Monthly Archives: August 2017

Remember Your First Big Show?

Do you remember the first time you performed magic for a big audience you didn’t know?  Of course big is relative. I’ve been doing magic for over 40 years (I must have been 10 at the time.) Just kidding! But I started learning and doing magic in the magic shop demonstrating different tricks when Perfect Magic was born. There was no internet or even VHS videos back then. If the customer wanted to see a demo of John Bannon’s lastest trick, you learnt it and did a demo. None of this running to a computer business.

So there’s a day camp in our building and a really nice guy runs it and we were talking and I offered to do a few tricks as camp would soon be closing. He has up to 60 kids. On one to one I’m okay as I’m used to showing the customers this and that but I never performed for a big bunch of kids, until today. Ages were from 4 to 12.

I had 4 effects with me,  a Magic Coloring Book, An Appearing Flower, Growing Ball Outdone, and a Color Changing Wand.  growing ball outdoneSome of the kids were colouring when I came in and he told them to stop to see the magic show. I took my cue from there and said that I have a colouring book too.  When I first took out the book, before I performed it, one of the kids put his hand up. I was sure he was going to say he saw it before. I asked the kids to put up their hands if they’d been to a magic show. All hands went up. I figured I was in trouble with my colouring book. I told them there are rules about magic they should all know.

1. If you’re at a magic show and know the trick, you never say, “I know how you did it, or I saw it before.”

2. If you buy a magic trick, you don’t tell your friends how it’s done.

3. If your friend is also in magic you can discuss it with that friend as magic is sort of a club.”

Having said that the I proceeded with the Coloring Book. I assure you Houdini would have been thrilled to get the reaction I got. I knew they were in the park earlier, so I asked if they saw any beautiful flowers. Of course they did and I said that I loved flowers too and took out my little empty flower pot. I asked if they thought the flower was beautiful. They sat quietly thinking I was crazy.

“Don’t you see it?”

“No”

“You know why?”

“Because its not there.”

“No, because its invisible. If you want to see it I’ll have touch the flower pot with my magic wand,” and 50 jaws dropped in complete astonishment when the flower appeared and then they all applauded. I started to understand why people perform. It was a good feeling.

I then did the colour changing wand from black to green which also got a great reaction, but the pièce de résistance was the Growing Ball Outdone. I knew it would be, but they were so amazed they jumped up lfrom their seats and ran over to the table to see the little black balls. “How could that happen?” I said they could touch them and they did and passed them to each other and examined them as though it was the most amazing thing they ever saw. Of course I told them they could visit the magic shop and I had visitors not long after.

A good time was had by all, especially me!

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Eugene, You’ll Be With Us Always

Eugene Burger was special, as a magician and as a person. The first and most important memory I have of him was when he came to Montreal to lecture for Magie Montréal. It was many years ago and I was not that into magic at the time, but I went to the lecture to help Phil and Vim Vermeys with registration, etc.  and stayed of course for the lecture.

Anyone at that lecture learned valuable lessons. I don’t rememberphil-eugene-and-tom one trick that he did. It wasn’t about the tricks, it was about performing. Every word was well thought out and had a reason for being there. His jokes were not to get a laugh, which they got, but as he explained, when you laugh you close your eyes for a second and that’s all the time he needed to do what he had to do in front of your eyes.

We got to talking after and I mentioned that I was going to Chicago for a Document Examiners Convention ( in case you didn’t know, I’m a Certified Document Examiner and The World Association of Document Examiners held their Annual Seminars at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.) He asked if Phil was going with me, I said yes and he asked what Phil does while I’m attending the seminars. I said he would find what to do in Chicago.

Guess who was waiting in the lobby of the Drake Hotel when we got there. Yes, Eugene Burger. He invited Phil to lunch, to eat at the restaurant where he did restaurant magic. David Solomon and Phil Wilmarth were also there having lunch with Phil. Phil thinks the name of the restaurant was Biggs but he’s not sure. Eugene said he watched for the Convention in the papers. We had no idea he would be there. Phil had a marvellous time.

Whenever someone asks me about performing I tell them to get Eugene’s book or his DVD and I told him that the last time I saw him, at The Magic Bash on April 1, 2017. He looked wonderful, which is why it came as such a shock to us when we heard the sad news.

Rest in peace.

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