paper bag.
As usual we went home via the Dog and Duck pub in Soho, one of my favourites because the strippers could be observed dashing from one club to another, meeting up with Fred Robinson. Ken had just spent time with Kaps learning the subtleties of the handling prior to publication.
Seeing the giant cards a guy came over to find out what was going on and was gently turned away with the phrase,
"I'd love to show you this but it's not ready yet, and quite frankly you wouldn't understand what the hell we are talking about."
I thought to myself,

"He's not the only one !!" :D

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 25th, 2003, 8:29 am

Translation: Braces = Suspenders

In the US it would be impossible to tuck the cards under your "braces" -- as they are little sadistic metal devices used to straighten teeth :eek:
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby John McDonald » January 25th, 2003, 10:28 am

Although not strictly a Ken Brooke story, I believe this event took pace in his shop.

I was at a Wayne Dobson lecture recently when he told us a story about Tommy Cooper when he was visiting Ken Brookes magic place.

Tommy said to a young Dobson, "the wife's coming back in a minute, you won't swear will you."

After a couple more minutes Tommy looked really worried and said, "please don't swear when the wife comes in she really doen't like it."

This continued for a few minutes until, Tommy's wife arrived and Tommy said, "where the *&$@:>< have you been?" Apparantly the place collapsed.

Best wishes John :D
Best John

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Matthew Field
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Matthew Field » January 25th, 2003, 1:02 pm

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Translation: Braces = Suspenders

In the US it would be impossible to tuck the cards under your "braces" -- as they are little sadistic metal devices used to straighten teeth :eek:
And suspenders in England are a garter belt.

Matt Field

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2003, 6:00 pm

Originally posted by Martin Tordoff:
Just re~read your thread Pete,and for explanations sake the sucker is not actually a cripple, but a victim of an over enthusiastic salesman who makes him adopt this stance as a ruse to convince the wife that with a few "minor adjustments",the suit would fit like a glove.
I hope this makes sense......e~mail me for further clarification.
[...]
And, as I recall, the punchline has a bypassing couple remarking:
[she]"Oh, look at that poor man; how unfortunate to be so crippled."
[he]"Yes, but what a nice suit!"

Regards,
Thomas Wayne

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Paul Green » January 25th, 2003, 8:21 pm

Hello all,

This thread is great! I have loved re-living all my times with Ken.

When I first met Ken, he was a heavy smoker. But it seemed as if he never smoked. He would take out his pack of cigarettes and shake one out. As it approached his lips, it appeared to fly out of his hand and over his head. I remember him doing the same thing 6 to 7 times.

When he finally got a cigarette to stay, he then attempted to light it with a wooden match (vesta in England). Either the flame would be extinguished as it approached the end of the cigarette, or the flame seemed to be repelled by the end of the cigarette.

All those "flippin'" cigarettes, all over the floor! :D :D :D

Keep Ken alive in our memories.

Regards,

Paul Green

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 3:56 am

Going back to the photograph album that you have Pete a large part of the content was of a young couple showing some unusual methods of performing Kens tricks, a method for loading the Chop Cup springs to mind....
Would this have been Mysto & Bisto from Norwich by any chance ?
Over to you Anthony.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 27th, 2003, 1:30 am

Mysto and Bisto flourished long before I (Mysto) had even heard of Ken. I always have to explain to non-UK people that the act's name is funny* as Bisto is gravy powder with renowned advertising.
*Even got a laugh on a sad occasion in 2001 when I was one of those speaking at the memorial service for Bisto (my cousin and oldest friend Henry Burke) at the Norwich Playhouse theatre he createdthe humour was not out of place, I was given the OK!
Anthony

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 27th, 2003, 9:49 am

Different scrap book. The one I have, all the pictures are of Ken... at least his face. He took dozens of images of famous and not so famous people, and had his face put on... some very funny stuff for sure as his captions were a riot to read. :D :rolleyes: :p :D
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 10:42 am

I remember the photos well Pete what would Ken have got up to with the "Photoshop" editing and such like ?
Who did the photo work for him, was it Vic Pinto ?

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 10:47 am

I may be mistaken but I thought that there was just one comedy photo album. The Cod magic pictures were of a young couple. She a dizzy looking blonde and he a "nerdy" bespectacled type.
One photo showed the load of the chop cup with the little white ball being blown from the mouth into the empty cup.
There were a lot more but memory fails me.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 27th, 2003, 10:37 pm

I don't think Vic Pinto did this stuff, it is a bit on the crude (technically) side. Just simple cutout faces glued on and the photos were copied (I think)... anyway, it is one of my prized possessions for sure.

Another thing about Ken... toward the end, he probably knew his days were numbered... I was in the studio and he asked me to come into the back room... he pointed to the filing cabinets and said, "I want you to go through and take any instruction sheets you don't already have."

Wow! What a gift! :cool: :) :cool:
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Q. Kumber » January 28th, 2003, 1:44 pm

Check out Martin Breese's website www.abracadabra.co.uk and click on Latest News.
You will read Hugh Miller's article about he and Ken working at Harry Stanley's.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 28th, 2003, 9:47 pm

Thanks Q... a great article... I can just see them doing it, as before Wardour St., I was a regular visitor to Unique. Matter of fact, when Lloyd Jones bought Harry's film collection I was the unlucky bugger that had to lug it back to the U.S. as excess baggage!

I believe Byron Walker now has the films... will have to find out. ;)
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » January 31st, 2003, 11:14 am

I happened to pop in to the studio one Saturday morning and Ken and his old friend Andy Dalziel were busy stuffing envelopes with the latest catalogue. I joined in and was later treated to Andy's fantastic retention vanish.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 31st, 2003, 10:05 pm

At lunch today the subject of Zombie and the Dancing Cane came up. I mentioned one of the contest acts at the recent WMS that not only did the dancing cane for his ENTIRE ACT... but did it with TWO CANES... Everyone cringed...

Then I said, "The best dancing cane routines I have seen are a Frenchman's (I can't recall his name) at a FISM where the cane had a mind of its own and instead of a "dancing" cane, the cane would HIT HIM and CHASE HIM... very funny premise, and Ken's.

Ken used the cane to open his cabaret act. He would enter DANCING... and knowing Ken you knew it would be a funny eccentric type dance. The cane was just along for the ride... the main thing is he didn't do the cane for more than maybe 10 seconds. (Enough, right?--He always preached don't be GREEDY with a principle)... anyway, he would reach the microphone, stop, throw the cane across the room (to a waiting helper, usually a waiter) and just say, "Sell it!"
:D
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » January 31st, 2003, 10:13 pm

Just went back and re-read all the Ken Brooke posts to see if I had forgotten anything in particular and son-of-a-gun I forgot one of my favorites...

Del Cartier and his wife Rhoda were in visiting Ken from New York at the same time I was in the studio.

It was getting on in the evening and we were all going to go out to eat.

Suddenly Rhoda said, "Ken, we've known you for years, but you know, we have NEVER seen you do a show. When can we see your act?"

Ken mumbled something and went into the back room.

About 10 minutes later, Ken comes back in having changed into his tux, he has his table, all set with all his props...

And... FOR THE THREE OF US SITTING ON THE COUCH, he does his complete act, the gags, the falls, all the bits as if we were a 1000 people.

It was a riot!

:D :D :D :D

Note: Cartier was in the fabric business and he was the one that FIRST came to Ken with the invisible thread as used by Kaps and many others, made by stripping women's hosiery. He had the raw material.
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby John McDonald » February 17th, 2003, 2:31 am

Heard recently that another of Ken's "bits of business" was to repeat the tag line of a joke to a member of the audience who looked pretty uninterested or was looking pretty grim faced.
Apparantly the rest of the audience roared laughing and the person targeted enjoyed the attention they were getting as Ken would walk right up to them.
Often repeated in the same act as a running gag going up to different people.

Best wishes

John
Best John

Dick Koornwinder
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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Dick Koornwinder » February 20th, 2003, 6:36 pm

This is a fascinating thread. It took me some time to read all the postings. One thing for sure I havent had a boring moment. First I do owe Ken a lot, he has put my name on the magic map by marketing a few of my effects in the early seventies of the last century. Fred Kaps has introduced me to Ken and we had immediately a good contact. At that time I was pitching the squirmle (I sold 700 of those beasts a day) and he appreciated that very much. He has said to me: If you can do this you can always earn enough pennies to buy a bread once a week my son and that is better than digging roads! In his early years Ken has pitched the Dutch Looper and Im still fascinated by the fact he was selling the three cards in an envelope without any instructions! He was a really pitchman. At one of those conventions in his booth there was a big bowl, almost filled to the rim with Pennies. His Pitch was selling Pennies with a locking shell (At that time new and almost unknown). He asked somebody to take out a coin. He was throwing the coin in a tumbler and just by shaking the shell was separating from the coin. I hope you realize he had palmed an ordinary shell when he picked up the glass and started the shaking. Dynamite!! He was a very qualified performer and that is an understatement. I remember I have spent a New Years Eve with Ken, Barbara and Kaps, maybe also Fred Robinson, in an Irish pub. I guess Kaps was doing the Christmas Magic Circle Show at that time of the season. In that pub there was a lot of singing, a lot of drinks and also a lot of magic. It was impossible to top Kenhe was the best!!! I was just a novice, so I did not care so much about, but I think Kaps was a little bit frustrated.
Once Ken has given me a lifetime supply of the NEMO Card Control. It was in a dark brown medicine bottle. Long after his death I read the prescription on the bottle again (Two Tablets To Be Taken in The Morning, dated March 17, 1974) and I realized, after consulting one of my medical friends, he must have been been in a very bad shape for a very long time. Ken came over for the funeral of Fred Kaps (1980) and I have never seen such a sad man again.

Kind regards (the phrase Ken was always using),
Dick Koornwinder

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Pete Biro » February 21st, 2003, 6:52 pm

Dick... thank you so much for your addition to the Ken Brooke thread... and about our dear friend Kaps... Oh do I miss them both :( :( :(
Stay tooned.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » February 23rd, 2003, 7:29 am

If memory serves me right it will soon be the anniversary of Kens passing.
Where have all the years gone ?

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby John McDonald » February 25th, 2003, 4:43 am

Mr Kaufman any chance of devoting an issue to Ken Brooke and his magic? Best wishes John
Best John

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » February 25th, 2003, 10:44 am

Hi,
It's been excellent reading about Ken Brookes life...Thanks to Pete Biro for his great memories....I always say it's about the people you meet in life....Steve G.
PS...A message for Dick Koornwinder..
Can you recommend any places to visit in Amsterdam, magic related as I'm visiting at the end of May...I did search,but the only magical things that came up where mushrooms...seriously....thanks.. Steve G.

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Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Dick Koornwinder » February 27th, 2003, 4:39 pm

Steve,
Very close to Amsterdam there is a nice magic shop. If you give me a mail in May Ill give you an update! Not really magic related but when Eugene Burger is in town he is always visiting The Torture Museum at least once. :confused: :confused: BTW there was a double murder in the hotel where he is always staying but I'm sure this is a coincidence. YesAmsterdam is a nice little village!

Guest

Re: Ken Brooke

Postby Guest » March 4th, 2003, 11:00 am

Dick,
Thanks for your reply..I will email you closer to the date..Thanks again...Steve.


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