Tom Barrett

1972

Tom Barrett was the first man to win the News of the World Darts Championship for two successive years (1963/64 and 1964/65). He was a middle aged family man, always very neatly dressed, indeed could be said to be 'dapper'. He was quietly spoken and always exceedingly polite. He played with Unicorn No.154 Darts fitted with 4inch long real feather flights. When he won the title for the second time Unicorn released a set of his darts in a box bearing his autograph and this dart was immediately sold in vast numbers, sales continuing for very many years.

Tom, apart from playing devastating serious darts, had a number of spectacular 'party pieces'. He could knock cigarettes out of victims mouths, play darts accurately with six inch nails, cover a dartboard with a newspaper and still score treble twenties. He could throw nearly 200 Unicorn Golden Match darts in the bed between double and treble twenty.

At the invitation of Unicorn, Tom travelled to Chicago with the Managing Director of Unicorn to attend the National Sporting Goods Trade Show. On Unicorn distributor's show stand he demonstrated his skills, showing sporting goods buyers that Darts was a serious skilful sport and that the quality and variety of equipment available mattered. Tom's visit was another first, the first time a Dart Champion had appeared in the USA.

After the Show Tom visited a number of cities and gave exhibitions in department stores and other venues.

In New York he was invited to appear 'Tonight' on NBC, better know as The Johnny Carson Show. This show went out live each evening to a coast-to-coast audience of millions. Having demonstrated many times during the preceding few hours that he could knock a cigarette out of the Unicorn director's mouth without a problem, Tom repeated the feat live on Johnny Carson, pinning the smoking cigarette to the dartboard amidst thunderous applause from the studio audience. Za Za Gabor, the actress and vivacious showbiz personality was also due to appear and she was so overcome that she spontaneously ran onto the set and hugged Johnny and Tom. Tom's skill made such an impact that the show was repeated many times over the next few years.

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