It was way back in the early 1960's that I first heard the name Roger Crosthwaite. He had a series of articles running in the Gen magazine and Lewis Ganson and others of note, were frequently singing his praises. I remember reading several of his pocket picking routines and, although I never attempted to do any of them, for some reason the name of Roger Crosthwaite stuck in my mind. It was not for another ten years that I saw or heard any more of him.
In the early seventies, I was working full time in Hamley's magic department in Regent Street, London, when a clergyman, who had been watching me demming, came forward and introduced himself as Roger Crosthwaite. I was a little bit taken aback, because it never occurred to me that pocket picking and gambling sleights would be acceptable in that vocation. I did not see Roger do anything for another six years, although our paths crossed occasionally. Then in 1980, he turned up, "out of the blue" and entered the Magic Circle Close-Up Competition, storming away with first prize. There was no doubt that the applause, he received on that occasion, showed that everybody was aware they had just seen an exceptional performance, of magical entertainment. Entertainment was the operative word. Roger Crosthwaite entertains and entertains and entertains.
His own ideas on magic can be summed up in a quotation that he made, way back in the early sixties. "Magic to me must be above all entertaining - visual - simple and uncomplicated. The magician must first and foremost be an entertainer. No matter how perfect his sleights and moves (and make no mistake about it, they ought to be perfect) unless he is an entertainer he will KILL magic."