Ian Adair – The Voiceof Britain Feb96

Ian Adair

The Voice of Britain


Hi there:

Nice to be back reporting on the events and happenings here in Britain. Thereís good news and thereís bad news and thereís sad news too. The sad news is the death of one of our most respected magicians, author, inventor and historian, PETER WARLOCK. Here was a gentleman who was respected worldwide for his services given to magic and magicians. There will never be another like him.

I first met Peter when, as a boy, I attended my first magic convention, held in Scotland. Peter was not only the main attraction, but was guest of honor, lecturer, close-up performer and gala show feature. His act with his wife, Anne ìMagic Pure and Simpleî was a sophisticated one. I can still remember the Willow Paterned Plate, his work with silks and those ëstill moistí carnations which he used to produce and throw out to ladies in the audience. Never did I realize that later I would be very much involved with Peter, mainly with the New Pentagram which he edited so well, corresponding with him over 20 solid years, often weekly. As I write I can see the 20 bound volumes behind me. As a painter he had magical flair. Those superb magical artifact pictures signed by himself, are so rare now. I am so pleased Peter painted one for me and as I write I see it on the wall nearby. A lasting memory indeed. But of course, we must not forget this manís other talents. He edited several books, ìMagic of Pavelî and the classic work “Magic of Robert Harbino.”

As a magical inventor, writer, lecturer, performer and indeed magical historian, no one could be better. His last published contribution appeared in the Christmas (1995) issue of Abra. I know you will share with me when I say Peter….. we shall always remember you and thank-you for your valued contributions to magic. Our thoughts are with his wife, Anne, and his daughter Elizabeth (Mary).

More sad news as we write. Past President of the British Ring (I.B.M.) Alfred Gabriel passed away at the age of 90. He was a very popular president and a superb performer. Alfred scored heavily with his presentation of the card sword and the vanishing silk which reappeared inside the center of a scooped-out apple. He was also an expert drummer and appeared on many of the British Ring galas and in particular helped competitors during competitions. He would know just when to add that special effect. We shall certainly miss Alfred. I call him “Alfred the Great”!

The good news is that the Paul Daniels series of six TV spectaculars “Secrets” has ended and the verdict is that once again he scored heavily. The name of the program is named after his ënite-clubí and this is the sort of atmosphere which comes over on the screen, with trendy waitresses serving drinks, cocktail shaker boys behind the bar counters, and people dancing in the background. Paul does a lot of magic, assisted by his beautiful wife Debbie. Appearances in cabinets, levitations, even a most weird headchopping routine with six ladies, one of whom was Debbie. As the long blade falls all five heads get chopped off…except for Debbieís of course! Wait a moment, I forgot to tell you the other five were dummies. That got you worried for a moment!

Guests on his show, specially round the tables (so, table hopping has really arrived in Britain now!) were Bill Malone. He’s great. We had Eugene Burger, always great, still plucking things out of his long fluffy white beard.

Paul wrote to me and chatted to me on the phone thanking me for my write-up in one of the theatrical magazines. Paul has been receiving a lot of bad press here. It is getting so bad that editors are sending out 18 year old girl reporters demanding them to write a bit on the star, and to run him down. Now, if thatís not disgusting…..I just don’t know. One reporter in the famous national “The Daily Express” wrote a whole page on how she tried but couldnít in the end get an interview from Paul. She asked him stupid questions and he asked her to leave. The heading was “The Day Paul Daniels Lost his Magic Touch.” Sad, isn’t it.


Our other TV man of magic, 38-year-old Wayne Dobson made an announcement to all national newspapers so to stop rumors amongst magicians and show-biz people that he had Aids or was a drug addict. He told all that he has been suffering from the crippling desease of multiple sclerosis. “It won’t stop me. I will beat it” Wayne was reported to have said. We just hope he will. I first met Wayne when he was 13 years of age, and then, as a boy magician he was appearing on one of the British Ring (I.B.M.) shows of which I was emceeing. I remember at the time someone telling me that this lad will go far and he did. He has had his own shows, complete series on national T.V. “My kind of Magic” for some years now. He introduced a super rabbit, RINGO operated from below with the cutest antics. The patter flowed well between Wayne and Ringo. We sincerely hope Wayne will be back on our screens soon.

And while we are talking about television, I’ve heard that Penn and Teller are coming back to Britain to make a series. Hope they don’t. We would rather they stay in your country where they belong. They got very low ratings here when a poll was taken. I hope they have other jobs to fall back into. I can’t see it lasting!

But one person I love from good old U.S.A. is Max Maven or Phil Goldstein – I really never know what to call him, except to say that he is a good mentalist. He appeared recently here at our British Ring Convention and scored heavily with only two items. He’s back over here making another T.V. series for HTV. Can’t you guys get your own series on T.V. over there? I’m only joking of course. No one has asked me to have a T.V. series in U.S.A. – that’s for sure.


After U.S. magician Ricky Jay made his appearance on a one-hour T.V. show of his own (there I told you – they all come over here) he burst out in front of the cameras and told spectators to push off and refused others. He came over bullyfied in a most dramatic way. But his work with cards is superb. He certainly has a very aggressive style.

Let’s turn to the radio. Why? Because I presented a couple of tricks on national radio the other day. It was easy as pie. They didnít see the steal and that color change went down well. I even produced an elephant in the studio. But seriously, folks, Radio magic is hard to do. It can be done and has been done. Many famous magicians over the years have used radio as their media. JOHN WADE, is perhaps one of our most well-known radio performers, and Billy McComb has done his fair share of radio magic in this country before he decided to leave us and stay in the U.S. You see, some do leave us and go elsewhere. John must have done hundreds of broadcasts, even emceeing radio programs. He would do tricks and one has to say things like ìNow tell me what color you see thereî when normally you would just show it. Billy on the other hand….wait for it….was a disc jockey, playing records on his weekly show “Home with McComb,” a title he adopted later for his column in Magigram. You used to switch on the radio and hear his Irish chatter. He was good though.

My spot went well, with paddle effects and a plug for a new book of mine which came into the shops this Christmas (thats 1995) simply called “Magic Tricks,” in full color with 200 photographs lots of magic and yes, a hard cover and jacket. All for …..wait for it…..$5.00. How can they do it? I note that it was printed in Australia. I still don’t know how it can be done “under” as we call it….down and under to be exact!

My company ABRACADAIR MAGIC LIMITED has just been sued by a leading hypnotist who appears on television. We published an article written by a well-known performer with an error and that got us into trouble. Always make sure you have checked your facts!

Here’s a bit of funny news to finish off the column. A magician here in Britain who lives in a council house (one not owned by him but rented) did a silly thing which got reported into the national newspapers. Although most towns and cities no longer have wooden telegraph poles, a few in the smaller places do. He painted them overnight when it was dark. When folks woke up the next morning and looked out their windows, they all looked like giant magic wands, black centers with white tips. Now he has been charged for defacing council property. And here’s another genuine fun bit. At the end of many of my shows I use one of those banners, depending on what the event is or what time of day it is. For example, I use the GOOD NIGHT banner at the end of a show at night…GOODBYE during daytime…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY at the end of the kidís birthday show and MERRY CHRISTMAS, obviously at Christmas. I dashed to a show in the middle of July without careful checking. Since most of my banners are similar in appearance when folded with the wording inside I took along the wrong one, and simply thought that the wording was GOOD NIGHT. I came to the end of the show, displayed the black velvet banner ribbon inside. I ended the show by saying “Thanks ladies (it was a large group of women) it’s been great being here and from me a very (dropping open the banner) GOOD NIGHT.” There were a few sniggers – and when I looked at it had the wording MERRY CHRISTMAS. I continued…….”and when it comes in December a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.” Remember, it was July! Until I write again There’s magic in the air….. from Ian Adair