Barnstaple magic man calls it a day
IAN Adair has pulled the last rabbit from his hat in a magical career spanning 60 years. During that time, Ian, who lives in Barnstaple, has not only been known as a popular entertainer, but was for 36 years an integral part of the once famous Bideford-ba
IAN Adair has pulled the last rabbit from his hat in a magical career spanning 60 years.
During that time, Ian, who lives in Barnstaple, has not only been known as a popular entertainer, but was for 36 years an integral part of the once famous Bideford-based Supreme Magic Company.
The company became the largest of its type in the world, manufacturing magic tricks and printing books of magic and supplying not only amateur enthusiasts worldwide, but some of the top names in the world of magical entertainment
The ending of Ian's public performances, which started in his native Scotland at the age of eight, is being marked with the publication of his autobiography, which also features the Supreme Magic Company.
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Entitled 'Dealing' With Magic, the rise and fall of the Supreme Magic Company, it is being launched this month at The Magic Circle in the heart of London, of which he is an Inner Circle member.
It will be Ian's 266th published book!
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Ian started a career in television presenting in Scotland at the age of 17. His hobby was magic and he had set up three of his own magic dealing businesses by the age of 14! So when he met Supreme Magic founder Edwin Hooper at a magic convention and was asked to join him in the business he jumped at the chance and left for North Devon.
Ian was essentially an ideas man, inventing and developing tricks as well as his huge output of books - and still performing a large number of shows in the evenings!
Even when he went to bed he would wake up with an idea in his mind and have to transfer it on to a dictaphone, he said.
At its peak the company employed nearly 70 people and supplied such well-known entertainers as Paul Daniels, Tommy Cooper, David Nixon David Copperfield, Ali Bongo and Harry Corbett as well as enthusiasts around the world.
Ian recalls personally delivering a special prop to the home of Tommy Cooper on the day that he died. "It was a table with legs that collapsed whenever it was moved, to be replaced with what looked like women's legs," he said. "Tommy wanted it for that night's show, so we took it up to him. He used it on stage on that fateful night."
He also recounts how Edwin was diagnosed with cancer and his illness led to the sale of the business. Ian carried on as manager for new owners, but said it was never the same. The company subsequently folded in 1994.
Then in his 50s, Ian turned back to performing to make a living. In his earlier years he had performed widely, including 20 weeks on Blue Peter with John Noakes and Val Singleton, touring with Harry Corbett and the Sooty show and introducing Gus Honeybun on Westward Television.
On his return to the stage Ian once again became well known at holiday parks and other local venues until his now retirement at the age of 68.
"I have had a wonderful life in magic and met a lot of famous people," said Ian. "The wonderful thing about a life in magic is that I have been able to turn a hobby into a profession. Other people have to rush home from work to take part in their hobbies. But the show has now come to an end and magic will once again be my hobby, although I will continue to write.