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This month's Workshop was a special one with a lecture by Paul Stone. Paul is well known in the world of magic, having produced many shows including shows for Siegfried & Roy and John Calvert at the London Palladium. Originally from Liverpool Paul told us how he had started in magic visiting 'The Wizard's Den' and then being introduced to Ken Brooke, who became a mentor. He now owns the rights to all of Ken Brooke's effects.
After some stories about Ken Brooke Paul showed us his version of the 'Popeye Pips' card which can be customised in the final revelation. Paul's first show was at a club in Nottingham and it was pretty tough. He toured with the comedian Dave Allen and performed in summer seasons and the northern clubs. He then got into tradeshow work.
Paul demonstrated 'Overboard', which is a versatile prop involving a folding board which can be customised in all sorts of ways to reveal messages or predictions. When Paul Guy and I saw this at Harrogate I immediately saw it was something Paul would be interested in; he bought it and performed with it very successfully at our St Silas's show.
Some stories about Fred Kaps were next before Paul gave us some advice on the Chop Cup routine. Then lots more stories about Siegfried & Roy, Norm Nielsen, John Calvert and Sylvan.
In the second half, after refreshments, Paul continued with 'Mumbo Jumbo' - a jumbo card revelation with a card unfolding using dental dam. Then more stories about Johnny Paul, Slydini and Karrell Fox.
Paul then showed us another cups and balls variation with paper cups and a switch wallet and a switch envelope before yet more stories about David Copperfield and Lance Burton. Anne Walmsley was in the audience when the accident with Monticore happened which ended the Siegfried & Roy show, and Paul was able to tell us a bit more about this.
Hans and Helga Moretti were delightful to work with, and Paul did so over fifty times. So, some hair raising stores about them including the time when a crossbow went off too early lodging the arrow in Hans's neck chain! Also, how Hans had spent three hours in the cardboard box illusion so he was supple enough to work the effect.
Paul demonstrated the 'Nemo Jumbo Rising Cards' which is a signature piece, including the thread set up and how it is handled with the aid of Dave Moss as a willing volunteer.
Paul finished with more stories about the London Palladium shows and the opportunity to have a look at the brochures and posters for these events.
As I said in my vote of thanks, it isn't be often that you can hear from someone who has produced shows at the London Palladium, let alone magic shows, and it was a delight to hear all Paul's interesting stories about all the greats of magic he has worked with, and to see that some of Ken Brooke's commercial magic is still available via Paul.
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