Remembering Roy Walton

By Dominic Twose - Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Roy Walton and Dominic Twose

In October 1992 the excellent but short-lived magazine Profile published a trick of mine, The Ghost Jacks. I was pleased with it - it combined the ancient Three Jacks Deal trick with an Elmsley Count to give the effect that on each round you are dealing all four Jacks to yourself. A couple of months later Profile published Dominic Twose - Two, which was Roy Walton’s elegant improvement on my trick. I was hugely flattered that someone like Walton would be interested enough in my trick to work on it, but more importantly, comparing the two handlings was a great lesson to me on trick construction.

I met Roy only a few times. The first was in the Marlborough Arms, when I sat with him, Fred Robinson and Alex Elmsley. I was the junior partner in every sense, but he treated me with warmth and kindness. The last time I met him was in Glasgow, when we talked about Alex and Fred, as well as Vernon, Cervon and Marlo – he knew them all. He owned Tam Shepherds, a magic and joke shop in Glasgow. Despite not wishing to be in the limelight, the man was literally a living legend, respected by magicians all over the world. The Magic Circle recently started a book discussion group. Just this week their book was one of Walton’s.

Roy will long be remembered. Not only in Glasgow, where he effectively developed a school of magic – people like Jerry Sadowitz, Peter Duffie and Gordon Bruce would not be the magicians they are without the influence of Roy. He’ll be remembered around the world due to his amazing oeuvre of tricks. Most magicians will be familiar with Card Warp. But his output, across books and magazines, was phenomenal. Most of his best work was collected in the three volumes of The Complete Walton, published by Davenports.

If you aren’t familiar with his work, the sheer amount of it may seem daunting. So here is a very short list, by means of an introduction.

  • The Smiling Mule
  • Oil and Queens
  • Impact
  • A Switch in Time
  • Strange Prediction
  • The Collectors
  • Near Enough
  • Comic Cards
  • A Magical Joke
  • Leave ‘Em Laughing

Reader comments:

Mark

Wednesday, 05 February 2020 19:54 PM - Reply to this comment

I would have to add 'Card Warp!

Jim

Thursday, 06 February 2020 21:19 PM - Reply to this comment

Met him in Glasgow a couple of years ago. What a nice man he was. This is a true loss.

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