Friday, February 23, 2007

An American in Paris

Running back in my mind to an earlier time, the year 1975. . . I was 10 years old, living in Paris, France. By that time I had spent more than half of my young life in Europe. 2 years in Germany and 4 years in Paris. My father, an I.B.M. executive. . . my mom, mother of 4 kids, trying to keep up with the laundry.

I remember taking magic lessons from J.C. Catiller at the American School of Paris. I must have been 7 or 8. I learned how to make it look like I had a pencil stuck to the ends of my fingers. Strangely at an early age, anyone can tell you. . . I made up my mind, that I wanted to be a magician.

There was this Magic Shop I used to frequent beneath the Champs-Elysées in sort of an underground shopping area with the Metro stops. My father had instilled a good sense of adventure in me and my natural drive for individuality gave me run of one of the most wonderful cities in the world. To be 10 in Paris with a metro card.

I had a friend named Jeff Peppet who was my earliest magic buddy. We put on shows at the school and were probably awful. Occasionally I would perform privately for my family in my bedroom. I would have my table out with my plastic act ready to go. I can recall one such performance where my brother had fiendishly removed all the gimmicks from my tricks. It was during that show that bad comedy magic was thrust on me. . . and I've had a hard time shaking it ever since. . . but I wouldn't trade a day of it.

We lived in the heart of the city on Rue de Berrie off the Champs-Elysées, not two blocks from the Arc de Triomphe. There was a corner news stand that surprisingly carried a Magic magazine. I eagerly awaited each monthly issue. During that time I saved my allowance and did some mail order, with a company called Haines House Of Cards in Norwood, Ohio. Little did I know, that a few years later I would be working behind the counter and demoing at conventions for Haines House of Cards as a 12 year old.

My child hood memories of Europe are full of adventure, happiness and magic. I can't begin to describe how my exposure to so much history, art and rich experiences helped create the person that I am today. I will always be thankful to my father for providing those memories.

Tom Frank's first Magic Magazine

Tom Frank's first Magic Magazine


Anonymous said...

i'm writing this from puerto vallarta, mexico and all the blog instructions are in spanish, so i'm not sure that this note will be attached,,,, but in case it is .....
i'll always be indebted to you Tom for showing me how to live life to the fullest and still alow us to be close and loving partners in live. keep up the good work and be safe, love, dad

PeaceLove said...

Omigod! I remember Magic Magazine quite well. I was living overseas myself and I got the occasional issue before they somehow petered out and stopped showing up (I think they went belly-up).