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

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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The Things We Take For Granted (In Magic)

It always amazes me when I do a simple trick, that requires absolutely no sleight of hand, what a vast amount of other things go into it, to make it entertaining. Eugene BurgerThe late great Eugene Burger was a master of this.

When we do a trick often enough it becomes a part of us without even thinking about it, but once in a while something happens that shows me its so much more than doing a trick.

This came to light the other day when a kid came in to buy a Svengali Deck. Well, he didn’t actually come in to buy that deck, he came in because his cousin worked in an office down the hall and he passed the shop and wanted to know what it was all about, so I showed him the Svengali Deck, which of course blew him away. He was twelve. He had to have that deck. He never did magic before so after he bought it I explained it to him and he said he understood. He also bought the trick with 3 ropes, you know, small, medium and large. He came back the next day and asked for help with the ropes. So we went over it. I then asked him how he was doing with his Svengali Deck. “Oh, I have that one down great.” I said “Show me.” I nearly fainted when he took the cards out of his pocket, not even protected by a box.

“Where’s the box?”

“Oh, I don’t need a box.”

“Of course you do. Those cards will be spoiled in no time, bent corners, torn, and all messed up. Anyhow show me the trick.”

“It’s simple!” he says.

He puts his fist around the cards, covering most of the backs, just the edges, tops and bottoms visible, and with the other hand he flips the cards, doesn’t even ask me to take one, and he flips through them showing me the tops (as his fist is covering most of the deck) and says “See they’re all different.” And then he shows me that they’re all the same.

I said, ” After you get your box, this is what you do.” And I gave his a 15 minute lesson on the Svengali Deck with all the whys and wherefors. He listened attentively and seemed to understand. He thanked me. I told him to practice.

I’ll see how he does next time he comes around, if I didn’t scare him away forever!




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The Why, When, and What of Magic

I got a phone call the other day from a grandmother who wanted to get a magic kit for her granddaughter’s birthday. The 8 year old saw a particular kit and wanted it. Did we have it? No, but we used to carry it and could have it if she really wanted it. However being a grandmother myself and a little experienced in the field of magic, I suggested something else. We do have other kits, but it’s never my first choice, even though I know that many magicians started their life in magic with a magic kit.

This is my thinking. I find the quality of the magic in the kits are not always as good as the quality of the magic we sell individually. The items in the kits are usually a little smaller and not that sturdy.302

Then there’s the promise of 150, 250 tricks or more. Great expectations. You open the box and if there are 10 props you’re lucky. Then there’s a book or a DVD showing you all the things you can do with those props. And yes, some of them are great. But are you really going to learn 150 or more tricks? I don’t think so.

The person who receives the kit will open it, examine all the props, and discover the secret before knowing what the effect is. Take the Ball and Vase. It’s a wonderful classic, but if you know the secret before seeing it performed, you’ll never get that “awe” feeling,  that “how is that possible?” feeling.

What I always did and what I suggested to the grandmother, was to buy a few individual tricks, learn them and do them for her granddaughter. That way the child gets that feeling of wonder. After that she can be exposed to the secret and learn it herself. She will never forget that feeling she had when she first saw it, and when she performs it for others she will know what they feel and that is the true reward of magic.

But there’s even more to it than that. A special bond occurs between the grandparent and the child that the child will never forget and that’s important to the grandparent as well as the child. What child doesn’t remember his favourite uncle that pulled quarters out of his ear?

So these grandparents came up to the shop and bought a bunch of stuff for their grandchild and a Svengali Deck with a book for themselves,  they who had never done a magic trick in their lives. They were completely captivated by the magic and assured me they would be back and were excited about going home and learning the magic!







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The Magic of Magic

When we moved into our condo, over 10 years ago, we had a little chat with the administrator about things we should know about, never having lived in a condo before. One of things we discussed was what to give the superintendent for Christmas. He said everyone gives cash and the same amount. Fair enough.

But now the super has grandchildren of about 3 and 4 years old. I said to Phil. “This year we’re giving magic instead of money.” Phil said, “Give him the cash. Everyone wants cash.”  Our super has never done magic and I said to Phil, “No, I know he would love magic more. He is so crazy about those kids. I could just see him showing them the tricks.” Phil gave up. “Do what you want.” was his unenthusiastic reply.

So I put five tricks in one of those gift bags with tissue paper and a card, etc and in another bag I put my demonstrators of those tricks. I went home and phoned him and asked if he could come up to our place for about 10 minutes. He asked “What tools do I bring? Is anything wrong.?”

“No, no tools, nothing is wrong. Just come up if you can spare 10 minutes.”

He came to the door confused.

“Come in. Take off your coat.” He had just come in from outside. He came in, and took off his coat. I asked him to come into the living room and asked him to sit down, which he did, still confused. I presented him with the fancy bag and said, “This is your Christmas present, but I don’t want you to open it now. I’m going to show you what it is and how to work it.”

I proceeded to show him one trick at a time and showed images (1).jpeghim how they were done. His eyes were popping out of his head. He was as excited as a kid. If I gave him a million dollars I don’t think he could have been more excited.

He thanked me (and the reluctant Phil) over and over.

About 10 minutes later the phone rings. It’s his wife. She said, “I don’t understand. There’s a gift bag here and a card from you, but there’s nothing in the bag except tissue paper and I can’t find my husband.”

It seems he had gone off to practice the tricks privately. Nor could he wait until Christmas. This was a week before Christmas. He came up to see us the next day with a smile from ear to ear. He had done the tricks for his grandkids and was a hit! He taught them how to do it and they were just enthralled inserting the abra-ca-dabra in the appropriate places and all that jazz!

I’m sure if I gave him cash next year he would surely be disappointed. There’s nothing like the magic of magic!


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The Things We Do For Love (of Magic)

Sometimes people do things and you can’t understand why. There seems to be no logic to it, and yet they proceed. If and when you find the reason behind the action,  the action becomes clear. The other day I found out why someone did something and I didn’t even know he did it and it took over 30 years to find out, and it warmed my heart.

Many of you may know Stephane Bourgoin. He’s a magician who first came to Perfect Magic when he was 15. He has been very successful in every aspect in the field of magic. You may have seen him on TV. More that being a great magician in his own right he is a creator of illusions and created illusions for Cirque du Soleil  |  Juste Pour Rire  |  Théâtre du Nouveau Monde  | Les Grands Ballets Canadien  |  Orchestre Métropolitain and soon he will be off to Europe for additional engagements. He also  works with Luc Langevin, another success story. I think Luc was around about 11 years of age when he first came here, and he recently made his greatest production, a son. Congratulations again Luc. I hope you’re getting some sleep by now.

So here’s the story. Before Christmas Stephane came to our shop for  supplies. He was talking to Phil at this point, as I was with another customer so I don’t know how the topic came up,  but I caught a bit of the conversation and later got the whole story. Stephane told us when he graduated from CEGEP, he was accepted by four Universities. He told his father he wanted to go to the Polytechnique  Montréal. His father said, “Why do you want to go there? You can go to any University, you can go to McGill!” and Stephane said he made up some excuse that he told his father and that’s where he went.

He said “Very few people know this but I chose it because it was the closest to Perfect Magic.” His father never found out about that. I told him that now the whole world is going to know about it as I found it so touching.  That’s when we took the photo.







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Put A Little Magic in Christmas

If you want to add anything to your Christmas show, here’s what we have to offer. Since we won’t be here for BOXING DAY we’re giving a 25% special now until we leave on vacation on December 22 on the items listed below.

Even if you have this year’s show planned, think about next year. We only have 1 of most Christmas items left. I put the quantity in Brackets after the item. When it’s gone it’s gone and we will tell you.

You can still get it at the discount price if our supplier has any left, but we can’t garantee you’ll get it before Christmas.   If you want something on the list, order now.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy,  healthy and merry Christmas!

Evy & Phil

A Tony Christmas Show DVD (1)

Christmas Silk 36″Christmas Silk 36″,no writing (1)
Deluxe Santa Stuck in Chimney (1)
Fantasy Green Change Bag (no zipper) (1)

Forgetful Rudolph (1)
Happy Santa Blendo (1)
Lit Candle to Twinkling Christmas Tree (1)
Paper Hat Tears, Santa package of 12(10)
Rudy Reindeer (1)
Santa’s Hat (1)


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It’s Always Something!

AS my son likes to say when I phone him and someone else answers and says to him, “It’s your mother.”, his favourite reply is “If it’s not one thing, its my mother.”

So we are having our “BLACK FRIDAY SALE” this week. In case you didn’t know, go to our website. 30% off DVDs, 20% off books 15% off close-up and more. You can order by phone, on line or in person.

So now is the time that the computer decides to act up. It won’t affect your orders, it just makes our work a little more difficult. Phil is working on it now. As I say, It’s always something.

If you are new and want to subscribe to Perfect Magic, click under my photo where it says Subscribe.

Happy Black Friday week! The sale goes until the 30th of November, which happens to be our Anniversary. Phil and I, G-d willing, will be celebrating our 59th Wedding Anniversary. How time flies when you’re having fun!


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“The Invisible Piano”

There really is no business like show business. In most businesses you have a service or product to offer. The customer takes it or not. Of course there are problems involved, but nothing like showbiz.

So I’d like to share this experience with you. My husband, Phil, as many of you know, is a ragtime piano player. I’m his agent. So I get him shows. You know what that’s like, being a performer.  My first question always is, “Do you have a piano?” If the answer is “yes” I continue. So a few weeks ago we had a show at a lovely senior residence. We actually played there before, but it has been awhile. I should have seen that the signs were auspicious when we couldn’t find his music vest, which he always wears. It was my fault, of course, as I had the audacity to hang it in the closet. Silly me.

“Where’s my vest?”

“In your closet.”

” No, it’s not. Why did you touch it?”

“Because it was lying around.”

“Well, it’s not in my closet.”

I looked, and couldn’t find it either. Maybe I hung it in another closet. We checked all closets. The thought had crossed my mind that maybe he couldn’t play without his music vest, so I went through his closet again and, lo and behold, there is was. It was hidden as there are no sleeves on a vest. Go figure! But all this took time and so we left later than we normally would have. Was there traffic on the Decarie Expressway? Yes there was. So things were a little tense, but at 10 to the hour, we were there and ready.

When we came in someone was sitting and waiting for us. He said he was the emcee and to follow him. We did and went down a hall with large windows on the side which enabled us to see the large crowd seated and awaiting Phil. We go into a large auditorium and a see a large empty space where I know a piano should have been. Phil and I look at each other, puzzled. The emcee introduces Phil and Phil says, “Where’s the piano?”

The emcee looks at Phil and says, “Piano? It’s in the Church.” So I’m thinking, we’re going to take all these people to the Church.

And Phil says, “It’s really hard to play without a piano.”

So the emcee says “We have an electric piano in there,” pointing to a door. He goes to the door but it’s locked. Now he has to find someone who has a key and its Sunday and the regular staff isn’t there.

Finally, they find someone with the key and the emcee and the key person drag out a canvas duffle bag  which they undo and start setting up the piano, when some gentleman cries out.

“The concert is supposed to start at 3:00 o’clock. It’s 5 past 3.

Phil says to him. It’s only 5 minutes late. I think that’s pretty good considering. By this time the piano is standing on the stand. The emcee says, “There you go.” and starts to walk away.

Phil says, “This is an electric piano. It has to be plugged in. Where are the wires and where’s the peddle and bench?”

Oh, and yes, they said they had a sound system, but they did not have a microphone stand. But Phil always brings his own sound system just in case so he had to set that up. The man who complained about the time was not happy.

At last, everything was set plugged in and set to go. Phil played and they sang and a good time was had by all, except maybe the man who complained.  Only in show biz!








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