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.

Magic Sent Me Back To the Magic Shop

As most of you know, I have been away from the Perfect Magic since early February when I was informed by my doctor that I had cancer. I have been in and out of the hospital since then.  I am convinced I will not die of cancer; maybe from the Chemo treatments but not from the cancer!!!

I was supposed to have a robotic operation to remove the cancer in May but due to my reaction to the Chemo it had been put off. The last time I was sent home from the hospital, I did a lot of bed rest, TV watching and playing games on my iphone. I went to the park when the weather was good, but was told to stay away from crowds as my immune system was compromised by the Chemo. I tired easily and got to know my bed really well.

Then the magic happened. My son Brian and his wife Denyce, who now live in Pennsylvania, and their two Pyreneese Mountain dogs came in for a visit. Julie (my daughter) made Friday night dinner and we all got together. For the first time since my cancer business started, I felt well. My tiredness disappeared. I became alive again. It was then that I realized that my feeling of well being was psychological and made up my mind I was not going back to that place. On the way home I told Phil I was going to the shop with him on Tuesday. He thought I was crazy but I insisted.

He tried to prepare me that he didn’t have a chance to clean up. He wasn’t kidding. Boxes were everywhere.  I got rid of all the empty boxes, tidied up the place and rearranged the shelves. Of course I didn’t do all that in one day. I’ve been coming in with him every Tuesday and Thursday since then which was about a month ago and have been feeling just fine. I was amazed at all the new magic that came in.

I answered the phone once and the customer said he was so glad to hear my voice and he missed my blogs, so here I am. Another customer came in to pick up some stuff and left and came back an hour later to tell me he forgot to mention how happy he was that I was back.

Today I saw my doctor and he said everything was fine and I should be having my robotic operation next week or the following week at the latest. They do 2 robotic operations a day. If I’m the first, I go home the same day and if I’m the second, I sleep over at the hospital. Frankly I don’t care which it is, as long as I get it over with. I thank you all for your good wishes that you sent and appreciate them. If you get a chance, drop in and say hello.



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A Word For Magicians

It’s been over  month since my last blog. It seems like much longer to me but I’ve been getting my chemo treatments and recuperating from them and the time passes. I’ll be going for my forth treatment at the end of the month and then will be going for my robotic operation in May. How futuristic does that sound. Right now I’m feeling fine as the effects of the chemo have worn off.

I’ve been passing a few hours everyday playing a Scabble like game (Words With Friends 2) with my eldest daughter Ronna, on line. We have nine games going at a time. I haven’t played Scabble in at least 20 years so I was a bit rusty at first. Now I’m catching up to her. Why am I telling you this? I’ve learned a few new words since this began but one really fired up my imagination. I even dreamed about the word and wondered how many of my magician readers know what it means.

I’ll tell you what it is but not what it means. Without looking it up, if you know, tell me you know. The word is “Sice”.* It’s not an abracadabra thing, and I’m sure most of you may not even be in this area of magic, but if you are, and since patter is such an important part of performing, its worth knowing this word and would impress your audience if you impart this word and meaning to you audience.

P.S. Thanks to all of you who have been coming to the magic shop on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, which is when Phil is in the shop. We’ll let you know when things get back to normal, but we really appreciate your support.

* It has many different meanings, but you’ll know which one if you google it.






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Who’s The Magician Here?

“Who’s the Magician here?”

That’s the first question I was asked by my doctor as he walked medicine-and-health-care-stock-image_k19726369.jpgin the examination room where my daughter Julie and I sat waiting for him.  We had never met before even though I had spent a week in the Jewish General Hospital 4 weeks prior to this and he was my doctor.

So if any of you don’t know yet, and are wondering why I haven’t written anything since January, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the beginning of February. To make a long story as short as possible, I think you know that Phil broke his ankle in late December and was working at home all this time. I looked after the shop all of January. I was used to running up and down the stairs of the shop and would take parcels to send out at the Pharmaprix Post Office across the street. I thought nothing of it.

Then, in early February I noticed I was out of breath when I got to the top of the stairs. I called our family doctor. He said to come in immediately, sent me for X-rays and sent me directly to emergency as he said there was water in my lungs and it had to be drained. I thought it would be a few hour session. I got in, but never got out. I went from test to test, had a CAT scan, biopsy, more X-rays, etc. When I was done with the CAT Scan, after drinking 3 glasses of barium, I was told to drink lots and lots of water.  One of the men who handed me barium asked me if he looked familiar. I said no. He said I looked familiar to him but didn’t know from where. About 10 minutes later he came back.

“Are you Perfect Magic?” he asked.

“Yes, but I don’t remember you. Sorry.”

” I haven’t been there lately but I did take courses with Guy Camirand and was there often then.”

“That was years ago,” I said. “you’ll have to come back now.”

“I will, and give my regards to Phil.”

So to get back on track, I had to drink lots and lots of water. Someone put me on a gurney and took me back to emergency to go for more tests. When I got to where we were going I asked the doctor there if I could have some water as I just drank 3 glasses of barium.

“Not one drop,” was his answer.

“But I just had barium.”

“I don’t care what you had. Not one drop of water. Not today and not tomorrow. No food. No water.”

So here I am fasting for 2 days. And I thought Yom Kippur was hard. I hadn’t eaten since the night before, except for the barium, if you can call that eating. It took a week for my lungs to drain. Then they gave me Chemo, which I thought took about an hour, but Julie, who was by my side through most of this ordeal, said it was about 6 hours and I slept through the whole thing.  She caught up on her Netflix programs during that time. I had a huge private room in the new K-wing with a huge bathroom and shower. It was like a hotel, but I don’t recommend it, although all the nurses and doctors, and social workers that came around were incredible. One hears all these horror stories about how long it takes to get into a hospital, so maybe it was magic. Who knows.

So when the doctor asked “Who’s the magician here?” I said, “Everyone here is a magician.” He laughed and nodded.

The good news is that all my results were good. I have 2 more rounds of chemo (once every 3 weeks) and then I will have a robotic operation,  and then 3 more rounds of chemo and he said by August my treatment is complete.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Perfect Magic), Phil still can’t drive or take a chance on falling on ice etc, so Julie takes him to the shop and picks him up. Phil is there every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. If you can’t make it at that time, and you need something, phone him as some of our customers have done, and tell him and he will make special arrangements for you. Also you can order on line. We appreciate your support, especially during this difficult time.

Right now I am feeling extremely well and wouldn’t know I had cancer if I didn’t know it. Of course that will change tomorrow after my Chemo, but I’ll be back to “normal” after a week. I did not have a bad reaction after my first bout and hope it will be the same after my second bout. Because of my cancer, which at one time would have been a death sentence, I included my doctor as a magician, as he said my treatment would be complete  by August, which I interpreted as “my cancer would be gone”. He didn’t say that but  if that turns out to be the case, he qualifies as a magician in my books.












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The Top of His Magic Game

I usually don’t use this post to advertise, but I  have always been a fan of Paul Gordon; I always thought his packet tricks were terrific. They always had such a punch but for some reason he was not asGold dust Companion.jpgGold dust.jpggold dust finale.jpg

well known as some of the American and Canadian magicians, like Paul Harris or Richard SanQuidnunc.jpgders. Perhaps it was his British accent. Who knows, but I always like him.  I was thrilled to see he came out with not one, not two, not 3 books, but 4 books; Gold Dust, Gold Dust Companion and Gold Dust Finale., The fourth one is Quidnunc, which  is not new.  That’s for the book lovers! He is also author of Article 52 which is not available at the moment.

However I know that not everyone loves books or learns easily

Quidnunc Plus

from them, so Quidnunc Plus! which is a two DVD video set by Paul Gordon is also available. So if you find it easier to learn from a DVD, you can still learn some terrific magic from Paul Gordon. Check it Out.

I also happen to have his second book which he wrote in 1998, Protean Card Magic.        WProtean Card Magichatever you choose, you will be adding some excellent and exciting card magic to your repertoire.



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Where’s the Weather Magician?

So I got bundled up and was ready to leave for the Magic shop. My heavy duty slush boots were already there, unfortunately, so I looked through my boots at home to see which had the best grip. I hadn’t worn these in a long time but I put them on today. It’s not that cold so I could have worn my lighter winter coat, but I wore the heavy one in case I fell it would have more padding and more protection. pluto iceSince Phil can’t go out in this weather with his broken ankle, I wouldn’t even have him to hang on to. But I was going to the magic shop. I would be careful. I had orders to go out and a shipment coming in. As I am fully clothed with my hand on the door handle, the phone rings. I go back and answer the phone.

“You’re not going out today!” said my son Michael.

“The roads look good.”

“It’s not the roads. It’s the sidewalks. I fell 4 times walking up the street. Do not go out. I don’t need two parents at home with broken bones!”

“I’ll be very careful,” I said, wondering when he became the parent.

I left, rang for the elevator. I got in. No one else was there. I pushed the garage button. It stopped on the second floor. The superintendent, Donald, got in and looked at me and made some kind of comments like I was missing my skates.

“It’s very bad out there. Schools are closed. It’s the worst.” He said it and left after one floor. I had the strangest feeling that he was sent to give me that warning. It reminded me of a joke I had once heard. …

A old man went swimming and was pulled out by the tide. A boat comes by and the man in the boat says, “Come aboard,” and reaches out to help him. “God will save me,” says the old man and refuses to come aboard. A few minutes later a helicopter comes to get him. “God will  save me.” says the old man. The old man drowns. When he gets to heaven he gives God an argument. “Why did you let me drown? I was sure you would save me.” God answers, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter. What else could I do?”

So he had a boat and a helicopter. I had Michael and Donald. I pushed the 7 button and went back home. There was no way I could chance it.

My  apologies if you came and Perfect Magic was closed. Blame Michael and Donald!

P.S. If you need anything, order on line. We’ll look after you.


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Don’t Let a Great Magic Trick Pass You By

It must have been about 2 years ago, maybe more that I first saw a video of The (W)hole Deck. My jaw dropped, no kidding. I ordered some but never got to try it out as we were leaving for Toronto on our annual trek to visit Romaine and Joan.

(W)hole Deck.jpgWe stopped off to see Jeff Pinsky at his magic shop. I saw that he had some as well. I asked his demonstrator is he would demo it for me. He said he just got it in and he only played with it a little. I said I would really like to see it, as sometimes you see something on a video and its not quite the same in person and up close. He said he would try. A bunch of people gathered around. He performed the trick and all jaws dropped at the same moment. It is so magical that when I went back to Montreal I learned how to do the trick just to make sure it wasn’t too hard to do. If I can do it, anyone can do it, and I did.

Any of you who come to shop at Perfect Magic know that I only recommend what I know to be great and easy. (e.g. Pimpernel Wallet, etc.) But then new things come along and somehow I forgot about it until I saw that my supplier had the red ones on the  no longer available list and there are only a few blue ones left.  I hadn’t had any for some time, so I ordered them. If you didn’t get the (W)hole Deck back then, get it now before it’s too late. I expect them in this morning. Watch the video. That first move is the one that got me. You’ll know it when you see it!

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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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