Monthly Archives: December 2015

Why Performers Perform

I wasn’t going to write while on vacation but something happened yesterday that forced my hand.

Phil had a piano gig in Waterloo. (He has one everyday except one, while we’re here and 2 on New Year’s Eve. My cousins  from Toronto drove down to be there with us and Joan Caesar, the lady who can move mountains, and single  handedly got CAM, the Canadian Association of Magicians, off the ground came to be with us as well).  Our gracious hosts, Joan and Romaine were there too, of course.

Phil was at senior residence and played his ragtime as usual, and all the old tunes. This is a huge residence and usually the place is packed, but this year it was half empty. The girl in charge explained that one of the sections was in lock down, no one goes in or out because there was an outbreak of some illness.

After the show some of the residents came over to tell Phil how much they enjoyed him and how he was the best piano player ever, and when is he coming back, etc. All this in spite of his unusual number of mistakes and once he had to interrupt the show completely as the sound system failed. The battery went dead as he forgot to charge it after the last show. I must say he handled it well. He said excuse me, this will only take a minute. He untangled a wire and plugged it into a socket and got the ball rolling again.

So what does this have to do with why performers perform. On our way to the back of the theatre, where our gang was sitting, one man and his wife who were still seated, stopped Phil and said, ” I want you to know how much this meant to us. I was a pilot in the war, (World War 2) and when we came back after a mission we would all get together in the rec room and there was always some guy who sat down at the piano and played all the songs you just played. My mind was flooded with all the memories of those days, my buddies and the times we had. Thank you for that. It was wonderful.”

There were tears in his eyes as he spoke, as there were in mine and I had to walk away. Phil too, was overwhelmed by his and his wife’s reaction. That’s why performers perform!







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The Magic of a Magic Shop

Many years ago Frank Garcia sat in our living room chatting about this and that. He was here for Magie Montréal and he was the feature attraction. George and Nina Schindler were there too. The subject of Magic Shops came up and Frank said to me, “I hope you know that you’ll never become a millionaire running a magic shop.” He was right. Still not a millionaire!

But we have something in this shop a million dollars could not buy. The customers and the friends we have made over the years through the magic shop are phenomenal. And the strangest things happen with these people. Just last week Wym Vermeys, who many of you know, a fellow magician and Phil’s partner in Magie Montéal, a week-end magic convention we ran for 19 years, stopped by to say hello. He comes by the shop about 3 or 4 times a year, and we also see him socially. It is a friendship that has endured.

While he was in the shop, sitting and chatting with Phil, a customer came in. I had never seen him before. He told me he was a Law professor at the University of Montreal. He said that  a confrère of his, also a lawyer,  and a magician recommended this place. He wanted to get some gifts for someone who was interested in magic. I asked who it was that recommended us and he said, Nicolas Vermeys. I said, “Really? would you like to meet his father?” I introduced him to Wym. How’s that for a coincidence? I assure you, lots of excitement followed.

When someone comes in and there is another magician already here, complete strangers, and yet if one is having a problem with a move or a trick there is an immediate bond that seems to develop. Professionals will bend over backwards to help a beginner. There is a strong sense of community among the magicians.

About few weeks ago a guy came in, a Jewish guy looking for Chanukah gifts for his grandkids. Turns out he was related somehow to Sam Cramer, who used to have a magic shop in downtown Montreal. Phil and he were doing Jewish geography when Ted Outerbridge walked into the shop, who used to work at Perfect Magic when he was a kid. There was such joyous reunion between these two guys that it was unbelievable. Somehow Ted didn’t fit into the Jewish geography map. It turns out that this guy was Ted’s hockey coach when Ted played hockey. It seems Ted was a wonderful goalie. Bet you didn’t know that! And today we had a lovely visit with Marion Outerbridge. We had lots of stories to tell each other.

So while we await our millions, we are having a good time, enjoying the people and the magic they bring to us. in  These things could never happen on line, only in magic shop!

Merry Christmas!




December 16, 2015 · 3:20 pm

Who and How Do People Choose Magicians

evy1When we got to the shop one morning, and we were on time for a change, an old customer was waiting at the door. We hadn’t seen him in a long time. He said he thought he was retired but they keep calling him for shows. I said, ” You must be good.” He said,  “No, I’m cheap.”

It reminded Phil of Jay Marshall. Who out there remembers Jay Marshall? Jay used to say ” I’m one of the better cheap acts.” He used to appear on the Ed Sullivan show with his pal Lefty. There’s a blast from the past.

In any case, its not necessarily the ones that charge the most that are the best. But they do get treated the best. If you charge $100.00 for a show you will probably have to lug out all the material yourself, but if you charge $1000.00 there will be someone there to help you carry your stuff.

Then there are people that are really great performers, but do it only for pleasure. I begged someone to do a show, because I knew he would be perfect for the occasion and he refused, dispite my persuasive abilities. Perhaps its the pressure of having to do it that is intimidating to some.

So how do people choose? If they have seen someone perform at a party and like the performer, then its easy. Word of mouth is always good. A great web site doesn’t hurt. We get calls and I try to steer people in the right direction, but it isn’t easy as I haven’t seen magicians perform for a particular age group etc. Testimonials help. There are no rules, but I do know you have to keep the audience in mind. The customer who was here had two shows to do, one for young children and the other for seniors. Fortunately they usually both like visual magic and that is mostly what he bought and he was delighted with everything.




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There’s Still Time for Christmas Magic

RudyI usually try not to be commercial in my posts. I like to write about incidents that happen or people that drop in but since its before Christmas I know many of you will be doing shows and have most of your equipment already, but if you are looking for something new to add here’s a list of what is still available

  1. A Tony Christmas Show DVD
  2. Change Bag Santa Cap
  3. Deluxe Santa Stuck in Chimney
  4. Forgetful Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer.
  5. Happy Santa Blendo 36″
  6. Lit Candle to Twinkling Christmas Tree
  7. Rudy Reindeer
  8. Santa’s Chimney Production Box
  9. Merry Christmas Silk 18″…$12.75
  10. Merry Christmas Silk 36″… $26.50
  11.  Christmas Silk 36″ (A beauty)
  12. Santa Hat Tears
  13. Santa’s Hat
  14. Red Rope
  15. D’lites Red Junior.

We have the above in stock now. How long they will be in stock, I don’t know, but I don’t have a lot of any of them, so let me know if you want anything. There’s time, but not much!


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