Category Archives: Perfect Magic

There Is Something New Under The Sun. And its Magic!

As usual, Phil and I  are working vigorously to shape up our site. We are currently working on a  Newsletter, which really won’t give you any news, but that’s what it’s called. Our first trial newsletter is out and we’d like to know  what you think of it.

The idea was instead of having a  Trick of the Day on Face book, we would list a bunch of items in the Newsletter and give you a week to think about them. Then I figured if you were interested in a particular item, you might also be interested in things related to them. That is another project I am working on simultaneously,  putting the related items under the item you  click on,  which is no mean task.

So we chose 6 items as a trial and had it set up  in the “newsletter” and I clicked on them to see if I had already done the related stuff, which I hadn’t as they are pretty new. I went searching for related items and I could find some for all of them which I inserted. The only one which I could find nothing for was Dean’s Beads. I could not find another effect which is anything like it. I watched it and it is a complete puzzlement. We have sold a few so far, but I had no idea what it was until I started on the Newsletter and decided to watch it. The feed back from our customers had been good and now I know why. I still don’t know how its done, and I don’t want to know.  But I do want to share… Tell me what you think!

By the way, the above plan is not written in stone. We put it as a trial on the internet on Monday. Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions we should consider.

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Filed under Magic, Perfect Magic

Magicians! Just How Much Is A Quarter Worth?

I saw a tweet on Canada Magic’s site how someone was flipping coins and lost a double headed quarter. It brought me back to a time we first started out in the magic business. We were selling magic from our basement which had a separate entrance. It was set up like a shop, with counters and a cash register. This cash register had more compartments that were necessary and I noticed that one of the compartments had an American quarter in it. It was there for a long time. Nothing else. Just that one American quarter. I had no argument with it.

One day a kid came in and bought some magic, including a coin trick. Phil wasn’t there at the time. The kid said to me. “Now I have to get an American quarter to go with the trick.”  I said, “Don’t worry about it. I have one here. It’s been in the cash register for months doing nothing.” and I gave it to him. He thanked me  and left.

A few weeks later a man interested in coin tricks came in. This time Phil was there and at that time he was demonstrating. Now not so much. Phil went over to the cash register and said,”Evy, where is the American quarter that was here?” I told him I gave it to a kid.” His face went pale. “You what?” “A kid needed a US quarter so I gave it to him. It seems it was part of an expensive Johnson coin trick and had special features. The trick was useless without that coin. Of course he never bothered to tell me that little fact.

But the story has a happy ending. I knew who the kid was and I phoned him and asked him if he still had the coin I gave him, which he did, and I told him the situation. He promptly came to return it and I replaced it with another that I happened to have.

Over the years I have heard many magicians complain about spending their magic coins by mistake. It can be a costly mistake. The above mentioned coin trick was about $69.00 and that was over 30 years ago. So now we do not keep special coins in the cash register. For a magician coin purses are a good investment!

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Filed under Magic, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

Magicians and Fame

Being in the magic business for over 35 years I know there are excellent magicians here in Montreal, some are full time magicians and they make a good living at it. I would bet if I mentioned their names most of you would not know who they are, and furthermore, they probably don’t care. They are not out to make a name, they are out to make a living and may actually enjoy the anonymity and live ordinary lives and do the magic they love to do.

Yet some achieve fame. I was reading the Montreal Gazette on Saturday, and read Josh Freed’s column, whose humour I always enjoy, and his topic was the linguist divide amongst the strikers, here in Quebec between the English and French. For those of you who in far away lands a strike started  100 days ago by univeristy students who objected to a rise in tuition fees. The strike is still going on and has been violent at times.  Now there are other issues but I’m not going there.

Coincidently, just after my last blog,” Two Solitudes” Josh Freed used the same term in his article …”Why the two solitudes of strikers?”

By this time you must be wondering, “What has all this got to do with magic?”

Josh goes on to name the various English institutions that have disappeared from Montreal and he names Steinberg’s, Eaton’s, Ben’s,  Morgan’s, Dominion’s and Magic Tom. Magic Tom! Magic Tom passed away in 1990 and he is still making the newspaper! Anyone who knows what all the above institutions are, whether they were interested in magic or not still know who Magic  Tom is. Magic Tom Auburn achieved fame here in Quebec. He entertained children and then he entertained those children’s children and grandchildren. I remember once he came into the shop and a grandmother was buying some magic for her grandchild and she saw him and said, “I remember you from television. I used to watch you all the time when I was little.” She was thrilled to meet him in person. When she left Tom said, “I get that a lot. It keeps reminding me how old I am.” Everyone knew Magic Tom.

When I consider Magic household names here in  Quebec, I would have to include Alain Choquette and Luc Langevin. Television gave these three magicians exposure so that had much to do with it. But they had to have the talent and love of their audience to stay on TV to achieve that fame.

Comments anyone?

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing

More About Magicians and Honesty!

The thing about magicians is that the very fact that they are magicians tells you they are going to deceive you…in some way. So they give you fair warning. Some go so far as to say I’m going to do a trick. They tell you in advance they are going to trick you. So in a way they are honest about it. Last blog I wrote about a break-in to our shop and a robbery. So we know some magicians aren’t honest. Since that time, and before it, some things have gone walking …so to speak.

When we used to have The Performers Platform in the early days, we had a book rack for the soft covered books  in the front of the store on your left, when you entered. The stage was at the back of the shop, and there were chairs and some people stood around the bookshelf, watching the performers. Every week stuff went missing. Not a lot, but some. We tried to watch but the magicians are good at misdirection and we never caught those guys either. We finally made the announcement that stuff was missing and if anything else was taken, we would have to stop Performers Platform. After that it stopped.

Within the past few years, other things have walked. In this shop its easy to steal because everything is accessible. I know I didn’t misplace the things. For instance, John Kennedy’s Mystery Box #2 is missing. The person didn’t take the box it was in, just the mystery box in the box. So one day when I picked it up to show it to someone, I couldn’t help but notice how light it was. When I opened it up, there was nothing in it except the tissue paper it was wrapped in.

One time, I was in the shop alone. The shop we’re in now.  A whole family came in from out of town. The son was the magician and he was perhaps 12.  He had a sister of about 15.  The mother sat down to wait and I was helping the boy and his father decide what to get. As they were pondering I happened to look at the girl, who took a silk vanisher, boxed, off the hook it was hanging from and open her purse and put it inside.

The summer before I was at Atwater Market and I was thirsty. I left my family to buy myself a bottle of water. I found a health food store, went to the back, picked up the bottle and went to pay. At the cash in front of the counter were a group of people talking to the gentleman behind the counter. They were telling him of some kind of seed, that was even better for your health than flaxseed. They were telling of all the things that could be make with it, etc. and I was interested and listened intently to their conversation. Phil hates when I do that, but he wasn’t there. I suddenly realized that everyone was waiting for me and I abruptly left the store. As I was rushing towards where I was to meet the rest of our entourage, I noticed I was holding a bottle of water. OMG! I didn’t pay for it. I ran back to the store and said to the man, who was now alone. “I didn’t pay for the water.” He said, “I know.” I said “Why didn’t you come after me?” he said, “I don’t chase water!”

I looked at the girl who had just taken the cigarette vanisher and thought,”I don’t chase cigarette vanishers, I guess.”  Perhaps for her own good I should have said something. It was only in the shower that I thought of what  I should have done. It would have been great but….too late! This is what the proper solution was.

The box was small enough to conceal in my hand. I should have done like a sponge ball routine and make it vanish and tell her, in front of her family, that my power is so great, that I would make it appear in her purse. Did she think it was possible? I would have her open her purse and lo and behold, there it would be. I’m ready for the next one.

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Filed under Magic, Perfect Magic

Boom Years for Restaurant Magicians Part 2

Last week I wrote a blog on boom years for Montreal magicians and asked for anyone with more info to write in. Here’s the reply from Jonathan Levey who has offered some solid advice to those interested in trying that venue. Here is what he has to say…

“Great article on the Boom Years, Evy.

I will have to thank Mark for mentioning a few of the restaurants I worked and you for posting this info.
If you have the chance, kindly consider adding a few more restaurants that I worked during the Boom years.

Those were the days when Jim Sisti’s infamous The Magic Menu (which actually started out in newsletter format!) served as vital inspiration and gave us practical tips and information on how to actually find and secure the venues on a long-term basis. As well, The Magic Menu provided us with precious tips and insights into how to negotiate our contracts and more effective ways to perform table-to-table magic within the (often) tight physical constraints of the dining room areas. In addition to Sisti’s Magic Menu (of which our own beloved David Acer was a regular contributor) other books which inspired and taught us were: Kirk Charles “Standing up Surrounded”, Paul Diamonds “it Takes Guts Dammt!”, and Charles Greene III “Restaurant Magic” (audio tape!), as well as Michael Ammar’s Negotiating Fees (also on audio tape at the time).

These great resources provided me with the insight and encouragement needed to secure and perform at the following restaurant-type establishments for most of the 1990′s, for a minimum of 6 months and on average for 1-2 years+: Le Lutetia (inside the Hotel de la Montagne), Thursdays, Moby Dicks, The Atlantic Pavilion, Jardins D’Hivers (inside the Montreal casino), La Tulipe Noire, Mikes, Nick & Marios, Holiday Inn Pointe Claire, and the Ramada Inn.

Of course, as most of us “old-timers ” know, if it wasn’t for the ground-breaking success of the skilled and charismatic Tom Auburn (aka Magic Tom), securing restaurant work in the city of Montreal would have been a much harder sell.

To those younger magicians seeking to work in a restaurant venue, I believe many of the above books and audio tapes, though admittedly somewhat outdated, will still serve the budding restaurant magician as relevant, informative and inspirational. Perhaps there are new “how to” books on the market these days that will add to your arsenal. A trip to Evy and Phil’s Van Horne Perfect Magic store in Cote-des-Neiges (…or is that Phil and Evy’s store?), will allow you to browse their shelves to find such treasures. One thing for sure is that it’s a great place to start your journey. Because, as Evy and Phil will tell you without pause… “if we don’t have it, we can get it… within days.” …and they mean it too!”

Thanks for sharing and thank you also for the praise for Perfect Magic!

Just so you know, Sisti’s Magic Menu is still available;  Negociating Fees by Michael Ammar and Restaurant Magic By Charles Green as referred to by Jonathan are now in CD format. Since then there are more books and DVD‘s to choose from if you are interested.

If you have info on who did what when and where re restaurants, let me know.

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, entertaining, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing, Restaurant Magic, Show buisness

Reaching For A Star and Catching It! That’s Magic!

We’ve known Ted Outerbridge since he was a kid. He had a dream and didn’t let go. He worked hard. He struggled but never gave up. It paid off. Last week in the Gazette, there was an article about him. We were thrilled to see it.  In 1997, before he was famous, he won the Tom Auburn Award at Magic Montreal, the Annual Magic Convention produced by Perfect Magic and Wim Vermeys for 19 years. It was a sign of things to come. I spoke to him and asked him to write about himself and to include what got him to decide to make a career of this and also what tip he could give to up and coming magicians. I’ll publish it when I get it. In the meantime…Ted and Marion…Keep on truckin’!

I have included  photos of Wim Vermeys and Phil Matlin and the Trophy Winners of Magic Montreal 1997 and we have David Acer, sticking his head through the curtains in the back. He was never one to be left out! David was the M.C. of the stage show that year, hilarious as usual!

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Show buisness, Ted Outerbridge

Book Launching, Auctions and David Acer – A Magic Combination!

Once or twice a year we (Perfect Magic Shop)  have an auction.  David Acer is the auctioneer. Since his new book has come out, “More Power To You, The Very Best of David Acer” he thought it might be a good idea to launch his new book here at the same time as the auction. We agreed.

We had a full house, but then again, the shop isn’t that big. There was standing room only. David came in with a bunch of books. Phil took one look at the pile and said, ” Don’t worry, whatever is left, I’ll take for the shop.”

It reminded me of the time we were dealers at the S.A.M. Convention  in Chicago many years ago. We had a booth next to Peter Scarlett from England. He was selling the Pimpernel Notecase, which is a signed card to wallet. That’s all he was selling except for one, maybe two other tricks. He had hundreds of wallets. I’m a magic dealer. I know how card to wallet works. Every chance I got I watched him demonstrate that Pimpernel Notecase.  I just didn’t get it. He was selling them like hotcakes. When we were covering our tables for the evening I went over to him and said. “Peter, I’m going to strangle you.” He laughed out loud and said, “What, you still don’t know?” I said no. He showed me how he did it and I said I’d take a case back to Montreal for the shop. He said, “Let’s wait until the convention is over. If there are any left, you can have them.” I looked at all those wallets and smiled at him. He smiled back. At the end of the convention he did not have one, not one, wallet left. Check out the reviews and you’ll see why. He shipped me some when he got back to England. It is still a constant seller in the shop. I, who cannot control or palm or do anything that requires ability used to demo it all the time and sell it. Anyhow, all this to say, there was a line-up for David’s book and he’ll have to send us some as not one was left unsold!

Besides the book, the auction went well. David is funny and that’s all there is to it. It wasn’t just an auction,  it was entertainment and bargains and a good time was had by all.

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Filed under Auction, Perfect Magic

Reminiscing With Luc Langevin

So we recently had a visit from Luc Langevin, He’s been here many times since he was a kid but I’m getting older and my memory isn’t what it used  to be. I suspected that that’s who it was but I asked him his name, just to make sure. He said Luc. Phil almost collapsed with embarrassment that I didn’t recognize him, especially since I watch him on T.V. But it’ was my birthday the next day and I’d be 71 so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. We had a good laugh over it. We started talking about old times.

Luc said Perfect Magic was the first magic shop he had ever been in and of course it was me demonstrating because I always looked after the kids. David Acer told me that he knew he had graduated when he walked in the shop once and Phil was behind the counter and he didn’t call out “Evy!”

In any case Luc remembers me showing him the Magic Colouring Book, the Silk to Flowers, and a bunch of other simple tricks which he used for many years in his birthday shows.

Its a good feeling when you see someone who started off with you do well. David Acer, Ricky Bronson, Richard Sanders,  Ted Outerbridge,  Barry Julien, to name a few, all used to come here as kids, (of course to me they still are) but they are big names in magic and entertainment today.  I wish you all continued success. Spread the magic!

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Filed under Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

Shawn Farquar

I first met Shawn many years ago. It can’t be that long ago because he isn’t that old, but it was probably in the 1990’s. We got to know him well as we had a Magic Shop in Vancouver then, across from MetroTown and Shawn lives in Vancouver. In 1993 Farquar and Felicity  (his lovely wife) performed at Magic Montreal. That was the same year Dave Williamson, Mac King and  Dick Zimmerman and other greats were there. I forget a lot of things these days, but I remember that convention well. It was a riot!

Shawn, as long as I’ve known him, was passionate about his magic and it paid off. He has transformed from a good magician to a top notch pro. He’s looks like he feels at home on T.V with the biggest stars, Penn and Teller, Ellen Degeneris, and the like.  He has won the most prestigious awards and has travelled world wide. All this takes time. But he gives of his time. He has taken the reins from Joan Caesar as President of CAM, The Canadian Associations of Magicians and is doing a great job. Since he has taken over Northern Peeks, which is a monthly magazine of CAM, it  has a new sleek look with terrific articles in it. And then of course there is a convention to run. This alone is a tremendous undertaking. I know, we did it for 19 years.

Shawn’s goal to increase the membership by at least 100 people during his 3 year term as president. Are you a member? If not, join! This is the organization that put Canada on the map as far as magic is concerned. Prior to the existence of CAM if a Canadian wanted to enter F.I.S.M. he or she had to do so under another country as there was no international magic organization  in Canada to sponsor that person. We have Joan Caesar to thank for that. She got it going. Shawn is carrying the torch. Let’s get that flame a little bigger and join up now.

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Filed under CAM (Canadian Association of Magicians), Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Shawn Farqhuar

Hank Moorehouse

Hank Moorehouse died in Bejing July 2, 2011 and his passing had saddened us and many others greatly. Our hearts go out to Jackie and his family. His career is wonderfully documented in  the MUM link, so I won’t go into that as it has already been done but I can tell you about our relationship with him. He was with us when Perfect Magic opened its doors 35 years ago. Phil called him for something and mentioned he was opening a store. Hank wished  him luck and asked if he wanted him to come down to do a lecture to kick it off. No charge, just to give us a boost. That was the kind of guy he was!

Hank introduced us to his lovely bride Jackie in Toronto at a Passport To Magic Convention. I say bride because they were on their honeymoon. They had a booth  there and Jackie laughed about it. “What new bride would go to a magic convention on her honeymoon!”

From the left, Jackie & Hank Moorehouse, Dave Cresey, Phil Matlin

Phil says that without Hank there probably would not have been “Magie Montreal”, the  magic  convention that took place in Montreal for 19 years, thanks to Phil and his partner in that endeavour, Wim Vermeys. When Phil needed advice regarding acts, who was good, who was reliable, etc,  Hank always gave it to him straight.

Many years ago Phil and I were on our way to a Convention in the States not far from where Hank  and Jackie lived. We phoned them and said we would like to meet them for dinner in Kalamazoo and they said no, if you’re so close you’re coming to our home. They insisted we spend the night there, which we did after we all went to a lovely restaurant in Three Rivers for dinner.

Many of you probably met Hank at Magie Montreal.

Hank at the close-up table

Hank entertaining

He had been there a few times, when his busy schedule permitted. I have posted some of the photos of him and you’ll notice how much fun his volunteers are having with him on stage. He knew how to make people feel at ease, young or old. Enjoy the memories!

Hank

Phil Matlin, Hank Moorehoue and Wim Vermeys

Hank's world famous escape act.

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Filed under Hank Moorehouse, Magic, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin