Category Archives: Evelyn Matlin

A Magic Graduation Gift

Speaking of Children’s Magic, my grandson had his graduation last week. From Day Care!  He’s five. He’s been in day care around 4 years.The graduation class performed a delightful musical show and then received their diplomas. It was adorable, says the grandmother.

I never would have thought about getting him a gift for daycare graduation. From time to time I give him little tricks, but on the day of his graduation it became important for me to give him something special. He  has tons of toys and clothes, so that was out. I know he loves magic and when he was at the shop last time, I did the Dice Bomb for him. He loved it, but, I didn’t feel his little fingers would be able to set it up each time so I never told him how it was done. I said when he was older I would give it to  him.  He also loves when I do Sponge Balls for him. Again I never gave it to him as I thought 5 was too young. Well, now he’s graduating. He’s big, right?

I took down a little Magic Close-Up Case which you can lock, and  it has adjustable compartments, but no tricks. I filled it with a Mirror Glass,  a Dice Bomb, Sponge Balls, a Magical Block, a few silks for the Mirror Glass, a little puzzle,  and a Double Color Changing Handkerchief. I wrapped it all up and as I was leaving the graduation I gave it  to him. He was thrilled to get the present, although he didn’t know what it was yet. I left and never had the chance to see him open it.

His mother told me he was delighted with it. The best part? The magic case had keys and he could lock it!

The next morning when my daughter woke up she couldn’t understand why the house was so quiet. His door was ajar and she peeked in to see him practicing his magic tricks. How perfect is that?


Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Perfect Magic

Magic for Beginners and Children’s Magic

Often people will come to the shop and say they’d like to buy children’s magic.

My question is, “Who is going to be doing the magic, you or the children?”

If the answer is “I am. I’m going to do a little show for them.” Then I ask, “Have you done magic before?” and I keep on asking questions until I know what they need.

If the answer is, “ No it’s for the children to do.” Then I have to know how old the children are, if they have done magic before, and if so what do they have, how much he wants to spend, etc. If they have never done magic before, then it becomes for Beginner Magic for Children.

What I suggest depends on the age.  Because I recommend something for a two year old, does not for one minute mean that it is not appropriate for an adult as well.  If you read my other blogs you would know that my 2 year old grandson gave a stellar performance with perfect timing of the Appearing Flower. He could hardly speak but knew exactly when to say Tah-dah!

So I thought I would make a list, if anyone wants to know what to get as a gift and what it would cost for children of various ages and would also give you an idea of what is Easy To Do Magic (not neccessarily for children).

Everyone should know their own children.  A 3 year old can do The Appearing Flower  and the Magic Coin Slide as well as the Magical Block. If however they are still putting things in their mouth, then don’t give them things that involve coins.  And of course you have to teach it to them. I found the best way is to perform the trick for them so that they are amazed and then teach them how to do it.  You’d be surprised at how fast they learn. A 6 year old can  learn the Kurious Kords, otherwise known as the Professor’s Nightmare, and the Magic Coloring book.We have a mini version. Zig Zag Rope is another easy one.

At the same time as I teach them a trick I teach them about Magic manners. They have to keep it a secret and if they go to a  The Double Changing Colour Handkerchief is another easy to do trick. I’m sure a 5 year old could do that. 8 year olds can do Nickles to Dimes. I know that for a fact because my father bought that for me when I was 8 and it kept me busy a long time.

At the same time as I teach them a trick I teach them about Magic manners. They have to keep it a secret and if they go to a show and a magician is performing they must never say that they know how it’s done, as that is rude. I know some adults who don’t observe those simple rules.I also tell them that magic tricks are not toys. They are special and should be kept in a special place where their friends can’t get to them when they come over to play.

So these are some examples of tricks that are appropriate for children or beginner adults. There are many more and if you are interested let me know and I’ll make a longer list.

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Perfect Magic

A Superb Tip from David Acer. Comedian, Magician, TV Star, Author….

David Acer sort of feels like a third son to us. All our kids (4) worked at Perfect Magic Shop when they were growing up and so did David when he was 14 years old. That would be in the 80’s.

Last week,  some 30 years later, and many times since, he came to pick up a few things. We reminisced about Al Goshman. David remarked upon the fact that this chubby older man was not the person one would look at walking down the street and say, ” There goes a magician.” And yet he was amazed that when Albert performed, he was transformed and his fingers danced in a way one wouldn’t believe unless you saw him.

And why am I telling you this? Because while David was here I asked if he could write something for our readers as to what got him into magic as a career and what word of advice would he give to aspiring magicians. Last week Michael Ammar wrote something and I thought my readers would be happy to hear what other people who were successful in magic had to say.  He immediately agreed. That sent me on a hunt for photographs of David. By sheer coincidence the first photo I came aross of David was one of Albert sitting behind his booth at a Magie Montreal 1988 Convention.

In any case here is what David had to say:  While you’re at it, Check out David’s best selling book “GOTCHA! 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends” .

Q: What was the first trick that made you think this is what you want to do?

A: Well, I’m still not sure this is what I want to do, but assuming  it isn’t just a decades-long phase I’m going through, I’d say the trick  that pulled me in was the old broken-and-restored toothpick in a  handkerchief. I remember fooling my mother and step-father with that – I  mean really fooling them – when I was nine or ten, and that started me  on the path to deeper mysteries.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring magicians?

A: Never iron flash paper. Also, try to be yourself when you’re doing  tricks. That usually means presenting them in a way that makes you care about them. Talk about your job, your family, your life, good, bad or weird. If you care, other people will care. But if you have to invent a reason to care, maybe it isn’t the right trick for you.

Thanks, David, for the tips. I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I did!

Enjoy the photos

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Filed under Albert Goshman, Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

A Tip on Performing from Michael Ammar – Superstar!

Michael Ammar and Johnny Carson - Then

Michael Ammar and Johnny Carson - Then

Michael Ammar Superstar - 1995

Phil Matlin, owner of Perfect Magic Shop, first met Michael Ammar when they were both relatively new in magic. It was in Evansville Indiana at an I.B.M. Convention. Michael was still sowing his wild oats. We got to know Michael well over the years. He stayed at our home when he came to Montreal. When we first met his wife Hannah, Michael introduced us as Phil and Evy from Perfect Magic in Montreal, who know me from way back when…. He said we knew that things about him that very few people knew. And she said to us, “I know everything about Michael, don’t worry!” We had a great laugh.

Card Thru Hank - Magie Montreal Lecture

Michael’s magic was always impeccable. When he came out with Easy to Master Card Miracles 1,2 and 3 in VHS  magic dealers

Michael lecturing at Magie Montreal

rejoiced! They were hot and still are but now in DVD form! His teaching methods are clear and exceptional. It’s rare that I  push a product, as I am well aware of the fact that everyone has their own taste and what I like someone else might not, but when someone tells me they like cards I still direct them towards Michael Ammar.

Many of the younger generation never heard of him and they thank me after for introducing them to his DVDs. Of course many more followed, Easy to Master Card Miracles, 4,5,6,7,8 and 9. His book and DVD’s on Cups and Balls are for anyone who really wants to learn them. Then there was Easy to Master Thread Miracles 1,2,3, book The Magic of Michael Ammar and the list goes on. Just click on his link for the complete deal. When we sell his stuff we are confident that the customer will be satisfied, regardless of what it is!

I wrote him the other day to tell him I was writing a blog on him and asked  what hooked him into magic and what advice he would give to an aspiring magician. This was his answer.

Hello Evy,
How nice to hear from you and to hear all’s well with you and Phil….

The first effect that really resonated with me was the one where you seem to rub a coin or small piece of paper into your arm.  Showing it has vanished, you then produce it from your ear or elbow.  The method, as I’m sure you know, is that you accidentally drop the coin and in picking it up, you simply fake putting into your other hand so it can seem to vanish.

I knew several typical card tricks up to that point, but I could tell something different was taking place here.  Not only did this involve acting, but it also involved true sleight-of-hand.

This meant I had to practice a bit to get it right, but I felt so empowered knowing the reaction I was getting was because of something I did; not because they just didn’t know how I had stacked the deck, or whatever.

Having to practice a little to learn that effect made me realize you can get an amazing reaction based purely on your own efforts.  I decided to see what would happen if I put even more effort into something.  Then I began to notice: the more effort I put into learning something, the better and more satisfying the response was.

Up until then I thought you had to be born a magician.  This experience made me realize it was up to me; I could be as good as I decided I’d be; success wasn’t a matter of divine intervention, luck, or whatever.  It was an epiphany; It’s up to me, if it is to be…

If I were to give just one tip to someone regarding magic, it would be to perform as often as possible, then reflect back on the performance to see how much data you can mine from the experience.  I think you learn more from 1 live performance than you can from weeks of just thinking about it.  So perform as often as possible.  There’s an old saying, “Everybody needs someplace to be bad.”  Find someplace that’ll tolerate your evolution, then start to build intelligent experience.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes always,


A typical sellout crowd at a Michael Ammar lecture.

So there you have it. I thought it was wonderful advice and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


Thank you Michael.

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic

The Man with the Million Dollar Hands: Frank Garcia

The first time Frank Garcia came to Montreal, he stayed at the Windsor Hotel, where he was to give a lecture the next day sponsored by Morrissey Magic. That first night there was a fire in the hotel and everyone was forced out onto the street in the middle of the night in their pajamas in the middle of winter. That was in the early 60’s.

In 1984 Phil Matlin and Wim Vermeys had the honour of dedicating Magie Montreal, our 5th Magic Convention, to Frank Garcia. He was the turning point for Magie Montreal. Up to that point we were hardly making it. When the magicians heard that Frank Garcia was going to  be there, they descending upon us en masse.  There was no VHS  or DVD’s at that time so if you wanted to see a legend perform you had to do it in person. If I remember correctly we had to turn people away.

I know that many younger magicians don’t know who Frank was. When they come into our shop (Perfect Magic) and we mention something about him, they say ” I never heard of him. Is he any good? Is he on You Tube? Did he put out any DVD’s lately?” We have to laugh.

Frank was a magician and a gambler. He wrote many books on both subjects. They are collectors’ items now and hard to come by.

Besides being a legend he was warm and friendly and just nice to be with. He and his girl friend Lillian, came to Montreal before the convention and spent time visiting us in our home. Romaine and Joan were with us as well. We didn’t talk about magic.

He brought us a gift when he visited us. It was a round brass trivet with carved Chinese writing on it. He said it meant Good Luck. He, if anyone, would know the importance of that, being a gambler and all.


Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Frank Garcia, Magic, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

My First Trick


In 1948 when I was 8 years old my father went to New York to visit a friend of his who lived in Long Island. They did some sight-seeing and managed to go to Tannen’s although neither one of them were magicians. I think my father must have said, “What can I bring home for the kids?” and his friend must have suggested magic tricks.

I had never seen a magic trick before. Unlike many kids today, who have the opportunity to see magicians at birthday parties or see them on TV, I don’t even remember having birthday parties and TV had not yet come to Canada.

So when my father performed Nickles to Dimes, it was a big deal! I remember banging that bang ring on the kitchen floor and doing the trick over and over. Go know!

What was your first trick?  How old were you?

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Tannen's

Dr. Joe

One of my early blogs was about grandparents. During the summer Dr. Joe Schwarcz came up to the shop with his beautiful granddaughter Adira, who is 5 ¾ years old. It seems she’s a chip off the old block, so to speak, and has a love for magic.

Dr. Joe first came to our shop in the 1970’s. He and a couple of his colleagues put together a wonderful magic show called The Magic of Chemistry, which they have only performed over 200 times. If you didn’t see it, you missed something special.

Anyhow, Adira, it seems is an old hand at magic. She had this and she had that, but I showed her a few tricks she had not seen before. There was no fooling her, however. I had fooled many an adult, but she knew exactly what must have happened in order for the effect to have taken place. Joe and I had a few good laughs watching her. I think she’s hanging out with her Grandpa too much. Even though she figured everything out, and I mean everything, she still appreciated it and if she liked it she took it. Now he’s teaching her paper tears

Watch out you guys (and gals)! Your competition is not far behind.

While on the subject of Dr. Joe, as he is known in Montreal both on radio CJAD 8OO on Sunday afternoons and through his regular column in The Montreal Gazette in Saturday’s paper, in which he demystifies chemistry and tells us all sorts of fascinating facts; he is a great fan of Randi and I somewhere I have a photo of Randi and Joe sitting at a table at Magie Montreal, 1998 but I can’t find it. I mention this because Randi is coming to lecture at McGill University very soon.

So I had some other photos of Randi lecturing at Magie Montreal and one with some of my family. Enjoy.

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Filed under "Amazing Randi", Brian Matlin, CJAD Radio, Evelyn Matlin, Grandparents and Magic, Julie Matlin, Magic, Magie Montreal, McGill University, Memorablia, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

Seriously Magical

From time to time teenagers come in and buy magic for kids’ parties. They think it’s a great way to earn some extra bucks. Hey! You gotta start somewhere! So they buy a few tricks and they’re off!  Alan Greenberg

Early Greenberg

is one of the many started that way. He was serious about it and made a successful career out of it.

Alan was 8 years old when he first became interested in magic. He was home with the Chicken Pox and saw Tony Curtis in the movie Houdini on TV and that was it for him. He got magic books at the library and bought a bag of magic tricks at Henry Gordon’s on Queen Mary Road in Montreal  (before Perfect Magic was born) for a dollar which was a lot of money then for him, but he was on his way. He started getting paid for shows when he was 14 years old and his parents drove him to his gigs and back. He’s been teaching magic in elementary schools since 1984; he does corporate shows, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, fundraisers, etc.

If you’re just starting in magic and you are serious, there are a few things I would recommend.

From left, Mark Wilson, Evy and Phil

One would be Complete Course in Magic. It’s a book by Mark Wilson. It covers just about everything from close-up to stage illusions. Being a book, there is no personality to the tricks. You have to find your own personality and put your own twist on everything. You’re not copying someone’s style or jokes…you have to be creative and you have to be yourself. You are unique and if you just tap into your own personality it will come through and you’ll make the trick yours.

Harry Lorayne with Evy Matlin - late 70's.

I don’t have anything against DVD’s. They’re wonderful teaching tools, but its tempting to just copy the performer, word for word, action for action. The name of the game is Entertainment First George Schindler did a DVD on this and it can’t be stressed enough. You can be the best sleight of hand magician in the world but if it’s not entertaining, forget it! It takes time and effort to put an act together.

For an idea of what is involved Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe and 26 other guys is a good start. Foundations: The Art of Staging Magic by Eberhard Riese is another one. Eugene Burger’s Mastering The Art of Magic is marvelous!

"Magic Tom" Auburn, Eugene Buger and Phil

Eugene lectured for Perfect Magic a few times and the advice he gave was excellent, not only for magic but for many real life situations where you have to deal with people.

Eugene with Magic Tom

It’s hard to do magic for people! When you’re alone, it works perfectly; in front of an audience, not always. What do you do when things go wrong? How do you choose volunteers? What do you say to them? They may give you answers you’re not expecting. How do you handle it? Fortunately, others who are successful are willing to share their secrets and ideas. They are your teachers so take advantage of their knowledge. Take the plunge. Just make sure there’s water in the pool. It’s safer that way.

Which books or DVD’s made an impact on you or helped you get started? We’d love your comments.


Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Alan Greenberg, Eugene Burger, Evelyn Matlin, Harry Lorayne, Magic, Magie Montreal, Mark Wilson, Phil Matlin