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Bob Read

Bob Read

Brief Biography

A much loved English comedy magician who had a unique style in performance. An achiever, he was a semi-professional who won various competitions, wrote several excellent books, lectured widely, but maybe most of all has come to be regarded as diligent and highly knowledgeable historian and collector. His collections of original graphic art prints of Cups and Balls performers were published in two essential volumes. He also produced a fascinating map of walking magical tours of London that visited homes and venues of magical greats of yesteryear.

Downloads Overview


This tape is very poor quality, obviously recorded terribly casually, it distorts and has vocal mumbles, but given it is probably the only recording in existence of Bob performing purely for a lay audience in his prime, we decided to include it in the Archive. His performance style, gags and timing come through, and just listen to the audience reactions, so of great value

Expansion of Texture – Bottle Production – coins vanish from glass – Knife through Jacket – Knife and Paper (paddle effect) – All Backs routine (Vernon) Expert Card Technique – Funken Ring – Torn £1 note song gag – banknote tear – Easy Money – hanky mouse – Torn and restored cig paper (or gypsy thread) card spread gag – Professors Nightmare – Cups and Balls includes watch gag.



Interviewed by John Fisher.

The first magician I saw – Benson Dulay (JF was he responsible for what you became?) – joke shop Sheffield – Cecil Browning – sleight of hand – cups and crowns – 1957 Dai Vernon (JF intrinsic fascination with the cups and balls?) – Vernon changed perception – street magicians –iconography of magic – visual – street magicians effects other than cups and balls – led to graphic art of magicians – previous century – cross media of the day -1400’s – 1500’s Bosch – Breugal – cups and balls is commercial – cut and restored ribbon – blow books – described in Scott 1584 – packed small – street magicians images – entertainers now – now on way back – Boulder, Colorado – street magicians no longer itinerants – you have to vetted – David Blaine is a modern day charlatan but good magician – attitude is everything – appeal of cups and balls – Roy Benson – Paul Daniels virtually reinvented the one cup routine – The Great Thomsoni – Ken Brooke – Percy Press – Paul Daniels Electric Chairs – audience participation – Paul Daniels is a modern master – pick pockets – Borra 1949 in Salisbury – a circus Tom Arnolds 1948 – Billy Smarts? – Tiger Palace Franfurt – met Borra 1996 – Wayne Dobson – Matthew Buchinger – Fred Kaps – anecdotes about Ken.



See Ramsey Reunion page for overview


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