I, for one, remember when I was maybe 10, and that was a long time ago, at least 65 years ago, I went to Belmont Park. How many of you know what and where Belmont Park was? It was the precursor of LaRonde on the Back River. I was there with my older brother, who I still won’t forgive for making me go on the Salt and Pepper Shakers with him, even though its his 80th birthday tomorrow!
There were all kinds of rides and shows on the fairway, such as Freak Shows, House of Mirrors, and a Magic show and more. To entice you to go to the magic show, there was an elevated platform with a magician who had an Arm Chopper and an assistant. Other guillotines and choppers, cut the carrot as the blade comes down, but not the person’s head. With the Arm Chopper you actually see the arm fall into the basket. It is a wonderful illusion especially when done with a volunteer from the audience. It’s still popular today as it’s easily portable as it sits on any table. It still is as clear to me as the day I saw it. He also had a sword box. If you paid a quarter you could come on stage and he would open the top so you could see inside how his assistant evaded the swords, but the trick was not as strong as the Arm Chopper even though I now know how it’s done,
Little did I know then that one day I would be in the magic business and selling the very trick that left such an impression on me. What was the first magic trick you saw and how did it affect you?
That was the question that a customer asked me today. He shocked me right off the bat, just by coming in on such a hot day. It was the first time he was here and was thrilled to find us. He wasn’t a kid but I could honestly say that he was my favourite audience. He considered whatever I did to be a miracle. He was so enthusiastic it was amazing.
But to get back to his question, I had a really hard time. The one I admire the most, at the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings, is Paul Gertner. Why? If you ever saw him do the Ring on Hourglass you would understand. I don’t know whether I watched his video on how he does it, or if I attended a lecture he gave on it but the thought and work that went into it is incredible.
I also attended a lecture that Eugene Burger he gave for Magie Montreal and I was so impressed by his advice and his performance, not only for magic but for any kind of public appearance.
Those two men are magicians that left a great impression on me. Who do you think is great and why?
Perhaps you saw Mysterion and Steffi-Kay on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us the other day.
They had many people in the audience draw any picture on a piece of paper, fold it up and deposit it in a box. Then they emptied all the folded drawings onto the floor of a glass telephone-like booth. Of course you don’t know what a telephone booth is, not this generation anyway. It’s a glass enclosed closet. Mysterion gets in, the door closes and a button is pushed or a switch is turned on and all those drawings go flying. Mysterion is blindfolded of course. He grabs one of the flying drawings as they go whirling around him.
Steffi is not in the box. She is a few feet away from it and she draws a picture, a flower. Mysterion unfolds his chosen drawing and its a flower. They look at other drawings in the booth and each one is different, a house, a box, whatever. So what do you you think? The box was rigged, the drawings were rigged, the booth was rigged?
Let me tell you something. Not that long ago Mysterion and Steffi were here at Perfect Magic, no booth, no box, no nothing, and other people were here too and they were absolutely amazing. No one could believe what was going on. And to top if off, they are the nicest people! Oh, and they fooled Penn and Teller!
Maybe the question should be “Is Entertainment In Your Blood?” I started to think about it yesterday when a handsome young man came into the shop who I had never seen before. Now both Phil and I were born in Montreal and we’re not spring chickens any more. Phil is over 80 and you get to meet a lot of people during a lifetime, especially when you’re dealing with the public.
It turns out this man was from the states, Oregon, to be exact. He was here for the Fringe Festival and he wanted some stuff. His name is David Cantor. Now anyone who has lived in Montreal for any length of time knows of Cantor’s Bakery. There used to be a Cantor’s Hotel in the Laurentiens. As a child we spent one summer in a hotel across the lake from that hotel and we used to row over there often. The same family. I went out with one of the Cantor boys before I got married, of course. So it was only natural that I asked him if he was related to the Cantor’s of Montreal, who had the bakery, etc. No, he didn’t think so, BUT you’ll never guess who he was related to! Any one remember Eddie Cantor?A cousin. His cousin. A famous actor, comedian, singer, etc. of the Vaudeville Days. When I saw this photo of Eddie Cantor I could not believe the resemblance.
So that got me thinking of entertaining being in the blood. It must be. Perhaps you had an entertainer in your family and you don’t even know about it. Or maybe you do. If so tell us about it. It should be interesting.
So the Fringe Festival is here till the end of the week -end so you may have a chance to see David Cantor if you go. His show is called BAD HABITS. Go see him!
David, It was a pleasure meeting you.
In my last blog I wrote about the sale and said it was ending June 1st. Guess what. It didn’t end and more items have been added and I’m not sure when it’s ending but if you want anything be sure to order while quantities last.
It’s not often we get a break like this. For instance AMBITIOUS CLASSICS World’s Greatest Magic was $27.50, now only $9.95, or Duvivier’s Intimiste (3DVDs)
was $121.50 now only $40.95. These are examples from well over 100 items to choose from and the list continues to grow.
To see the rest of the great deals and to keep checking daily for more items, click here.
Dans mon dernier blog, j’ai écrit au sujet de la vente et j’ai dit qu’il se terminait le 1er juin. Devine quoi. Cela ne s’est pas terminé et d’autres articles ont été ajoutés et je ne suis pas sûr de la fin, mais si vous voulez quelque chose, assurez-vous de commander jusqu’à épuisement des stocks.
Ce n’est pas souvent que nous faisons une chance comme celle-ci. Par exemple AMBITIOUS CLASSICS World’s Greatest Magic était 27,50 $, maintenant seulement 9,95 $, ou Intimiste de Duvivier (3DVDs) était de 121,50 $ maintenant seulement 40,95 $. Ce sont des exemples parmi plus de 100 éléments à choisir et la liste ne cesse de croître. Pour voir le reste des bonnes affaires et pour continuer à vérifier tous les jours pour plus d’articles, cliquez ici.
There is a huge sale at Perfect Magic. Why? Because Murphy’s Magic, a wonderful supplier of ours, has a huge sale and we are passing the saving on to you. Some of the items on our sale have a discount of over 80%. Perhaps its spring cleaning time. There are many wonderful items on this special which ends June 1. There are over 1700 items but I only put a sampling up and I’ll continue putting things up until June 1.
Now, if there’s anything you want and don’t see it in the **ON SALE category on our website, you can phone or email us and we will tell you if its on the list or not and how much it is if it is. If it’s not on sale, and you took the time to write or call, you will get a surprise. So give us your wish list before June 1 and we’ll see what we can do, so get in touch with us so make sure you get what you want while quantities last.
We look forward to hearing from you.
People often ask me when they come into the shop “What’s your favourite magic trick?” You may think my answer is ridiculous after all the tricks I have in the shop, but it’s the Svengali Deck. It’s shocking to anyone who isn’t already a magician. And that’s who you should be concerned about. You’re not out to fool other magicians. It’s those other people you are after.
If you want to fool magicians your best bet is a Pimpernel Wallet, if they don’t already have it. The most incredible thing happens here, beyond belief, if I may say so, and so would anyone who has it. Most people of the younger generation don’t, and it recently resurfaced. That would be my second favourite.
Scotch & Soda comes third as everything happens in the spectator’s hands. It comes in various versions such as Magnetic Scotch & Soda Tango and others. See Scotch and Soda.
Are these the best tricks in the world? To me yes, because I’m not really a magician. Over the years I have learned a trick or two. I can’t recall anyone who didn’t buy the Svengali deck after I did it. There is amazing stuff in the magic market now, but as they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I did get one, however, from Alvin Ling that I really liked, with a new twist and is not difficult. Those are the operative word here, not difficult. It’s a prediction, but it has a lot of appeal. It’s called Magic Prediction and I only have a few and it’s not in the catalog yet, but if you drop in, it’s here. If you were at the Festival de Magie in Quebec City a few weeks ago you probably bought it as its hard to resist and Alvin was selling them there.
We’ll talk about parlour and stage favourites another day. Meanwhile what’s your favourite close-up trick and why? We’re a community and I’m sure your fellow magicians would love to hear from you, so share!
It’s not often that I write to promote a particular product or person. Everyone has their own taste, their own likes and dislikes. If I push something I REALLY like it. The first time I watched Quentin Reynolds’ “Five Minutes With a Pocket Handkerchief” my first thought was that anyone who does kid shows, even if they don’t do the handkerchief bit should have this. Just to see how he handles those kids is everything! So when someone would come into the shop and ask what they should get for a kid show, 4, 5, or 6 years old I would recommend that DVD. I sold a lot of them over the years and everyone who bought it thanked me profusely after for telling them about it and many would say they have now lots of stuff on kid shows but that’s the best ever.
Then he came out with “Bring Back the Schtick” (2 DVD set). “Schtick” like so many yiddish words has no translation but it sort of means thing. Quentin describes it as, Tricks, Routines Gags, and Bits of Business for the Children’s Entertainer, so it’s not just the tricks but the schtick that you do with them that makes the trick.
Now he has come out with a book, which I haven’t read yet, but I know I won’t be disappointed. And it’s on a topic that is so important and so often neglected by performers. “How To Present Yourself to an Audience”.
Do yourself a favour. Check out these DVDs and the book if you don’t already have them. Guaranteed, you’ll be a better and more confident performer with them in your arsenal.
So yesterday I get a call from someone who is looking for something and has been calling all the magic shops and he can’t find it. We had two and he took the two and was very happy. I asked where he was calling from and he said California. So we had a little chat. It turns out, he’s an actor, magician and entertainer in general. During the course of our conversation the name Dale Salwak came up. I think they are working on something together. When he said that name it rang a bell in my overcrowded little brain and I said “That’s a familiar name,” but I had no idea how I would know that name.
After he placed the order and we were through with our chat we said good-bye but that name was on my mind.
“Phil, does the name Dale Salwak mean anything to you.?”
“It sure does. He’s one hell of a nice guy and a terrific magician. He worked for us at Magie Montreal.
That’s the convention we ran with Wim Vermeys (Mephisto) for 19 years.
It happened unfortunately that our closing act for our 1996 show died shortly before the convention. He was a young and talented magician and it was sudden …a real shock. So now we were without a closing act for the big stage show. Hank Moorehouse, who was a friend, and ran all of Abbott’s shows said he would get us someone and that someone was Dale Salwak, who took a redeye to get to us on time.
We phoned back the man from California and Phil and he had a nice long chat about it and Phil told him how much he appreciated and still appreciates what Dale did for us that time and to tell him that.
It seems we are all connected!
In case you didn’t know… sometimes it happens that you want something at the shop, but are worried you won’t find a parking space or maybe for some reason you can’t climb the stairs, or you may not have that much time to come up, and you need it right away or/and you don’t want to pay for shipping, which is understandable. We offer a special service that we have provided for several customers who have asked for it but I feel I should make it known to all our customers.
If you know what you want, phone and tell us. We tell you exactly how much it will cost and can put it on your credit card or you can pay cash and if you want to pick it up, we will bring it down to you and make the exchange.
We had a dear friend and magician who lived down the street from the shop. He was an elderly man and although I enjoyed seeing him I always felt badly that he climbed the stairs. We worked it out that when he wanted something he would phone us and we would do the transaction on the street. It worked out well for both of us.
I have another customer who came up walking with braces and two canes. I nearly died when I thought of him walking up and down the stairs. He called the other day for supplies and he drove up and called to tell me he was downstairs in his car. I went down with his order, he opened his car window and we made the exchange. He always has the correct amount so I don’t have to make change.
So I invite all of you, if you’re in the neighbourhood, although I would much rather you came up and spent some time with us, but it you’re in a rush we are happy to deliver to your car, or in person. We have a Metro close by. Just so you know!