• FR
  • Paris

    My French Connection

    It all started when I attended a magic convention in 1971 in Brussels, Belgium, where I lived at the time. The highlight for me was the wonderfully unique and innovative magic of the Dutch magician Flip. We met at two conventions, and a year later, I visited him in Holland. I spent a wonderful evening with him and when I was about to leave, I noticed a beautiful little magic prop and asked him about it. He showed it to me: a tiny box that held three dice. He removed one, made it disappear and it reappeared in the closed box. The prop itself was as fetching as the trick. Flip told me it was made by one Eddy Taytelbaum, in Amsterdam, and gave me his phone number.

    I met Eddy, bought a couple of tricks from him and became totally addicted to his props. I visited him whenever I had some money and over the years I built up a nice little collection (see The Taytelbaum Gallery). During one visit, I told him I was going to Paris and he asked me to deliver some props to the French magician Jean Merlin there. I did, spent an evening in Merlin’s company, and when he saw the kind of magic I did, told me I had to meet this Dominique Duvivier fellow.

    Dominique and I became fast friends. In the week or so I was in Paris, we spent several hours together every evening. Dominique published a small periodical on card magic and published my first piece, “Roll-Over-Kill” (my version of Derek Dingle’s “Roll-Over Aces”). That was in 1974. I also met his daughter Alexandra. She was in a stroller and wasn’t particularly talkative.

    I visited Paris again a year later. Dominique invited me to a magic show at the Olympia, a top Paris theatre. This is where I saw Richiardi perform the Buzz Saw illusion, among other things. We went out afterward with a few of Dominique’s friends and he introduced me to Gaëtan Bloom.

    Over the years, Gaëtan visited Toronto several times and of course, I made a point of spending time with him at every visit. We hit it off more and more every time.

    I hosted a dual lecture by Dominique and Gaëtan in Toronto shortly before 2000. That was the first time I got to chat with Alexandra. She did an online lecture a few years ago after which she took questions and I had the opportunity to chat with her briefly. We connected somewhat, and more so when I visited Paris this year.

    Although I first met Boris Wild at a CAM (Canadian Assoc. of Magicians) convention around the year 2000, we didn’t really get to know each other until the last few years, when I attended several Zoom lectures he gave. I think it’s fair to say that we are now friends.

    Tiffany Allen dropped into one of the Zoom meetings of a Bizarre Magic group on Facebook and we hit it off. I met her in person for the first time when I visited Paris this year. She’s even more charming in person than online. In fact, I can’t think of a more charming couple than Boris and Tiffany.

    It’s very likely that I’ll become more involved with the French magic scene in the not-too-distant future. I’ll keep you posted.

    Image at top: Designed by macrovector / Freepik