1950 was the start of it all - Norman Hunter described a trick with
wooden blocks in the 'Meccano Magazine' Xmas issue. I made it up from
cardboard and performed it at the school Xmas party. I eventually met
Norman on the 18th June 1989 and was able to lay the blame squarely on his
The first magician who introduced me to a magic club (The Sussex Magic
Circle) was a wee Scot named Bill Fargie "The vest pocket magician"
in 1954. I used to visit him every Saturday for lessons. I met him in the
'Carlos Magic Studio' in North Street Brighton, which was run by another
member of 'The Sussex Magic Circle' - Carl Franklin. I was still at school
at the time and used to travel from my home in Burgess Hill to Hove every
day to attend the Hove Grammar School. The train reached Brighton at about
8.20am every morning and I then had to board another train at 8.40am to go
to Aldrington Halt - the nearest station to the school. This gave me 15
minutes to sprint from Brighton station to the magic shop, collect my
'Abra' and sprint back to the station for the connection! Every other
Thursday I went to 'The Sussex Magic Circle' at the Glenside Hotel in
Brighton, and it was here in the student section that Janet Clare, Cynthia
Neptune, Peter Steadman, Bob Freeman, David Clake, Nic Lewin and myself
practised our hobby. Just listen to that list of names - all but one are
now full time professional magicians! We must have had good teachers!
Silken Bombshell plus Lewis Ganson's 'Bags of Everything' won me a talent
competition at the first ever Burgess Hill 'Goose Fayre' in 1956. The
judges were Jimmy Edwards, Ted Kavanagh, and the local Beauty Queen. Jimmy
Edwards spent most of the time backstage downing pints of best bitter!
I also joined the 'Bognor Regis Magic Circle' after meeting Len Jennings.
My mother's sister lived in Felpham and so we were quite often in the
Bognor area. It was here that I had my first experiences of appearing in a
full size theatre. Every year the Bognor club put on a show at the
'Esplanade Theatre' and I just could not wait until the next one! The
greatest thrill was Easter 1961 when we put on a show for the whole week.
The first trick I invented, manufactured and marketed was Twin-set. I keep
thinking that it has come to the end of its life and then suddenly it
starts selling again.
We formed Sound Ideas in 1990 - I was trying to think of a name that could
be used for sound systems and magic. My good friend, Hank Moorehouse,
keeps telling me that I should be 'Peter Scarlett Magic' because they know
me in America and not Sound Ideas. He's probably right! I have now changed
the name to Peter Scarlett Magic.
I was forced to become a dealer/performer in 1993 when the company I was
working for was taken over and all the sales staff were made redundant. I
had already been dealing since 1990 so it was really a natural
progression. Being a magic dealer brings some very amusing moments - I had
a customer in Wales who rang me for quite a list of items and wanted to
know whether I could put it on his Auntie's credit card! When I explained
that I did not take credit cards he asked if I had a local petrol station
that would book, £150.00 of petrol on to the credit card and then supply
me with petrol until the, £150.00 was used up! It takes all sorts!
The magicians that I saw early on and who influenced me were Slydini, Al
Koran, and Marvyn Roy, but the one who gave me the opening of my act was
Ken Brooke. I saw him demonstrate the vanishing cards and case, and the
diminishing card routine, that I open my act with to this day, in around
1958 at a Harry Stanley day at the Victoria Halls.
One of my favourite tricks to perform is the Nemo Rising Cards, not only
is the effect sensational and 100% visual, but it is a challenge to
1957 - Won Student's Trophy - Sussex Magic
1958 - Won Student's Trophy - Sussex Magic Circle
1959 - Won Student's Trophy - Sussex Magic Circle
1960 - Won Student's Trophy - Sussex Magic Circle
1960 - Won third prize in Ring Shield Competition
1961 - Won David Berglas Shield - Sussex Magic Circle
1964 - Won David Berglas Shield - Sussex Magic Circle
1965 - Won David Berglas Shield - Sussex Magic Circle
1969 - Won David Berglas Shield - Sussex Magic Circle
1969 - Compered Bognor Regis show at Esplanade Theatre - First appearance
as a compere
1970 - Won third prize in Ring Shield Competition
1977 - Compered LSM show at Conway Hall
1985 - Compered Blackpool Gala Show
1989 - Compered SAM show Tampa and lectured - first appearance in USA
1989 - Compered Abbott's Get Together Show and lectured
1992 - Appeared at first International Battle of Magicians - Palace
Theatre, Canton, Ohio.
1996 - Compered British Ring Gala Show - Eastbourne
1997 - Compered Abbott's Get Together Show and performed in Close-up
1999 - Compered The Magic Circle Christmas Show
"It has to be Blackstone's Floating light bulb, who could ever forget the
impact of the bulb floating out over the audience - a master performer and
a master showman who also has to be my Top Magician. His stage presence
was outstanding - live he was masterful."
"It has to be Unconventional Magic by Lewis Ganson, which was the
book that accompanied the Harry Stanley Day mentioned above."
"How about ideal Magic Show, eight acts, past or present: Fred Kaps, Mac
King, Harry Blackstone Jr., Robert Harbin, Al Koran, Dale Salwak, Lance
Burton, Michael Finney."
Top Magic Quote?
"'I need your details for this Friday' - Duncan Trillo, Tuesday 2nd
Second Top Magic Quote:
"I will" Ilona - a long time ago!"
Top Magic Moment?
"Becoming President of the British Ring for the 50th Jubilee Year and
witnessing Blackstone's Light bulb for the first time. The first year I
attended Collectors' Workshop World Summit, in 1994, was also
unforgettable. I took sixty Pimpernel Notecases with me and sold out on
the first day! I just could not believe the way it took off - I had to
keep counting the money to make sure I was not dreaming."