Author Archives: philipmatlin

About philipmatlin

Perfect Magic is a magic shop owned and operated by Phil Matlin in Montreal, Quebec, Canada . We have been in business for 35 years. Besides selling magic to pros and amateurs alike, we have brought in many lecturers and held 2 day Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, for 19 years bringing in top magicians from all over the world. Magic has changed in these 35 years and I, Evelyn Matin, enjoy writing about Perfect Magic Then and Now, the people we met, the incidents, and the magic scene in general. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

The Magic of Magic

When we moved into our condo, over 10 years ago, we had a little chat with the administrator about things we should know about, never having lived in a condo before. One of things we discussed was what to give the superintendent for Christmas. He said everyone gives cash and the same amount. Fair enough.

But now the super has grandchildren of about 3 and 4 years old. I said to Phil. “This year we’re giving magic instead of money.” Phil said, “Give him the cash. Everyone wants cash.”  Our super has never done magic and I said to Phil, “No, I know he would love magic more. He is so crazy about those kids. I could just see him showing them the tricks.” Phil gave up. “Do what you want.” was his unenthusiastic reply.

So I put five tricks in one of those gift bags with tissue paper and a card, etc and in another bag I put my demonstrators of those tricks. I went home and phoned him and asked if he could come up to our place for about 10 minutes. He asked “What tools do I bring? Is anything wrong.?”

“No, no tools, nothing is wrong. Just come up if you can spare 10 minutes.”

He came to the door confused.

“Come in. Take off your coat.” He had just come in from outside. He came in, and took off his coat. I asked him to come into the living room and asked him to sit down, which he did, still confused. I presented him with the fancy bag and said, “This is your Christmas present, but I don’t want you to open it now. I’m going to show you what it is and how to work it.”

I proceeded to show him one trick at a time and showed images (1).jpeghim how they were done. His eyes were popping out of his head. He was as excited as a kid. If I gave him a million dollars I don’t think he could have been more excited.

He thanked me (and the reluctant Phil) over and over.

About 10 minutes later the phone rings. It’s his wife. She said, “I don’t understand. There’s a gift bag here and a card from you, but there’s nothing in the bag except tissue paper and I can’t find my husband.”

It seems he had gone off to practice the tricks privately. Nor could he wait until Christmas. This was a week before Christmas. He came up to see us the next day with a smile from ear to ear. He had done the tricks for his grandkids and was a hit! He taught them how to do it and they were just enthralled inserting the abra-ca-dabra in the appropriate places and all that jazz!

I’m sure if I gave him cash next year he would surely be disappointed. There’s nothing like the magic of magic!

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The Things We Do For Love (of Magic)

Sometimes people do things and you can’t understand why. There seems to be no logic to it, and yet they proceed. If and when you find the reason behind the action,  the action becomes clear. The other day I found out why someone did something and I didn’t even know he did it and it took over 30 years to find out, and it warmed my heart.

Many of you may know Stephane Bourgoin. He’s a magician who first came to Perfect Magic when he was 15. He has been very successful in every aspect in the field of magic. You may have seen him on TV. More that being a great magician in his own right he is a creator of illusions and created illusions for Cirque du Soleil  |  Juste Pour Rire  |  Théâtre du Nouveau Monde  | Les Grands Ballets Canadien  |  Orchestre Métropolitain and soon he will be off to Europe for additional engagements. He also  works with Luc Langevin, another success story. I think Luc was around about 11 years of age when he first came here, and he recently made his greatest production, a son. Congratulations again Luc. I hope you’re getting some sleep by now.

So here’s the story. Before Christmas Stephane came to our shop for  supplies. He was talking to Phil at this point, as I was with another customer so I don’t know how the topic came up,  but I caught a bit of the conversation and later got the whole story. Stephane told us when he graduated from CEGEP, he was accepted by four Universities. He told his father he wanted to go to the Polytechnique  Montréal. His father said, “Why do you want to go there? You can go to any University, you can go to McGill!” and Stephane said he made up some excuse that he told his father and that’s where he went.

He said “Very few people know this but I chose it because it was the closest to Perfect Magic.” His father never found out about that. I told him that now the whole world is going to know about it as I found it so touching.  That’s when we took the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Put A Little Magic in Christmas

If you want to add anything to your Christmas show, here’s what we have to offer. Since we won’t be here for BOXING DAY we’re giving a 25% special now until we leave on vacation on December 22 on the items listed below.

Even if you have this year’s show planned, think about next year. We only have 1 of most Christmas items left. I put the quantity in Brackets after the item. When it’s gone it’s gone and we will tell you.

You can still get it at the discount price if our supplier has any left, but we can’t garantee you’ll get it before Christmas.   If you want something on the list, order now.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy,  healthy and merry Christmas!

Evy & Phil

A Tony Christmas Show DVD (1)

Christmas Silk 36″Christmas Silk 36″,no writing (1)
Deluxe Santa Stuck in Chimney (1)
Fantasy Green Change Bag (no zipper) (1)

Forgetful Rudolph (1)
Happy Santa Blendo (1)
Lit Candle to Twinkling Christmas Tree (1)
Paper Hat Tears, Santa package of 12(10)
Rudy Reindeer (1)
Santa’s Hat (1)

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It’s Always Something!

AS my son likes to say when I phone him and someone else answers and says to him, “It’s your mother.”, his favourite reply is “If it’s not one thing, its my mother.”

So we are having our “BLACK FRIDAY SALE” this week. In case you didn’t know, go to our website. 30% off DVDs, 20% off books 15% off close-up and more. You can order by phone, on line or in person.

So now is the time that the computer decides to act up. It won’t affect your orders, it just makes our work a little more difficult. Phil is working on it now. As I say, It’s always something.

If you are new and want to subscribe to Perfect Magic, click under my photo where it says Subscribe.

Happy Black Friday week! The sale goes until the 30th of November, which happens to be our Anniversary. Phil and I, G-d willing, will be celebrating our 59th Wedding Anniversary. How time flies when you’re having fun!

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“The Invisible Piano”

There really is no business like show business. In most businesses you have a service or product to offer. The customer takes it or not. Of course there are problems involved, but nothing like showbiz.

So I’d like to share this experience with you. My husband, Phil, as many of you know, is a ragtime piano player. I’m his agent. So I get him shows. You know what that’s like, being a performer.  My first question always is, “Do you have a piano?” If the answer is “yes” I continue. So a few weeks ago we had a show at a lovely senior residence. We actually played there before, but it has been awhile. I should have seen that the signs were auspicious when we couldn’t find his music vest, which he always wears. It was my fault, of course, as I had the audacity to hang it in the closet. Silly me.

“Where’s my vest?”

“In your closet.”

” No, it’s not. Why did you touch it?”

“Because it was lying around.”

“Well, it’s not in my closet.”

I looked, and couldn’t find it either. Maybe I hung it in another closet. We checked all closets. The thought had crossed my mind that maybe he couldn’t play without his music vest, so I went through his closet again and, lo and behold, there is was. It was hidden as there are no sleeves on a vest. Go figure! But all this took time and so we left later than we normally would have. Was there traffic on the Decarie Expressway? Yes there was. So things were a little tense, but at 10 to the hour, we were there and ready.

When we came in someone was sitting and waiting for us. He said he was the emcee and to follow him. We did and went down a hall with large windows on the side which enabled us to see the large crowd seated and awaiting Phil. We go into a large auditorium and a see a large empty space where I know a piano should have been. Phil and I look at each other, puzzled. The emcee introduces Phil and Phil says, “Where’s the piano?”

The emcee looks at Phil and says, “Piano? It’s in the Church.” So I’m thinking, we’re going to take all these people to the Church.

And Phil says, “It’s really hard to play without a piano.”

So the emcee says “We have an electric piano in there,” pointing to a door. He goes to the door but it’s locked. Now he has to find someone who has a key and its Sunday and the regular staff isn’t there.

Finally, they find someone with the key and the emcee and the key person drag out a canvas duffle bag  which they undo and start setting up the piano, when some gentleman cries out.

“The concert is supposed to start at 3:00 o’clock. It’s 5 past 3.

Phil says to him. It’s only 5 minutes late. I think that’s pretty good considering. By this time the piano is standing on the stand. The emcee says, “There you go.” and starts to walk away.

Phil says, “This is an electric piano. It has to be plugged in. Where are the wires and where’s the peddle and bench?”

Oh, and yes, they said they had a sound system, but they did not have a microphone stand. But Phil always brings his own sound system just in case so he had to set that up. The man who complained about the time was not happy.

At last, everything was set plugged in and set to go. Phil played and they sang and a good time was had by all, except maybe the man who complained.  Only in show biz!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hooked on Magic and a Phone

So if you had to give up your iphone or magic what would it be? This does not come out of the blue. A young man maybe 17 or 18 came into the shop talking on his phone. He asked if he could look around. I said “Of course.” and he kept on talking, only interrupting the conversation to ask if I had a certain trick. I said yes. He kept on talking on his phone. He asked it I could demo it. I said yes. I got the trick, opened the box, took out the cards and he is still talking on the phone.

“Put down your phone!” I said, not in a sweet way.

“I’m putting you on hold.” he said to whoever, and he put down the phone.

I showed him the trick and blew him away. He got back on the phone. When he was ready to make his purchase he got off the phone.

I said, ” I don’t know how we survived. Believe it or not, until I was 7, and we were a family of 6 people, we didn’t have a phone, not even a wall phone. When there was an emergency we would ring our neigbour’s bell and ask is we could use her phone, which was a wall phone. When we moved to N.D.G. we got a phone, but it had a party line, so we couldn’t use it whenever we wanted. And you, young man, can’t take a breath without it.”

“I know. I love my phone.”

 

 

 

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Celebrities and People

As many of you know, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, head of Chemistry and Society at McGill University, my Alma Mater, has a 2 evening Conference sponsored by Lorne Trottier, every year in Montreal. It’s open to the public and its free. Phil and I have been going since it started. Its entertaining as well as educational. The topics are fascinating. This year Dr. Amir Raz from the department of Psychiatry at McGill and Dr. Marla Shapiro, physician, who many of you must have seen on CTV, were his guest speakers.

Dr. Joe, a customer and a friend, always invited us to the meet and greet before the show, where wine and hors d’ouvres were served. It was full of professors, scientists, scholars, and important people. Of course we’re all important, but these were celebrities. It was here several years ago that we had the pleasure of meeting Julie Payette who is now Her Excellency, the Right Honorable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander in Chief of Canada.

Phil was star-struck when he saw her way back then. Normally shy, he took his courage in hand and went over to her and said, “I just had to meet you. I’m not a doctor or professor or scientist …” and she said, “Don’t tell me what you’re not, tell me what you are.” And Phil said, “I’m Joe Schwarcz’ magic dealer.” “Really? How exciting!” And from there they got into a conversation and we’ve been friends, always happy to see each other and catch up on what each other was doing etc. She was director at the science centre at the Old Port  in Montreal for a while and had magicians there so we had something in common. We usually sat together in reserved seating. Not this year.

We sat in reserved seating but Julie was nowhere in sight until everyone was seated and an announcement was made that Her Excellency, the Right Honorable Julie Payette, Governer General of Canada was entering and everyone stood up and applauded. It was moving. She had an official escort with her.

When she sat down Dr. Joe went on to the stage and started to introduce Dr. Marla when someone came up to him, whispered a few words and stepped away. He went back to speaking and said “It seems I didn’t have the correct protocol. I’m supposed to introduce the Her Excellency The Right Honorable Julie Payette and she is going to say a few words. He continued with  something like “I never thought about introducing her because she comes here every year and I never introduced her before. Just because she’s an astronaut, and plays in a symphony orchestra, and is a super athlete,” and he went on and on about her achievments, “why would I introduce her?” He got a good laugh. He introduced her and she came up and gave a heartwarming speech which I’m sure everyone enjoyed, and then the speakers were called upon and we had a wonderful evening. We did have a chance to speak to her after. As she says “I’m still Julie”!

Julie Payette 3

 

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Phil Matlin, Magic Dealer

When you come to Perfect Magic 99% of the time you will find owner, Phil Matlin at his computer. I will usually get up to welcome you to our home away from home, but most of the time Phil won’t even know you are there. Don’t be offended. He is engrossed in his computer and he isn’t playing games. He usually manages to greet you as well and sometimes even chew the fat as he did yesterday with a customer from Newfoundland. They had a lot to talk about and it was a good break for Phil.

You have no idea what goes into keeping a magic catalog up to date.  Where oh where are those olden days of paper catalogues when every year we would send you an up to date one? Now as soon as Phil is finally through with the new items he is working on, a new batch comes up. Everyday, thanks to the world wide web there are new tricks, new books, new DVDs. But all work and no play makes for Phil a dull day, so I thought I would show you another side of Phil.Zoe and Grandpa

Here he is with his beloved grand dog in the Laurentiens on Lac Noir. Zoe is watching the ducks that kept coming to visit. It was a lovely day, with no computers in mind.

P.S. One of my other grand dogs. One of Brian’s dogs. She’s much bigger than she looks in the photo. He has two Great Pyrenees dogs. Brian and his wife are involved with rescue dogs so if you’re looking for one, let me know.

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Perfect Mates, Magic and Halloween.

Are you ready for the monsters? We were chatting in the car. We had our grandchildren with us. I said how wonderful the weather was. My granddaughter, 9, said she loves the snow, especially the first snow fall. She wished it would snow now. My grandson, 11, said, ” What? You want snow for Halloween?” No, she did not. And here I thought they might be getting too old for Halloween, but it’s that bag of goodies I bet they’re thinking of.

As magicians you have the chance to make it more than just candies, or I might say you have the obligation to make it more. Here’s one. How about asking them if they have a nickel, then turn it into a dime (as in Coin Slide) before their eyes. It will only cost you a nickel. Of course you can also turn it into a quarter, depending on your budget. You can slip them a business card too. Doesn’t hurt. They will remember you long after the candy is gone. If you work with coins there are lots of things you can do. Any quick trick will leave an impression, if you do it right of course! The Sixth Little Finger is eerie enough for Halloween and so is the Creepy Hand and Voodoo  Doll.

For a Halloween party, it’s a whole other ball game. The Zombie Ball comes to mind, and seems to be making a comeback in general, but a Halloween its especially appropriate.

Whatever you do, have fun!

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What’s New, Pussycat? In Magic, Lots!

What’s new? Besides magic, it’s a New Year. We just celebrated the arrival of the year 5778. Jews don’t celebrate the arrival of the new year with whistles and bells (just a ram’s horn). Its a time of reflection and a time to ask forgiveness to anyone we have done wrong to, intentionally or not. Friday evening, September 29th this year, is the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting and prayer, so of course, Perfect Magic, will be closed this Saturday.

As I think over the past year,  4 events concerning magic stand out for me. My 11 year old grandson performed his first magic show for the public (Masters of Spectacular at Decarie Square). When Ozzie (the organizer of the event) asked me if he would perform, I said, “You’ll have to ask him.” He did, and much to our surprise my grandson accepted the challenge. He’s not the outgoing attention seeking type but he wanted to do it. He put a lot of thought into it and one of the pros in the audience said it was the best routined act in the show, and came to the shop to buy one of the effects that he did.

The second event was the trip to the McCord Museum, having been invited by Joe Culpepper, who gave a children’s magic course at the museum amongst other things. We went to see the final show and toured the Museum. I wrote a blog on that called Magic, Music, and Dance! It was a fabulous day.

Another outstanding day was when Caiden Finch (age 11, I think) performed at the last Masters of  Spectacular at Decarie Square. He had come into the shop about a week before and asked for some tips. He likes cards. We told him no cards. He actually listened. Both Phil and I were absolutely amazed at how professional he was, and how he tied his routines together. Of course we are not taking the credit for it. He went to Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp in Ontario. It was a fabulous camp with wonderful instructors. We were there as guests for a week-end once so we know first hand. I even stayed up for a midnight lecture by Steve Valentine, who was unbelievable!

The fourth thing, that really left an impression was a customer who came in to buy effects for a show. We didn’t know him. He told us his name and he was from the West Island but he didn’t fill out the form with his email and phone number, etc. He bought $81.00 worth of stuff. Phil handled the invoice and he paid by credit card. Phil punched in 81 cents instead of $81.00. We only discovered this at the end of the day. Phil looked him up and found his phone number. I said I would call him. Phil said, “No, don’t. He seems like an honest man. I’m sure he will phone us when he sees it.” A month passed. We forgot about it. Then we get a call from him. “My wife was reconciling our charge cards and said, “What’s this all about? You charged something for 81 cents?” And he made it right. Phil told him we knew about it but we also knew he would call us when he found out. It sort of restores one faith in humanity in this crazy world.

I wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous, and sweet New Year and if you are Jewish, have an easy fast.

 

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