Hamilton was first bitten by the magic bug when as a seven year old at
primary school in Dorset he saw a Christmas magic show presented by
magician Percy Bee. Obtaining a catalogue from Ellisdons in London
he managed to work out some of the methods, and then went on to buy his
first magic book Easy Card Tricks by Widdop. Initially he was
interested in close-up but also dabbled in manipulation with both billiard
balls and card productions.
Later, moving to Hampshire, he joined the Astral Magic Society in Emsworth and performed in their annual magic shows. A real turning point in his thinking, and appreciation, of magic came when he discovered the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, his favourite magic book. Vernon's cups and balls routine is still his favourite trick. Bob got to know Lewis Ganson, who lived in Waterlooville, and met with him fairly regularly. He gave Bob much practical advice. It was at this time in the early 60's that Bob started devising effects and had several published in the Gen, and later in Pabular. Southern TV had a talent contest called 'Home Grown' and Bob appeared on the show at just 19, performing Vernon's Ball and Cone and Slydini's Torn and Restored Newspaper (photo). Following this appearance, Lewis asked him to demonstrate the latest effects being sold by Harry Stanley and these were filmed to be shown at Unique Magic's Days of Magic. Bob says he's still a little embarrassed by these films, but that fortunately few copies now exist!
Moving to Hertfordshire in 1970 he joined both the British Ring and
The Magic Circle. Bob first became convinced that video projection would enhance close-up shows and lectures when he attended a Goshman lecture at one of Ron MacMillan's Day's of Magic "I was at the back of the room and couldn't see a thing!" He first started recording magic on cine in early 70's and then later on used video. Bob first used video projection at Ron's
Day in 1985 and has provided projection and recording services at his weekend ever since. "I believe that magic events should be recorded for posterity - if only we had recordings of those masters of the past...!"
Best piece of magic advice? "Bob Read was the first person who I heard advise that you have to find your performing character and stick with it."
Favourite performer? "Fred Kaps - his magic happened 'naturally'"
Top magic moment? "Harry Blackstone Jr performing his floating light bulb at a British Ring Convention in Eastbourne - later he asked if anyone had recorded his performance!!"
In 1991 Bob took early retirement and set up
The Magic Video Company with his son Peter. They have now produced almost 100 video tapes for International Magic, Mark Leveridge, Dynamic FX, The Magic Zone and promotional tapes for a number of magicians. They continue to provide video projection services for major conventions, but these days their primary business is in the production of corporate videos for training, information and promotion - clients include GlaxoSmithKline, MFI, Compaq Computers, Freedom Foods. They have recently upgraded to a complete digital recording and editing system.