Long before smoking was banned from public places, we banned it from Magie Montréal, the annual magic convention that Phil Matlin and Wim Vermeys produced for 19 years.
The convention goers accepted it graciously for the most part. That dealers’ room was usually packed and got so smoky that it was a reasonable request. The dealers were another story. One dealer wouldn’t come back because we wouldn’t let him smoke his cigar.
When I got to the dealer’s room the first year we implemented this policy, I heard that Dave Cresey of Mouth Coil fame, who is such a nice person, a good friend, and who
was in the main show that year, got so upset when he heard he couldn’t smoke, that he packed his bags, cleared out his booth and left the dealers’ room.
Hank Lee, one of the other dealers at the convention, realizing that there was now a big empty space in our gala show graciously offered to put together a show at the last minute to fill in. He said once Dave made up his mind to something, that was it.
My Dave, my friend, was walking out on me? I couldn’t believe it.
Where is he? I demanded to know.
Out in the hall calling a cab!
I marched out there. “Dave, what do you think you’re doing?”
“If I can’t smoke, I won’t stay.”
“Don’t act like such an idiot. Get back in there. You’re on the gala show.”
He gave me a funny look and to everyone’s surprise went back into the dealer’s room and set up his table again.
He didn’t talk to me much that convention, but when he came out on stage for the dealers’ show, he had cigarettes in his ears, up his nostrils and in his mouth. “This is for Evy,” he said. Of course everyone knew what had gone on; nothing stays secret in magic, but he got the last laugh.