Movies

being filmed at Britain's Pinewood Studios. In addition to his skills as a magician it also made use of his expert knowledge of casinos and gambling.

David has always been fascinated with gambling. Not just the mechanics but also the lifestyle, which fitted in well with his own. He is, even now, a nocturnal creature and a late night show in London could be followed by a meal and a session at one of its many casinos. He had followed the development of casino gambling in England since its earliest days in the 1960s when it was dominated by private clubs rather than the corporate establishments we know now. He was a well-known figure on the circuit and had been closely associated with a number of prominent clubs including The Blue Chip Club, The Islet Town Club, The White Elephant and Crockfords. In total he was connected with nine clubs including his own. The Magic Room, Mayfair, which he set up in 1964 and later turned into London's first school for croupiers and casino managers.

All this experience was finally brought to bear on the movie Casino Roy ale where he not only provided the magic but also recruited the croupiers, some of whom he had personally trained. I Ic adv ised on the design of the casino set to ensure that it was accurate and instructed the actors and extras on casino etiquette. This first experience of working on a major movie was one of the highlights of his career.

His gambling knowledge was tested again on Stanley Kubrick's period drama Barry l.yne/on, where he had to research 17th century gambling. Octopussy, another James Bond adventure (he has worked on five altogether), required him to teach Roger Moore some sleight

of hand so that he could switch a Faberge Egg. He also helped develop the film's spectacular sequence in which a horsebox, being towed by a fast-moving car, opens to reveal a small aircraft. On the George Lucas movie Willow, he showed the eponymous hero how to produce a pig and vanish a live baby and on Batman he taught Jack Nicholson to handle playing cards. Ron Moody's Merlin, as featured in Disney's The Spaceman and King Arthur, learned his magical skills from David as did Robert Powell's enigmatic character in the supernatural thriller Harlequin.

David had always considered television the very best showcase for the magician's performance. But the movies provide an even larger canvas to work upon and one in which every skill the magician possesses can be put to good use. Of all the projects that David has ever been involved in, he relishes most his work in the movie industry. It simply has no equal when it comes to bringing illusions to life.

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