Magic brings people together. This is a community that knows no bounds. Age, race, language, religion, profession, education are suspended here. They don’t exist.
I remember Bill Zavis, a sophisticated American diplomat who worked at the U.S. Consulate here in Montreal for several years, who not only was interested in Magic but won the 3rd prize at FISM for Micromagic in 1973 and was author of the magic book Divers Deceits. He came into our shop shortly after he moved to Montreal and another magician was there who he did not know and in no time they deep in an animated conversation. There was instant rapport, understanding and eagerness, despite the obvious differences in language, education and social standing.
Bill Zavis had a creative and intelligent approach to magic. To me he was an exceptional person. I’m easy to get along with. Ask Phil. I like people in general. I have all the patience in the world. But there was this one kid, and I love kids, who I couldn’t take. Maybe he was 13 years old. There was just something about him. I treated him with respect but was glad when he left.
Bill often came to the magic shop on his day off to help us behind the counter, just as a friend. We were friends with Bill and his wife and we had daughters the same age so it was great. When this kid came in Bill used to spend a great deal of time with him, talking to him and explaining things to him. One day I said to him, “Bill, how come you spend so much time with him. I hate to say this but I don’t see how you can stand him.” Obnoxious might be an appropriate word here. And Bill simply answered, “I know he isn’t pleasant, but the kid is lost and maybe his interest in magic is the one thing that will save him!” How did that make me feel? It gave me a different outlook on life and magic after that.
When looking up Bill’s link, (see above) I realized that we produced an effect he invented called Soft Center. He created other effects as well. He was brilliant and died much too young. We miss him.