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Topic: Does any body remember anything about Ken Brooke
Message: Posted by: magic soul (Mar 4, 2004 02:53AM)
Ken Brooke I believe was a dealer here in the U.K. but I am to young to know much about him.Has any one got any stories about him. Also I believe he could have achieved the status as Paul Daniels has over here.andy
Message: Posted by: Riley (Jun 17, 2004 12:40PM)
Hi Andy

Bit of a late reply as I've never wandered into this part of the Café before.
I was a pupil/customer/friend of Ken's back in the late seventies. Any stories about him?? Where would I start? He was a great magician and a very fair dealer.. Have you seen or heard the 2 audio tapes that Pat Page made with Ken -- they're very good. "Kondini" who posts at the Café was also a pupil of Ken's.
PM me if you want any more info.

Regards

Riley
Message: Posted by: calexa (Jan 20, 2006 10:23AM)
Do you know something about his book "Ken Brooke's Magic Place"?

Magixx
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 8, 2006 01:07PM)
There are a couple of books about Ken on the market. One is called [i]Ken Brooke and Friends[/i]. Another is [i]Ken Brooke's Magic.[/i]

Ken had a certain style about him, that's for sure. He was a somewhat controversial dealer, as well.
Message: Posted by: Marvello (Jul 8, 2006 01:54PM)
Ken Brooke and Friends is where I learned the Malini Egg Bag routine. Excellent booklet.

Calexa: "Ken Brooke's Magic Place" contains: Another Blooming Trick; Autorise; Balloon Fish; Benjamin; Brema Bill Tube; Card of the Cash; Chinese Bit; Chinese Sticks; Clockaudacious; Coin through Ring; Cups and Balls-KB Tips; Dancing and Floating Cork; Dingle Coin Mystery; Dirty Deal Treatise; Electric Candle; Esoteric; Fido; Flash or Firing Wand; Four Faces; Fred Kaps' Chinese Coin Trick; Fred Kaps' Coin Off Ribbon; Fred the Flea; Hong Kong Coin; Hydrostatic Bottle; Ken's Comedy Buttonhole; Ken's Comedy Rope Routine; Long Pour Salt; Malini Egg Bag; Nemo Card Castle; Nemo Diminishing Cards; Nemo Jumbo Rising Cards; Nemo Switch Case; Nemo Switch Holder; Nudist Deck; On the Button; Repeat Vanishing Cigarette; Tuce; Two in the Hand, One in the Pocket; Wide Boy; Wine and Water; Working Performer's Card in Wallet. Ken Brooke's Magic Place is hardbound in a leatherette cover, stamped in gold foil. 326 pages.

Bill- not trying to stir anything up - but how was he controversial? I love good gossip. ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 17, 2006 02:34PM)
Well, he used to scream when anyone nicked one of his pieces, but he had a tendency to waffle around the ownership of items he wanted to produce.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Nov 20, 2006 07:49PM)
I've come to this very late in the day. Ken was a brilliant routiner. That was his great strength. He had a magic business up in Yorkshire and he was a bit of a market grafter. The business wasn't a success and in 1952 he moved to London to join Harry Stanley's Unique Magic Company.

He was there to sell and he did. He'd sell the props and then meet the customers again downstairs to sell them his own routine and bits of business!

Harry bought Ken's routines and together with other material this forms Ken Brooke's Magic - The Unique Years published by Supreme Magic in 1980. Supreme had bought the rights from Harry Stanley. It caused a lot of comment at the time about who actually had the copyright to these routines.

However, in 1966 Ken left Harry Stanley to start up on his own again. He refined some of the routines you'll find in the book I mentioned and went on to produce some brilliantly routined effects.

He knew very well that pros buy ideas and any supporting props. They may well modify the props and certainly sort out their own routines. But magicians -frequently so very skilled at handling props - buy into the total effect, especially the routining and that is what he was so brilliant at. Magicians were confident that their dexterity plus Ken's detailed routining would assure them of the desired result.

In the old days dealers printed a brief resume of the effect and perhaps a suggested sequence. Ken turned this on its head and created a fully finished routine - an actor would have been very much at home.

When he was demming at conventions his roots showed. He was a grafter, creating a pitch and selling like a market man. You could see the punter's hands stretching out waving money at him. If ever they didn't he would insult them and dismiss the crowd as useless. And crowds there were.

Occasionally he'd offer an item unseen, wrapped in paper, like a scam. It wasn't and the prop within would at least be worth what someone had trusted to pay, sight unseen. Whether they actually ever used it was another matter.

His prices were never cheap but generally the effects were usable and good quality and the routines fascinating as he explained not only how but why you made a move the way he explained. Such detailand such precise use of wording in the script.

What he objected to was people phtocopying his instructions and selling them as their own! He was especially vulnerable with card effects or others where the props were easily reproduced. He started using coloured papers and inks to defeat the phtocopiers of the time but the latest machines overcame this and he was back to square one.

Just read his instructions for the Malini Egg Bag. Not the booklet. His foolscap size paper instructions and finely detailed routine - longer paper than A4 which was only just coming in. There you'll find his complaintsn written as I recall at one o'clock in the morning.
Message: Posted by: Canvey Card Sharp (Dec 4, 2006 08:45AM)
Ken wasn't controversial for the wrong reasons; he just fought for the right to keep the commerical items that he stocked HIS PROPERTY.

He would buy the marketing rights for effects and, if they were ripped off by another dealer, then he fought hard to make this known. He also fought tirelessly against the pirates and rip off merchants on magic and should be applauded for doing so.

I believe he had one or two run-ins with Tannens in the USA when they STOLE effects he'd paid a hell of a lot of money for to keep exclusive; Fred Kaps Floating Cork comes to mind. It also wasn't simply money/profit motivated; he just didn't want these outstanding commercial effects butchered and bodged by dealers making inferior effects and writing next to useless intructions only for the effect to be slaughtered by magicians that could not appreciate the value of performing the effect correctly.

For some insight into this great man, go to the Genii forum; there's some excellent stories about his time at the Ken Brooke Magic Place.

Ken was, without ANY doubt whatsoever, the greatest magical demonstrator and the most professional, competant magical dealer in the history of our art.
Message: Posted by: Canvey Card Sharp (Dec 4, 2006 08:47AM)
Ken wasn't controversial for the wrong reasons; he just fought for the right to keep the commerical items that he stocked HIS PROPERTY.

He would buy the marketing rights for effects and, if they were ripped off by another dealer, then he fought hard to make this known. He also fought tirelessly against the pirates and rip off merchants on magic and should be applauded for doing so.

I believe he had one or two run-ins with Tannens in the USA when they STOLE effects he'd paid a hell of a lot of money for to keep exclusive; Fred Kaps Floating Cork comes to mind. It also wasn't simply money/profit motivated; he just didn't want these outstanding commercial effects butchered and bodged by dealers making inferior effects and writing next to useless intructions only for the effect to be slaughtered by magicians that could not appreciate the value of performing the effect correctly.

For some insight into this great man, go to the Genii forum; there's some excellent stories about his time at the Ken Brooke Magic Place.

Ken was, without ANY doubt whatsoever, the greatest magical demonstrator and the most professional, competant magical dealer in the history of our art.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Mar 2, 2007 12:37PM)
Just seen this post don`t usualy look here.
Would like to add >>>> Since Ken left us his legacy is still being used and abused by those who have no right to do so, making money from his lifes work without as Ken would say " serving their dues"

Ken, ex Brookie student and friend.
Message: Posted by: herbertmacau (Mar 4, 2007 08:02AM)
As a teenager living in Canada I had to buy all my magic by mail order. I always looked for Ken Brooke's ad and what he was featuring. His promotional pieces were great. I remember his slogan - "There is no place like Ken Brookes." I also remember he used this at the bottom of each ad - "We seek to gain and maintain your business and we cannot hope to do so by offering inferior products. We do not offer hundred of items. We carefully hand-select a few choice items and produce them in the best manner possible. You can shop with confidence at Ken Brookes." I think he had a money back guarantee which was (and still is) unusual. There was one exception I remember. That was Fred Kaps floating cork. I believe the price was over US$100 (around 1968) and you had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and no refunds. I also remember getting two follow-up sets of instructions with new ideas from Fred Kaps. It was a great surprise. Such customer service!!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2007 07:10PM)
Herbert you're right. I'd forgotten. Many of the things he put out he continued to 'service' with updates and sometimes additional bits of props. Another set of different cards for example.

I seem to think you had to send him some proof of purchase - part of the effect or part of the instructions or something.

He was a stocky man, took no nonsense, spoke his mind, did not suffer fools gladly and blunt to the point of rudeness.

If you were determined to do something properly and he could see this, he became kindness and patience itself.
Message: Posted by: Steve Cook (Jun 28, 2007 02:15AM)
If you want to learn more about the late, great Ken Brooke, I have just finished an
anecdotal tribute to Ken from some of his friends and acquaintancies. There is a
great deal of myth and untruths surrounding Ken. He was, without question, the
greatest magic demonstrator of his time (probably of all time), in fact, there is
still nobody around today who comes near. He has recently been described as 'The most influential man in magic'. The biggest and most respected names in magic sought his help and advice: Fred Kaps, Ricky Jay, Doug Henning,Paul Daniels,Wayne
Dobson, Slydini, Dai Vernon, Johnny Paul, Tommy Cooper, Finn Jon, Gaetan Bloom,
Scotty York... the list is endless! He could be awkward, controversial and on
occasions, downright rude. Conversely, he was the most generous of men; he was
kind, thoughtful and, he cared passionately about his craft and fellow magicians.
Ken made money for everyone else he worked with, except himself. He should, publicly have been a huge star world wide, however, fate had other ideas. He was
the funniest, most talented performer for REAL people I have ever met. I, and
countless thousands of others, who REALLY knew Ken and understood his humour and
personality (people such as 'Kondini' - mentioned above) will, I'm sure echo this
view. My book, due for release in February next year, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Ken's passing, is a hard back (220pp) book, limited edition of 1,000
signed and numbered copies worldwide. The advice alone in this book is genuinely priceless!!! The book has been produced with the help of Ken's partner, Barbara
McNaughton. If you are in any doubt of Ken's magical ability, knowledge, charisma
and his outstanding reputation, then just ask people like Pete Biro (one of the many contributor's to this book, who summed-up Ken by saying: "Ken was one of a kind;
a street-wise pitchman, a super salesman, a funny performer and a great guy...
Oh, do I miss him!" Long may Ken's name and memory live on... we hope this book will help to do just that!
Message: Posted by: Number One (Aug 12, 2007 10:25AM)
When in London I used to visit Ken Brooke's Magic Place in Wadour Street Soho.
Above his studio were two struggling musicians Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ken used to buy them lunch, look at them now.

In 1967 on my honeymoon I went to his place with my wife, she asked him if he had a show that night that we go to, he said he had a private booking and we could not attend. But like the professional that he was he gave us a private showing he was to perform. This included among other things, Nemo Rising Cards, Dancing Cane and Six Card Repeat.

I still have his Matrix / Chink a Chink with 4 dice and a chrome box. Unfortunately I have mislaid the instructions, if anyone has these I would like a copy.

Ken is sadly missed.

Mike
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 4, 2007 11:07PM)
Ken was one of the great teachers of magic, routines and how to do them. Ask Paul Daniels, Nicky Lewin and many others... I don't feel like repeating so much of what I have written, so go to the http://www.geniimagazine.com forum and look up the Ken Brooke thread (search)and you'll find hundreds of posts.

He was a brilliant comedy performer and probably the best instruction writer I've known.
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Feb 3, 2008 04:22PM)
A late addition to this thread but I have to second what Pete said about what a truly exceptional instructions-writer Ken Brooke was. Anyone doubting this should read his three cup-three ball routine. The clarity of the instructions,step by step, is absolutely amazing, and a model well worthy of emulation.

Fortasse