Ken Brooke

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 12/14/02 12:40 PM

I only had contact with him once (about 40 years ago) and he struck me as a very kind man. Rough edge but kind.

I was out of work and had no money. He asked what I had been doing. I told him that I had just started in the grafting business. To US readers this means the pitch business. I had been selling the Blo Bloon and various eyeglass cleaners for pitch companies but the season had come to an end.
He knew everybody in the grafting business. He had worked other products besides magic. He gave me a list of names to go and see. He told me to go up the D.I.Y. Exhibition at Olympia and ask for these various people.He figured they would give me work.
I never did go to see these people but I got to know them over the years. They all knew Ken Brooke yet they were not magicians. They spoke of him highly.
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Postby David Britland » 12/14/02 03:07 PM

Hi Pete

>>Another gag of Ken's was a gaffed card he called "The Cridge Card."<<

I think the Cridge Card was Bob Ostin's idea. It began as a spoof, in Abra perhaps, and later Bob created a gimmicked card to demonstrate the legendary "Cridge."

A number of Bob's tricks were marketed through Ken including the much copied Beamshot and the Submarine Card.

As others have said, Ken was an incredible demonstrator. He was at the first convention I ever attended, in Blackpool. There was a huge crowd of people around his table and there was this market pitchman selling tricks wrapped in newspaper. He wouldn't tell you what they were. He just held them up and named a price, usually a high one, and people clamoured to buy them. Never seen anything like it since.

Then he spotted me in the crowd and no doubt recognised the bemused look on my face. "You haven't seen me before have you son?" I hadn't. "Well, come here."

Folk moved aside as I went forward to the table. Then Ken took out three cups and proceeded to bamboozle me with his superb cups and balls routine. I mean, I'd read about this stuff in books but Ken Brooke did the first cup and ball routine I'd ever seen. Wonderful stuff.

David
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/14/02 05:26 PM

Getting a day ahead of myself...

Ken never liked to pitch any magic tricks that a "dad" would take home and couldn't do. Like the Svengali Deck. We think it is a no brainer, but a complete neophyte laymen would have a difficult time using one.

Ken, therefore, pitched the Charlie Edwards Flik Book... a little book with stamps, birds, etc. and blank pages... you all know it, you can show it all blank, all birds, all stamps, whatever, then all blank again. ;)
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/15/02 10:45 AM

Short KB item today... the "Studio" AKA Ken Brooke's Magic Place was at 145 Wardour Street, London, W1 (first floor). Note in the USA that would be the second floor.

Guess who was up one floor? (We used to say, "We shared the Loo with _____________ ." (Loo = WC, toilet, John, Bog.. depending on your national origan)!...

Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice!

Tomorrow... "The Lesson" :p
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/15/02 05:18 PM

Back in 1974 Ken gave a lecture in Dublin. I was 18 and really looking forward to the lecture. It was one of the finest evening's entertainment I have ever experienced, full of first-class magic, gags and storytelling.

The only lecture I have seen that came close was Aldo Colombini.

On his video Denny Haney (of Denny and Lee Magic) does the Ken Brooke handling of the Malini Egg Bag and the Multiplying Bottles. In my opinion he does them better than Ken and that is a major achievement.

One of Ken's rules was to "Get 'Em Laughing". Once they are laughing you can do anything you like. Don't interpret this as putting comedy first. Ken's magic was very strong. It meant breaking down barriers between the performer and his audience.

After he retired and had developed a pronounced stammer from a series of strokes he attended an Irish convention and was selling props "pitchman" style as described by David Britland, but without the wrapping paper. People were buying just to buy. One guy having spent a lot of money on a wallet asked how to use it. Ken handed him back his money and sold the wallet to someone else, remarking that if he didn't know he shouldn't have it.

It was the old Ken back doing what he did best...pitching and selling.
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Postby Guest » 12/16/02 12:15 PM

It is iteresting that Ken is not only remembered by the magical fraternity but elsewhere as well.
Way back in the early seventies Ken recommended a small local Italian restaurant which is quite close to his 'Place' in Wardour St to my wife, daughter and myself which was a favourite haunt of his. Then it was the 'Piccadilly', aka 'The Little Cottage' close to the famous (and sadly now no longer a showplace for magic or comedy!! :( ) Windmill Theatre in Great Windmill St, and so it remains to this day! ;)
Sadly our friendship was mainly a 'distant' one as we lived in Northern Ireland and rarely could afford the air fares or indeed the Hotel accomodation in the London area! :(
Some 25 years later we had to fly to London for a rather sad family event and thought of Ken so we decide to dine just once more in the Piccadilly.
After an excellent meal, just as in days gone by, we noticed that a photograph of Ken was still on the wall. Needless to say we pointed out to the friendly staff and the reply came back, "Ah yes, Ken, the Magic Man, he came here very often and we remember him and his friends....great magic!"
Says it all about Ken's relationships to my mind. ;)
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/17/02 11:42 AM

That was one great Italian Restaurant for sure, and many a meal was spent there with Ken and others.

TODAY'S STORY...

Well, Ken is involved, but it is more a Ricky Jay story.

Ricky and I got to London, and our regular stops were Davenport's (Pat Page behind the counter) and Ken Brooke's Magic Place.

Pat took us to a small one ring circus. One of the acts (that we loved) was a juggling act--both of us were into juggling at the time.

At the "interval" they Pitched a slum version of their main prop, the Diablo. (a sort of top you spin and toss on a string held by two sticks).

We bought one each. A short time into the second half of the show, some kid reached under our seats and stole them... Pat spotted the kid ducking under the tent and we chased and caught him. Got our "toys" back and told the kid to scram and straighten out.

Ok, we go back to hotel and TRY to juggle them. Neither of us could do it.

Ricky goes to bed. I keep trying (it is a knack, just like dice stacking) and all of a sudden I "hit" and get it going. Not well, but ok.

Ricky keeps trying and CANNOT get it going. I get a little better.

We decide to leave room, Ricky says, "I'll see you at Davenports in an hour."

I go to store and Pat has figured out how to do it. Ricky comes in and we are both spinning and tossing the diablos. Ricky tries again and can't do it.

He leaves, saying, "See you at Ken's at 3:00."

Just after Goshman comes in. He sees my diablo, picks it up and says, "I used to do that, watch." And starts to do it really well.

I say, "Albert, meet us at Ken's at 3:00, don't say anything and when you see the diable, just quietly pick it up and start juggling."

AHAH... I get to Ken's he said, "What's in the bag?" I say, "A Diablo." Ken says, "I used to pitch them, let me show you some moves."

Get the setup?

Ricky coming and EVERYBODY IN THE PLACE CAN JUGGLE THE DIABLO.

To say he freaked out is putting it mildly.

The capper was Goshman.... Goshman juggling. You had to see it.

:rolleyes: :D :rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 12/17/02 01:12 PM

Pete --

These are GREAT stories. Please keep them coming. I think it is important for all magicians to keep in touch with the great characters of days gone by. Such a valuable resource as a living memory (in this case yours) of the greats should not be untapped. This is living history. I am delighted about reading these stories.

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Postby Pete Biro » 12/17/02 08:45 PM

What a way to sell...

One day a younger (25-ish?) guy came in to buy something at Ken's.

The guy had an attitude. He would say, "I want the Nemo Rising Cards."

Ken would pick up the prop and throw it across the room saying, "It's no good for you."

He would do this time and time again.

The poor guy would be frothing at the mouth, trying to buy something... anything...

Well, bottom line?

By that evening the guy had just about one of everything in his bag and on the way home.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/18/02 11:57 AM

I had just purchased the Multiplying Bottles and the "legs table."

I asked Ken "How do you get off stage with a table full of nine bottles, two glasses and two tubes?"

He said, "Like this." He picked up the table and started to walk off, then he STYMBLED nearly falling flat on his face, but "saved" the bottles, none fell off and he continued.

I said, "%&*()#!!!! HOW DO I DO THAT?"

Again, he said, "I'll teach you."

He grabbed the tea tray (there was always a tray with several cups and a pot of tea there in the afternoons) closed the shop and down the stairs we went.

He said, "Follow and watch."

Walking along Wardour Street wtih the tray, Ken would spot a small group of ladies, he would do his "false" stumble, they would scatter, yet, every time he wouln't drop a thing.

He said, "You just have to do it over and over and over, like a juggling stunt."

I never did get it down the way he did it, but I did to it on a convention show once with a different twist.

Just offstage I had a helper with a pile of pots and pans with a microphone nearby.

As I got to the wings, I started to stumble (as taught) and the assistant knocked over the pile of pots and pans. The sound made it as if I had fallen and dropped them all.

Ken also taught me how to stand on an angle. Ie: you are tilted to one side.

He said certain tricks are funnier when you are standing like this. He also taught me how to walk across the stage like a chicken.

He was the master of visuals. :D :eek: :D
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Postby Guest » 12/18/02 08:03 PM

Pete, you need to open a school of magic and teach this stuff! Kind of a Bizzaro World Chavez school. I'm serious! This is knowledge that needs to be kept and live on through others. At least, teach Charlie Frye! --Asrah
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/18/02 10:57 PM

You have to come to my Lecture at Kramien's in Portland, end of May... now there's a GREAT CONVENTION. :D :p :D :eek:
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Postby John McDonald » 12/19/02 05:25 AM

Dear Pete, :)

:D Thank you, thank you and thank you again. :D

I agree with Opus, these stories are worth telling.

I love coming to this section of the Genii forum and reading stories of Ken Brooke.

Thanks again Pete, Best wishes,

John :D
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/19/02 08:23 AM

I don't have any funny stories to share, but there was one occasion I will always remember and which echoes one of the other anecdotes in this thread (the one about him giving someone his money back).

As a boy in the mid-70's I used to love visiting the various magic shops in London, and Ken Brooke's Magic Place was one of them. (There was also the magic and joke shop run by Tommy Cooper's brother in Slough.) At the time when he was still around I was far too young to be doing "serious" magic, but that didn't stoop me drooling over all the wonderful things in the catalogues.

Imagine my excitement when I saw that Ken Brooke was selling the Floating and Dancing Cork, which I had seen performed not long before on TV by the one and only Fred Kaps on the Michael Parkinson show. I was too young to know how important either Fred Kaps or Ken Brooke were in the magic world, but one thing was certain - I loved levitations and just had to have the Floating and Dancing Cork.

Eventually on a trip up to London with my parents I went to try and buy the floating cork. I think it cost something like 10 pounds, which was a hell of a lot of money to me then. Incredibly, Ken Brooke wouldn't sell it to me!! I thought he was crazy, but later I realised why. He obviously knew that at my age I was unlikely to put in the time and effort to do it justice, and so he strongly advised me not to waste my money. He also said that books were the best investment in magic. In any case, his refusal or reluctance to take my money made a big impression on me.

Sadly, I was also at his shop on another occasion when he had some kind of stroke and was taken away to hospital. Not sure exactly when this was.

I did go on to buy other things from him, but by that time I was a bit older and had probably demonstrated a bit more commitment. Later on I learned a bit more about Ken Brooke, and much later I got to know Arthur Day, a friend and protg of his who was greatly influenced by his teachings. Arthur was a great magician and origami fan whose letters and Christmas cards were always works of art, and who always spoke with the greatest admiration of Ken Brooke.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/19/02 01:37 PM

One of Ken's funniest bits was not in the shop at all...

He would go to Woolworth's and buy a really cheap roll of Wall Paper.

He would then get on a London Double Decker Bus, going up the rear, winding stairs.

He would get to the top, and at the next stop, just as people were about to get on, he would let the roll of paper UNROLL down the stairs...

He would say, "It's OK... come on... I just want you to see the wall paper... it's for my little boy's room... come on, it's ok to step on it a little... come on, what do you think of it. Do you like it????"

:D :eek: :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/19/02 11:32 PM

Two items come to mind from reading other posts.

Malini book. Ken taught me that great item in the Malini book where you wrap your hand with a handkerchief and balance a coin on the tip of your index finger. You have a spectator place another coin in their palm, and you are able to swing the bound hand over, tap your coin onto his and retrieve your coin... don't pass this up as a great IMPROMPTU bit.

The other had to do with the Super Botania.

Ken said "You always learn something by watching the really terrible convention acts." He said, "There were two 'poofs' doing a stage show... they built this Super Botania that was about seven feet tall... they were late in finishing it and the paint was still a bit wet.

"They showed the huge tube empty and put it onto the board... try as they might, it got stuck and they couldn't get it up... so one of them grabbed a ladder from backstage and climbed up and fell into the tube from the top and got stuck with his legs sticking out."

YOU HAD TO HEAR KEN TELL THIS STORY... WE WERE IN TEARS.... :D :D :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 12/20/02 09:57 AM

Biro,
For a guy with a memory like yours, it's amazing that you can recall such great stories although it would have been better to have heard it from their perspective. ;-)
Have a Merry X-mas Dood!
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/20/02 10:43 AM

I didn't know the ACLU had an effect on Canucks... "X-mas" ???? Somene in L.A. recently said, "Soon the ACLU will have the police dept. they want... one that DOES NOTHING."

Anyway, as the Roc says, "Onward!!!"

Ken Brooke thread, right? Someone on another thread mentioned the "Watch Winder" -- Until you see Ken's way you don't realize what a great item this is.

BTW, Ken's philosophy, "It isn't the tricks that make the act, it's the LINKS between the tricks."

So... get the watchwinder in the hand wearing the watch (in my case, the left hand).

You raise the hand to look at the watch and mime (sorry to use the M-word) looking at it like something is wrong...

Right hand comes over and "mimes" winding it... the left (closed into a semi fist) hand operates the winder.

Now, here is where the magic, the acting comes into play... :p

THE SPRING GETS TIGHTER... so you have a harder and harder time winding it and the clicks get feweer and fewer and you are struggling now to get THE LAST CLICK.

Grimaces, body language, all important. :eek:

Believe me... this is it! :D
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Postby Guest » 12/20/02 11:35 AM

I have many happy memories of Ken and his marvelous studio in wardour street. I used to walk into the studio on my occasional holiday to London and no matter who was in the place I would be welcomed warmly and given a big roll on the drum by both Ken and Frank.
He always wanted to know where I had been and what I had ben doing.
Does anyone else remember the Photo album he had on display with a great theme of cod magic ?
He was also the master of the professional story and would have me in tears of laughter.The only price I had to pay was to run down the steep steps, post a few parcels and bring back the tea.
Happy happy days.
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Postby Guest » 12/20/02 12:32 PM

My old friend, Murray the escape artist told me that he went to Ken's funeral and heard from the friends and relatives that Ken never made that much money from his studio. It seems that someone else (I know not who) made most of the profit. It seems that Ken was unhappy about the matter.

Not that I am one to gossip of course.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/20/02 04:11 PM

"That" photo album :p of "Cod" Magic... is one of my prized posessions. Ken gave it to me for Christmas a year before he passed on. :(
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/21/02 09:30 AM

One of Ken's favorite gags...

He would put as many coins (denomination same as a coin operated machine, like a cigarette machine or candy machine) in his sleeves as he could.

He would then approach a machine (of course there had to be a few of the boys around to see this) and pretend to be having trouble with it.

Then he would start banging on it and then let his arm drop and all the coins would roll out onto the floor... all over the place.

He'd say, "I hit the jackpot... look, look!"

:D :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 12/22/02 11:08 AM

On a visit to Kens home in St Johns Wood after the studio had closed we took a walk to one of his local pubs. He suddenly mentioned that he had bought himself a motor car
"A motor car,Ken" I said,"I didn't think that you drove?"
He then pulled out a photo from his wallet of him standing next to a very abandoned vehicle by the side of the road with one or two wheels missing the hood hood up in a very delapidated state.
"It was only 500,I thought it was a bargain..what do you think?"
I still giggle even now.
I also visited Frank Farrow after the studio closed and bought a few bits and pieces from him.
I rather got the impression that he wasn't too happy about the distribution of the business assets either, I didn't press the matter.
He also had a book on the shelf entitled The Magic of Fred Kaps.....every page was blank !!
I wonder how many visitors eyes lit up when they saw that title ?
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Postby Guest » 12/22/02 12:35 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
One of Ken's favorite gags...

He would put as many coins (denomination same as a coin operated machine, like a cigarette machine or candy machine) in his sleeves as he could.

He would then approach a machine (of course there had to be a few of the boys around to see this) and pretend to be having trouble with it.

Then he would start banging on it and then let his arm drop and all the coins would roll out onto the floor... all over the place.

He'd say, "I hit the jackpot... look, look!"

:D :D :D :D
I'm gonna try that while I am in Vegas this week!!!! I'll scope out some little old lady that has been pumping coins into a slot machine and when she finally walks away, I'll do just that!.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/22/02 05:58 PM

RE: the slot machine gag. When Ken explained this in his lecture In Dublin he said he would do it on a crowded railway platform at one of the vending machines. When he pulled the tray the money would fall and he would get all the people to move back as he gathered his "loot".

Another gag Ken explained. This worked with a packet of cigarettes where you pushed the inner compartment up, like a tray. He would doctor a brand new packet of ten cigarettes by putting a 5 note inside the pack. The pack would still have it's cellophane wrapper apparently intact.
Walking into a grocery shop Ken would ask for a packet of ten cigarettes of the same brand. He would pay with a higher denomination bill so the shopkeeper would have to use the till to get change. This was the misdirection to switch packs. After he got the change Ken would open the pack, push up the tray and see the 5 note, all while talking to the shopkeeper. Ken would notice with some surprise the note and remark, "I didn't realise they had started that promotion yet," place the note in his pocket and leave. Going into the shop the next day he'd notice the owner had opened all the packs to check them.
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Postby Guest » 12/22/02 07:02 PM

I told you all that Paul Alberstat was feeling the cold. He is going down to Vegas to warm up.
I have just left Las Vegas. He is obviously showing good timing.

Beware though. There are [censored] vibes in Vegas. I shall say no more.

I have just read his instructions on how to frighten old ladies. It ill behooves him to call ME childish after that.

Since he is in a mood for amusement I can tell him how to do a frightening piece of mentalism while he is in Vegas.

There is a young man who is working at the Houdini Magic shops in Vegas. I think he is at the Venetian. He will be recognisable because he has an English accent. His name is Ronnie. No relation to me.

He has no idea that I know all about him. A friend of mine in England happens to know him and gave me the following information. He worked in the Vauxhall holiday camp in England. He comes from Norwich, near Great Yarmouth. He is a friend of Johnny Laff, the comedian. He recently had an article in a local British newspaper heralding his adventures in Las Vegas.

If you approach this young man, stare at him in a serious manner, pretend that you can read minds, impart the above information to him in a David Blaine type weird manner. Then walk away as a mysterious stranger. The poor kid will go absolutely white. Nobody could possibly know this information 5000 miles away from England.

There we are.Just trying to keep you occupied, Paul.

[censored]
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/22/02 07:14 PM

Ken Brooke and Paul Stone flew into Los Angeles prior to Ken being honoree at the Desert Magic Seminar. Joe Stevens, along with Siegfried and Roy decided to have a party honoring Ken at Siegfried and Roy's home. It was a marvelous affair. When they presented Ken his plaque, those of us close to him just stood their and cried.

But that's not the story.

Ken and Paul were staying in Hollywood so they could be near the Magic Castle. I also took them to Ricky Jay's place and a few other sights during their stay.

When it was time to go to Las Vegas I picked Ken and Paul up in my "crazy car" (it was an olde Mercedes Benz estate wagon that I bought from a guy that brought it over from England. It was RIGHT HAND STEERING)... Ken was crazy about this car...

But that's not the story.

The story: I picked Ken and Paul up in the morning, it was extremely warm and sunny for January... and we got onto the freeway.

When we got near the summit, heading over the mountains to Nevada... IT BEGAN TO SNOW.

Ken shouted, "Stop the car... stop." I did.

He got out and started grabbing snowballs and was shouting, in his Northern accent... "Bloody hell, get away... this morning we could have been at the beach and now it's bloody snowing. Paul, get the camera, take some pictures."

It was a wonderful day.

:D :cool: :D
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Postby Guest » 12/23/02 09:49 AM

Strangely enough I have started to wear Braces !

Another of his covera pass was to say to the spectator deadpan
"What do you think of this jacket ?"
He would then turn his body around and ask,
Does it fit alright at the back ?" grabbing some loose material near the base of the spine and of course performing a charlier pass.

He spent many years studying slieght of hand and said that he couldn't get paid in brass buttons for doing it.
He was always a mine of information to visitors to his emporium and hated to see people get ripped off.
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Postby Guest » 12/23/02 10:00 AM

Dear John,
A good way to get a feel for the man and his manner would be to beg,borrow or steal a copy of his tapes put out by Pat Page.
You do have to remember though that at the time of recording Ken was not on the top of his form as I believe that he had already suffered his first stroke.
The tape has "excerpts" from his patter actually recorded during daily trade at 145 Wardour St.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/23/02 10:41 AM

Martin... would that be "Better than digging roads?"

Thanks to all that have added Ken Brooke stories to this thread.

I'm dry right now on other items, and also about to embark on a long drive North for the holidays.

So, will be checking in, but hopefully others will add more stories.

Best to all... :D
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Postby Guest » 12/23/02 02:21 PM

Thats the one Pete,"It's better than digging roads" is a phrase I use to this day on a regular basis.
You must have seen him do his impressions of a pro magician a semi pro and an amateur magicion on they're visit to the studio ?
You would tell the story better than I
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/23/02 05:19 PM

The Pro, Semi Pro and Amateur was one of the funniest... I have actually INJURED myself doing it... Will save.

Today (I am running out of stuff... should have made this ONE A WEEK)!!! I will just talk about Finn Jon's visits.

Finn was the master of thread work. He would fill a room with threads and nail you badly.

However, the first time I met Finn was at Ken's and Ken asked Finn to show me "Esoteric."

(Haunted pack effect done on floor in brigh light)... Well, when the cards moved I completely went LIMP and fell over backwards, my knees buckled... and thankfully Ken had that nice soft couch in the studio, otherwise I may have really hurt myself.

Finn was working nearby at Raymond's Revue Bar (a high-class strip joint)... anyway we would go into Raymond's back door into Finn's dressing room.

One of the things he did was collect LOOOONG hair from the strippers... he used it for magic. He also told me how he got a FREE trip for his wife on cruise ships.

He would get booked and told them his wife was in the act. (She wasn't) If she wasn't she didn't get to go... so Finn, who did the greatest floating ball I have ever seen, built a small black plastic box with flashing lights and an antanea attached with a big knob.

He told the cruise director that she, in fact, worked out of sight offstage and used that to control the floating ball.

Now that's a magician! :D :genii: :D
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Postby Guest » 12/24/02 01:26 AM

One of the great things about the magic place was the speed that Ken fulfilled his postal orders,usually with a little note attached. His instruction sheets were beyond compare along with his after sales sheets.
I would look forward to his parcels arriving at the barracks and happily read away,practise like crazy and then nonchantly wait for an opportunity to perform. On one such moment I showed a few guys "Esoteric" and didn't get the eyepopping reaction that I was hoping for.Oh well more practise required I thought.
{Cut forward 20 years}

At an Army Reunion.... one of the guys present asks me if I still do the trick with the cards that crawl out of the pack on the floor ?
He told me that little stunt had him scratching his head for the past twenty years !!

When Ken & Frank closed the studio we would retire to whatever pub for a couple of beers and I was always impressed by the people who would call out "Hi" to Ken, shopkeepers,market traders, news vendors & even the roadsweeper got a friendly greeting.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/24/02 02:43 AM

Martin wrote:
"When Ken & Frank closed the studio we would retire to whatever pub for a couple of beers and I was always impressed by the people who would call out "Hi" to Ken, shopkeepers,market traders, news vendors & even the roadsweeper got a friendly greeting."

In his lecture Ken did a funny stumble with an umbrella. He said he used do it every day in the train station. One day, the news vendor called Ken over and said that every morning he looked forward to coming to work, just to see Ken stumble. It made his day.

What a wonderful legacy Ken has left us, particularly the bringing enjoyment to others who have no way of repaying.
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Postby Guest » 12/24/02 02:36 PM

Mr Biro mentioned the famous strip club Raymond's Revuebar here.

A little off topic, I suppose but it is not generally known that the famous ownerPaul Raymond started out as a mentalist.

He did want to become impoverished so decided to become a millionaire strip club owner instead.

There is still hope for members of the PEA yet.

[censored]
www.marklewisentertainment.com
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/24/02 09:21 PM

Quentin, are you the bloke that Billy is always talking to use about?

What's your take on Ken vs. Billy on the Sucker Silk? :confused:
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Postby Paul Green » 12/24/02 10:26 PM

Hi everyone,

Pete asked me to include some of my favorite Ken Brooke stories. So lets begin at the beginning.

I first became acquainted with Ken Brooke through his advertisements in Genii magazine. The first thing I ever purchased from him was the Nemo Card Rise. I sent off my check (including a few more dollars due to charges for converting American funds and airmail postage). Two weeks later, I received the famous blue aerogram from Ken thanking me for the order. It wasnt just a line or two; it was a fully written letter. Not only did it thank me, but it also included some insight on the trick that I had purchased. It was the first of many letters that crossed the Atlantic.

Two days later, the package arrived. I carefully opened (tore) the package open, saving the stamps for my father. Page after page of instructions. I had never seen such detail. Stand this way; . . . place your hand on the spectators shoulder It took me 3 days just to digest the written text.

For those that purchased the Nemo Rise, you know what happened next. I took out the practice envelope and starting playing with the props. Ken suggested that props be played with over a bed. This allowed the performer to become comfortable handling the props without fear of damaging them if dropped.

I then found a small can (coffee, I think) and began the process of dying the thread. Needless to say, I got purple dye all over myself and the thread. Finished with this task, I began the journey towards performing this great bit of Magic. I rehearsed for days and months. I never felt comfortable, but I continued. I loved the way the envelope rose from the houlette, stopped, and then opened as the final selection rose to an unearthly height. It looked so cool (as I pulled the thread myself)!

I must be honestI never performed the trick for an audience. My buddy, Pete, thinks I am crazy. Was I disappointed? Just a little. What I did gain from this first transaction was the knowledge that I would always learn something from Ken Brooke. I may not use an item, but I will learn something that I can use in another way. Ken Brooke taught me more about Magic than almost anyone I have ever known. I think of Ken every time I perform. I look forward to the time when I will be able to thank him for giving me the performers edge.

Respectfully,

Paul Green
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/25/02 02:39 AM

Hi Pete,
I suppose I must be the Quentin that Billy McComb talks about.

I don't know all the details of the "Colour Changing Silk" story, As far as I can remember from what Ken said he had the rights to the Waterman routine and Jack LeDair had the Music Hall rights to that routine.

I know Ken wasn't happy about Billy's routine. I'm not sure why as in Billy's routine the silk finishes half dyed. Plus, as far as I know the Waterman routine was a dealer item.

Harry Stanley wrote for the Magigram in the 1980's and contributed some very interesting articles on his life in showbusiness. Some of these concerned Ken. At the time I was taken aback by Harry's bluntness in talking about Ken. It wasn't all complimentary. I no longer have my Magigrams so I can't direct you to which issues.

There was also some controversy when Supreme Magic (Edwin) published the Ken Brooke Book. Edwin had bought all the rights to Harry Stanley's publications including the GEN magazine. He compiled all of Ken's writings from the time he worked for Stanley and put them in the book, which he was perfectly entitled to do. However Ken wasn't consulted and this led to some bad feeling, voiced by Paul Stone in Abra.

Edwin, like Ken was one of magic's great salesmen and British conventions have never been the same without them.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/25/02 01:38 PM

Green: I thougth you had the cayonnes to do the Nemo rise... tsk tsk... I remember doing it at the Christmas party for billionaire (he wasn't quite a billionare then) Roger Penske.

I had a corporate dude he did biz with hold the deck and he nearly had to have a trip to the LAUNDRY when that envelope rose with the card coming up and out of it.

Dig it out and do it... you will fry the folks.

:rolleyes:
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/25/02 01:39 PM

Oh, instead of purple dye... just get a purple marking pen and do four inch sections to camo the thread.

Speaking of "camo"... my fave Steven Wright joke: "I went to a party where everyone wore camo outfits... didn't see anyone." :D :D :D :D
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