Walter R. Booth

Walter Robert Booth (12 July 1869 – 1938) was a British magician and early pioneer of British film working first for Robert W. Paul and then Charles Urban mostly on "trick" films, where he pioneered the use of hand-drawing techniques that led to the first British animated film, The Hand of the Artist (1906). Booth, the son of a porcelain painter, followed his father with an apprentiship at the Royal Worcester Porcelain factory in 1882, where he worked until 1890. He had been a keen amateur magician and subsequently he joined the magic company of John Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London, where he is presumed to have first encountered filmmaker Robert W. Paul, who exhibited some of his earliest films there in 1896. Booth went to work for Paul first devising and then later directing short trick films, beginning with The Miser's Doom and Upside Down; or, the Human Flies (both 1899). Many of their early collaborations, such as Hindoo Jugglers and Chinese Magic (both 1900) were based on conjuring tricks, whilst A Railway Collision (1900) pioneered the use of scale models.


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