Remember Your First Big Show?

Do you remember the first time you performed magic for a big audience you didn’t know?  Of course big is relative. I’ve been doing magic for over 40 years (I must have been 10 at the time.) Just kidding! But I started learning and doing magic in the magic shop demonstrating different tricks when Perfect Magic was born. There was no internet or even VHS videos back then. If the customer wanted to see a demo of John Bannon’s lastest trick, you learnt it and did a demo. None of this running to a computer business.

So there’s a day camp in our building and a really nice guy runs it and we were talking and I offered to do a few tricks as camp would soon be closing. He has up to 60 kids. On one to one I’m okay as I’m used to showing the customers this and that but I never performed for a big bunch of kids, until today. Ages were from 4 to 12.

I had 4 effects with me,  a Magic Coloring Book, An Appearing Flower, Growing Ball Outdone, and a Color Changing Wand.  growing ball outdoneSome of the kids were colouring when I came in and he told them to stop to see the magic show. I took my cue from there and said that I have a colouring book too.  When I first took out the book, before I performed it, one of the kids put his hand up. I was sure he was going to say he saw it before. I asked the kids to put up their hands if they’d been to a magic show. All hands went up. I figured I was in trouble with my colouring book. I told them there are rules about magic they should all know.

1. If you’re at a magic show and know the trick, you never say, “I know how you did it, or I saw it before.”

2. If you buy a magic trick, you don’t tell your friends how it’s done.

3. If your friend is also in magic you can discuss it with that friend as magic is sort of a club.”

Having said that the I proceeded with the Coloring Book. I assure you Houdini would have been thrilled to get the reaction I got. I knew they were in the park earlier, so I asked if they saw any beautiful flowers. Of course they did and I said that I loved flowers too and took out my little empty flower pot. I asked if they thought the flower was beautiful. They sat quietly thinking I was crazy.

“Don’t you see it?”


“You know why?”

“Because its not there.”

“No, because its invisible. If you want to see it I’ll have touch the flower pot with my magic wand,” and 50 jaws dropped in complete astonishment when the flower appeared and then they all applauded. I started to understand why people perform. It was a good feeling.

I then did the colour changing wand from black to green which also got a great reaction, but the pièce de résistance was the Growing Ball Outdone. I knew it would be, but they were so amazed they jumped up lfrom their seats and ran over to the table to see the little black balls. “How could that happen?” I said they could touch them and they did and passed them to each other and examined them as though it was the most amazing thing they ever saw. Of course I told them they could visit the magic shop and I had visitors not long after.

A good time was had by all, especially me!



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Eugene, You’ll Be With Us Always

Eugene Burger was special, as a magician and as a person. The first and most important memory I have of him was when he came to Montreal to lecture for Magie Montréal. It was many years ago and I was not that into magic at the time, but I went to the lecture to help Phil and Vim Vermeys with registration, etc.  and stayed of course for the lecture.

Anyone at that lecture learned valuable lessons. I don’t rememberphil-eugene-and-tom one trick that he did. It wasn’t about the tricks, it was about performing. Every word was well thought out and had a reason for being there. His jokes were not to get a laugh, which they got, but as he explained, when you laugh you close your eyes for a second and that’s all the time he needed to do what he had to do in front of your eyes.

We got to talking after and I mentioned that I was going to Chicago for a Document Examiners Convention ( in case you didn’t know, I’m a Certified Document Examiner and The World Association of Document Examiners held their Annual Seminars at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.) He asked if Phil was going with me, I said yes and he asked what Phil does while I’m attending the seminars. I said he would find what to do in Chicago.

Guess who was waiting in the lobby of the Drake Hotel when we got there. Yes, Eugene Burger. He invited Phil to lunch, to eat at the restaurant where he did restaurant magic. David Solomon and Phil Wilmarth were also there having lunch with Phil. Phil thinks the name of the restaurant was Biggs but he’s not sure. Eugene said he watched for the Convention in the papers. We had no idea he would be there. Phil had a marvellous time.

Whenever someone asks me about performing I tell them to get Eugene’s book or his DVD and I told him that the last time I saw him, at The Magic Bash on April 1, 2017. He looked wonderful, which is why it came as such a shock to us when we heard the sad news.

Rest in peace.

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Magic, Music and Dance. What Could Be Better?

If you haven’t been to the McCord Museum this summer it’s worth going to. Not your usual museum exhibition. It’s called ILLUSIONS – The Art of Magic and Luc Langevin is the ambassador of the exhibit. It’s the Allan Slaight collection, which was acquired by the McCord with the help of the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation.  A tip of the Top Hat to the people who designed it.. Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We were invited by magician Dr. Joe Culpepper, magician, scholar, consultant and friend and customer of Perfect Magic. Before the guided tour, we were treated to a magic show, in a lovely little theatre there, given by the young students, who attended the McCord Museum Camp, Abracadabra, who were guided and taught by Joe and the counsellors. The kids did a great job and they all knew how to take a bow when the applause came.

So what’s the link between magic and music? After the show, and after the exhibit we were headed to the Metro but when we stepped out the side door of the museum, which Joe said was closer to the Metro, lo and behold, there was a beautiful red street piano on a beautifully decorated street.

Joe and his lovely fiancée, Jessamine, and I as well as some passerbys were treated to a spontaneous concert by Phil. Phil plays the kind of music that makes you want to dance and that’s just what Joe and  Jessamine did. We had a delightful afternoon of magic, music and dance! Here’s a sampling.


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The Kid and The Magician

I was really going to title this blog “How Soon We Forget”. People are funny. Especially magicians. Why? I’ve been around a long time (T.G.) so many people that visit the shop came here when they were kids. They used to hang around here all the time. Now with the internet I don’t see them as much. Many have their acts and all the equipment they need for it so they have no reason to come here, unless they want to for old times sake, to chew the proverbial rag, or they broke or lost an item or need a refill for something. It’s always good to see you guys or gals when you come in. That reminds me of that sign I saw in an antique store, “Everyone who passes though our door makes me smile, some on the way in and some on the way out!” But I digress.

Yesterday someone came in who I hadn’t seen for maybe 20 or 25 years but I knew him right away. He used to come here as a kid all the time. He bought something he had lost which he bought way back then. He still lives in Montreal. I said, “We haven’t seen you in so long.” He said, I was a kid then, now I’m married and have 3 children.” I asked how old his children were. He said, 11, 9 and 7 or thereabouts. I asked him how old he was when he came  first came here. He said 11. I asked if he enjoyed coming here. He didn’t have to speak. He looked up, shook  his  head from side to side and closed his eyes, and and he spread his arms out. I asked if his kids had been to a magic shop. He said no. I said if you enjoyed it so much, don’t you think they would? The thought had never even entered his head. “Of course they would and I will bring them here.”

If you’ve been to our shop, you know its not a big fancy place, but every inch is filled with magic. I’ve heard many a kid say, “This is the best store in the whole world.” and I have to laugh. So if you’re a magician and have kids, I know you show them tricks, but give them the thrill of going to a magic shop as they won’t be around forever.

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The Creators of Magic

You may be a magician. You may be an excellent magican and a great performer, but you should pause now again to see whose shoulders you are standing on. Someone had to create the magic that you do. You had to buy the props, or make them. Even if you make them yourself, did you create it, or did you see it in a book or video and get the idea there?

If you had an idea, like, how can I walk through a brick wall and then make it happen, you are a creator. Some people know what they want to do but don’t know how to go about doing it. They go to people who do know. It may be costly but there are people that can do it.

When we started out in the magic shop, where we sell the magic that people created and built, we travelled a lot. I remember Phil and I visited Steve Dusheck and his wife, in Hazelton , Pennsylvania near Three Mile Island and spent time with him at his home. He had invented so much stuff. I asked him how he thought of all that and his answer was, “Are you kidding? Every morning I wake up with a million new ideas. I just don’t have the time to do them all.” It takes a special brain.

Many years ago a kid came into our shop and showed us a few tricks he came up with. He lived around the corner of the shop at that time. He blew us away. He wanted to sell them to us, but I said I would never be able to demonstrate it. This was before VHS or DVD’s. He said, “Let me teach you.”  In five minutes I knew how to do it and sold lots of them. It was called HOLLOW. hollow2-thumb.jpgYou punched a hole in a card and  move that hole around.  Then he came out with Hollow 2. He also came out with Nicotine, which was also fabulous. His name is Menny Lindenfeld.

tru2Recently Menny came out with Tru involving a rubber band. You may want to look at it, especially if you are into  rubber bands. I put him high up on my list of creators.

He also came out with the Self-Bending Paper Clip which was a big hit as well as other stuff. Check it out!

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The Magic of A Rising Card

Many years ago Albert Goshman, a fabulous close-up magician was our guest in

Goshman publiciy

Albert Goshman – Publicity photo

Montreal when he lectured here for us. You may also know him as a manufacturer of Sponge Balls and other items made of sponge for which he is world famous. But I digress.

When he was here for a close-up performance he called upon me as his volunteer for his famous Coin under the Salt Shaker routine. You old timers know what I’m talking about. I knew what to expect and watched him closely but I could never catch a move, even for the finale when a huge coin appeared under the salt shaker,  right under my nose, and I never saw him put it there, neither did anyone else.

So after this fabulous performance he closed his act with the Rising Card.

Later in the evening when we were alone I asked him. “Why in the world would a fabulous magician like you, who can do such sleight of hand, close your act with the rising card, a commercial trick that anyone could do?”

His reply was, ” This is my act. I perform for lay people. When the show is over and they go home they’ll forget all about the Salt Shaker. All they’ll remember is someone chose a card, put it in the deck, the deck was put in a glass and the chosen signed card, all by itself, rose out of the deck. They’ll talk about that.”

We  have about 9  different varieties of Rising Card in our catalog, besides those written up in books.   A few weeks ago we got a new one in, “Risen”. You use your own deck, the spectator opens the box, shuffles the cards and takes a card a signs it.  You can watch it on the video. We got great feedback from our customers who bought it. Easy to do. Just thought I’d let you know. I’m sure Albert would have loved it.

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Get Your Magic Career Up a Notch or Two

I’m a big fan of Tony Clark. You who are relatively new  to magic probably never heard of him. One of my favorite DVD’s of his is Timing is Everything. I think its a must have  for every magician. It’s not new but it’s good. Tony was a student of Slydini. Surely you’ve heard of Slydini. Phil and I had the privilege of meeting him in person at a convention many years ago in Massachusetts and Phil was his volunteer. I remember it being on a close-up stage and he did a series of coin tricks. The one Phil remembers is the One Coin Trick. Phil knew how the trick was done and  watched him like a hawk, but of course he couldn’t catch him. Each time Syldini would say to him, “You know why you don’t  a see? Because you don’t a look!”

Tony clarkTony Clark just came out with a hardbound printed BOOK called Insider Secrets. Knowing Tony, it has to be good. It also includes an interactive Digital Book FREE which includes video links that take you to visual examples of what Tony is teaching. A great way to learn! My next order will include his book. Will yours?



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The Magic Classic – Chinese Linking Rings

What magician doesn’t have a set of linking rings in his or her arsenal of tricks. They come in all sizes, all price ranges, all qualities. The standard set consists of 8 rings that link and unlink. It can be performed silently, to music or talking. It can be serious or funny. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, if done properly, even if you know how its done, its amazing.  Properly is the operative word here.

I know I’ve told this story before and I’m going to tell it again, just to prove my point. Many years ago Jeff McBride was booked at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal for 6 months. Of course all the Montreal magicians went to see his show, which was great, by the way. Then they’d come to the shop and want to buy a set of rings like Jeff McBride had. So we pointed to the set on the wall, and they would say, “No, no. Not those. He had special ones.” And I’d say. “Yes, yes, those are the ones.”, and they’d say, “No, it’s impossible to do the things he did with those ordinary linking rings.”

Then one Saturday morning (we were opened Saturdays all day back then and all the magicians would hang out at the shop) who walked in? Jeff McBride. There was a whole lot of excitement. I took down the rings and handed them to Jeff and asked if he would be so kind as to perform what he does in the show for the magicians. He took the rings and performed his ring act, as the magicians watched with dropped jaws!

There are all kinds of rings and performers. ShootOne that made my jaw drop when I saw it was Shoot Ogawa. In this routine he uses 4 small rings and performed closed up. All I can say is UNBELIEVABLE! I don’t use the term lightly. When they first came out they sold for $45.75 Canadian and they went like hotcakes. Now Shin Lim is all the rage, then it was Shoot Ogawa, and for good reason. It just so happens the Shoot Ogawa Rings are on our “Specials” so if you don’t have them, it’s a great buy! If you do have them, dust them off and use them. Practice first!

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Magic Comeraderie

Who has a better time than seasoned magicians when they get together. I say seasoned rather than old, because its a nicer word and I don’t consider the 4 magicians who spent 3 hours here this morning old. One Phil had met before…Steve Beam, from Cary, North Carolina. The others were Devin Lushbaugh from Raleigh, North Carolina; Bob Macey from Lakeland, Florida; and Gary Morton form Leavittsburg, Ohio. They had come to Montreal for the Magic Collectors Week-End which took place this past week-end in downtown Montreal at the Delta Hotel in conjunction with the McCord Museum of McGill University.

Unfortunately  STeve Beam 2Phil and I couldn’t make it to the week-end, but the guys came up to visit us at the shop. It was a blast. Sorry Julie, but they said their visit here was the highlight of the week-end.

What makes it so much fun is that when you’ve been around as long as we have you know a lot of people and they know the same people. It’s the stories that are told that kept us talking and laughing and they even found stuff to buy. My book shelf has considerably less stock. Everyone was happy!

Hans Zahn from Newfoundland was here Saturday afternoon. He lectured at the convention. Does anyone remember him? We went out for diner with him and his lovely girlfriend and he got his fix of Montreal smoked meat at Lester’s. (not to mention Phil’s fix). A good time was had by all!

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What do Magic Bottles Do?

What’s in a Magic Bottle? It’s not a Genie, as you may have thought. So what do magic bottles do?  They Multiply. Anyone who has a set of Multiplying bottles will tell you what a great effect it is.10 Mult. bottles

When Phil used to have a magic show, he used Multiplying Bottles as his closer. He always got a great response.

Two tubes, (his were cardboard, he thinks they were Mephisto Magic’s), lift up one tube, there’s a bottle of Champagne, put the tube back over the bottle and lift the other tube, there’s a shot glass. Repeat that action, and somehow the bottle and glass changed places, Colored Martini bottlesrepeat it again, and now there are two bottles, cover the bottles with the tubes, takes one of the bottles and put it on the table, but the bottles keep on mulitplying until your table is covered with bottles. You pick up the two tubes. You are left with a bottle and a shot glass. You pour a drink from the bottle into the glass, take a drink and whew! It’s over. Always gets a good reaction.

Phil produced 8 bottles. Then they came up with nine and ten bottles. And now they came out with different coloured bottles, and also Multiplying Bottles Multi (with the Ketchup Bottle. Of course they range in price from from around $150.00 to $900.00 Canadian dollars.

9 bottles Mult bottles w ketchupMartini BottlesOf course there are books and videos  and downloads if you want them. They are easy to do. Packs small, plays big. What more could you want?

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