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.

Break A Leg, A Showbiz Term

Break a leg is a showbiz term entertainers use in English. Piano Lessons - Beginner Piano LessonsIn French its altogether different and I won’t go into that. I’m focused on the break a leg. Phil should not have taken it literally.

The night before we left for Kitchener to visit Joan and Romaine (Monarch of Manipulators) Phil twisted his ankle, he thought. I begged him to go to check it out at the hospital but he wouldn’t listen. Next day it looked much better. We drove to Toronto first to visit my cousins and then to Kitchener.

Phil had 6 piano gigs here. He always kept a sock on as he had ointment on his ankle as well as an ace bandage. When I finally got to see his foot I put my foot down. “You’re going to the clinic and that it!”  He said that when he got back to Montreal he would go. I said,” Don’t complain to me when they chop it off.” That kind of convinced him and the clinic happened to be 5 minutes from his gig that day. So after his gig which was from 1-200pm we drove to the clinic. The clinic closed at 3 because of the holidays. We were there by 2:20pm. By 3:30pm, we filled out the forms, he saw the doctor, had X-rays taken and was told he had a broken ankle, and got a prescription for antibiotics and an air cast which he’ll have to wear for 6 to 8 weeks. He takes it off to go to sleep but that’s it. The pharmacy was attached to the clinic and they fitted him up with the air cast and medication. We were done at 3:30. The clinic stayed open an extra half hour for him but turned others away. He had been walking around on a broken ankle for 10 days. He had to cancel his New Year’s show! I didn’t see why he couldn’t play piano but he said he couldn’t play without using his feet. Go know!

It ‘s his right foot. He can’t drive. I drove back to Joan’s but I won’t drive on the 401. I’m terrified of it.  I called my daughter Julie, who immediately volunteered to come down here to drive us home. We really didn’t want her to do that. She put out the word about us and a friend of hers said she was visiting her parents in Toronto and was coming home on Thursday. She said she or her husband would drive us in our car back to Montreal with one of her children, and the other would drive their car back with their other 2 children. It was not the only offer she got.

So I called my cousin and told her and she said she and her husband are coming here tomorrow to pick us up so one of them can drive us back to her place in Toronto and we’ll stay there until Thursday. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone. Phil feels terrible putting so many people out but its good to know that there are such kind people in the world.

So,  G_d willing, I’ll be in the shop on Friday. I hope to see you then or in the near future. As the new year approaches Phil and I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2019.




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Magic For Success

With Christmas just around the corner people come to the shop to buy gifts girl magicianfor their spouses or children and we are prepared for that. Today a man came in who looked familiar but I just can’t remember everyone anymore. He said he was here a while back to buy things for his son and when he told me what he bought I remembered him as he was very generous with this son of 10 years old. He said I was very helpful last time and wanted to get some other things for Christmas which he did.

Then he went on to tell me that his son was cold in his attitude which kept people away from him and that he hoped that magic would help him as he likes magic and is forced to talk and do the patter thing and so he’s getting used to talking to people. I always said that magic is wonderful for shy kids because the attention is on the tricks and not on them and that gives them the freedom to feel more at ease. They are the center of attention and admiration without having the spotlight actually shining on them, so to speak.

Then the man told me that he did magic as a kid and he really believes that he would not be the success he is today if he had not been involved in magic when he was younger. It left me feeling pretty good, especially when he said I was really good at what I do. I told him anything I do, anyone can do as I am not really a magician and I’m not, but I guess if you do the Svengali Deck for forty years you get pretty good at it. So if you have a child or a niece or nephew who’s on the quiet side, get them some magic tricks. You’ll be getting them confidence at the same time even though they may never realize it was you who brought them to the road of success!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!


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What a Difference 60 Years Make

The first thing I want to do is thank you all for your good wishes. I actually wrote this on our anniversary, but Bobby Parisi who had stopped by, photograhed the article that Elaine Cohen, mother of Mike Cohen, wrote about us when it was our 55th Anniversary and he put it on facebook so I figured you had enough, but then again, once I wrote it… so here it is.

Sixty years ago I was getting ready for my wedding. There was a huge snow storm that day. I got dressed at the synagogue. Phil forgot his belt. He was as skinny as a rake back then and his uncle had to go to his house to pick us his belt, otherwise, his pants would be around his knees. It was a big wedding, but that was long ago.

One goes through a lot in sixty years It reminds me of something Albert Goshman once said when we took him to the Brown Derby. Anyone out there remember The Brown Derby? After the meal the waitress asked him if he enjoyed the food.

“Well,” he said, “there was a lot of it and some of it was good.”

“I’ll go a step further and say most of it was good.” I’m talking about our 60 years. It was only the past 40 years that we’re in the magic business. Frank Garcia was once sitting in our living room and said, “You’ll never become a millionaire in the magic business.” He was right, but then again we never expected to. You can’t measure everything in dollars and cents. Over the years we did a lot of traveling because of the magic business, through the States and Canada, many times with the children going to different magic conventions and taking them to all the tourist attractions on the way, Trout Haven, the  Corn Palace in South Dakota, New Orleans, Wisconson Dells, Baraboo (Circus Home and Museum), Rock City in Chatanooga, where I became parallized on a narrow suspension bridge over a deep canyon, holding the hand of my 6 year old son. I couldn’t move. I don’t know where Phil and the other kids were  but a man saw I was in distress and came to take my son away and then came back for me.

When we passed through White Pigeon, Michigan, Hank and Jackie Moorehouse insisted we stay overnight at their home. They knew we had to go out of our way to see them. Hank said, “No one ever just passes through White Pigeon.”

We made many good friends. Unfortunately, many have passed away. One of our well-wishers asked what our secret was. The first thing is, you have to live long enough!

When Phil was in his 30s he was a heavy smoker. With a “little” coaxing from me he quit cold turkey. I doubt that we would be celebrating this event if he hadn’t quit when he did.

Now we are enjoying the fruits of our labour.  Our four children are grown and on their own. Unfortunately two of them live far away so we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like to. Our eldest grandson lives in B.C.  But we are lucky that two of our children are here in Montreal, and our two young grandchildren are here and live about 15 minutes away, so I’m not complaining. Our younger grandson is having his Bar Mitzvah in February. Just yesterday he was a little kid and now he’s taller than me.

I studied Chaucer while at McGill. One line he said stayed with me. And I quote, “The life so short, the art so long to learn.” I’m still learning. Happy and healthy holidays to you all and thanks again for your good wishes.

Evy & Phil wedding.png



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‘Tis The Season, That Magic Season

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write. Did anyone miss me? We’ve been so busy getting the Black Friday sale  (BF in the Browse Categories on our Home Page ) together that I even worked nights, at home, which I never do4757. I’m not what you’d call “Computer Savvy” so it’s not that there was so much to do, it’s that I didn’t check to see if I pressed the keys I’m supposed to press and when I thought I had everything done and down pat, I lost it all. I had to do it again. Hundreds of items. BUT… I learned something. I now pay very close attention before I close anything. We live and learn.

The Black Friday Sale is a big one. A 45 to 60% discount is a great reason and time to refresh your repertoire. I’m adding a 4th category now with Chrismas items along with other things.  The sale ends December 3rd, at 11:00am. Don’t wait for the last minute as a lot of the items will probably be sold out.

I wanted to do it right and in French as well as in English so I googled Black Friday, I looked up Black Friday clip art in French. Nothing! I have a neighbour in the building who is from Paris. I went over to her and said,

“Do you have Black Friday in France?”

She said “Yes.”

I said “And what do you call it in France?”

And she said “Black Friday.”

I said, “No, what is the french word for Black Friday?”

She said, “We call it Black Friday. That’s it!”

And here I spent so much time looking for French ads. As I said, you live and learn.

In any case, take advantage of the great prices. We look forward to hearing from you.





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A Note from Montreal Magician Jean-Pierre Parent Who Fooled Penn and Teller

One goes about ones business everyday, doing what they do, but once in a while JP Parent PHotosomething happens to lift your spirits. JP Parent  who fooled Penn and Teller took the time to write to me and with his permission I am sharing it with you. This is what he wrote.

“I love your articles you post !
The last one about being in heaven when you walked in the shop was my favorite. Ms Evelyn, you prob would not remember this if I told you ,but you where the first person to perform a magic trick for me in a magic shop.
I’ve never been in one.I had a magic kit and a magic book ,but never walked in a real magic shop!
I was 9 years old when my dad first took me to perfect magic.You performed a prediction involving a silk that had a queen of hearth printed on it. I was sold !
Little by little I was getting more and more interested and wanted to know as much as I could about the art.
Well long story short I got hired for my first cruise ship job at 20years old never looked back. It’s been 20 years this oct!
Since then I was lucky enough to travel the world, got to go on France got talent and fooled Penn and teller.
All this cause one time I walked in a shop with my dad and a sweet lady wanted to show me trick and gave me the bug!
All this to say , you never know what impact you can make on someone, even when he’s only 9 years old 🙂
Thank you so much !
All the best
JP Parent”

Thank you JP. I’m sure everyone enjoys your success and is as proud of you as I am!

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Magic and Language

Language is sort of a touchy subject in Quebec, not so much any more but it is an issue for performers. This does not apply only to magicians. Phil is a piano player. He plays ragtime and the old favorites from the 20’s 30’s 40’s etc. I get him the bookings at senior residences as they love the old songs. Besides selling magic in the shop I’m also Phil’s agent for music gigs. The people who are in charge of hiring in many places ask if the songs are French. If I tell them music is international they say no, they want French songs. One place said it had to be 50/50 both languages. So he has to learn French songs, but we don’t know which are the most popular, “two solitudes” as they say. So if anyone wants to volunteer to let us know what the old favorite French songs are we would appreciate it. ( See how I veered away from the topic I was writing about. )

Back to magicians. In Europe they had 2 cboices, learn a bunch of languages or do a silent act. Pat Gueller, from Paris, who I wrote about recently,  had a silent act with music. He could go anywhere in the world with it. A customer of ours from Israel, Eytan Ayalon, was fluent in 5 or 8 different languages and was going on tour across Europe last time I spoke to him. He was in his 90’s at the time so there’s hope. They say magic keeps you young.

Sometimes you may like an effect but it involves talking, like 100th monkey.jpgChris Philpott’s fabulous mentalist effect The 100th Monkey. Fortunately it comes in 12 languages: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish! The English version is sold NARCISSUS.jpgseparately.

Now Chris Philpott came out with a close-up version of The 100th Monkey callled NARCISSUS, also in multi-languages including French. The English one is sold separately.


DAVID STONE WORD(S) The New Wave Book Test was available in English, French, German,  and Spanish, but now our suppliers only have English, but I have 1 French version in stock.

Sheer luck.jpgNow Shawn Farquar’s SHEER LUCK  comedy book test is available in French and 17 other languages. We are expecting English and French ones any day. If you want them in another language, let me know.

DVD’s of course are easier because of the nature of the beast, but we have quite a few bilingual ones.

So these are the special problems for performers in a special province.









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In A Corner of the Magic Shop

In case you’ve never been to Perfect Magic, or to any magic shop, I invite you to Perfect Magic. It’s not a big shop, but it has a lot in it. You’d be surprised how many magicians have never been to a magic shop. I had some people in from Vermont a few weeks ago, who came especially to see us. They said there is not even one magic shop in all of Vermont.

It’s not big and its not fancy, but one kid came in and said it was the best store in the whole world. Another one, about 13, wanted a trick that was expensive so he called his mother for permission. I think I mentioned this in a previous blog. He said “Mom, I’m at Perfect Magic, otherwise known as heaven…” We had a good laugh. She let him buy it. Just today a young man came in who is studying to be a doctor but is also an entertainer and he said, “This is paradise.”

I said, “So funny you should say that. I just wrote a blog on the subject” and told him what the  kid said. (I inserted his encounter after the blog was completed.)

So I took some photos of a section of the shop. If you want to see more, let me know. I thought you might like to browse through the booksBook shelf 6.pngBook shelf 2.pngBook shelf one.pngBook shelf 5.pngBook shelf 4.pngBook shelf 3.png

On top of the book shelves and beside it, we usually put the newer items.Top of filing cabinet.pngTop shelf magic.png

Hope you enjoy it.



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Paul Potassy -A Great Magician – Gone

Paul Potassy was born in Vienna, Austria and died a few weeks ago at age 95. P. Potassy.pngHaving been born in Europe he spoke and performed in 6 languages and performed in 44 different countries, in all kinds of venues, for celebrities and even the Pope.

One day, early in the magic business, maybe 5 years into it, we got a phone call from Paul. We didn’t know him personally, so it was a surprise when he told us he was performing at the Caf-Conc in Montreal and he asked if would we be his guests. Of course we would and I invited him and his wife for dinner and he accepted. It was a wonderful evening. It was just the four of us. We had raclette. How do I remember some 30 odd years ago what we had for dinner. We were in the dining room and the raclette machine got too hot and our beveled mirror over the buffet cracked. Funny the things you remember. We had other stuff of course but I have no idea what else because no other food destroyed our house!

After dinner Paul Potassy.pnghe gave us a private magic show at the table. He was superb with a deck of cards. Then we went to see his show. A class act if there was ever one. But when he asked a member of the audience to choose a card Phil knew he used a Stripper Deck. He came to sit with us after the show. Phil asked him why, after seeing him so skilled with a deck of cards in our home, would he use a Stripper deck. He said, ” When I’m on stage, I don’t want to have to think about the magic, I think about the people.”

I guess he connected with them because they really loved the show, even if he did use a Stripper deck!


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What’s New in Magic?

With tricks being churned out by the hundreds, a lot could be new. The question is, What’s new and exciting?

I have been editing the write-ups for our catalog for umpteen years. I don’t make the write-ups. I just read them and if they are too wordy I’ll cut out what I deem to be unnecessary. I do read them. I usually don’t get too excited. This week I got excited enough to want to know how they are done. I usually can figure it out without actually seeing the trick. I’ve seen a lot of tricks in 40 years.

I’m can’t wait to see DECODED. Decoded.jpg Prop-less mentalism. Bruce Kalver did a number with his 8 year old son when he was here for Magie Montreal. I think that’s where I saw him do it. It was close-up and casual. I think we were in a restaurant. The kid would ask someone for a bill and Bruce would tell us the serial number of the bill, even though he was at the other side of the room. I still don’t know how he did it. And it took no time at all with hardly any speaking between the two of them.

Not too long ago mysterionMysterion and Steffi were at the shop and blew us away along with other customers that were here. No idea whatsoever how they do what they did.



Frozen in Time Frozen in Time.jpgalso sounds fascinating and

In Plain SightIn plain sight.jpg that makes the Magic Square easy is also intriguing. No memory work, which appeals to me as mine is rapidly diminishing.


Mini Card StickersMini card stickers.jpg by Alan Wong  are adorable and so professional looking and I’m sure you magicians could find many uses for them.

One of the new items, SNAP, Snap.jpgI’m buying for my grandson. (He better not be reading this!) He’s a practical joker and I’ll try this on him before giving it to him. I have to get my kicks in too!

There were others that intrigued me as I wrote them up. Check them out. This is a great batch of new magic!

P.S. While you’re at it, you may also want to check out the fantastic savings on items on sale.


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The Wiz, The Best There Is, Bob Little!

I came across a DVD, Bob LIttle , Around The World In A Footlocker.

Bob Little dealer

Bob “The Wiz” Little – Hatboro, Pennsylvania

If you’re new to magic, the name might not mean anything to you, but if you were around in the days of Magie Montréal, you know Bob Little. There was always a crowd around his booth. A bit on the wild side and always entertaining.

We keep in touch. Bob still has Super Sundays but he doesn’t run them anymore. He hates the idea that he’s in his eighties. We tell him it beats the alternative! We had a lot of fun back then. Doves were the big thing. His Dovino Act was hilarious. When it was the rage for the magician to produce doves, Bob came on stage as a giant dove and produced tiny magicians.

Here’s a sampling of some of the Dove acts:

Goldfinger & Dove copy.pngLillo copy.pngAndreka copy.png

Rozon copy.pngJimmy Ray copy.pngGreat unknown copy.pngJames Ceilen copy.pngSalvatore copy.png

So, do you recognize any of these people? These photos were all taken at Magie Montréal.




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