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 remember 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.