Daily Archives: March 25, 2015

Montreal, Magic and the Changing Scene

Can YOU name all three?

Can YOU name all three?

It was Alex Chervin’s funeral today. Many of you may not know his name or who he was, but if you read our facebook column today, he had a great influence on Phil Matlin, owner of the Perfect Magic shop, and his interest in magic. This is what Phil had to say about him.

“The first magic store I visited, somewhere around 1948, was Cramer’s Magic Shop located on Bleury Street in downtown Montreal. Besides the late Sam Cramer, his brother-in-law was working the shop. I used to stop by a couple of times a week and purchased some items that were being demonstrated, when I was told that I could no longer buy any more magic tricks unless I bought a book and took it home to read. Then, when I returned to the shop I was asked some questions . If I showed that I learned something from the book, he would let me buy a trick. Not necessarily the trick I wanted, but the trick he thought I should have. By the way, the book was Volume 1 of the Tarbell Course, and through a very generous payment plan I acquired all 6 volumes, which was all there were in those days. Many years later, the brother-in-law took over the shop and at one point was forced to move. The shop moved to Guy Street. I was still a frequent visitor and learning a lot about magic. When I told him I was to open a magic shop in Montreal, he encouraged and helped any way he could. I learned a lot of the business side from him and when the building he was in was sold, it was time to close Cramer’s Magic Shop. I was asked to come down and see if I could use any of the display items, like shelves, display cases, etc. They were mine for the taking. He wouldn’t hear of payment. That gentleman’s name – Alexander Chervin. Alex passed this past Sunday away this past Sunday at the age of 101. He died peacefully in his own home. The last time I spoke to him was close to 2 years ago. At the time he told me he was still walking his dog every day. Montreal, the Magic Community and I have lost a true gentleman and friend. RIP Alex.

Phil Matlin.”

But life goes on. And if it were not for his nurturing and teaching, there probably would not be a Perfect Magic today. We have new people, young and older, coming into the shop all the time. Some of our best friends are magicians and had we not decided to open a shop we probably would not have developed the strong bond we did with George and Nina Schindler, Romaine and Joan, Wym Vermeys and Maryse, Al Cohen, Guy Camirand,  Hans Zahn, to name but a few. Strong ties hold the magic community together. It is always fun to be with other magicians and most are willing to share and help each other. I’m sure it will be a joyous gathering this Sunday Evening at the Comedy Nest at the Montreal Forum where Romaine will be performing his world acclaimed act. I’m sure many of us have see him before but will go anyway just to all get together.  Also  performing are, Marc Trudel, Ted Outerbridge and Ivan Pecel. Maybe more. We will have Alex on our minds, knowing he would have enjoyed the show.


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