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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Revisiting Tommy Cooper

Plus a new easy trick ...



Occasionally - in magic - you come across an idea that is really good. I spend enough time developing magic tricks to know more or less what a 'seller' is and as I said last week, the simpler the better on the whole ...

Tommy Cooper was a master magician and comedian.

Tommy Cooper was a master magician and comedian.

copyright: bbc

My company is one of the few in the UK that keep in stock the equipment Tommy Cooper used, such as the Multiplying Bottles and the Educated Duck.

While people enjoy seeing the tricks done, they are not the highest sellers, and there is an expectation that the tricks by Cooper will be performed in the same way as Cooper did, and that's tricky.

The gags themselves are easy to perform, but you do have to put your own take on it. Also you can't put these ones in your pocket. Being able to carry a trick around with you is always a huge selling point. I used to do the bottle one a few years back and did a demo video as below:

The reason I did it like that is that was what sold it, and I still keep that link to my website (and if I ever perform it, it's still in that style). Funnily enough, I bought 3 x Cooper Bottle tricks and 3 x Educated Ducks last Friday in an imported order and put them on eBay with all the other stuff and 2 of the bottle gags and one of the ducks sold over the weekend. So I guess it's a supply and demand thing.

"Plus the fact that I do price everything sensibly as I like to turn over my stock."

What I've finally done is to perfect a way to change 4 silks into 1. Now I'm not claiming I came up with the original idea, that would be silly. Very few people come up with new ideas. It's like jokes; you merely get something you like and adapt it. Many of the gags I've adapted come from India originally and this one did, many years ago. So here it is:

It's easy, and you can carry it around and it's now part of my Mad Magic Workshop, which you can come over to Olney for, or I bring the workshop to you. Just take a look at for details.

I'm buzzing around in February doing workshops mainly in the Midlands, but also in Exeter for the Pauline Quirke Academy who love the fact that I'm the only outside tutor to turn up and cut my arm off and set things on fire.

"Children like that kind of thing, and let's be honest, so do the adults."

If you happen to be at the Pancake Race in Olney today (Tuesday 9th Feb) then I shall be one of the MC's on the Market Place. I'm the one with the hat on, making things disappear.

Go on, check out my workshops, you'll love 'em.

Until next time ...


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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions who provides entertainment for theatre and corporate events. This ties in very well with The Arches Theatre, an outside venue that David owns underneath a disused railway line, equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. This was one of the few venues that could operate with social distancing in place during the summer of 2020 and where they ran everything from Shakespeare to Richard Digance through the summer months.

David has been involved in light entertainment for many years, even going back as far as working on a production with Norman Wisdom in London. He has a knack of keeping in touch with everyone he's worked with and would bring such people as Chas and Dave, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk round to play locally when the chance arose.

His company also represent the stage rights for Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the writers of Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour. He has recently negotiated permission with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to produce Porridge on stage although this is all hampered by the current situation and the availability of theatres.

Next year, at the Arches Theatre, he will produce Ripping Yarns, written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. This will be an interesting production as not only does one episode involve playing a football match, but also with the agreement of Michael Palin and the wife of the late Terry Jones, it has been decided that all the profits on this production will go to a dementia charity as Terry Jones died as a result of dementia, as did David's father and uncle.

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