Category Archives: Carl Cloutier

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.

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

Joan Caesar and CAM 2010

I’ve often referred to Magie Montréal Conventions in my blog, but there is a new kid on the block, the Canadian block, that is. This kid was born to Joan Caesar a number of years back. If determination had a name it would be Joan Caesar.

Joan was first introduced to magic when her son was in kindergarten and a magician wanted to do a magic show for the kids and asked her to be an assistant. She was thirty-something. That sparked her interest.

She had been somewhat into magic after that, but when we got to know her years later, maybe 1996 or 1997, she knew little about magic. I remember sitting in a restaurant with Joan and Phil. Phil was telling her stories about Frank Garcia and Al Goshman, and some of the other greats that we had come to know over the years and she hung onto every word. Joan’s son, Ben Caesar, had won the stage prize for Magie Montreal in 1995, but we didn’t know her then.

So this woman, who knew little at the time about magic decided that Canada should have a magic organization because FISM wouldn’t allow our talented magicians like Carl Cloutier, Greg Frewin and Juliana Chen to name a few, to participate because Canada had no official organization. They had to compete under the auspices of another foreign FISM representative. Although it was wonderful that they were allowed to compete at all, Joan wanted our wonderful magicians to have the opportunity to compete under our nation’s banner.

It was a long process. The organization had to have members and Canada had to be voted in by a group. Joan said that Herb Morrissey helped a great deal as he used to send out flyers and with the flyers he sent word about CAM. That brought in a lot of members. People joined from all over Canada. She told me how excited she was when someone from B.C. joined. From there it grew. It has a magazine and conventions and great conventions at that. So we tip our top hats to Joan Caesar for what she did for magic in Canada and Canadian magicians.

These are a few photos from the CAM Convention 2010. The CAM Convention 2011 will be in B.C.  Shawn Farquhar is organizing it. We’ll be there. We hope you will too. Enjoy the photos.

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Filed under Albert Goshman, Ben Caesar, Bob Sheets, CAM (Canadian Association of Magicians), Carl Cloutier, Charlie Frye, Chris Pilsworth, Frank Garcia, Greg Frewin, Herb Morrissey, Joan Caesar, Juliana Chen, Mike Miller, Phil Matlin, Romaine, Shawn Farqhuar

DRAGGED SCREAMING AND KICKING INTO THE 21ST CENTURY!

It doesn’t seem like 34 years, but that’s when PERFECT MAGIC opened its doors.

Life was simpler then. We thought it was a big deal when we bought an electric typewriter. I can hear some of you asking, “What’s a typewriter?”

Now we have 6 computers; three at home and three in the office. Phil’s okay with them. He convinced me that an iMac would make his work so much easier. I’m still learning how to use the telephones. They were much simpler then too.

For you youngsters who were born with a mouse in your hand, you will have to picture a world without computers, without DVD’s, without Video tapes, Facebook, or Twitter, and all those other gadgets you have attached to your ears. Back then an apple was something you ate, and if you had a mouse you’d get an exterminator.

If you wanted to know what was new in magic, you went to the magic shop or magic conventions, or bought MAGIC MAGAZINE , or the GENII or sent for catalogs, which were made out of paper – period. If you wanted more than a magic trick you bought books and read. If you were really serious you might even join the local branch of an international magic organization, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) or the Society of American Magicians (SAM) The Canadian Association of Magicians (CAM) and their magazine Northern Peaks wasn’t born yet. Membership to either one entitled you to their monthly magazine which also provided magic tricks, news, etc.

From time to time famous magicians would come to town and give lectures. I remember Dai Vernon lecturing at the Mount Royal Hotel when it was on Peel St.

Phil and Dai Vernon at the Passport to Magic in Toronto

People would come into the store and ask what’s new? We’d demo a trick and if they liked it, fine, if not… on to something else. We knew each customer, what they liked, what they were capable of, and would guide them accordingly.

Those days are over! Now if a customer sees something on YouTube and if it’s not on our website, they email us or phone and ask if we can get it for them. Usually we can. There’s a whole world to choose from. A few weeks ago a customer wanted the book “Handcrafted Card Magic” by Denis Behr. After many phone calls it seemed that the only way to get it was from Denis himself, who lives in Germany. So we did. So instead of us going out and deciding what is great, we let you, the customer, do it. We let you know what’s there, but in end, you’re the boss!.

Sid Lorraine, his wife Rene, Phil, “Magic Tom” Auburn and Carl Cloutier. 

What we did have was Magic Conventions! 19 years Wim Vermeys and Phil Matlin and wives worked year round to make sure you had the best entertainers of the day. David Acer, in About Perfect Magic (see first paragraph above) talks about the first Magie Montréal we held on the Site of Expo 67. Were you there?

From left, Wim Vermeys, Gary Ouellet, Romaine Phil, and Hiawatha

I’ve posted some photos of the early days which may bring back some memories. Enjoy! Can you name all the people? If you have special memories of those days we’d love to hear about it. If you want more photos let me know.

And the winners are ……..

Dealer’s room with Paul Diamond

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Carl Cloutier, Dai Vernon, Gary Ouellet, Hiawatha, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Rene Johnson, Romaine, Sid Lorraine, Wim Vermeys