Category Archives: Phil Matlin

The Magic Connection

We went to the one day CAMJAM  2 week-ends ago at Niagra Falls and had a great time. Shawn Farquar and Perfect Magic were the only dealers except for the fabulous lecturers. Romaine’s wife Joan said at the end of the day that all the years she has been going to conventions with Romaine, she never went to the lectures as she was not a magician and thought it would be boring for her. After going to the lectures of  Oscar  Munoz from Texas , Michael Dardant from New Orleans, and Vincent Hedan from France, she said “I ‘m sorry I missed the lectures all the years we’ve been going. I never realized how fascinating they were.” (or something to that nature). They had a good turn out and there was a lot of comeraderie. Then in the evening we saw Greg Frewin’s great illusion show at the Greg Frewin Theatre, a feature event in Niagra Falls.

Another event of CamJam was the presentation of the Magician of the Year Award which went to Mike Segal of Sorcerers Safari Magic & Performance Camp, which has been in operation for over 15 years. We met Mike a number of years ago, ten maybe 15, and although he is living in Toronto, his mother is from Montreal, and guess what! She was Phil’s ( yes my husband Phil) first girlfriend. He thinks he was seven at the time. So everytime Phil met Mike, he would ask how his mother was.

After we left Niagra Falls we spent  5 days with Romaine & Joan and then went to Toronto to visit my Aunt and other relatives. At the CamJam Phil told Mike he was going to Toronto on the way home and Mike said to give him a call. Phil told  him he was going to be at the Browser’s Den (a magic shop in Toronto) at noon on Saturday and we could meet there. Then Mike suggested he bring his mother and Phil thought that would be a great idea. The plot thickens!

We got to the Browser’s Den. They weren’t there yet, but I had shopping to do, after all, it is in a shopping center so I left. When I got back Jewish geography was in full swing. I met his first girlfriend, who was very sweet, and we got to talking and this is the magic connection! When one of her brothers was little he got a Magic Kit  at one of his birthday parties and his mother, Mike’s grandmother, went into another room, opened the kit, figured out the tricks and did them for the kids at the party. Phil was one of the kids and it was the first time he saw a magic trick. That was 70 years ago!

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Filed under CAM (Canadian Association of Magicians), CamJam, Magic Conventions, Phil Matlin, Romaine

FINDING MAGIC AND MUSIC

If you think this is about finding music for your magic , it isn’t. This is more of a personal post. No commercials. Fifty-four years ago, last Friday, Phil and I were married. Phil says, “Yep, 54 years and some of them were good.” His sense of humour. Do something!  I would never have written a blog about it except that I wanted to share one of the sweetest things I ever heard and it didn’t come from Phil.

I spoke to my 4 year old granddaughter the day after our anniversary and I told her that yesterday was a very special day. It just so happened that Phil, who rarely gets sick, came down with a horrible sore throat, and stayed home. In the over 35 years we’ve had the magic shop, I can count on my fingers the times he hasn’t come in, but he stayed home Thursday and Friday.  I had to cancel our Friday night dinner with the family,  which happened to be our annivervsary  as I didn’t want them to get his germs.  I had made a cake with sparkles on it for the grandchildren but it will remain in my freezer for another day.

So to get back, my granddaughter, told me she knows it was a special day, that it was our anniversary. I was floored that she even knew the word and then she wished me a happy anniversary. And then she said  or I thought she said, “How do you find Grandpa?’  I didn’t quite understand the question. I know she knew he was sick, so I asked, “Do you mean his health?” (I should interject here that when you talk to her you could be talking to an adult. She is very mature in spite of her baby face)

“No”, she said. “How did you find him?’

Then I knew what she meant. How did I meet him.

I told her the story of how a mutual friend had phoned and said that hisPhil Matlin wanted to meet me, but I was studying for my high school matrics and didn’t have time just then. My friend didn’t care and came to my house with his girl friend and Phil  and after introducing him to me, my parents and 3 older brothers, my friend asked Phil to play the piano for us, which he did, way back then. So at that point my mother fell in love with him. And that little girl listened with such interest to every word. We didn’t even talk about magic. I don’t think I knew about his interest in magic until our eldest daughter age 6, at the time, came across his old suitcase and found the colouring book and asked what that was and we made him do magic for her birthday. That revived his interest.

But every time I think of her asking, “How did you find Grandpa” I have to smile. That is magic!

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Phil Matlin

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

World’s Greatest Magic Starring Phil Matlin and Others!

World’s Greatest Magic is a DVD series put out  by L & L Publishing.  It’s a great series. It boasts The World’s Greatest Magic by The World’s Greatest Magicians. Each DVD deals with a different subject and you get different magicians dealing with one subject.

For instance, one  DVD in the series deals with Wild Card and Steve Dacri, Tommy Wonder, Harry Allen, Eric DeCamps, Boris Wild, Darwin, and Scotty York, all do and teach their special take on Wild Card.

Another one is just about the Thumb Tip. You would surely learn a thing or two from Michael Ammar, Richard Osterlind, Roger Klause, Alexandre de Cova, Ted Lesley, Al Schneider, Jeff Sheridan, Fernano Keops, Paul Diamond, Steve Dacri, Paul Wilson, and Dan Harlan. So you get the idea. They perform and teach and some of them teach more than one effect…all with the thumb tip. In case you thought you knew everything!

I didn’t count them but I’m sure there are over 60 DVD’s in the series. They just came out with the latest one, The Secrets of The Endless Chain WGM, which is an entertaining and puzzling gambling swindle. I’m sure Johnny Thompson and Bobby Bernard were thrilled to be on the same DVD as our own Phil Matlin.  A young Phil Matlin I might add. You just have to live long enough!

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Doug Henning and Phil

Once, many years ago, Doug Henning, the first celebrity magician in  50 years, came to Montreal to perform. At that time a customer, who was an ardent magic collector and a friend, was dying in the hospital. The friend’s wife phoned Phil and asked if there was any way for Doug Henning to come and visit her husband because it would mean so much to him. Phil said he would try. Prior to Doug’s arrival in  Montreal, Phil called some contacts he had in LA. He finally got in touch with Doug’s road manager who told him Doug was on the road and asked Phil why he wanted him. Phil asked him if Doug could find some time while in Montreal to visit a fellow magician in the hospital and told him of the situation. Oh, no, was the answer. Doug has TV interviews and press conferences and he doesn’t have time for that.

At least Phil tried.

But as fate would have it, when Doug came in to do the show he was coming from the States and and at that time it was  difficult to bring live stock across the border. Doug’s 6 ducks were left at home. A few days before Doug’s arrival in Montreal, Phil got a call from Doug’s  tour manager asking him if he could get 6 ducks for Doug’s show. It just so happened that a fellow magician and magic dealer in Montreal was also a zoo keeper. Go know! Phil called this magician  zoo keeper who told Phil to come on down and pick them up. Phil picked up the  6 ducks and brought them to the theatre. The manager looked at the ducks and said, “This will never do. These are brown ducks. Doug uses only white ducks.”  “Okay, said Phil, I’ll bring them back.” and so he  did. A couple of days later we came into the shop and the phone was ringing off the hook. It was the tour manager and he was desperate. “Could you please bring back the brown ducks! Doug doesn’t care what colour they are. He just wants ducks!” So Phil went back to the Zoo, picked up the ducks, brought them to the theatre and dropped them off. While Phil was standing there dusting off the feathers and waiting for the “OK”,  Doug called out.

“Is that the fellow with the ducks?”

His manager said yes.

“Where is he?” asked Doug.

“He’s just leaving.”

“Well, didn’t you invite him in?

“No.”

“Well, invite him in. ”

So he invited Phil in and Doug thanked him profusely for bringing  the ducks and offered him tickets for the show.

“I already bought my tickets.”‘ replied Phil.

“Well, take them for friends or something.”

Phil gave the tickets to “Magic” Tom Auburn and his wife.

While I’m here, I would like to ask you for a favour. ”  Phil told him the story about his hospitalized friend and asked Doug if he could possibly find some time to visit him.  Without any hesitation Doug  said he would be at the hospital at 2:00 pm the next day. Phil called his friend’s wife to tell her. She offered to pick Doug up. No, he would go himself. And he did and stayed for well over an hour and spent time with our friend and wrote him a wonderful letter while at his bedside, and entertained the staff as well.

When anyone speaks of Doug Henning this is what I think of. There is a fascinating book, “Spellbound”  on Doug Henning’s life, his rise to fame and his experiences which is an exciting and worthwhile read.

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What Some People Will Do To Get Magic!

The question is this. Who broke into our magic shop that night, shortly before January 6, 2004. Perfect Magic Now has a burglar alarm. We didn’t used to then. After someone broke into the shop we had to get an alarm in order to get insurance. So now we pay our cousin, Joel Matlin from Alarm Force, who you may have seen on TV or heard on radio, every month for protection.

Since that time many years ago there have been other break ins in our building with the victims being a hair styling school, a video shop, etc. but they left us alone, so I guess the warning on the door works. Now those businesses are also customers of Alarm Force.

One might think that since others were  robbed at other times, it many not have been a magician who robbed our magic shop one night in early January 2004. Wrong! It was a magician or two. Because of how much they took and the weight of it all we figured it was more than one person. In those days we were across the hall from where we are now and had a much bigger shop, with a separate office, and stock room. We had 6 large glass counters for display with one of everything in them. Below the counters were boxes filled with stuff. They weren’t interested in extra stock (with some exceptions), they just cleared out out counters, completely. They took books, good ones, so they knew what they were doing. Futhermore, they didn’t take any money! Just magic! one of each, for the most part. Some of the things they took more of. They knew exacty what they were doing. Oh, and they stole my camera equipment. It was packed in a carrying case so it was easy for them. I’m a document examiner and had things like bellows, macro lenses, and all kinds of stuff.  I’m sure there was other stuff, too but by their selection of the magic books alone dedicated to one subject, we knew they were magicians. The police took fingerprints etc, but there were so many different ones on the glass  that it was useless. I confess I didn’t clean the glass at the end of each day. They were never caught. I still wonder about it sometimes.

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There’s No Business Like Show Business Part 2

Home sweet Home! We’re back at work and a shipment has already arrived from Murphy’s which I should unpack, but If I get involved in real work I won’t get back to the blog. Besides I may forget. It’s already becoming a blur. Last week I week I wrote part one, the trials and tribulations of Show Business, Phil’s first 3 out of 9 piano gigs that he had.  I will continue with the rest.

Before I do, in case you don’t read the comments or didn’t read the blog, I must relate one of my readers comments as I think it’s the epitome of the subject. In his younger days he was in a acting troupe and when the technical director was on the phone with the person in charge of the venue they were invited to perform at, he asked about lighting for the stage. The person on the other end said, Yes, there were ONE…TWO…  TWO WINDOWS! Don’t tell me you didn’t laugh at that!

Gig 4: They were expecting us. They had a real piano. It was the one Phil was to play. Everyone was already there ready to celebrate New Years with their hats on and blowing their horns. It was festive, indeed. Phil sat down to test the piano and played away. I could see he was happy. I went over to him and said, ” So you’re happy?” “Yes, he said, but it would be better if it was tuned, but hey, you can’t expect everything!”

Gig 5: No problem.

Gig 6: A problem. And I think it was Phil’s fault. They had a beautiful grand piano, a large hall pretty well filled. Phil was having a grand old time and so was the audience. He was playing and singing and his mike went dead. I went up to the stage and pushed the switch and it played, but when I took my finger off it stopped. NO WAY was I going to sit there thoughout the concert holding a switch. Phil has a back up in his car, but the thought of interrupting the show was not an option for me. Fortunately the activity director had a wireles mike which worked great! Whew! Phil had not recharged the battery, but he thinks their wireless sound system interfered with his wireless system.  I don’t think so.

Gig 7: Excellent all around

Gig 8: We had played here before. It’s a ritzy place with a grand piano on  a dance floor. Phil looks at the dance floor. No piano. “Where’s the piano?” asks Phil.

“You want a piano?” she asks.

I nearly fell over laughing. It was just too much. But all ended well, as they had only moved it to a different spot.

Gig 9: Perfection. You forget all the others when this happens! The Activity director thanked us over and over and sent an email the next morning, saying how everyone had such a wonderful time…blah …blah blah…!

Did you have any experiences you’s care to share? Just write it in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! As they say, Misery loves company!

Happy New Year everyone!

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Filed under Performing, Phil Matlin, Show buisness

A Magic Show? Stand-Up Comedy? Just plain old entertainment!

So as I said on my Facebook earlier in the  week, we (Phil & I) went to the Comedy Nest at the old Montreal Forum to see Richard Sanders who was performing there last week-end. Plans to go there were conceived at our auction the other week, when we found out David Acer is now a co-owner of the Comedy Nest. Denise & Stan Teshser (also a  magician) who were at the auction ( not only were they at the auction, but Stan worked his butt off, bagging the items in the right place as people acquired them. NO mean task, I assure you, as I stood and watched!) and are our dear friends, (who else would work so hard for nothing except dear friends?), asked us if we would like to go. We set a date, they came into town, we went out for dinner and during the course of dinner we found out that neither Stan nor Denise has ever been to a comedy club. Stan doesn’t like stand-up comedians. Comedy clubs weren’t around when we were teen-agers. We used to go to night clubs and sometimes there was a comedian as a act but to have one after another was unheard of.

But being a magician and knowing Richard Sanders is a magician, he wanted to go. He figured, I suppose, that he would see a comedy magie act. There was a comedy M.C . and 2 acts before Richard. I will only talk about Richard because we are talking magic here, although we enjoyed them all but Richard was the Star! Let me tell you this. Stan and Denise did a whole lot of laughing, as did Phil and I. Richard did magic, which was impeccable, but so well disguised in his comedy that I’m sure people didn’t walk out and say we saw a magic show or even that we saw a magician. He sort of sneaked it in. His interaction with the audience was fabulous and funny. He didn’t put anyone down, or use foul language, that I can remember, and when it was over I had the distinct feeling that he could easily do that kind of show in Las Vegas. Phil felt the same way. And I don’t think that’s the last comedy show that Stan and Denise will go to. We just laughed ourselves silly!

We wish David every success. Keep on getting that calibre act and its a shoe in!

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Filed under Auction, David Acer, Denise Tesher, Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Phil Matlin, Richard Sanders, Stan Tesher, Uncategorized

Jeff Sheridan Synonymous With Street Magic

As I may have mentioned, Phil and I are working feverishly on the Perfect Magic website as it still needs a lot of tweaking. I found that in some of the descriptions some words run together or the writing is tiny or its difficult to read so I have taken on the task of going through each write up and fixing it.  I’m  on the J’s. I came to Jeff Sheridan 4 DVD’s and the blurb under the title read “As popular as the concept is now, contemporary street magic can all be traced back to one time, one place and to one performer – Jeff Sheridan.”  As I went though the DVD descriptions I found myself saying, WOW, does he ever give away a lot of stuff. He used to have a book, Street Magic which we used to carry, with his picture on the cover. That’s how I knew who he was. There was no YouTube at that time.

The book Street Magic by Jeff Sheridan (1977) has been out of print for maybe 20 years. That’s how I know it must have been at least 20 years ago that Jeff Sheridan sauntered into Perfect Magic, our magic shop, and said something like, Hi, I’m Jeff Sheridan, a visiting magician and I thought I drop in to say hello. Phil said, I know who you are and I’m pleased to meet you in person. They started talking, the way magicians do. Phil asked him if he was working and  Jeff said  no. He had come to town to visit a friend. They chatted for a while and then he left. The next day he was back. It was summer and the weather happened to be gorgeous. His friend had taken him to Prince Arthur  St. for supper the night before –  a couple of blocks are closed off to traffic and are full of restaurants all with outdoor terraces. He said he couldn’t resist that. He bought a hank of rope and asked if  we would come to watch him perform? Of course we would.

After work we went straight to Prince Arthur and there was Jeff  finding himself a place to work. He chose a backdrop of high shrubs and started  working. He did ropes and cards and I don’t remember what else. I don’t remember him doing anything drastic to draw attention to himself. All I know is that within a few minutes he had such a mob around him that we couldn’t figure out where they came from. We moved back to let others see the show and when it was over Phil tried to put money in the hat. Phil couldn’t get near him, and he smiled at Phil and shook his head “no”. The people were pushing each other to get to throw their bills in the hat. He did well, his audience appreciated it. He thanked us for coming down and we were so glad we did!

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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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