Tag Archives: George Schindler

The Great Unknown – Magician, Clown, Comic & Gentleman

Two posts ago I wrote about Magic Dealers at  Magie Montreal 1988-89 and I received such a touching comment from one of our Convention Goers that I thought I would share it with you. It was from no one else but The Great Unknown. He was certainly known to anyone who attended Magie Montreal. This is what he said and it is a great compliment to us. Thank you Daniel for bringing so much laughter to Magie Montreal.

Boy ob oy did I have fun at the Magie Montreal conventions (as a matter of fact I never attended any other convention)! 99% of the magic equipment I ever owned came from Perfect Magic. The Magie Mtl conventions gave me a real incentive to perfect my art of being ridiculous. When Magie Montreal conventions became something of the past so did my short lived career. Just now I come to realize that I never told Phil & or Evy that THEY were responsible for my ten-year amateur (or, at best, semi-pro) career. To start with I got interested in magic by attending magic shows on Saturdays at the magic shop. Then I heard of the magic conventions and I got carried away. A million thanks to Phil & Evy for starting my fire and then nurishing it. Knowing you was a real treat. I only have sweet memories of this too far away past. Great job Phil & Evy. My very best regards to you.

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Restaurant Magic – Boom Years in Montreal!.

There once was a time, in the 70’s and 80’s and even before and after, that Montreal was a haven for restaurant magicians.  I’d like to name them all, but I don’t know or remember them all. Mark Aronoff, an ex-Montrealer who now lives in Ottawa, helped jog my memory and filled some facts I didn’t know.

I know for sure Magic Tom (Auburn) did walk around magic at the Sheraton downtown for Sunday morning brunch. When George Schindler was in town Phil and I took him to see  Tom and it was a delight. Magic Tom was also a regular at Piazza Tomasso for children’s parties. I remember him  performing at my nephew’s birthday party but I believe that was in the late 60’s. Tom was also a regular every week-end in later years at Grey Rocks in the Laurentians.

Mark filled me in with the following details about himself and some magicians he worked with, etc. I’ll just quote him…

“Hi Evelyn,

Nice speaking with you today. I forgot to give you the name of the restaurant that I worked at before Le Biftheque. That restaurant was Mille Fleurs Restaurant & Reception run by Phil Bloom, it’s gone now but was located at 5011 Buchan Street (near Pare). I did their Sunday Brunch for several months. This is where I met Michael Seltzer, who then hired me for Le Biftheque restaurant for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Later, while working at Le Biftheque, I met the marketing people for Restaurant La Maison Kam Fung and was hired to do their Saturday and Sunday Dim Sum in the mornings. After a few months I brought in Joey Incollingo to take over one of the days at Kam Fung. I guess we should thank Doug Henning for this resurgence of Magic in the 80’s.

Take Care,

Mark”

Joey  Incollingo was also doing magic at St. Hubert Bar-B-Q. Also filling in for Mark Aronoff at the Biftheque was Mehdi, Ted Outerbridge, and Mike Etcovitch. Later Philip and Henry worked at Le Biftheque as well.  Philip was a ventriloquist but also a magician.

In the conversation that he refers to he said that Aladin had a regular Sunday brunch gig at the Sheraton. He had a small stage show and then did walk around magic. Mehdi had a similar set up at the Ramada.

Jonathan Levey worked at Le Tulip Noir and also at the Hotel de la Montagne.

Ted Outerbridge did table hopping at Wings and Things on Sherbrooke St. W and later at Mother Tucker’s.

Mike Etcovitch and Jack Frank did magic for a restaurant on Decarie, near Piazza Tomasso. (Nifties).

Blair Marshall had a weekly gig at the Delta.

Brian Zembic, the Wiz, did magic for Thursdays and was popular with the night crowd.

Michel Corriveau opened a magic Restaurant on  Blvd St. Laurent and Gary Kurtz and a host of other magicians worked there.

Mehdi, Richard Sanders. Patrick Kuffs, and Jonathan Levy also worked at Bourbon Street.

And how could we possibly forget Ronald MacDonald? He was in every week buying balloons and magic? I included a youtube of a Ronald McDonald but not our Ronald McDonald.

I’m sure this is the tip of the iceberg, and some of it may be wrong…so please feel free to correct me and make additions to the list.

Regarding other Canadian cities, I know in Vancouver that  Tony Eng was a regular at  the Japanese Village; Roy Cottee performed at the Japanese village in Ottawa. Jon Charles performed regularly at a restaurant in  Edmonton. And I know Toronto had magicians performing because we were in a restaurant that had one, who wouldn’t perform at our table because he recognized Phil and was intimidated by performing for another magician. He told us that later when we asked why he didn’t come to our table. Our guests were disappointed.

So if you have information about yourself or any other magician you know that worked in a restaurant, I’d love you to share that information with us.

A big thank you to Mark Aronoff, for his help!

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Filed under Magic, Memorablia, Performing, Restaurant Magic

Magicians! Do You Get MUM?

If you’re a member of the Society of American Magicians you automatically get MUM, their magazine with all the reports from the different chapters, as well advertising, tricks that are taught,  featured  artists (magicians), reviews on books, DVD’s and tricks on the market, and magician columnists with advice and stories etc, and all that jazz! Michael Close is the editor and writes a column as well. It carries a great deal of diversity and I’m sure the members look forward to it each month.

As I went through the January 2012 issue, I came across 2 things I would like to share, in case you are not a member of the organization.

George Schindler, an old friend, magician, and Dean of the American Society of Magicians, has a monthly column called the Dean’s Diary. His topic this month was rising cards, more specifically, the Devano Rising Cards.  In the last paragraph of his column he writes that in 1977 he was honored at the magic Circle in London and was chatting with a fellow there who was interested in rising cards. The fellow asked him which he preferred, and George said the Arne Rising Card, the person he was talking to preferred the Devano. They discussed the pros and cons of each, and each was left with their original opinion. As the guy turned to leave, George asked him his name. He laughed and said Mitch Devano.

The other article was about the audience you are performing for. Rod Danilewicz writes a column called Confessions of a Paid Amateur. While he agrees that the magic and presentation are important, the most important part of the equation is sometimes forgotten – the Audience.

He recommends 2 books. The first is In A Class By Himself (which is an older book, but is still available), Jon Racherbaumer’s book about Don Alan. The second is Al Schneider Magic. Rod says that many people get the books and only bother with the tricks contained in them. He says what’s more important is why, where and how he uses them. He says that information alone, without the tricks, is worth the price of the books. Something to think about! If you have those books, take another look. If not, they are still available and will surely improve your performance!

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Magicians Peforming For Magicians

Many years ago we went to a restaurant in Toronto. We were with other people but it was so long ago I can’t remember if it was our children or our friends, not that the two are mutually exclusive, but I know there were other people at the table. It was a restaurant on Adelaide St. and they had a show called “A Little Nite Magic”. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

They had an MC who knew who we were, owner’s of Perfect Magic and the people who put on Magie Montreal every year, (at that time). When he saw us sitting in the audience he visibly gasped but he pulled himself together. The performer who did walk around magic was someone who came to the convention every year. We waited patiently for him to come to our table to do some magic but he never did, although I’m sure he went to every other table. When we finished dinner, Phil went over to him and said ” How come you didn’t do any magic for us?”  His answer. Well, you’re Phil Matlin, aren’t you?”

Another time George Schindler was in town for a show and Phil suggested that they go for brunch at the Sheraton Center downtown, where Magic Tom Auburn did walk around magic every Sunday morning. We knew Tom very well and but this was the first time Tom and George met. Tom knew very well who George Schindler was. He came straight to our table and after the introduction and greetings Tom asked if we would like to see a little magic. I guess this was morning magic as opposed to “nite” magic. We said yes and entertain us he did. He was, as always, very charming and if he was nervous, there was no sign of it. We all thoroughly enjoyed his performance. Of course he didn’t fool us, he didn’t even try, but he sure did entertain us and we greatly appreciated it.

Which brings me to my son Brian, and something he wrote in his blog  this week which I will share with you.

“One of the first times behind the ‘Perfect Magic’ counter at a magic convention I was performing an effect for a customer when two very prominent figures in magic walked up to watch, (Sid Loraine and Frank Garcia).  Suddenly I became a jumble of nerves.  Later Mr. Garcia found me sitting in the lobby and he said to me that I should never be nervous when performing in front of another magician.  “A true magician,” he said,” will always be there to help you. We are after all, a brotherhood.”  I try to remember this bit of wisdom when dealing with people in general.  I’ve got to tell you, I’m not always successful.”

Would you care to share your experiences performing for other magicians? Were you nervous? What was your reaction? When I was a student at McGill, I did a paper on Doctors treating Doctors and Doctors as Patients. I made some fascinating discoveries from those who were willing to share. Maybe we can learn something from this too.

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So What Makes Magic Magic?

In all the posts I’ve written so far, I’ve been writing about people. Magicians. The people who do the magic. What about the magic itself?

So many people have come into our shop and asked. “What is your best trick?” I have to laugh. There is no best trick. There is only a best magician. It’s not what you’ve got. It’s what you do with what you’ve got. With a piece of rope, a set a sponge balls, a few coins, the unmentionable T.T, a tongue and a smile and you’re in business!

This takes me back many years ago. Someone came into the shop and asked how much a really good magician would cost? He wanted someone for a Bar Mitzvah.  We gave him a name and a price but he had never heard of him.  The fellow wasn’t a magician and wasn’t familiar with any of he local magicians. He wanted a big name. It just so happened at that particular time there was a very popular movie playing about a magician.   I asked if he saw it.  He said yes.  Perhaps that’s why he wanted a magician.

Would you like that magician?

You could get him?

Yes.

How much?

We called the magician.

“I  don’t do Bar Mitzvahs” he replied. Name your price. He named it and got it.

When he got to Montreal from New York on the week-end of the event, he came to the shop and it just so happened that the guy who hired him came into the shop at the same time. We introduced them. The guy says, “For what I’m paying you I want boxes! He didn’t have boxes. We said we would lend him some boxes. Phil and the magician drove down to the place where the Bar Mitzvah was being held. This was no place to set up boxes. It was not conducive to a stage show.  The performer called the guy over and explained the situation to him. “Let me do some walk around magic instead. If your guests aren’t satisfied, I’ll do boxes.” He then  walked around  armed with a set of sponge balls in his pocket and mingled with the guests. He blew them away and made sure that every guest saw him.

After he asked the guy if he  still wanted boxes. “Oh, no. Everyone  is so thrilled. Thank you so much…”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you not to buy magic. There are two sides to this coin. I also always say, ” When you do magic, you need either new friends or new tricks.” Usually its easier to get new tricks. My point of course is to make the most out of those tricks that you get. Get a trick, read the instructions. Try it the way its supposed to be done and then, think about it. How can you make that trick your own? There are books  and DVD’s on the subject to help you. George  Schindler has lecture notes and a DVD Both are entitled “Entertainment First.” As my son Brian used to say when he managed our Vancouver shop, a sponge ball is only a sponge ball. It does nothing but lie on the counter. YOU make the magic!

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Father Cyprian

 

Father Cyprian

One of the rewards about being in the magic business is meeting people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet and going to places you wouldn’t ordinarily go to. How would a nice Jewish family in Montreal happen to have a Capuchin -Franciscan monk as a guest at one of their Passover Seders? The very same way that family attended this same Capuchin monk’s 25th Anniversary of his ordination at his seminary in Connecticut. We were friends. We became friends through magic. We meet a lot of people in magic but we don’t always become good friends. We consider Father Cyprian Murray a good friend. We shared a lot of good times together,  a lot of good meals (I still remember that blue cheese salad dressing you recommended) and good wines. But he wasn’t there just for the good times. He helped us when we had personal problems as well. His advice to us was always wise.

We call him Cyp. No disrespect. At an SAM national convention in Tampa we started a movement  to get Father Cyprian to be pope. Twelve CYP for POPE buttons were made and distributed to a select few. These buttons are now collectible if you can get one of us to part with it.

At the above mentioned 25th anniversary celebration Cyp requested that George Schindler be the Master of Ceremonies at the dinner party after the Church service. It seemed to me there were a few hundred people there, monks dressed in their brown robes, family and friends. It was in an auditorium and there was a stage and the floor of the stage was full of presents for Cyp. George got up there and said, Gee, this is just like a Bar Mitzvah. You have a service, you have a meal and you get presents, lots of presents . We only have to wait till we’re 13. You have to wait a little longer. George was at his best and the monks around us were hysterical with laughter.

When Cyp got up to thank George for the tremendous job he did, he also mentioned the fact that he was running for Pope and one of his colleauges at the seminary had asked him why he got George as a manager. Cyp said, “Because I want to be Pope”! so his colleague said, “Yes, but he’s Jewish?” and Cyp said, “But I really want to be Pope”. The monks roared! It was a wonderful celebration and I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was over 25 years ago. We had the good fortune to meet up with Cyp not so long ago at George and Nina Schindler’s 50th Wedding Anniversary and we had a lot of catching up to do.

Fr. Cyprian and Dean George Schindler at Magie Montreal 1990

The Award Presentation. From left - Wim Vermeys, Phil, Richard Sanders, Fr. Cyprian, Mario Choinier, and David Acer

Phil, Fr. Cyprian, and Wim Vermeys

Fr. Cyprian is recognized around the world as an authority on card and close-up magic and often had some explaining to do as he travelled around the world with his collar on, and then having to open his briefcase full of decks of cards for the customs inspectors.  He was the guest of honor at the 11th Annual Convention of Magie Montreal in 1990 produced by Phil Matlin of Perfect Magic and Wim Vermeys. One of the

Front cover of the Magie Montreal 1990 convention.

attendees asked if would would hold a mass  that Sunday morning and he did.

Cyp! Zie gesunt! or as we say Keep Well. Hope it brought back a few wonderful memories.

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

George Schindler – The Dean of The Society Of American Magicians

 

 

Dean George Schindler

Whenever I have a question about anything in magic I ask George. He knows everything. He was one of the first people we met and did business with when we started out about 35 years ago. Phil and I have been friends with Nina and George ever since. We used to make it a point to get together for a week-end every year at a convenient place like Atlantic City or  someplace in New Hampshire or at my son’s home in Port Matlilda, Pennsylvania or at my brother’s farm in Abbottsford,  British Columbia. ( I included photos of the cows  on the farm and that’s me with a broom in my hand as the cows had broken through the electric fence and I was trying to keep them from going on the road while  my brother went to get a pail of oats to lure them back where they belonged.)

Evy keeping the cows at bay.

At the farm. From the left Jim McTier (in the shadow), Nina Schindler, Phil, George Schindler, Len Ellis

Evy's brother's farm in Bristish Columbia

In case we didn’t meet the Schindlers on purpose, believe it or not, we would bump into each other quite by accident on the highway. This happened at least 3 times. Once we were driving and I said “Doesn’t that guy look like George?” Phil looked over and said,”That is George!” We started honking and we both pulled over at the next rest area.

Another time we  stopped somewhere in New Jersey at a gas station. We hardly ever stop at the service areas but Phil was hungry so we stopped for a bite but filled up the car first. Just across from us at the next pump George was getting his car filled up. We all started screaming and George’s gas attendant couldn’t understand what was going on. We just couldn’t believe it! Again! We’ve known each other’s children since they were little. Its been a great relationship. A few years back we went to George and Nina’s 50th wedding anniversary party. We felt honored that we were one of the few magician friends to be invited.

George’s life has been and still is a versatile one in the world of entertainment. He’s been a full time professional magician since 1970. Last week I wrote

about Frank Garcia. George and Frank founded the School for Magicians in New York City in 1973. George did TV commercials and played the magician in Woody Allen’s New York Stories. He has won numerous awards over the years and produced many magic shows. He is proficient in close-up, stage, comedy, ventriloquism, author of many books, including Magic With Cards which he co-authored with Frank Garcia. It was an excellent seller in our shop, by the way. He created several magic effects as well. On top of that he is a magic dealer in New York – Showbiz  Services.

Presentation to the Endowment Fund. From the left - Phil, Stan Tesher, Tony Nielson, George Schindler, Mike Deslauriers, Cynthia Martin,

In 2005 he was named Dean of the American Magicians, by the Society of American Magicians.

When he was President of the SAM (Society of American Magicians), George was presented with $1000.00 cheque for the Magic Endowment Fund of the SAM by the Magic Tom Auburn Montreal Assembly of the SAM at Magie Montreal. Mike Deslauriers was the President and Stan Tesher was Vice-President at the time.

George is well known in Montreal, as he attended and took part in many of our events. We hope to enjoy our friendship for many years to come

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1985 Great year for Magic! Ivano honoured at Magie Montreal!

Sometimes you do something, and quite accidentally it turns into something else altogether. Two weeks ago I wrote about Women in Magic. One of the women was Shelley Carroll. I had several photos of her, but she looked the prettiest to me hanging on the the arm of Ivano, so I used that photo.

The blog wasn’t about Ivano, but if any of you read the comments, there was a touching one from his grandson, who said his grandfather had died when he was 9, but he has wonderful memories of him. The thing that is weird about this is that I already started a blog on the year 1985 which was the year that we dedicated the convention to Ivano, who was our guest of honour that year and who performed at the convention. I was going to mention that in the blog, and continue on with other dealers, as I had started with them in an earlier blog. But the dealers will have to wait. I’m sure Ivano’s grandson will enjoy reading about his grandfather and seeing some photos.

Acton-Vale is a small town in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, Canada, the home of IVANO who wrote a book in 1983 celebrating 50 years as a magician, artist, and photographer.  He became a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) in 1933.

I remember the drive  to the picturesque little town of Acton-Vale to meet him. Jean Prendergast was with us. He was a friend of IVANO’s and made the introductions. Phil asked IVANO to be the guest of honor and to perform at our next Magie Montreal convention. He was delighted by the invitation and we by his acceptance. Phil remembers him showing us his studio and especially some rag paintings. It was an enjoyable afternoon. He gave us a copy of his book which he autographed and drew a little picture of a rabbit. Sweet memories!

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Perfect Magic at the Waldorf in New York

Our very first Magic Convention that we went to as Magic Dealers was in 1978. I may be off by a year either way. It was at the Waldorf and it cost $76.00 a night just to park the car, THEN! The Dean of Magic, George Schindler, can correct me if I’m wrong about the date.

It was exciting and we met lots people, some of whom we remain friends with to this day. Some have passed away. Some are still going strong. Each was or still is a legend in magic.

Here are some photos we took then. How many do you know or are you too young?

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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