Category Archives: Marcis

Remembering Le Grand Marcis of Magic

Last week I wrote about Magic Tom, a famous and well loved magician here in Montreal, Quebec and I received a comment from someone who had lived in Montreal and had moved away. She read my post and looked him up and was thrilled to see that he was not forgotten. It made me think about other  magicians who had a great influence on the Montreal Magic scene, not necessarily TV stars, as Tom was, but nevertheless had an impact here.

Le Grand Marcis, Maurice Choquette, was one of these people. He had a little magic shop on de Bienville when we met him and he gave weekly magic courses and had a great following. We were friends with him and he was kind enough to translate many of the popular card tricks for us when we first went into business.  I have a copy of Wild Card  “Les cartes “frimées” which  he did for us “Traduction et adaptation française faite par “Le Grand Marcis” 1977 and many others as well.

Wim Vermeys, Marcis, and Phil - Magie Montreal

Wim Vermeys, Marcis, and Phil – Magie Montreal

This is a photo of Marcis at Magic Montréal being presented with a plaque by Wim Vermeys with Phil Matlin looking on in recognition of what he had done for magic here. I’m not sure of the year, but it was long ago, as both Phil and Vermeys had a full head of dark hair. I’m not sure when Marcis died, but he was not that old.

It would be great if his students could write in and provide us with information about him, anecdotes, when he started, when and where he moved his shop to. I think it was Park Avenue. If you were a student of his, let us know. Maybe you should have a reunion. Let’s hear from you. let’s get a little history going here, and if you want to write it in French, ça va!

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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