Monthly Archives: January 2011

Perfect Magic at the Waldorf in New York

Our very first Magic Convention that we went to as Magic Dealers was in 1978. I may be off by a year either way. It was at the Waldorf and it cost $76.00 a night just to park the car, THEN! The Dean of Magic, George Schindler, can correct me if I’m wrong about the date.

It was exciting and we met lots people, some of whom we remain friends with to this day. Some have passed away. Some are still going strong. Each was or still is a legend in magic.

Here are some photos we took then. How many do you know or are you too young?

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Filed under Magic, Magic Conventions, Perfect Magic

Terry Seabrooke

Terry Seabrooke was a first class entertainer, a comedian and a magician rolled into one. He did funny things and made funny noises and always had you fooled. He performed at Magie Montreal in 1986. We had a lot of laughter that year. Bob Little did his Dovino act. The Great Unknown had us hysterical as usual. Hank Moorehouse and Al Cohen were up to their usual antics.

Terry Seabrooke only came to Magie Montreal that one time, but we formed a bond with him immediately. Terry came to our after convention party which fortunately we have some photos of. Actually one of the photos is of Terry taking pictures.

He phoned us one fine summer day to say he was performing on a cruise ship and is docked in Montreal for a few hours. He invited Phil and me to have a drink with him on board the ship when we finished work. We did and were treated royally by him. The thing that struck me about him is that while we were sitting at a table chatting about this and that we would be interrupted every few minutes by guests on the ship that had seen him perform and had a comment to make to him. He would talk to them or bark at them or do something silly to make them laugh. We were impressed with his patience and showmanship even when he wasn’t working.

I came across a photograph of Terry which he had given to us when he was here for the convention. (See photo at top of blog). Above his autograph he wrote “It was magic in Montreal- Thanks!!!” It was magic wherever he was. He passed away Jan 11.2011 That’s 1/11/11. We will miss him.

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Filed under Perfect Magic

Women In Magic

How many full time magicians in the world would you think  are women? According to Dennis Regling’s  article on Bella on line, the answer is about 50. I’m not sure when that article was written but it is a very small percentage.

The tricky word is full time. I know that some  male professional magicians sometimes have a day job as well. So I will define the female magicians as professional magicians as I don’t know if they have other occupations or not. We had a few women magicians at Magie Montreal, the Montreal Magic Convention run by Phil Matlin and Wim Vermeys for 19 years, and they were awesome. (the women as well as the conventions)! I am referring only to women that had their own act, close-up show or lecture.  Not that I am taking anything away from magicians’ assistants or magic teams, most of whom are excellent in their own right, but that will be in another blog. The dates below are approximate.

1981 Frances Marshall, then owner of Magic Inc.  lectured.

Shelley Carroll perform at Magic Montreal twice, in 1985 and  in 1991. Shelley Carroll and Derek Dingle were partners for 25 years. He performed close up and she had a stage act. Unfortunately Derek passed away in 2004. In the 70’s they founded The Magic Agency which is now being run by Shelley.

In 1986 Lucy Smalley performed on our stage. She was a professional manipulator taught by Neil Foster and was the first woman to win Abbott’s Magic Contest. I don’t think she is performing any more.

In 1988 June Horowitz, President of S.A.M.  (Society of American Magicians) who was being honored at Magic Montreal performed close-up.

In 1994 we had 2 women, Juliana Chen and Karla Baumgardner. Karla perfomed another year as well . Both are still performing as far as I know. Karla came into the Magic Shop not long ago. I am embarassed to say I cannot find the photos of Juliana Chen but click on the link. I had many and I can see them in my mind as she did her fabulous card production and card manipulation act and when I find them I will post them. They must be with the photo of Randi and Dr. Joe Schwarcz which is also missing.

In 1997 Lupe from Las Vegas performed close up.

There are others, however, who I know do this full time. They come into the shop, and have been coming in for years. Some of these ladies combine it with clowning and do face-painting. They are very professional and are busy. There are more young girls interested in magic as well, so guys, watch out. Times, they are a changing!

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Filed under Bill Zavis, Juliana Chen, Magic, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Wim Vermeys

Observations from my Son

The following blog was written by our son Brian, who has his own blog which is usually hilarious, called Panning For Gold. This particular blog  is his take on the parties we used to have after the Magie Montreal conventions and his accidental meeting with Bob Little many years later in Pennsylvania. Enjoy!

The Olden Days, The Golden Days

Back in the day (1979 – 1998) my father hosted an annual magic convention with Wim Vermeys.  One of the features that we always looked forward to was the after party. This party was always at our house and it was a time when the dealers, performers and lecturers could sit back and enjoy each other’s company without the magic monkey looming over our shoulders

The only rule was there was absolutely no magic at these parties.  I remember one time when my father and Dick Zimmerman of magic and Ragtime fame sat at the piano while a few of the magicians and their wives sang along.  The parties always amazed me, so many egos, so many personalities all crammed into such a small place and everyone had a great time.  To me, these parties seemed to be reminiscent of scenes played out in movies based around the 1920’s. Our house was the speakeasy only with no gangsters, flappers, illegal liquor, cigarettes, prostitution, the only contraband was magic.  Okay not exactly a party like the roaring 20’s but you gets the idea.

There was one magician, Bob Little from Hat borough Pa who attended all 19 conventions in the Magie Montreal series.  Bob was a magic dealer, a lecturer, and a performer.

Jump ahead many years.

When I first arrived in Pennsylvania I got together with a few of the local magicians and started a magic club.  As the club took root my wife and I decided to throw a party and invite the magicians along with some other more civilized guests.

The party which was a BBQ at our house quickly snowballed out of control.  My wife and I learned that not only were the local magicians attending, so were the Penn State Performers which included magicians, jugglers and clowns.

I used to work at a bank downtown,  I happen to be sitting in the lunchroom of the bank looking down the street and much to my disbelief I saw Bob Little walking down the road.  I had not seen him since the last convention, a good 5 years earlier.  I ran out of the bank and caught up with Bob.

Me: “Bob, remember me?”

He looked at me for a moment and said;

“Phil’s son?”

“Yes, how are you doing?”

“Aren’t you in the music business in Montreal?”

“No, I’m the other son”

“Don’t you have a magic shop in British Columbia?”

“I did, but I don’t anymore. I live here now.”

“Here? As in Pennsylvania?”

“Yup, I met a woman who attended Penn State and works for the university.  We got married and now I live up in the mountains.”

Bob at this point looked very confused but we chatted for a bit.  I found out he was in State College because as an alumni of Penn State he was being given some sort of an award and was asked to make a speech.  Also there was some party the next night that the magicians were taking him too.

“Ahh, that would probably be my party” Again he looked a little confused.  I shrugged and went back to work.

Saturday afternoon guests began to arrive.  There were jugglers juggling, magicians showing each other tricks, people were talking eating and being very noisy.  At one point I slipped inside to take a breather, and there was Bob all alone sitting on the couch. He looked at me a little confused by my presence.  I knew he was still trying to process me being here and not in Canada.

Bob; “This is a really nice place”

“Thanks”

“No really it is so nice up here.  I went for a walk in the woods the path is covered in moss and is shaded by trees you should really check it out.  I was told the owners have 11 acres.  Do you know who the owners are? “

“Bob, remember yesterday when I said I lived in the mountains and that the party you were invited to was mine?  Well here we are my party, my house.”

We sat for a moment, looking through the window two of the jugglers were juggling torches, magicians were in little groups showing one another card tricks,  a fire was going in the fire pit, the grill was fired up and spewing hamburgers and hotdogs.

“You know” Bob said, “The last time I was at a party that was anything close to this was at your father’s convention I miss those days”

As I sit back during this holiday season and think about all the twists and turns my life has taken me I find myself wondering where it all went, when did I do all that stuff? Where has the time gone?  How can my friends have grown children? How can my little sister have two kids? Where did it go? When did it all happen?  I don’t understand the difference between a 3G and a 4G network!  Did an inner city Jewish Canadian really go get a live Christmas tree from a tree farm in Central PA?  Was it really 25 years ago that my best friend and I were riding our bikes through the town of Hampstead?  Do I seriously get out the blow torch to fix the copper pipes in my own home? Did my wife seriously buy me the greatest winter boots and gloves so I could be comfortable while I am out SNOWBLOWING my driveway?  Are there not other people who are supposed to do that sort of work?

Bob, I too miss those days.  But I love my days now.  I love my wife, my family, my life.  I hope in another 25yrs I’ll be sitting with my wife missing the ‘old’ days and still loving the current ones.

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Filed under Magic, Magie Montreal