What’s YOUR Favourite Magic Trick?

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.Svengali.jpg 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.
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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.scotch mag.jpg

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!

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Quentin Reynolds and Magic

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” 5 minmy 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“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 How oton 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.

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It’s A Small World After All, Especially in Magic

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.

Salwak 2After 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. Salwak 1

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.

Salwak 3We 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!

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Magic, Free Delivery At Perfect Magic, Sort of!

         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.  Traslocatore02
     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!

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Magicians and Their Tales

We’ve heard many stories from magicians over the years, especially since Phil loves to gab and once he tells a story, it makes them think of a story.

As one of the customers paid his bill, Phil handed me the money and said,

“He gets 90 cents change.”

I said, “You think I couldn’t figure that out by myself?”

Then the customer said, “These days, most people don’t know how to make change. I was in a store and  the cash register was broken and the person at the cash asked me to tell her what she owed me in change as she had no idea how to figure it out.”

Somehow this brought us to the olden days when we were young and had to do a lot more figuring in our head. I told him I remember the ice man bringing us ice on his horse and wagon. He told us that he used to deliver milk with a horse and wagon. He used to work at the  Iconic Elmhurst Dairy in Montrealimages in the stables as a summer job while he was still a student. One day the delivery man didn’t show up and the boss told him that he was going to deliver the milk that day.

He said, “I can’t deliver the milk?”

His boss said, “Why not?”

“I don’t know the route.” he answered.

His boss said, “You don’t have to know the route, the horse knows the route. Just get in the wagon and let him go and whenever he stops, that’s the route. You’ll see empty milk bottles with a note and you take back the bottles and bring them what they want.” Sure enough, the horse took charge of the situation and stopped at each customer’s house.

I thought it was a wonderful and funny story. I thought you might enjoy it, even if it has nothing to do with magic.

On the other hand, it could be a lesson to magicians. If you do something often enough, it becomes automatic, like the horse knowing where to stop.

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Magic Comes and Goes and Then Comes Back!

90_2_Take the Milk Pitcher. What kid show didn’t have a milk pitcher in it? It’s so old that its new. That was way back then. Now there are so many new wonders on the market that a milk pitcher is boring, but only to the magician. That’s the wonderful thing about children. There are always new ones coming up and to them, especially when used with the Comedy Funnel 822its as hilarious as ever. You know, pumping the kids elbow with the funnel under it and the milk that you poured into him through the cone on his head comes out of his elbow that you are pumping. Hey, what’s funnier than that?  You can even get a kid from the audience to do the pumping.

We used to sell 2 models,  a standard Milk Pitcher and a Deluxe Crystal Pitcher.  Now there’s a third model, The Jumbo Milk Pitcher. I think people are thinking about going back to the basics, the tried and proven effects.

By the way, if you don’t want to spring for a pitcher, we have it in the glass size as well. A pitcher is just more visible. Try it, you’ll like it!

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Look Who Came Knocking on Our Magic Door!

As you may or may not know, Perfect Magic has been around for more than 40 years. We started having Magic Evenings on Thursday nights in our home before that to see if there would be an interest. There was.

Morrissey, Chandu and Cramer’s were the other magic shops at the time. Le Grand Marcis was giving magic lessons. He had a magic school.

Someone, who has been our customer over the years was 18 downloadwhen he came to our home back in the 70’s for those magic evenings. But he has been ordering on line. Last week he came in. I didn’t recognize him at first, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have recognized us except when people come into the shop, they know who we are so he had a clue, but we didn’t.

It was Daniel Ouiment, known as “Daniel Le Bateleur”. He and Phil have a history as they were both involved with Supercool in the beautiful little theatre in Place Bonaventure where Supercool (the late Dave M.) put on magic shows.

Later on Daniel  joined the Cirque de Soleil as a juggler. Phil tells me he did unbelievable stuff with the Devil Sticks but Daniel said he didn’t do the Devil Sticks for the Cirque, only juggling.  Any how, there was a lot to talk about. Lots of good memories. Thanks for dropping in, Daniel.

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Some Magicians Are Getting Smart

We had many kids in the shop last week, mostly boys with their dads, and mostly around 12 years old. They were all serious about magic. There was one, a few years younger, but by far the most intense, who really knew his stuff. We also had a 12 year old from France. I think they have spring break there as well at this time. This kid was with an entourage. Anyone who has been in the shop knows that we have a lot of stock, but it is not a big place. His mother asked to take a photo of me with her son as I was doing the demonstrating and they had never seen a woman doing magic.

One kid who was in with his dad said it was the first time in a magic shop, but he had been doing magic for a while. Where did he get his stuff? Where did he learn? China and Youtube.

“Youtube?” piped up the younger kid. “That’s terrible. Most of them don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Phil looked at him in disbelief. It happens to be Phil’s opinion as well, but to hear such a little guy come out with that was a surprise, to say the least.

The father of the older kid said, after buying and being in the shop for almost an hour, ” It’s so much better to buy from a shop. We’ve been buying from China. It’s cheap, but then again, so was a lot of the stuff we got. Sometimes we were surprised because the items didn’t do what we thought they would, and other times they were poorly made. I don’t think we’ll be doing that any more.” He thanked us for the advice on choosing the appropriate effects for his son, for the demos, and he appreciated the quality of the merchandise.

I guess it’s hit and miss. I’m sure some of the items are good, but you never know until you see them. So if you haven’t been to a magic shop, go to one if you have one in your area. If you’re in Montreal, come and visit us. We’ll look after you properly.

 

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Does Everybody Love Magic?

A lot of people have walked through our doors in the last 40 years. Most of them, of course, love magic. Otherwise why would they come here. In all these years only one was really nasty and grabbed the cards out of my hands. An adult woman. Not a nice one. I can always tell the character of a person on how they react to magic. Those who think they are smarter than anyone else cannot stand to be fooled. Those who laugh and enjoy it are generally well adjusted people who know its a trick but are not hounded by the fact that they can’t figure it out.

Last week, an older couple came in. They never did magic but now that the grandchildren are around 4 years old, the grandfather wanted to learn some tricks for them. The grandmother said, ” This is all him. I want nothing to do with it.”  When I showed him a trick she wouldn’t even watch. “I’m not interested,” was her reply when I asked her to watch.

She wasn’t nasty or negative. She just wasn’t interested. But I couldn’t take it. How could she not be amazed at the miracles I was performing? I called her over and said, “You don’t have to watch, but I need your help for this one.” I did the Magical Block, placing a penny on the back of her hand and without touching her it changed into a dime. I got her. Suddenly she turned from an uninterested party to an interested party. They were both excited to get home and practice.download

It’s not that she was a woman. It surprises us how many women are now into magic. I had a grandmother come in a few days prior to this grandmother. She was alone and as enthusiastic as could be. She never did magic before. At one time when a woman came in it was for a gift for a boyfriend. Not so much any more. Now its for them. Last week there was one day that only women came in to buy magic for themselves. So guys, watch out! You have some competition out there.

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What Every Magician Should Know

The other day I got a call from an old customer, a good magician I’m told by those who have seen him perform, and he wanted a certain electronic device. We had it in stock. He took a long drive to get to our shop as he wanted it right away and he’s from out of town.

I got a call from him today asking if we had another one in stock. I said yes. He asked if we would try it out to see if it worked. We did and it did. He said his didn’t.

“Strange,” I said. “Did you put a battery in?”

“Of course,” he replied.

“Did you put it in the right way?”

“It says it doesn’t matter which way but I tried both ways and I tried the battery on something else and it works. Will you exchange it if I go down there now?”

“Of course, and I’m so sorry that you have to drive all that way.”

Phil was working at his computer, as usual, but was also listening to my end of the conversation.

“Wait a minute,” he called out. “What kind of battery are you using?”

He told me the name, which I relayed to Phil.

“Tell him to get a Duracell before he drives all the way out here.”

“But my battery works,” my customer insisted.

“Buy a Duracell,” Phil insisted,

“Okay, I’ll go out and buy a Duracell and then I’ll come over and change the item.”

We have some experience after being in this crazy business for over the 40 years.  At one time we carried an electric bottle from Dirk DeGraeve in Belgium. We had the exact same situation.  A customer came back with a bottle he had bought and said it didn’t work. Phil put in one of his Duracell  batteries and it did work. Then we had another trick whereby you put cards, one at a time, into a box. When you tried to put the selected card in the box, it closed by itself and you couldn’t  put it in. Same thing happened there. So we knew about the batteries by then.

Twenty minutes later I get a phone call from this customer.

“I want you to do me a big favour.”

I said, “So it worked with the Duracell huh?”

“Listen, about the favour. When I’m famous and you’re talking to someone and telling them that you knew me when I was a kid, please don’t tell them about the battery. It’s a little embarrassing.”

The moral of the story is when you’re working professionally, don’t save money by buying cheap batteries, if you’re using something that requires batteries.

 

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