Monthly Archives: April 2012

World’s Greatest Magic Starring Phil Matlin and Others!

World’s Greatest Magic is a DVD series put out  by L & L Publishing.  It’s a great series. It boasts The World’s Greatest Magic by The World’s Greatest Magicians. Each DVD deals with a different subject and you get different magicians dealing with one subject.

For instance, one  DVD in the series deals with Wild Card and Steve Dacri, Tommy Wonder, Harry Allen, Eric DeCamps, Boris Wild, Darwin, and Scotty York, all do and teach their special take on Wild Card.

Another one is just about the Thumb Tip. You would surely learn a thing or two from Michael Ammar, Richard Osterlind, Roger Klause, Alexandre de Cova, Ted Lesley, Al Schneider, Jeff Sheridan, Fernano Keops, Paul Diamond, Steve Dacri, Paul Wilson, and Dan Harlan. So you get the idea. They perform and teach and some of them teach more than one effect…all with the thumb tip. In case you thought you knew everything!

I didn’t count them but I’m sure there are over 60 DVD’s in the series. They just came out with the latest one, The Secrets of The Endless Chain WGM, which is an entertaining and puzzling gambling swindle. I’m sure Johnny Thompson and Bobby Bernard were thrilled to be on the same DVD as our own Phil Matlin.  A young Phil Matlin I might add. You just have to live long enough!

2 Comments

Filed under Phil Matlin

Doug Henning and Phil

Once, many years ago, Doug Henning, the first celebrity magician in  50 years, came to Montreal to perform. At that time a customer, who was an ardent magic collector and a friend, was dying in the hospital. The friend’s wife phoned Phil and asked if there was any way for Doug Henning to come and visit her husband because it would mean so much to him. Phil said he would try. Prior to Doug’s arrival in  Montreal, Phil called some contacts he had in LA. He finally got in touch with Doug’s road manager who told him Doug was on the road and asked Phil why he wanted him. Phil asked him if Doug could find some time while in Montreal to visit a fellow magician in the hospital and told him of the situation. Oh, no, was the answer. Doug has TV interviews and press conferences and he doesn’t have time for that.

At least Phil tried.

But as fate would have it, when Doug came in to do the show he was coming from the States and and at that time it was  difficult to bring live stock across the border. Doug’s 6 ducks were left at home. A few days before Doug’s arrival in Montreal, Phil got a call from Doug’s  tour manager asking him if he could get 6 ducks for Doug’s show. It just so happened that a fellow magician and magic dealer in Montreal was also a zoo keeper. Go know! Phil called this magician  zoo keeper who told Phil to come on down and pick them up. Phil picked up the  6 ducks and brought them to the theatre. The manager looked at the ducks and said, “This will never do. These are brown ducks. Doug uses only white ducks.”  “Okay, said Phil, I’ll bring them back.” and so he  did. A couple of days later we came into the shop and the phone was ringing off the hook. It was the tour manager and he was desperate. “Could you please bring back the brown ducks! Doug doesn’t care what colour they are. He just wants ducks!” So Phil went back to the Zoo, picked up the ducks, brought them to the theatre and dropped them off. While Phil was standing there dusting off the feathers and waiting for the “OK”,  Doug called out.

“Is that the fellow with the ducks?”

His manager said yes.

“Where is he?” asked Doug.

“He’s just leaving.”

“Well, didn’t you invite him in?

“No.”

“Well, invite him in. ”

So he invited Phil in and Doug thanked him profusely for bringing  the ducks and offered him tickets for the show.

“I already bought my tickets.”‘ replied Phil.

“Well, take them for friends or something.”

Phil gave the tickets to “Magic” Tom Auburn and his wife.

While I’m here, I would like to ask you for a favour. ”  Phil told him the story about his hospitalized friend and asked Doug if he could possibly find some time to visit him.  Without any hesitation Doug  said he would be at the hospital at 2:00 pm the next day. Phil called his friend’s wife to tell her. She offered to pick Doug up. No, he would go himself. And he did and stayed for well over an hour and spent time with our friend and wrote him a wonderful letter while at his bedside, and entertained the staff as well.

When anyone speaks of Doug Henning this is what I think of. There is a fascinating book, “Spellbound”  on Doug Henning’s life, his rise to fame and his experiences which is an exciting and worthwhile read.

3 Comments

Filed under Doug Henning, Magic, Phil Matlin

David Copperfield and Me

Going  back about 15 years. maybe more, Phil and I were getting ready to close up for the evening and we get a phone call from Chris Kenner.

“Hi Phil, its Chris Kenner. I’m here at the Place Des Arts with David Copperfield and we were wondering if you have a certain prop.”

We did and we said we could send it down there by cab if he wanted.

“Well, why don’t you bring it down yourself and I’ll have complementary tickets waiting for you and Evy at the box office? ”

Phil said okay and then proceeded to tell me of the plans. I said I had to go home to change. In those days you got dressed up to go to the Place des Arts. I was wearing an old pair of slacks and a T-Shirt.

But we don’t have time to go home.

Then I’m not going.

Don’t be silly. You look fine. (men!) We’ll probably get seats up in the gods and no one will see you anyway.

Oh no, our seats will be front row center.

Sure, he’s going to give away two  $75.00 tickets.

Why not? What’s it to him.

Well, I’m telling you this. Whatever happens, I’m not going on stage.

Evy, no offense but did you ever notice that he usually gets these voluptuous very young women on stage.

So I reluctantly agreed to go. Like I had a choice. We get to the box office and picked up our complimentary tickets, Front Row Center! Phil couldn’t believe his eyes. We went in and sat down. A few minutes later Chris Kenner  came over and sat down in the empty seat beside Phil. They chatted for a while, Phil gave Chris the package, Chris gave Phil the cheque and they continue talking, as magicians do. Then I heard Chris call me. “Evy, you’re going to help us out, aren’t you?  I just looked at Phil whose mouth and eyes were wide open. (How could she  know?)

I’m not going on stage!

You don’t have to go on stage.

What’s the deal?

He produced a huge pair of black field glasses and said, When David does his second trick, which is a card trick, keep the binoculars on your eyes and follow every move he makes. Don’t take your eyes off him even for a second.

Now in my mind I figured that someone was going was going to select a card and somehow that card would be revealed to David in the glass of the binoculars. How it could be done I didn’t know, but since David can do anything, why not this? I agreed to do it. Chris gave me the binoculars and left.

So there we are, front row center with the binoculars on my lap and there is still some time to go before the show. We looked around to see if there are any fellow magicians we know and we saw Gary Ouellet sitting 5 rows behind us. He called out to us.

“How do you come to have front row seats?” ( Gary worked with David at that time)

I held up the  binoculars.

“Oh, you’re the one.” and he laughed. I should have known then.

The show began and then the second trick started. I picked up the binoculars and followed his every move as he did his card trick and walked back and forth across the stage. I hung in there. I was not going to spoil David Copperfield’s trick. Suddenly he stopped what he was doing. He was center stage at this point. He looked down at me.

“What’s wrong? You’re not close enough?” He looked up and said “Lights please, right there!” pointing at me. “Look at her everyone! Front row center, with binoculars!” he said as a series of spotlights landed on her, who did not want to be seen. “Stand up, will you?” What the heck. In for a penny, in for a pound. I stood up, laughing. Give me that thing he said holding out his hand. And with the spotlights following me and 3,000 people watching and laughing, I walked over to the stage which seemed like a mile and handed him the binoculars. He put them up to his eyes and followed me with them and kept them on me and said, “How does that feel? ” I had surrendered by then and was actually enjoying the attention.

Thanks for the blog David!

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Sad Day For The Magic Community

Many magic effects released on the market start with ” This is one of the greatest secrets in magic and has never been released… until now!”   Well, I’ve always enjoyed writing my blog… until now. It is with a heavy heart that I write this. By now I’m sure the everyone has heard about Hank Lee. When I heard about it on Saturday I was in complete shock. But more than shock the feeling I was left with was sadness. We’ve known Hank for 35 years. We’ve had 19 Magic Montreal Conventions and I think he was at every one. Maybe he missed one or two. I don’t remember. He started Hank Lee’s Magic factory about a year before  we  started Perfect Magic. We were friends. Phil stayed at his house in Boston. We were one of the few magic people that were invited to his wedding, which we attended.  We were friends.

When Dave Cresey  threatened to walk out of a Magie Montreal Convention when I wouldn’t let him smoke in the dealers’ room, Hank went over to Phil and said, “I know Dave is supposed to be on the show today. I’ll gladly fill in for him if you need me”.

This is why  its so sad. You think you know someone. I don’t know what trouble he was in or why he did what he did, how he got caught up in it. I guess we’ll never know that part.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized