David with the Creda View a television set inside the cooker

to him." David changed the channel again and this time, Charles Braithwaite, Creda's extremely popular sales manager, appeared on the screen.

Braithwaite, realising he was on air, began to look attentive. David introduced him and said that he had an important announcement for the audience. Braithwaite began by saying, "This is a unique opportunity for me to be able to address you in this new and unusual medium and I would like to tell you something about the new Creda View."

The speech was formal, technical, confusing and boring and David began pacing up and down the stage waiting for it to finish. Braithwaite, on the television screen, somehow noticed this and kept glancing in David's direction. He was clearly irritated. David took out a bunch of keys and began to toy with them, throwing them casually from hand to hand. They accidentally dropped to the floor and Braithwaite looked angrily in David's direction. As David bent to pick them up Braithwaite shouted, "I wish you wouldn't do that."

David was startled. "I didn't know this was a two-way link up."

"Of course it is. I am trying to explain these technical details and you are pacing up and down. It is very irritating." There was a flash of smoke from the top of the oven.

"Well there's no need to blow your top," said David.

They engaged in some more banter, David on the stage, Braithwaite on the screen. At one point David poured liquid from a bottle into a glass held by Braithwaite. He then lit the sales manager's pipe and Braithwaite reciprocated by blowing out the lit match David was holding. As Braithwaite savoured his pipe the smoke drifted through the television screen and into the conference hall making David cough.

"I wish I was down there with you," said Braithwaite. "I told them it was wrong to let an amateur do this presentation."

"I'm not sure I like that," said David. He slammed the overn door on Briathwaite. The door instantly flew open as if Braithwaite had pushed it back.

"And another thing. If you were a real magician you'd magic me down from Glasgow right now."

"Don't challenge me," said David. "I don't like to be challenged," but Braithwaite persisted. David made a magical gesture and a puff of smoke appeared in front of the cooker. When it cleared the audience saw Braithwaite had materialised in the flesh, his head and shoulders emerging from the oven. He continued his dialogue with David who good-humouredly patted him on the head and fed him a lump of sugar as if he was a horse peering out of a stable door.

Eventually Braithwaite stepped right out of the oven and onto the stage. The television screen was still there and the audience could see a silhouette where Braithwaite's image had once been. Slowly it faded away. Braithwaite and Berglas shook hands, the audience applauded and, having got their attention, the real Creda cooker was brought on.

Revelations: When David first started doing corporate work he discovered that the few magicians working this field were just adapting standard magic effects for corporate presentations. They decorated props with corporate logos or produced products from standard conjuring devices. David believed he could do more than this and sought to devise routines built around the needs of the companies that were employing him. His main aim was to deliver their sales points in an entertaining and memorable fashion. Sometimes, as with Creda, it meant devising an entertaining presentation around their product, a presentation that used magical thinking but did not look like a standard magic act.

Most companies had a limited idea of what the magician can bring to a product launch. Often David was asked to saw an executive in half or make one appear out of a cabinet. They regurgitated ideas they had seen before at other conferences and business fairs. David preferred to pitch new ideas and sell them something original. This took more effort but his entire career has been filled with instances in which he devised new routines for one-off presentations. This is how he has always worked.

He also had one more valuable strategy when giving corporate presentations. Whenever he did them he would ally himself with the people he was working for. He didn't want to appear as some third party brought in to demonstrate a produce. Instead he became part of the organisation, apparently sharing their experience and emphathising with their problems. To do this he used phrases like, "So at Creda we have been thinking " and "Let me introduce you to oumcw model." It was a tactic that helped create an instant rapport with the audience.

Corporate presentations often toured and rather than rely on the differing venues and performing conditions he might encounter, David built his own stage and took it with him. The platform had a chequered floor that concealed a trapdoor and could be installed in any venue. This together with some new close-circuit camera technology formed the basis for the Creda presentation.

The cooker had a television built into it, a small H-shaped aerial that rose out of the back and a flash pot located on the hob. All were operated by a secret assistant below stage. The television was rigged rather like the door of a filing cabinet and could be slid easily back and forth which it would have to do at the finale when Braithwaite made his appearance.

There was no bottom to the cooker. It was positioned over a trapdoor and Braithwaite sat below the stage facing towards the back curtains. A close-circuit camera was trained upon him and he was lit by two small spotlights that could be dimmed when necessary.

The secret assistant also hidden under the stage took care of Braithwaite, operated the camera and lights and passed Braithwaite his glass and pipe when needed. The workings of the routine should now be obvious.

David opened the door of the oven and switched on the television that was connected to the hotel's television aerial. He changed channels a couple of times before arriving at Braithwaite's image. Braithewaite began his speech and appeared to keep a close eye on David as he paced up and down the stage. In fact he had the benefit of a small monitor below stage to enable him to cue his actions. All of this required careful rehearsal. Fortunately Braithwaite turned out to be a natural and gifted performer and in a couple of days he had mastered everything required.

When David appeared to pour a drink from a bottle into Braithwaite's glass the glass was, of course, gimmicked and the liquid came from a rubber bulb hidden in his hand.

Braithwaite's failure to light his own pipe is explained by the joke-shop matches he tried to light it with. He then lowered the pipe out of camera shot where it was replaced by a lit pipe by the secret assistant. On bringing the pipe back into view David lent close to the television screen and pretended to light it with a match. Braithwaite appeared to blow it out but really it was David who flicked out the match. A tube exiting from the front of the cooker was used by the assistant for blowing the smoke that the audience thought came through the screen.

When the door was slammed shut on Braithwaite a line operated by the below stage assistant was used to pull it open again. The illusion was enhanced by Braithwaite putting his hand palm out, towards the screen, so that it appeared he had just pushed it open.

David set off the flash that masked the sales manager's final appearance and the smoke provided cover for Braithwaite to pull the television set to the rear of the oven (running smoothly on the filing cabinet runners) and then turned around and popped his head through the oven door.

There was some more dialogue and then Braithwaite stepped out onto the stage. The lower part of the oven hinged open to facilitate his exit. As he emerged the television moved smoothly back into place helped on its way by a couple of springs. By now the secret assistant had set up a card on which was painted a silhouette of Braithwaite and his pipe. The camera projected this onto the television screen and a simple dimming of the lights resulted in it fading slowly from view.

It was a complex routine. Close-circuit television was hardly known at the time and provided the novel technological backbone that made the presentation possible. And then there was the talented Charles Braithwaite, the company sales manager, whose participation was something of a coup.

When David pitches a presentation like this he does not begin by explaining that it will require one of their senior executives to sit-cross legged under a stage and crawl out through an oven door! In David's experience this sort of approach will always be turned down. He always sells the benefits of the routine first and emphasises the impact it will create. Having got the approval of whoever is commissioning the work he then asks to speak privately with the executive who will have to appear in the routine. It is then that he explains how the presentation will work and how much more interesting it would be if the executive participated.

The Creda promotion worked very well. Indeed it was so successful that when their conference manager joined English Electric the following year, he called David to ask whether he could work similar magic with their new washing machine, the Reversomatic. I need hardly tell you that he said yes!

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