Monthly Archives: May 2016

Magic at the Magic Castle

Many years ago, when Phil and I first started off in the magic business, we took a trip to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. We were visiting  my brother who lives in Vancouver and seeing its just a hop, skip and a jump to the Magic Castle, why not find out what its all about.

We had a wonderful time there. Of course Phil loved Irma, the invisible piano player, and the food was out of this world, and oh yes, the magic. We went into one room, where a magician was performing close-up. He was an old man. In retrospect, he probably wasn’t so old. It all depends on which side of the fence you are sitting on. Anyhow, back then, about 30 to 35 years ago, he seemed old to me. I don’t remember his name, but Phil says it was Orlando.

I sat down and he asked me to pick a card, look at it and keep it face down on the table. He also picked a card and placed it face down on the table. He said his face down card  was a prediction. There were maybe 10 people in the audience.

He said something like, “Whatever number is on your card, multiply by 3, then if I remember correctly you subtract 15, and then…um… add 10, I think. .” Those were not the numbers but those were the general instructions I had to  follow. He asked if I did that. I said yes. Throughout the whole time he seemed unsure of himself and I knew it would be a bad outcome. I felt so bad for the guy, who was going to be embarrassed in front of all the people there but I continued. And he continued.

“Did you come up with an number?”


“Now divide it by two and give me your answer.”

Now his goose was really cooked. How could I give him that answer? I did not want to embarrass him.

“Well, what’s your answer?”

“Three and a half.”

He lead me right down the garden path. He turned over his card and it was a three and a half.

I’ve learnt much since then, magically speaking, that is!


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The Magic Creators

Almost every day I look through tricks and books etc. that I think would interest magicians. I actually watch the videos to see what impresses me and only those do I put on facebook. After doing this daily, not looking for any specific field of magic, it could be mentalism, illusions, cups and balls, a simple pocket trick, it really doesn’t matter, if I find it exciting, it goes in. Going through these videos I’ve come to the conclusion that some of these magicians who create the effects are brilliant. I marvelled at their  imagination,  creativity and problem solving ability and how they think in ways that we ordinary mortals do not.

Then I thought, what if these magicians put their heads together in some sort of council and used this creative and cunning  ability together  with people involved in trying to solve some of the seemingly impossible situations that we are in today. Could that happen? Probably not.

Then I remembered that Houdini threw himself into the war effort in World War 1. It is rumoured that he spied for the allies and taught soldiers how to escape if they got caught. So I did some research and came across a biography Wild About Harry by John Cox. It’s really well done. Enjoy it and think about the effect that a body of creators of magic could have on solving some of our problems.


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A Magic Pitch

Most of the magicians I’ve met in my almost 40 years of magic are shy.  It seems strange that a shy person would place themselves in the centre of attention when he or she is more comfortable in the background.

I have mentioned this in previous posts, but Romaine, Monarch of Manipulators well known around the world, couldn’t even talk to people  when he was young as he was so shy. I also mentioned recently that one of our customers, who is a teenager and has trouble speaking to people recently started magic expressly to overcome her condition.

Actually, I think I’m one of those shy people. Some people go into a crowded room and are instantly at ease. They talk easily, laugh easily  and seem to fit right in. Most magicians are low key, regardless of how they act on stage or when they are performing. I often wished I could be like the outgoing people. What gives them that confidence? For sure, we don’t all have it.

The fact is that magic is a tool. Shy people don’t enjoy being shy. When they are performing magic, even though they are the centre of attention, the attention is not on them, its on the trick, and they know it. The better they get at it, the more appreciative the audience, and the praise and wonder it produces boosts their confidence. The kids that are into magic have an added advantage. They learn to think outside the box. They know that what they see is not necessarily what is happening. I have my repertoire of magic that I demo when newcomers come in and I fool adults and children alike. But when a kid even as young as 7 or 8,  comes in that knows magic, even if he hasn’t seen the trick before, he has a theory about it. Right or wrong its usually plausible and I have to go on to more complicated stuff to impress them.

One of my grandsons was invited to a birthday party and each kid was supposed to bring a magic trick and do it. They were 8 or nine years old.  My grandson went over to his magic case and couldn’t decide which trick to do. He brought the case to the party and said he would decide later. When he got to the party only one other kid brought a trick. He said that this was supposed to be a magic party. He got up, opened his case and gave them a half hour show. The party boy’s mother phoned my daughter in shock. She could not believe that my grandson, a quiet kid, could give such a good and entertaining show. Everyone loved it. What do you think that did for his confidence?

Its a time consuming hobby. It keeps them away from the computer and many of them save their money for magic. They could be spending it on worse things.

I know many a magician who put themselves through college doing kid shows. Its one of the few hobbies that can pay for itself. Also if your PHD doesn’t work out for you you always have something to fall back on.

So if your kids or grandchildren are shy or quiet, encourage them to take up magic. We’re starting magic lessons at Perfect Magic for 7 to 9 year olds Saturday mornings May 21 to June 11th. Maximum 6 kids. if you’re interested, or know someone who might be interest, phone us for details.





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Perfect Magic in B.C.

We had a shop in Burnaby B.C. for several years, maybe 8, not sure. Our son Brian was the manager. All our 4 children worked in the magic shop at one time or another. Brian was the only one who worked at it full time. He was with us here in Montreal and around 1997,  and with the political turmoil in Quebec at that time we thought it might be wise to plant roots elsewhere.

I have a brother living in Vancouver and I went down to check it out, found a place across from Metrotown in a little shopping center. Brian volunteered to go and that’s how it started. I always told my kids that they should not feel any obligation to stay. If they found something else they wanted to do go ahead. You only live once.

He met a girl from Pennsylvania. That was it. We gave him our blessing, closed the shop there, and things had settled down somewhat, and here we remain. They remain happily married in PA not far from State College.

Brian used to write a blog Panning For Gold. He has sort of a wry sense of humour. He asked me a question about last week’s blog on Passover, which I couldn’t answer. It seems he had written a blog on Passover in 2011. You might enjoy it. If you like it, his Christmas one had me hysterical.  His question was, why do we hide the Afikomen. Here’s his blog.


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