James Prince


 

I was introduced to magic by my Grandfather who had picked up a number of tricks whilst working at fairgrounds, among them the three card trick.

My first shows other than for relatives took place at school and were a hodgepodge of styles were influenced strongly by Davenports and Supreme. Luckily Supreme had brought the rights to many to the Ganson books. In an uncharacteristic moment I bought the Vernon and Slydini books and became hooked on close-up. Then followed the discovery of Ken Brooke's Magic Studio and my future was sealed. I joined the AWS and the IBM at the earliest age possible. In fact Duncan Trillo and I were the two youngest members of the AWS for some while.

At the time paid close-up work was rare so I started doing children's shows, which I performed for many years. Finally after chalking up over 2000 shows I gave up entertaining children when I took up magic as a full-time profession. The rather warped logic behind this being that if close-up work alone couldn't pay the bills, I could fall back on the kids work. Well, into my second professional decade and haven't had to pick up the break-away wand again.

The other major earner for me in the 80s was Medieval Banqueting and at one time my routine income from this exceeded that of my day job. One day I may write an article about my experiences as Strolling Richard (aka Wandering Dick) but I doubt anyone will believe it.

Thanks in the early stages must go to Jeff Atkins, Wally Boyce and Ron Wilson all now sadly departed and greatly missed.

I've worked in numerous countries, made television appearances, done a bit of cruising, a little stage work and meet more celebrities than a chat show host. On the positive side what a fantastic experience, on the negative, none of the above turn me on in the slightest any more.

Haven't been asked, 'what do you do for a day job?' for years.

 

Top Trick
Rather an obvious answer but itís got to be Cups and Balls. Iíve used it for well over 20 years, in all circumstances for all audiences, at table and walk-round. It inspires instant interest and recognition and yet is hardly used these days, which suits me just fine. It can be presented using solid silver cups (thanks Brett) or impromptu using coffee cups and sugar lumps.

Top Book
The Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Lewis Ganson and Dai Vernon. Iíve had books where Iíve picked up one routine from but this is the only one where Iíve got three and used them consistently, over many years. All the items have had so much Ďworkí done on them, unlike a lot of modern authors who think of an effect one week and publish it the next.

Top Magician
Well obviously Vernon but if I had to go with a living magician it would be Carl Cloutier. Besides any thing else heís a joy to watch. Often thought of as being a Topit and sleeve magician only, if you study his work there is a lot more to it, in fact his work is often lifted and republished under other names. Other favourites would be Williams for his sense of humour and Malone for his definitive ĎSam the Bellhopí Ė I stopped doing the effect for three years after I saw his version and now after much work am doing it again, still not as good as him but acceptable.

Top Magic Quote
Canít choose between - "Donít run when nobodyís chasing you" or "Magicianís stop thinking too soon."

Top Magic Moment
Performingís been such a drug, with so many interesting things over the years, that itís hard to pick out one top moment. One that springs to mind however was when I was flown over to Monte-Carlo to perform on a yacht to six tables of diners. Lots of famous people there, but the two of interest were Prince Andrew and Prince Albert (they were on different tables). Now you may begin to think the point of this story is me dropping names but in fact Andrew really didnít go for the close-up at all, behaving rather like a spoilt child (which I guess he is) he pointedly ignored me, carried on talking when I was working and even threw one of my props on the floor. OK it was only a rubber band but thatís not the point. In contrast Prince Albert loved the magic, insisted on taking part and come the end of the second session presented me with a signed playing card as a keepsake. The evening becoming a sort of surreal alternating top moment, bottom moment, top moment and so on. On the bright side Iíve been back to Monaco twice since but have become a zealous anti Monarchist (Principalities are fine).

 

www.jamesprince.co.uk

 

© MagicWeek 2006

 

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