DRAGGED SCREAMING AND KICKING INTO THE 21ST CENTURY!

It doesn’t seem like 34 years, but that’s when PERFECT MAGIC opened its doors.

Life was simpler then. We thought it was a big deal when we bought an electric typewriter. I can hear some of you asking, “What’s a typewriter?”

Now we have 6 computers; three at home and three in the office. Phil’s okay with them. He convinced me that an iMac would make his work so much easier. I’m still learning how to use the telephones. They were much simpler then too.

For you youngsters who were born with a mouse in your hand, you will have to picture a world without computers, without DVD’s, without Video tapes, Facebook, or Twitter, and all those other gadgets you have attached to your ears. Back then an apple was something you ate, and if you had a mouse you’d get an exterminator.

If you wanted to know what was new in magic, you went to the magic shop or magic conventions, or bought MAGIC MAGAZINE , or the GENII or sent for catalogs, which were made out of paper – period. If you wanted more than a magic trick you bought books and read. If you were really serious you might even join the local branch of an international magic organization, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) or the Society of American Magicians (SAM) The Canadian Association of Magicians (CAM) and their magazine Northern Peaks wasn’t born yet. Membership to either one entitled you to their monthly magazine which also provided magic tricks, news, etc.

From time to time famous magicians would come to town and give lectures. I remember Dai Vernon lecturing at the Mount Royal Hotel when it was on Peel St.

Phil and Dai Vernon at the Passport to Magic in Toronto

People would come into the store and ask what’s new? We’d demo a trick and if they liked it, fine, if not… on to something else. We knew each customer, what they liked, what they were capable of, and would guide them accordingly.

Those days are over! Now if a customer sees something on YouTube and if it’s not on our website, they email us or phone and ask if we can get it for them. Usually we can. There’s a whole world to choose from. A few weeks ago a customer wanted the book “Handcrafted Card Magic” by Denis Behr. After many phone calls it seemed that the only way to get it was from Denis himself, who lives in Germany. So we did. So instead of us going out and deciding what is great, we let you, the customer, do it. We let you know what’s there, but in end, you’re the boss!.

Sid Lorraine, his wife Rene, Phil, “Magic Tom” Auburn and Carl Cloutier. 

What we did have was Magic Conventions! 19 years Wim Vermeys and Phil Matlin and wives worked year round to make sure you had the best entertainers of the day. David Acer, in About Perfect Magic (see first paragraph above) talks about the first Magie Montréal we held on the Site of Expo 67. Were you there?

From left, Wim Vermeys, Gary Ouellet, Romaine Phil, and Hiawatha

I’ve posted some photos of the early days which may bring back some memories. Enjoy! Can you name all the people? If you have special memories of those days we’d love to hear about it. If you want more photos let me know.

And the winners are ……..

Dealer’s room with Paul Diamond

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9 Comments

Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Carl Cloutier, Dai Vernon, Gary Ouellet, Hiawatha, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Rene Johnson, Romaine, Sid Lorraine, Wim Vermeys

9 responses to “DRAGGED SCREAMING AND KICKING INTO THE 21ST CENTURY!

  1. I certainly remember the conventions. I also remember freezing to death at the first one, and the food was late. Oh boy the stories, yes the stories, a bloggers dream.

    Oh and every time I see somebody walking around with one of those stupid things on their ears I roll my eyes, seriously nothing is that important.

    Looking forward to the next blog.

    Like

    • Denise Tesher

      Hey, I remember some of those conventions, and some of the clients when I worked in the store. Many a time, I could also called them by their names. When Phil and Evy were on conventions or vacation and I was alone in the store on the weekend, it was quite busy, but everybody was patient. My best memory was when someone came in and said :” Who did the French translation for this routine?” I said: “I did.” He said : “Good job”.

      Keep up the good work Evy: “Like son, like mother”…lol

      Like

  2. Evelyn

    Yes, the first one at the Quebec Pavillion at the site of Expo 67, and the heat wasn’t working and we did freeze, but Romaine as M.C. for the stage show literally broke the ice when he said “Bienvenue au plus grand fridgidaire à Québec!” “Welcome to the biggest refidgerator in Quebec!” It sure got a laugh and everybody warmed up after that! And if the French isn’t correct, Romaine said it, not me.

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  3. Paul

    Well done Evy (hope that’s how you spell it.) You’re a writer, so blogging will be a “snap” for you! I’ve been blessed to have experienced a little of “the old days,” and more of the new days. I was 5 in 1967, and I DID go to EXPO ’67. I wish I could remember more of it.
    I first learned about “how” magic is done (sadly, I’m a collector, still dreaming of performing just a little bit) when I was about 10.
    A childhood friend’s father did birthday parties mostly. He started to teach me. The Joy of this story is, this man was BLIND, and he still performed, and he still taught me! I’ll never forget my first trick: learning to make a silk disappear using sleight of hand. My only access to magic was the Abbott’s catalog, since that’s where my friend’s father made purchases. How far we’ve come, but I’m not sure it’s for the better. I often wish I had been born at least one generation earlier.

    Best,

    Paul K.

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    • We practically lived at Expo 67 when it was here. It was a wonderful summer and we had lots of guests from out of town visiting us. It was such fun! We saw Sonny & Cher who were unknown then and they sang “I Got You Babe.” I knew they’d be big.

      I remember being in Miami many years ago at Paul Diamond’s Magic Shop and he was teaching a blind teenager magic. We we impressed.

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  4. Ruth Cull

    I just found your store and now I must make a trip to Montreal .
    Do you still have conventions?
    thank you.

    Like

    • evelyn

      We still have the store but no longer have the conventions. We had them for 19 years and it was a lot of work and we are not getting any younger. We’ll leave it to the younger generation. Shawn Farquar is handling the CAM Conventions in B.C. this summer and it should be great.
      We expect to be there. Hope you make it to Montreal and to B.C.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Magic is Still Kicking in the 21st Century! » Enid Ballard

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