Getting ready for New Year’s Eve after dinner show.  Last show of 2019.  What a year – what a great ride!!



How to turn your MISTAKES into SOLUTIONS, almost like magic!

Questions that always come up once someone discovers my magical background are, “Did you ever have a trick go wrong? What did you do about it?”

Magicians know a lot about making mistakes. We have to, because mistakes and magic do NOT go well together.

Think about it. The “art of magic’ is the only entertainment forum that is uniquely damaged by errors and mistakes. It simply is too specific a performance medium.

A dancer could miss a step and the routine would still work. A comedian’s timing could be off and yet the joke could still be funny. A skater can make an error and the routine still a crowd pleaser. A speaker can mess up a line and it’s still a great oration. A singer can even go off key and the song still a hit.

However, with a trick or illusion if you make a mistake – the magic simply stops – the magic does not happen! It’s the very nature of our business. The overall illusion is destroyed, or even worse the secret revealed. Talk about pressure!! It may sound harsh but it is true. So in order to help limit the amount of drastic mistakes made, we have developed the magician’s performance rule #2.

The rule is simply this, “We know the game plan – the audience does not. We know what is supposed to occur and when, but we never reveal this until after it has been successfully achieved.” 

Thus if something starts to go wrong there is a strong chance we can detect it long before it becomes visible to the audience and make appropriate changes before the mistake becomes too apparent.

This is not to say that the overall effect does not look or feel slightly off. The end result is that the actual illusion is not blown and we usually can get back in sync with the rest of the performance. And most importantly, the audience forgets about what did not happen. In some cases the changes may even seem like brainstorms and actually work out for the better.

This is what has been called by the entertainment industry as “adlibbing” or “punting”; and contrary to what it may initially sound like, it is actually a carefully thought out and studied process. It has to be our very survival depends upon it!

Now wouldn’t it be beneficial if YOU HAD A TRICK like this that you could use when something starts to go wrong? Believe it or not most of you already do, you just may not be applying it the same way a magician does, day in and day out – one performance after another.

So how does one develop this knack, apply it to their vocation and get good at it? It’s simply a matter of analyzing what YOU do as a show or a performance model.

Start by getting a clear picture of what you want to have happen, and then work backwards to achieve it. Study all the elements that have to go together and how, and then REALLY look at what might or could go wrong in the process. Then simply develop “outs” that you can effectively use at any given point to help alleviate any mistakes.

These “outs” are carefully chosen bits and little modules that are relevant to what you do. They have been developed to the point that you can go to these at a moments notice.

This way you can relax and go on auto pilot if need be. You continue to present while your mind simultaneously searches for the answer to put you back on track. And best of all, when carefully applied, your audience never knows what happened.

The same applies for a sales, marketing or presentation situation whether to a group or one on one. Carefully plan in advance what you want to have happen, and then develop your own “ad lib’s” or “outs”. Really know your three most important presentation aspects – the close – the opening – what builds in the middle, and then develop these interconnected lifesavers.

Now obviously no one is ever going to be able to plan in advance for all contingencies; but the better prepared you are the greater the chance you won’t need to use them.

It starts with knowing your material inside out and really taking the time to develop a performance module (regardless of whether you think of your presentation is a show or not) that you want to have happen.

Great entertainers, speakers, executives, meeting planners, educators, politicians and service people do this all the time. They have their presentations planned well in advance and can move around within their structure to accommodate any changes that come up – AND still have these “ad lib’s” and “punts” in place when needed.

When you put enough of these contingencies into place and develop your performance module to this degree – you come off looking like a magician, or maybe the “super professional” you really are. You are prepared for almost any problems that may come up. You make problems go away! You can make magic happen!!

Remember Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own lives and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!!

PS: I have to go memorize my adlibs for tomorrow!

“abraCANADAbra” It’s March Break!

AbraCANADAbra – my Canadian theme 150 birthday magic show is on the move for March break.
March 14 Bayfield Mall in Barrie, March 15 Fairview Mall Kitchener, March 16 Eastgate Square Hamilton, and March 17 Meadowvale Town Centre in Mississauga! Come down and check out these free shows!
Or consider booking us for your next special event…

Lucky Friday The 13th?


Today being Friday the 13th, a date and number typically considered “unlucky” by many, I decided to add a different “magical” spin to the occasion.

Success and luck, both operate under the magician’s rule for making magic happen. “Real Magic is nothing more than coming up with simple, effective solutions to complicated problems, and then doing something about it!”

Knowing what it is you want, figuring out how to get it, taking action, seeing if the action is working, and taking more action. In fact I often like to use my SUCCESS acronym – Strategies – Under – Constructive – Change – Equals – Systematic – Success.

And while this concept is easy to understand, it is not always easy to do. In this regard I have put together a list of 13 tools that have helped me in my quests. I claim no originality for these ideas, for everything I have learned has been passed down to me from others.

This list represents some quick and simple observations on how to make this “successful and lucky” magic happen in our own life and the lives of others.

1 – Remember every problem contains and suggests its own solution. Develop a knack for seeing problems for what they really are – roadmaps to luck and life.

2 – In the race of life it is not how often we fall, but how often and how fast we get back up. Yes we all make mistakes, but the real trick is to get back on your quest as soon as possible, and to keep going.

3 – It takes negative energy to frown and positive energy to smile – so smile and smile often. Bottom line “smiling” reduces stress, uses less energy, and makes you look and feel better. And it is contagious, so pass it on.

4 – Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help or to ask for what you want. Anything is possible if you dare to ask.

5 – Success is a journey, not a destination. Reward achievements, but then get up and go after your next success. Lady luck will only embrace a moving target.

6 – When you lose – don’t lose the lesson. They say the difference between a “master” and a “beginner” is that the master has made many more mistakes, but has also learned from them. Become your own master of life’s lessons.

7 – Make “someday” – today. Don’t wait 20 years to laugh at something that went wrong or achieve what seems a far off goal. Dare something worthy today!

8 – Strive to become a person of value, not worth. Remember that in life the more you give – the more you will receive.

9 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Strive to really listen and understand another’s point of view, then seek to have your point understood from their frame of reference. Mastering this skill alone can move mountains.

10 – Every day above ground is a great day. In life everything, EVERYTHING can be replaced except time. Make the most of your time while in this world!

11 – Never, ever be afraid to try something new. Only when we try something new can we really experience the opportunity of growth. What new thing can you try today?

12 – Live a life of honour, love and respect. You not only will positively influence others to do the same. You will also be able to look back on your life in later years and really enjoy it a second time around.

13 – Remember to believe in MAGIC! That anything you can imagine can be achieved. You only need to want to make it happen badly enough.

Well there you have it, 13 thoughts on how to live a life of luck and success. Put them to work and who knows what “magic” you can create.

Remember Real Magic is nothing more than coming up with simple, effective solutions to complicated problems, and then doing something about it! But Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!

PS: I hope some of these techniques will be as lucky and successful for you as they have been for me!



Well the 2016 Christmas season is winding down for shows – only a few small ones left.

To all my clients and friends thanks so much for booking my shows. Whether it was small or large, adult, kids or family, corporate or private – they were all a blast.

However a large part of my Christmas magic is being able to help those organizations that do remarkable work in helping others . Each year I do many of these special engagements between my regular gigs (would like to do more if I could).

One of my favorite is helping the Rotary Clubs of Streetsville and Mississauga West with their annual Easter Seals Christmas party. I think this is my fifteenth year helping out (and I don’t even belong to Rotary). But this picture explains why.

Putting joy in hearts is one of the greatest thrills I share with my magic. Thanks for the opportunity. Here’s to next year!! Merry Christmas to one and all!

The Other Houdini?


The Magical Power Of Belief!

If you are, or have ever been a pet owner, you know there is a special almost magical bond that develops in this kind of relationship. Such was the case with our dog “Houdini”.

At first glance, our lovable puppy seemed to be just like any other dog; affectionate, playful and carefree. However, as time and experience quickly marched on, a most uncanny “psychic” ability started to develop.

We acquired our Lhasa Apso “Houdini” as our older dog approached 16 in human years. The concept was that a puppy would breathe new life into our aging old friend and make the inevitable life expectancy transition easier to handle. In reality, it did even more.

And contrary to popular belief, it was not I who gave Houdini his name, it was his breeder. It seems the lady had been calling him “Harry”, and when she found out my profession pleaded with us to name him “Houdini”. A name, which I might add, he’s lived up to many times.

In fact, the first night he stayed over at the Vet’s, he escaped from his cage three times!! However, all these escapades could not prepare us for the magic that was to follow.

You see “Houdini” has developed a magical, almost psychic ability to open doors. Now before you think me mad, please hear me out.

Houdini can open a door by concentrating on it. How does he do it? He believes it will happen!!

When Houdini wants to go outside, he does not bark, scratch or draw attention to it like most dogs. He actually does the opposite.

Houdini simply stands in the room and stares at the door. Regardless if there is anyone around or not, he just stands there silently transfixed, staring trance like at the door.

If you come in and ask him “want to go outside (?)”; there is no response. Houdini just stands there and concentrates even harder on the door. He does this to the point where someone (regardless of where you are in the house) will actually feel strangely compelled to go to the door, open it and let him out!! And time is not a factor.

He will stand there for as long as it takes. It is almost as if Houdini is mentally visualizing the door opening, his going through it, and then mentally projecting his image out into the world.

I can see my old Psychology Professors shaking their heads over this one, and yes, I do know better. Animals such as Houdini do not have “psychic powers” or “mental reasoning abilities” or even “a mind as we know it.”

However, as someone who has studied animal conditioning, behavioral sciences and personally trained dozens of animals from doves to Bengal tigers I can tell you this; it looks like something magical is happening here.

Houdini may not be aware of it but he is actively demonstrating some of the key behaviors that anyone who has achieved “what at first seems impossible” knows. This knowledge is the real secret to creating “Real Magic”!

1) Know what it is you want to have happen. Be very clear about your end result and actually visualize it happening.

2) Believe that it will happen. There are no if, ands or buts; this will become a reality.

3) Be committed to making it happen, no matter what. Get prepared to do whatever it takes and for as long as it will take. Remember there are no unrealistic goals, just unrealistic time lines.

4) Do it, make it happen. Elicit whatever skills and help you need to turn your goals into a reality.

Yes, I know there are those who will say that Houdini’s story is dribble; that this whole door thing is just coincidence, fantasy or a dog gone, self fulfilling prophecy. To others its just fun to imagine and think about.

All I know is that there is magic in believing no matter who you are, and we are not reminded enough about this!

Please keep in mind that almost everything we take for granted today, was at one time impossible. Also, remember to look for the magic in the simplest things; it’s just waiting to be discovered. Dare to dream, smile and make magic happen! Create your own magic!

Remember Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!!

One Magical Time In La La Land!


The Magic Castle Here We Come…

My wife and I took a couple of weeks off in September to tour the California coast and to hook up with our daughter Jacqueline, who is attending OTIS University in Los Angeles.  And during this time we spent a couple of very magical days in Hollywood.


It started off with a visit to Hollywood Blvd where something truly unexpected happened.   As I came out of the LALA Land store and stopped on the corner, there beneath my feet was quite a surprise.  Amazingly by chance (or was it?) I was standing on “Houdini’s Star” on the Hollywood walk of fame.


Later that night Suzanne and I had the chance to visit the world famous “Magic Castle”.  Imagine a private members club just for magicians and celebrities – what an amazing evening.  Got to see some old friends and make some new ones.  Here we are inside the waiting area.  Once you are checked in you say a secret magic word and the bookcases open to allow you entrance into the Magic Castle!  No cameras allowed from this point on.


The next day the magic continued with a visit to Warner Brothers studio.  What an amazing tour of TV and Movie Magic – even got to visit the Bat Cave and see all of the Batmobiles up close (that’s Jacqueline under the Bat Signal),


and discover how Harry Potter rides a broom.


All in all a very magical trip!  Can’t wait to go again!




“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.”

The end of August, beginning of September always holds a special place in my heart.  It’s a magical time of rebirth, celebration and the excitement of future adventures.

Firstly, starting on August 17th and running through to September 5th, it contains the birthdays of my wife Suzanne, our daughter Jacqueline, and myself.  A definite time to celebrate and appreciate all that we have.

It also signals the return to school.

And having a spouse (very recently retired) who’s whole career was in the educational sector, as well as our daughter who is into her next level of education (University in Toronto and LA), it signals a very special, emotional response from us all.  A “childlike” excitement of what the future holds.

But more importantly it serves as a cue to myself that there are some very basic teachings we have to remind ourselves of time and time again.  We innately know these lessons, but sometimes we need to revisit them.

In this regard I think Robert Fulghum said it best…

“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.”

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.

Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap.

Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

(© Robert Fulghum, 1990.  Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7. )

WOW!  Let’s face it – this really says it all.  When we embrace, and put into action, these simple lessons what a magical difference we make in ourselves and the world.

As we move into a new school year please remember the “Magic” that special lessons like these – and more importantly the difference that YOU – can make!  It can be REAL MAGIC!

After all, Real Magic is nothing more than coming up with simple, effective solutions to complicated problems, and then doing something about it!  But Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!

PS: My BAND TOGETHER – No Bullies Allowed is a great way to reinforce these important messages.  For more information on how this can happen please CLICK HERE.

PPS:  Have a great time in school this year!


Canadian’s Making The Impossible Possible!


Revealing some Magic Secrets behind these, and many other, Canadian Credited Inventions.

There are hundreds of great inventions from all over the world, however in honour of Canada Day I wanted to explore the magic behind some of our own inventions.

If you were to ask any Canadian to name something invented in Canada, the more common answers you most likely would get are Insulin (Banting and Best), the Telephone (Bell) and the Robertson screw (Robertson).  In reality there many more, such as those listed in my title.

The Light Bulb, although credited to Edison, was actually first patented by Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans in Canada in 1874 two years prior to a patent being granted to Thomas Edison.  Edison later purchased this Canadian discovery when he was making his original investigations and before he obtained his own patents.

Five-Pin Bowling was invented in 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto, Ontario, at his Toronto Bowling Club.  It was created in response to customers who complained that the ten-pin game was too strenuous and took too long to play. He cut five ten-pins down to about 75% of their size, and used hand-sized hard rubber balls, thus inventing the game of five-pin bowling.

Instant Mashed Potatoes was invented by the Canadian scientist Edward Asselbergs in 1962.  Although the mashing of a potato probably dates from antiquity, the industrial method of “preparation of dehydrated cooked mashed potatoes” was not created and patented until 1962 by Asselberg.

The list goes on and on:  the Canadarm, Electron Microscope, Wonderbra, Basketball, Superman, the Paint Roller, Bloody Caesar, the Pacemaker, IMAX, and the BlackBerry, just to mention a few more. For a more complete list of Canadian inventions visit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_inventions

However as diverse as all these inventions are, the systems behind their creations remain quite similar (and not just Canadian).

SOLVE A PROBLEM!  The most successful inventions and innovations BEGIN by someone having a desire to “solve a problem”.  There is a need that already exists (whether commonly known or not) for something that solves a problem or advances our way of life.  And the greater the problem the easier to fuel the next step, passion!

PASSION!  Once you discover that something needs to exist to solve this problem, and YOU realize you can do this, a fire is born.  This fire becomes a burning passion!  An itch that cannot be scratched enough until this problem is solved – no matter what it takes!  You need to constantly feed this passion so seek out those who can help you do this and ignore the naysayer.

NEVER GIVE UP!  This in many cases is actually the hardest step – doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal, for as long as it takes.  In reality it can be easier said than done; because no matter happens you have to keep moving toward you goal!  The magic word here is “sacrifice” – how much are you willing to give up to do what needs to be done?

As a life long “magical student” I have become quite attuned to these “simple steps” that when employed correctly can produce truly magical results.  These are powerful results that can benefit not only our own lives, but the world at large.

So what is the take away?  Are there some basic steps that just might help us create our own magic?

Life is about the moment!   If something ‘sparks” a great idea in you – act on it – NOW!  .

Hang around positive people who will support YOU!  If you want to move forward you will need help from those that will build you up – not knock you down.

Be passionate! Sorry, life is over way too soon – go for it NOW!

Never quit.  As the old saying goes (but hey its true), when life gives you lemons make lemonade – or better yet a “new style” lemonade stand.   Keep going and always look for a better way to help others.

That’s how we make Magic happen!

Remember Real Magic is nothing more than coming up with simple, effective solutions to complicated problems, and then doing something about it!

But Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!

PS:  My program THINK LIKE A MAGICIAN How to create a “making the impossible, possible” FOCUS shows students exactly how to do this.