Monthly Archives: September 2015

Magic On Sale At Perfect Magic

NO, we are not going out of business. Yesterday someone came into the shop and asked when we have our sales. I never believed in sales for the magic business. When we had auctions for used merchandise (not ours as we don’t sell used merchandise) or samples that people send us,  headed by David Acer as chief auctioneer, which was a show in itself, we usually discounted everything in the store for that occasion. But unlike fruit and vegetables, magic doesn’t go bad. We’ve had certain items that sat on our shelves for years and someone, at one time or another,  walks in and says, “Oh, I’ve been looking for that everywhere.” And believe it or not,  the next day, strange as it may seem, someone else will come in and ask for that same item, but its gone and when we try to reorder we find it is not available.

That’s not to say we will never have a sale. In fact, we decided we would have a sale, not a regular sale, but a pre-sale. That way, you buy things in advance, before they are actually available. Why would you do that and why would we have a sale like that? Our suppliers have pre-sales. That is, if we order before it comes in we get a discount and we can pass that onto you. Everyone wins. Not all items are on pre-sale and ususally people who buy magic on a regular basis, know whose products they like or what effects they can use or what authors they like, etc. Anyhow, the items that are pre-sale will be indicated on new products. As soon as the products become available, the pre-sale is over and you pay the regular price if you want the item. With so many new items on the market every single day, we can’t buy everything, but our customers usually know what is good so if they order it, we feel safe in buying it.

So do your homework. Check out the pre-sale items and order away. You will be charged for them when you order. Normally we only charge you when the item  is sent, but this works differently. If you like the idea, take advantage of it, if you don’t, that’s fine too. It’s just a way of saving a few bucks without anyone getting hurt!

Any questions?

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Some People are Natural Entertainers

Phil had a piano concert last week at a senior residence,  and my daughter asked if we could babysit. We took the kids, grandaughter age 7 and grandson 9, with us to the event and when Phil started playing his ragime, Samantha got up in front and started dancing. She stole the show. The audience went nuts. She is a natural and knew just what moves to do for the ragtime music. Then a lady resident joined her. It was a riot. At the end of  each number Samantha curtsied and at the end everyone said how terrific she was, asked if she took dancing lessons, etc. She listened and answered their questions, smiling and happy.  As Phil was packing up she said, ” I’m going to the back of the room to say good-night to everyone as they leave.” When we got to the back we heard her saying, “Thank you for coming”, to each person.
Kripes! The kid is seven years old. Where does she come to that?
She does some magic as well. Not that night, but they both come to the shop from time to time and watch me demo. She gets it. He does too. They understand about the patter, that its not just the trick. She does the Magical Coin Block  (Miracle Coin Block) and says as she places the penny on the back of someone’s hand, “You know of course that we don’t use pennies any more in Canada”, and passes the block over it and the penny changes to a dime. Those are my words but she knows to use them. Some people just have it, others have to work a little.

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Magic Memories!

Last week magician André Rancourt, a dear and long time customer of Perfect Magic wrote a lovely tribute us and to the Conventions we held in Montreal here for 19 years, each one with its unique problems that we laugh at now, and most of those problems were unknown to the convention goers, unless of course you were at our very first one held at the Quebec Pavilion of Expo 67 on Ste. Helen’s Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. No there was no flood. It’s just that it was October and really cold, and damp. (I think it was either raining or snowing. Maybe both.) There was many plants and flowers in the pavilion as they were set up for a flower and plant show that was to open on the island in the spring so everything looked beautiful. When we got there in the morning on convention day we were horrified that the heating system broke down overnight and no one available on weekends to come and fix. There was not a thing we could do about it. Everyone was shivering, but when the stage show started, Romaine, our MC, broke the ice, so to speak, with his welcoming remarks, “Bienvenus au plus grand fridgidaire à Québec!” That drew lots of laughter and applause. See how you can take advantage of every situation! He could have gone up and apologized and say how we were trying desperately to remedy the situation, but he didn’t. He just warmed us up with his humour. He succeeded, and it was better than the sweaters, jackets and coats we were all wearing.

So here we are freezing on this island, when we get a call from our caterer, (since there were no restaurants or anything else open at there this time of the year we made arrangements with a food truck caterer to bring lunch, snacks and coffee and stay parked for the day). He was sorry to inform us that his truck broke down on the bridge and he would be tied up for hours and wouldn’t be able to come. So I phoned the Brown Derby (Who remembers the Brown Derby in the Van Horne shopping centre, besides my brother?) I forget how many platters of deli with drinks and coffee we. I told them to prepare the order and I drove back to town and picked it up and brought it back to a ravenous crowd. Those were the days. It was the first magic conventions ever in Montreal, and there were lots of eager magicians, most who had never been to a magic convention. Despite the cold and hunger, I’m sure anyone who was there that is reading this is smiling now. That was in 1979, according to Phil’s memory. Believe it or not over 95% returned for our 2nd convention! We moved to a hotel for all of them after that!

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The Magic of Applause

You may not know this about the owner of Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin, but before there was a Perfect Magic he directed several Musical plays with his then partners, the late Walter Fogel and Sam Wollow. They had a company called Musicom Productions. The com has nothing to do with the internet, it was short for comedy. There was no internet back then, in the 60’s, not even computers as we know them today.

So Phil had some exerience in show biz and in 1971 he directed an original musical play which he and a bunch of fellow members of B’nai Brith Cenntenial Lodge wrote.  I think they did it as a fundraiser. No one got paid. The title of the play was Trial By Jewry. The plot was this. B’nai Brith decided, as a fundraiser, to sell condoms with a menorah (Jewish candelabra) stamped on the condom. The sale of the condoms was a great success, but it seemed that the condoms broke and babies were born with a menorah stamped on their bums. B’nai Brith got sued. The script was great, the music was great, not original music but original words, and then came the business of performance. Phil was the director of the show as well as the piano player and there was a choreographer.

All the actors, dancers, and singers were volonteers, club members, wives of the members, people they knew, most of whom had never been on a stage before. They rented Rialto Hall for rehearsals. Phil had his work cut out for him.

After a few rehearsaIs I got a phone call at home from one of the wives telling me I had to speak to Phil. You see, they joined the group to have fun, and Phil wasn’t letting them. He actually raised his voice. They had to listen all the time and couldn’t talk to each other and it was no fun at all. I said, “If you have something to say to Phil, tell him yourself.” “We’re scared of him.” I had to laugh to myself. I said, “When you get on stage in front of a real audience, you’ll thank him.”

I never went to the rehearsals, but when the time grew near, I was asked to go to a dress rehearsal. At this point, all the tickets had been sold. There was no turning back. I watched the show in a state of dread.

There was no orchestra, just Phil was playing the piano, so the music was good, and the costumes were excellent, but…the actors couldn’t act, the singers couldn’t sing. the dancers couldn’t dance. I was ashamed that I had asked my parents to buy tickets and they did and now they were going to have to see this. My father would say something like, Oy Gevault, which is something you would say in Yiddish if you were really in trouble. He would not be able to sit through this, but the show must go on, right?

Opening night (it was only for one night). The audience is in their seats. LIghts go out. Phil starts playing  Hassidic music, and from a ladder just off stage, a Hassidic guy, in full garb, with the side curls and black coat and white stockings, leaps onto the stage and starts dancing to the music. The audience went wild. And suddenly, the dancers could dance, the actors could act, and the singers could sing. My parents could not understand how these amateurs could put on a show like this. Neither could I. It was like a Broadway show. When they heard that appause they got charged up. No I am not prejudice. There happened to be two producers in the audience from Toronto and they wanted to bring the show to Toronto, but these were all working people and no one could take the time off, especially at the same time. It was such a wonderful moment in time, hearts were soaring, thanks to the magic of applause.

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