Category Archives: Books

Magic Should Be Entertaining

Jean Boucher

Jean Boucher came into the shop a little while ago to stock up on supplies. I found it fascinating to learn that Alan Greenberg got hooked on magic by watching the movie Houdini when he was a kid. When I saw Jean and his beautiful daughter, Alyson,  come into the shop, I wondered what got him hooked. This is his story and he’s sticking to it. Jean was about 9 when he saw a Zombie performed on TV on a circus show. He was awe-struck. When he got a magic kit as a present he threw out the thumb tip as it was too big and he didn’t know what it was for.

He bought a book on Houdini and found a book on back palming in the library

His interest waned during the years but he started playing cards at CEGEP (Quebec’s post secondary school) as he had a 3 hour break without classes. He suddenly remembered his card book and thought he could learn second deals, etc. to “help him win” at cards. He went to the yellow pages and found Le Grand Marcis, who had a little shop on Bienville. He saw all these magic tricks but he didn’t want that, he wanted to learn sleight of hand card magic so he could cheat.

Wim Vermeys, Marcis, and Phil - Magie Montreal

Marcis sold him Derek Dingle’s book on card sleights. The book of course was in English and is not a beginner book to say the least.  Furthermore Jean couldn’t speak English at that time, but he managed. He learned sleight of hand and became interested in magic again.

He didn’t know other magicians but when he attended a magic auction at Marcis’ he saw many people there and they all seemed to know each other but they didn’t know him.

Mac King, Jean Boucher,David Williamson, and Carl Cloutier

What are you doing here? They asked him. He shrugged his shoulders. He came for the auction. Someone gave him a deck of cards and told him to do something; so he did a trick for them. Their jaws dropped open. Where did you learn that? They asked. He pointed to a black book behind the counter. A book?

Jean craved books. He never told me if he cheated at cards or not but he mastered hundreds of card tricks.

Michael Ammar

Then one day he met Michael Ammar who told him he only needed 10 tricks to earn a living. Ten tricks! It blew him away. It was then that he learned about the tricks having to be entertaining.

Since then Jean has been working for 15 years on cruise ships doing 25 cruises a year. Besides this he performs in Casinos, for corporations, etc. He carries a small bag. He’s big on books and entertainment.


Filed under Alan Greenberg, Books, Carl Cloutier, David Williamson, Mac King, Magic, Magie Montreal, Marcis, Phil Matlin, Wim Vermeys


Magic brings people together. This is a community that knows no bounds. Age, race, language, religion, profession, education are suspended here. They don’t exist.



William Zavis

I remember Bill Zavis, a sophisticated American diplomat who worked at the U.S. Consulate here in Montreal for several years, who not only was interested in Magic but won the 3rd prize at FISM for Micromagic in 1973 and was author of the magic book Divers Deceits. He came into our shop shortly after he moved to Montreal and another magician was there who he did not know and in no time they deep in an animated conversation. There was instant rapport, understanding and eagerness, despite the obvious differences in language, education and social standing.


Bill Zavis had a creative and intelligent approach to magic. To me he was an exceptional person. I’m easy to get along with. Ask Phil. I like people in general. I have all the patience in the world. But there was this one kid, and I love kids, who I couldn’t take. Maybe he was 13 years old. There was just something about him. I treated him with respect but was glad when he left.


Bill often came to the magic shop on his day off to help us behind the counter, just as a friend. We were friends with Bill and his wife and we had daughters the same age so it was great. When this kid came in Bill used to spend a great deal of time with him, talking to him and explaining things to him. One day I said to him, “Bill, how come you spend so much time with him. I hate to say this but I don’t see how you can stand him.” Obnoxious might be an appropriate word here. And Bill simply answered, “I know he isn’t pleasant, but the kid is lost and maybe his interest in magic is the one thing that will save him!” How did that make me feel? It gave me a different outlook on life and magic after that.


When looking up Bill’s link, (see above) I realized that we produced an effect he invented called Soft Center. He created other effects as well. He was brilliant and died much too young. We miss him.



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Filed under Bill Zavis, Books