Category Archives: Ronna Matlin McKinnon

HOUDINI, HE WASN’T!

In the early years of Perfect Magic, when we had our shop in the basement of our home on Kent, we had a lot of escape effects on hand. Hand Shackles, Foot Shackles, Neck To Hand Shackles, Handcuffs, Thumbcuffs, Strait Jackets, all kinds of interesting stuff. Zanadu stuff, I think.

The escapes were on the wall opposite the counter on which the cash register sat and where we usually were when there were customers present. We kept the keys to the locks and escapes in the cash register.

One day, back then (1977), Hank Morehouse,  (See photos below), called and said he heard we were opening a magic shop and he would come to Montreal to do a lecture for us if we wanted. We thought it would be a great opportunity to get the magic community together and accepted the offer and rented a lecture room in one of the Montreal hotels and had a terrific time.

The only thing was that we were open on Saturdays then and couldn’t get word out to everyone that we would be closed. My eldest daughter who was about 18 at the time said she would stay in the store while we were at the lecture. Problem solved.

But another problem surfaced. While she was minding the store a customer came in and was interested in the escapes. His back was to her but she could see him handling the different items and she noticed he was there for an unusually long time.

Can I help you? She asked.

He turned he head around but kept his back to her (one of those magic tricks, I guess) and said he tried on something but he couldn’t get out of it.

Oh, don’t worry about that. Come here. We have the keys. He turned around sheepishly with his hands locked together and my daughter opened the cash register for the key. Only there were no keys. There were no cell phones then either and she didn’t know where the lecture was taking place.

She searched high and low, while the poor fellow sweated and finally she found the keys and everyone lived happily ever after. I don’t even remember who it was. If you’re the one…fess up! We’d love to hear your side of it!

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