Monthly Archives: July 2011

So You Think “Nickels to Dimes” is a Kids Trick, Huh?

I had a different blog prepared for today, but it can wait. This one can’t.

In an earlier blog I wrote that when I was eight years old, my father went to New York and brought me a magic trick from Tannen’s, Nickels to Dimes. That was 62 years ago. I’m sure the trick wasn’t new then either. Basically, what happens is this. Four nickels are stacked on the table. A little brass cap is placed over them and they change to 4 dimes. The spectators can examine the cap and the dimes all they want. The nickels have vanished. That’s the effect.

Besides getting this when I was 8, I’ve been demonstrating this trick for 35 years. It’s always a sale, because its a great little trick, easy to do, easy to carry around, and not expensive.

Today a customer came into the shop. He is a grandfather and does stuff for his grandkids and probably friends as well. He was having trouble with his Nickels to Dimes. The first thing I noticed was that there was a hole in the top of the cap. Perhaps something got stuck in there, and it must have been the only way to get it out.  He told me something did get stuck and he tried to take it out with pliers and he must have ruined the whole thing. I took a new one off the shelf for him. He didn’t like the idea of the “ring”, if you know what I mean. I told him  it was necessary to do the trick and that’s when the magic happened.

Many magicians come into the shop and want to show me magic tricks. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time and usually I tell them I’m not allowed to watch tricks, because the boss will fire me (fat chance). I’m the one that’s supposed to be doing the magic. But I watched it to see how he could do it without the ring. Let me tell you, of all the tricks I have ever seen, this one blew me away.

If you’ve been to the shop, you know that Phil is always, I mean always, working at the computer. He doesn’t mean to be rude, or inattentive, but he is under a lot of pressure to do what has to be done to keep the site up to date, etc., so I usually attend to the people that come in, and try not to bother him. I was so impressed with this routine that I made Phil stop what he was doing to watch. Blew Phil away too. We’re talking about Nickels to Dimes here!

He started off placing one dime at at time in a stack of four, he covered them with the cap, and they changed to four nickels. Okay, we got that. Then he put the cap back on the nickels and when he lifted it he had the four dimes back. We got that! Then he took the cap and banged it on his back of his closed hand and when he opened his hand the nickels fell out. We got that! But he just kept on going producing more nickels and dimes and we couldn’t follow it any more! It was amazing! Put that in you cap and wear it!

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So you’re looking for ways to save money!

Thursday, July 14, 2011 was one of those rare days I was not in the Magic Shop.

I had been invited by the International Startup Festival at the Old Port to be a Judge along with 5 other Grandmothers to select one on the startups as winner. Now you might be wondering what techies would want with a bunch of old grandmothers, beside the fact that we, our age group, are the greatest buyers on the internet; mostly retired with disposable incomes, etc. Those are the statistics.

But that’s not why we were chosen. We were chosen because the organizers of the Festival wanted the winner to be someone that as well as having a great product, would be a great presenter, making the usefullness of his product evident even to people who are not that technically savvy. Believe me, I qualify!

So we spent the day listening to pitches and presentations delivered for the most part by young ambitious, creative young men with dreams of making millions. Some of them already did. But believe it or not, I don’t think its about the money. I spoke to one guy in his 30’s who sold his business for $ That’s right $80 million. Now he’s in there, pitching his next idea.  I asked why he needed the money for a startup if he got 80M. He said he didn’t get 80M, he sold the business for 80 M. There were his investors to pay off plus others so you don’t get left with that much. And it all goes into the next project, which he is passionate about.

We were there from 8:00 am to about 9:00pm, a long an exciting day, and heard many wonderful ideas but we  could chose only one.

After much deliberation we, the grandmothers, chose, Onavo. If I were you I would download the app for your iphone. Right now its free, but in time they may charge a fee  but you will still be saving a lot of money on your bills. What this app does is condense the data, so you pay less. Phil and my daughter signed up immediately and I’m sure every one of the over 1000 people at the Festival did too. Check it out. I want you to save money on your phone bills so you’ll have more to spend in the Magic Shop!

We choose Onavo because his presentation was great. He did a live demonstation by having everyone in the audience tweet him and showed us the cost and then the savings on the big screen. The demographics covers young and old alike and he had a revenue generating plan. What was not to like?

So, save your money and place your orders. Every time you get a phone bill it will be like free magic! We look forward to your response!


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Hank Moorehouse

Hank Moorehouse died in Bejing July 2, 2011 and his passing had saddened us and many others greatly. Our hearts go out to Jackie and his family. His career is wonderfully documented in  the MUM link, so I won’t go into that as it has already been done but I can tell you about our relationship with him. He was with us when Perfect Magic opened its doors 35 years ago. Phil called him for something and mentioned he was opening a store. Hank wished  him luck and asked if he wanted him to come down to do a lecture to kick it off. No charge, just to give us a boost. That was the kind of guy he was!

Hank introduced us to his lovely bride Jackie in Toronto at a Passport To Magic Convention. I say bride because they were on their honeymoon. They had a booth  there and Jackie laughed about it. “What new bride would go to a magic convention on her honeymoon!”

From the left, Jackie & Hank Moorehouse, Dave Cresey, Phil Matlin

Phil says that without Hank there probably would not have been “Magie Montreal”, the  magic  convention that took place in Montreal for 19 years, thanks to Phil and his partner in that endeavour, Wim Vermeys. When Phil needed advice regarding acts, who was good, who was reliable, etc,  Hank always gave it to him straight.

Many years ago Phil and I were on our way to a Convention in the States not far from where Hank  and Jackie lived. We phoned them and said we would like to meet them for dinner in Kalamazoo and they said no, if you’re so close you’re coming to our home. They insisted we spend the night there, which we did after we all went to a lovely restaurant in Three Rivers for dinner.

Many of you probably met Hank at Magie Montreal.

Hank at the close-up table

Hank entertaining

He had been there a few times, when his busy schedule permitted. I have posted some of the photos of him and you’ll notice how much fun his volunteers are having with him on stage. He knew how to make people feel at ease, young or old. Enjoy the memories!


Phil Matlin, Hank Moorehoue and Wim Vermeys

Hank's world famous escape act.


Filed under Hank Moorehouse, Magic, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

David Ginn

On June 6, 2011 I phoned David Ginn, who I haven’t spoken to in about 20 years.

In case you’re not familiar with the name, David Ginn is an author of many magic books, inventor of tricks, and children’s performer. He has spent many years doing school shows.

He came in to do a lecture for Perfect Magic back then and after the lecture he came to our home with our good friends, Joan and Romaine, who were living in Montreal back then, and we had a game of Trivial Pursuit. When I phoned him  after 20 years and said it was Evy Matlin the first thing he said was that I cheated because we used a Canadian version of the game. We had a great laugh. He told me he had an operation for a pinched nerve and he is back doing his shows.

I phoned him because one of our customer’s wanted a certain effect that was exclusively his. He was curious as to why someone would not order from him directly. I explained that this person wanted one thing from him, another thing from someone else and so on and didn’t want to have to deal with each person. It’s easier to order just from one person. He understood. He said if he had one he’d gladly sent to me but hasn’t had the item for a year and half due to manufacturing problems. He said if I ever need anything else, I should call him. He was happy to hear from me and I was happy to learn that he was well again, as I had heard he had medical problems.

I write this blog because I was touched that after all these years he instantly remembered what a fun time we had together those 20 years ago. When he was about to get a pie in the game he say “It’s pie time” in his southern accent . He promised to send us a little background about himself , how he got started in magic and a tip for magicians starting out. I’ll post it as soon as I get it.

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