Peter Scarlett


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 doorstep!

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 perform!


1957 - Won Student's Trophy - Sussex Magic Circle

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

Top Trick?
"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."

Top Book?
"It has to be Unconventional Magic by Lewis Ganson, which was the book that accompanied the Harry Stanley Day mentioned above."

Top Magician?
"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 April!"

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."


MagicWeek 2002