Tag Archives: Magic

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!


Filed under Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal

Love Those Wild Horses

Speaking of memories, Rick Bronson’, owner of The Comic Strip, and The House Of  Comedy entered the Stage Magic Competition at a Magic Montréal Convention in 1991. My son Michael was sitting in the audience and Rick managed to get him on stage as a volunteer, although he must have used some strong armed method, as I can’t see Michael going up there voluntarily!

Rick Bronson and Mike Matlin

My youngest daughter Julie, who was about 18 the time was sitting beside me watching the show, and she leaned over to me and said, “Michael is such an idiot to go up there. Wild horses couldn’t drag me on stage.”  As I recall Ricky did a great version of the classic Tricky Bottles and Michael was really a good sport about it and seemed to be enjoying himself up there, in spite of the fact that Ricky made him look a little silly.

The next day, when the Gala Show came on, I think I was sitting with Phil, although he was usually back stage controlling traffic, when the Zucchini Brothers came on. We usually had one act that wasn’t magic but was sort of tied in to the genre, like a ventriloquist, or a mind reading act, and in this case a juggling act that was hilarious.

The Zucchini Brothers were on stage doing their thing, when they said they needed a volunteer. Suddenly the house got dark and two spot lights flashed around the audience and stopped at a person. The Zucchinis marched down into the audience to collect the lucky individual that the spotlight hit (not literally). We couldn’t see who it was from our vantage point, but you can imagine my surprise when I saw Julie, yes the same Julie who couldn’t be dragged by wild horses on stage, on stage. One of the brothers put a straw in her mouth, stood her in the middle of the stage. One went to one side of the stage; the other went to the other side, juggling pins in hand .They told her not to worry, the pins would fly past the end of the straw. They told her to stand straight and not to move. They started juggling pins to each other with her in the middle. Suddenly one stopped and said, “You moved. Penalty!”

He took out a scissors and cut the straw. Every few minutes he stopped to cut it shorter.  Everyone laughed except Julie.

After the show she went over to Phil, fuming. “How dare you tell the Zucchini’s that it was okay to get me as a volunteer?”

Phil said. “I never did any such thing. They never spoke to me about it. “

“Well,” she said, “when he came to get me, I told him I wasn’t going and he said, ”Yes you are. It will be fine. I okayed it with your Dad.” She didn’t want to spoil the show so she went.

By the way, Ricky has since gone   on to be a stand up comedian, is a comedy club owner, had his own TV show. I think it was called The Traveler. (Check out his web site).


Filed under Magic, Magie Montreal, Ricky Bronson


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


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