Category Archives: Wim Vermeys

Pavel

When someone says “Magician” we conjure up an image of sorts. You might think of one image. I would think Dante, Houdini, Blackstone …..and the like. A little goatee, a top hat…all the regular things associated with magicians. Pavel to me was such an ordinary guy, a good natured brotherly type with no airs about him. If you didn’t know him and someone asked you what they thought he did for a living, I’m sure magician would be last on the list. And yet….he was an extraordinary magician.

He had such a casual air about him and then he’d knock the socks off you. He came to Magie Montreal, the annual Magic Convention produced by Phil Matlin of Perfect Magic and Wim Vermeys of Mephisto Canada in 1991. He was a hit. We were excited to have him. It was the first time I saw him perform and his Walking Knot blew me away. I can’t believe it was 20 years ago. I see it in my mind’s eye as though it were yesterday. Sadly, he died a few weeks ago. We had just contacted him a few weeks before his death and purchased some Walking Knots. He seemed fine. It was a big loss. Going through the photos from Magie Montreal’s past, I came across these and thought you might enjoy them as much as I did.

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Filed under Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin, Wim Vermeys

Women In Magic

How many full time magicians in the world would you think  are women? According to Dennis Regling’s  article on Bella on line, the answer is about 50. I’m not sure when that article was written but it is a very small percentage.

The tricky word is full time. I know that some  male professional magicians sometimes have a day job as well. So I will define the female magicians as professional magicians as I don’t know if they have other occupations or not. We had a few women magicians at Magie Montreal, the Montreal Magic Convention run by Phil Matlin and Wim Vermeys for 19 years, and they were awesome. (the women as well as the conventions)! I am referring only to women that had their own act, close-up show or lecture.  Not that I am taking anything away from magicians’ assistants or magic teams, most of whom are excellent in their own right, but that will be in another blog. The dates below are approximate.

1981 Frances Marshall, then owner of Magic Inc.  lectured.

Shelley Carroll perform at Magic Montreal twice, in 1985 and  in 1991. Shelley Carroll and Derek Dingle were partners for 25 years. He performed close up and she had a stage act. Unfortunately Derek passed away in 2004. In the 70’s they founded The Magic Agency which is now being run by Shelley.

In 1986 Lucy Smalley performed on our stage. She was a professional manipulator taught by Neil Foster and was the first woman to win Abbott’s Magic Contest. I don’t think she is performing any more.

In 1988 June Horowitz, President of S.A.M.  (Society of American Magicians) who was being honored at Magic Montreal performed close-up.

In 1994 we had 2 women, Juliana Chen and Karla Baumgardner. Karla perfomed another year as well . Both are still performing as far as I know. Karla came into the Magic Shop not long ago. I am embarassed to say I cannot find the photos of Juliana Chen but click on the link. I had many and I can see them in my mind as she did her fabulous card production and card manipulation act and when I find them I will post them. They must be with the photo of Randi and Dr. Joe Schwarcz which is also missing.

In 1997 Lupe from Las Vegas performed close up.

There are others, however, who I know do this full time. They come into the shop, and have been coming in for years. Some of these ladies combine it with clowning and do face-painting. They are very professional and are busy. There are more young girls interested in magic as well, so guys, watch out. Times, they are a changing!

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Filed under Bill Zavis, Juliana Chen, Magic, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Wim Vermeys

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

DRAGGED SCREAMING AND KICKING INTO THE 21ST CENTURY!

It doesn’t seem like 34 years, but that’s when PERFECT MAGIC opened its doors.

Life was simpler then. We thought it was a big deal when we bought an electric typewriter. I can hear some of you asking, “What’s a typewriter?”

Now we have 6 computers; three at home and three in the office. Phil’s okay with them. He convinced me that an iMac would make his work so much easier. I’m still learning how to use the telephones. They were much simpler then too.

For you youngsters who were born with a mouse in your hand, you will have to picture a world without computers, without DVD’s, without Video tapes, Facebook, or Twitter, and all those other gadgets you have attached to your ears. Back then an apple was something you ate, and if you had a mouse you’d get an exterminator.

If you wanted to know what was new in magic, you went to the magic shop or magic conventions, or bought MAGIC MAGAZINE , or the GENII or sent for catalogs, which were made out of paper – period. If you wanted more than a magic trick you bought books and read. If you were really serious you might even join the local branch of an international magic organization, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) or the Society of American Magicians (SAM) The Canadian Association of Magicians (CAM) and their magazine Northern Peaks wasn’t born yet. Membership to either one entitled you to their monthly magazine which also provided magic tricks, news, etc.

From time to time famous magicians would come to town and give lectures. I remember Dai Vernon lecturing at the Mount Royal Hotel when it was on Peel St.

Phil and Dai Vernon at the Passport to Magic in Toronto

People would come into the store and ask what’s new? We’d demo a trick and if they liked it, fine, if not… on to something else. We knew each customer, what they liked, what they were capable of, and would guide them accordingly.

Those days are over! Now if a customer sees something on YouTube and if it’s not on our website, they email us or phone and ask if we can get it for them. Usually we can. There’s a whole world to choose from. A few weeks ago a customer wanted the book “Handcrafted Card Magic” by Denis Behr. After many phone calls it seemed that the only way to get it was from Denis himself, who lives in Germany. So we did. So instead of us going out and deciding what is great, we let you, the customer, do it. We let you know what’s there, but in end, you’re the boss!.

Sid Lorraine, his wife Rene, Phil, “Magic Tom” Auburn and Carl Cloutier. 

What we did have was Magic Conventions! 19 years Wim Vermeys and Phil Matlin and wives worked year round to make sure you had the best entertainers of the day. David Acer, in About Perfect Magic (see first paragraph above) talks about the first Magie Montréal we held on the Site of Expo 67. Were you there?

From left, Wim Vermeys, Gary Ouellet, Romaine Phil, and Hiawatha

I’ve posted some photos of the early days which may bring back some memories. Enjoy! Can you name all the people? If you have special memories of those days we’d love to hear about it. If you want more photos let me know.

And the winners are ……..

Dealer’s room with Paul Diamond

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Carl Cloutier, Dai Vernon, Gary Ouellet, Hiawatha, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Rene Johnson, Romaine, Sid Lorraine, Wim Vermeys