Perfect Magic was born over 35 years ago. We started it when Phil was still in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business. So I was the one looking after the magic business to a great extent. I had to learn some tricks to demonstrate although I was not a magician. The card tricks I learned consist of the Svengali, Invisible, Wizard Stripper and Mental Photo decks. Also the Rising Card. The next deck to come along that I loved enough to learn was Cardtoon. In all these years with all the hundreds of tricks that came out, the only other ones I learnt were Future Foretold and Bewildered.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I was never interested in learning another trick. Not true. There is one other, The Ceremony of the Immortals, not because I wanted to learn it, but because it was so amazing to me. None of the above are new tricks, but they are as great today as they always were. Richard Sanders still blames me for him getting him into magic when I did Mental Photo for him. Ask him. He’ll tell you.
So I was content in my world of 7 or 8 cards tricks that I could do. I had all the patter down and the tricks are easy and as they say, every demo was a sale. So why should I break my neck, especially these days. At one time, before VHS, yes, VHS a person would come into the shop and ask what’s new and what’s good. We don’t hear that question any more. Most new customers don’t even care. They come in and say, “I saw this on Youtube or I saw Luc Langevin do such and such. Can you get it for me?” Not all, but many. Half the things they ask for we know they could never do and will never do and we tell them that, but they want what they want and so we get it for them.
Sometimes its unavailable, and I say “Let me show you something else.” I show them a Svengali deck. The look of amazement could not be greater if I produced an elephant. 9 times out of 10 they’ll buy it. I know they’ll use it and come back for more.
Then along came a deck that made me want to learn another card trick, The (W)hole Deck. There is one segment that is so magical it took my breath away. There are 3 magical things that happen, but the first one will leave your audience with their jaws dropped. Give yourself a treat and look at the video and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I saw someone do it in person and was amazed all over again.
Just thought I would share that with you. Enjoy!
When I was a kid my parents always took us to the Circus. Unlike today’s circus, it was full of lions and tigers and bears and horses and elephants and dogs. It was usually at the old Forum in Montreal, famous for its Hockey Games with the Montreal Canadians in their heday. I’m going back to the days of Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, Floyd Currie and Dickie Moore to name a few, but I digress. The thing about the circus was there were two things that made me nervous, the guy being shot out a cannon and the clowns.
Funny thing is, one of my favorite tricks in the magic shop is Card-toon, especially Card-toon 2, whereby the spectator names any card which is then located face up and removed from the deck and placed on the table so that we remember the chosen card. Then the magician shows his audience the back of the cards, which has a cartoon drawing of a little stick man with a deck of cards at the circus. The magician tells the audience that he didn’t mix the deck because each back has a slightly different picture and by his flipping the cards they will see an amination. As the magician flips though the deck the spectators see a little stick man climbing into a cannon, lighting the cannon, and then he goes flying into the air with his cards flying all over. He manages to grab one of them and turns it over and guess what! Its the same card as the one on the table that the spectator chose. I much prefer this delightful little effect than the terrifying one at the circus.
If I was nervous about the clowns, its because they weren’t like the two charming young ladies that were here today. I know I would not be afraid of them as they were so sweet and thoughtful. They bought a lot of magic stuff, but not before they figured exactly where it would fit into their shows. They were studying theatre arts. They are working clowns and do well, and I can see why. I guess clowns don’t have to be scary.
Many years ago Phil did a lecture for Clowns Canada in New Brunswick and it was a real hit. Many of the clowns had never thought of using magic in their act. He still has some lecture notes on the subject, Clowning Around With Magic . It is informative and deals with stage clowns, birthday party clowns and walk around clowns and how and what is suitable for each one. Check it out! By the way, Clowns Canada is having a Clowns Canada Carnavale 2013, September 27 and 28th in Mississauga, Ontario.
And then there are the magicians that do a lot of clowning, but that’s another story!
The Chinese Linking Rings. As they say, a classic in magic. There is much controversy as to its origin, but wherever and whenever it originated, it is one of the more popular effects. Solid steel rings link and unlink and the magician forms different designs with the rings. At one time it was a stage trick, usually consisting of 8 rings being as big as 12 inches in diameter, it now comes in 10″, 8″, 5″ 4″ and even in bracelet style so it can be done close-up for walk around and restaurant magicians. There are many books, DVD’s, and lecture notes on the subject with many variations, moves, stories and plots. We sold our last set of Mikame Rings, 11″ consisting of 9 hollow rings, at the CamJam Festival at Niagra Falls. Unfortunately there are no more available. They were gorgeous and light weight.
If you go to our catalogue and click on our google search (beneath our regular seach) you’ll get 10 pages of rings, books, DVD’s and routines, serious, comedy, artistic, you name it. Jeff McBride’s DVD On Stage Vol. 1 has a wonderful section on the Linking Rings. Jeff was in Montreal for a 6 month gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel many years ago, and all the magicians went to see his show and then came to our shop and wanted the same rings as Jeff used. I pointed to a set hanging on a hook and they said, no no, not those, the one’s Jeff used. They could not believe he used regular Linking Rings to achieve what he did. One Saturday morning (back then we used to be open on Saturdays) he walked into the shop. All the magicians used to congregate here on Saturdays, and I took down the rings and asked Jeff if he would do some of his stuff. He obliged and all you saw was dropped jaws.
After being in the magic business for over 35 years and seeing lots of ring routines in shows and DVD’s I thought I saw it all. But at one of the lectures at CamJam Oscar Muñoz showed us unbelievable stuff which he shared. Just when you think you’ve seen it all. Thanks Oscar!
We went to the one day CAMJAM 2 week-ends ago at Niagra Falls and had a great time. Shawn Farquar and Perfect Magic were the only dealers except for the fabulous lecturers. Romaine’s wife Joan said at the end of the day that all the years she has been going to conventions with Romaine, she never went to the lectures as she was not a magician and thought it would be boring for her. After going to the lectures of Oscar Munoz from Texas , Michael Dardant from New Orleans, and Vincent Hedan from France, she said “I ‘m sorry I missed the lectures all the years we’ve been going. I never realized how fascinating they were.” (or something to that nature). They had a good turn out and there was a lot of comeraderie. Then in the evening we saw Greg Frewin’s great illusion show at the Greg Frewin Theatre, a feature event in Niagra Falls.
Another event of CamJam was the presentation of the Magician of the Year Award which went to Mike Segal of Sorcerers Safari Magic & Performance Camp, which has been in operation for over 15 years. We met Mike a number of years ago, ten maybe 15, and although he is living in Toronto, his mother is from Montreal, and guess what! She was Phil’s ( yes my husband Phil) first girlfriend. He thinks he was seven at the time. So everytime Phil met Mike, he would ask how his mother was.
After we left Niagra Falls we spent 5 days with Romaine & Joan and then went to Toronto to visit my Aunt and other relatives. At the CamJam Phil told Mike he was going to Toronto on the way home and Mike said to give him a call. Phil told him he was going to be at the Browser’s Den (a magic shop in Toronto) at noon on Saturday and we could meet there. Then Mike suggested he bring his mother and Phil thought that would be a great idea. The plot thickens!
We got to the Browser’s Den. They weren’t there yet, but I had shopping to do, after all, it is in a shopping center so I left. When I got back Jewish geography was in full swing. I met his first girlfriend, who was very sweet, and we got to talking and this is the magic connection! When one of her brothers was little he got a Magic Kit at one of his birthday parties and his mother, Mike’s grandmother, went into another room, opened the kit, figured out the tricks and did them for the kids at the party. Phil was one of the kids and it was the first time he saw a magic trick. That was 70 years ago!