New Ring 170 President, Michael Matson for 2018

Ring Report Ring #170 “The Bev Bergeron Ring” SAM Assembly #99

January 2018  Meeting

 Mike Matson, our new Ring President  for 2018 opened the January meeting. Mike is an active fulltime professional. We had 30 people present.  After a brief introduction, our special guest lecturer, Michael Eaton, was introduced. Michael now lives in the Orlando area but also lived in Kentucky. A magic friend made the trip to Orlando just to see Michael’s lecture. Eaton had spent a lot of time in Orlando, a few years back, doing crowd magic for The Orlando Magic NBA Basketball team.

Michael opened with some great sponge ball magic. Several moves were baffling such as his retention vanish technique and an amazing “transfer move” using a heel clip so that one ball becomes two.  He followed up with a “3 Coins Across” effect and again clever moves such as the “French Pop” as opposed to the French Drop.   He showed some simple , yet effective way of using a Sharpie for adding a wax blob to a card for the “Card on the Ceiling” effect.

More card effects continued, with a 4 ace production, his version of “The Gathering” and a clever “Card in Mouth” using a double short card.

He concluded with an Anniversary Waltz type effect called “Opposites Attack”.

His lecture was well appreciated and recommended.

Dennis Phillips.





Dennis Deliberations … Ring # 170

“The Bev Bergeron Ring”

February 2018

“O tempora o mores”


Congratulations to our new Ring president, Michael Matson, and all our board members.

A special thanks to Craig Schwarz for his many terms as Ring President. That job is not easy and requires lots of work and social skills. He will continue on with us and generously lend us his time and talents.

I am honored again to be your humble but verbose scribe for the Ring for 2018.

As many of you know, journalism and communications has been a vital component of my 70 years on earth.

During my 5 year sojourn to Virginia (2009-2014) after 10 years as Ring Secretary here, I assumed the same duties at Ring 320 in Staunton, Va.

And then on my return in 2014, you trusted me again with the duties here at Ring 170.

I have worked in print journalism ( was a Star Letter Writer for The Orlando Sentinel) as well as working in TV and radio broadcasting . My major job during my recent time in Virginia was as a radio news anchor.























Here we go again…

David Copperfield accused of drugging, assaulting model when she was 17






On Wednesday, David Copperfield preemptively released a statement saying he supports the Me Too movement but cautioned against rushing to judgment about false allegations.

Shortly after, a new, decades-old sexual assault claim broke against the famed illusionist.

According to The Wrap, aspiring model Brittney Lewis, then 17, was drugged and sexually assaulted by Copperfield in 1988.

The alleged assault happened after she competed in a modeling contest in which Copperfield was a judge, The Wrap reports.

Copperfield, then 32, invited her to a show in California and later poured something into her drink in a bar. Lewis says she blacked out, but remembers him taking off her clothing and performing sexual acts on her in a hotel room.

Lewis’ story was corroborated by The Wrap with her grandmother, best friend from high school, husband and ex-husband. Lewis said she reported her claims to the FBI in 2007 and is not seeking a financial settlement.

A representative for Copperfield had no comment, but earlier Wednesday the 61-year-old illusionist posted a long statement to Twitter, calling the Me Too movement “crucial and long overdue. We all want people who feel they’ve been victims of sexual misconduct to be empowered, and as a rule we should listen, so more will feel comfortable coming forward.  It’s important.”

We have not heard from Chris Kenner (Copperfield’s head producer-writer), but I would guess that Copperfield’s “Panty Exchange” Trick is no longer in his show. Seriously, he used to do the trick! It was never one of my favorites.



The late Fantasio (born Ricardo Francisco Roucau in Argentina in 1936) said that he got the idea for his plastic candles from the “material”, (not the basic metal coil method that Walsh and others used)  from the old roll up plastic dividers they used years ago to stack 6 packs of soft drinks in grocery stores. As a row of drinks was sold the plastic spooled back. He tracked down the manufacturer of the racks and started making vanishing candles.

When I was a kid, I made my vanishing candles out of adding-machine paper and just taped a white birthday candle on top. A sprinkle of talcum powder helped it close fast.  I even used to do a Moebius Strip “Afghan Bands” Paper Cutting in the same show and no one was the wiser.

I was told that the original idea of a collapsing pole using a paper coil came from the Chinese. You can still buy it at toy counters such as at Cracker Barrel and it’s called a “Chinese Yoyo”, It has a short stick in it so you flip it open and it recoils.

Here is some engineering information on metal and plastic coils:

I was also told that Russ Walsh originally used the same high carbon steel that Gillette used to stamp out their safety razor blades.   Not to get too technical, but there is a thing in metallurgy engineering called the “Rockwell Hardness Scale”

and maintaining that and tempering the spring in the steel is a process that I won’t bother to bore you with.  Heating ferric metal anneals it.

I spent lots of time in “steel country” around Pittsburgh and could rattled on for hours about metallurgy. Jack Gwynn also worked in a steel  mill in Bradford, Pa.  near Pittsburgh.

I also dealt with plastic molding and fabrication ( as Bev’s son did) when I had my costume manufacturing business.  I relied on Rohm and Hass for plastic supplies ( now a part of Dow Chemical) and had them provide my molding sheets which made to my percentage specs for flexibility/hardness and memory (ABS)


The first guy says tricks on YouTube are going to ruin magic, then the second guy says it’s nothing to worry about. ( I love the coin penetration through the cup…).

I do not believe that any exposure hurts magic.   Anyone with an internet connection can always find out how tricks work.  At least enough to do magic if they want.  Books, Videos, etc. You can buy any illusion plans from Michelle Osborne(Paul’s Widow) and many other outlets.

Sure… You Tube makes it easy to instantly Google the secrets. But the vast majority of people simply do not care.  They know it is a trick, enjoy it and move on.  It is like Special Effects in a Movie. Some zealots want to know all the secrets of Movie Magic.

If anything, the ease of learning magic builds more hobbyists and today that means walk-around and close up.  That seems to be a growing area, especially with kids.  Prop and Stage magic is all but dead.

Magic appeals to a certain class of people… It will never be mass appeal. Not even Copperfield ,Henning, Angel and Blaine were ever totally respected mass entertainment stars.  No one would ridicule a singing star like they did all four of these people from the beginning!

There is something bizarre about magic anyway. Not everyone cares.

I learned at age 20 to never tell a girl , who I wanted to go out with , that I was a magician/ ventriloquist/radio DJ.     My wife ,of 46 years, was  a kindergarten teacher. She  did know that I was a Radio DJ on an EZ listening music station and on a TV weatherman when I first met her.  That was impossible to hide in a small town in 1971 with only two TV stations.

Only after a couple of dates  did I volunteer the information that I was a kid’s magician and did ventriloquism.  Her first response was, ” You will have to come to my school and do a show!”  Perhaps never had a magic show been so vital to a personal relationship.   After the show, with all the hooting and hollering (” turn it around”)  and my silly jokes, her fellow female kindergarten teachers said, “Keep him! He’s a winner”.      Probably, I would have never gotten to first base with her, if she has not been an elementary school teacher.

Time and time again, magic has been exposed.  Every major illusion method has been shown on  FOX TV and rerun on  the 30 or so, “Masked Magician” programs. Today 25 years later they still can be down loaded on You Tube.   Has that killed illusion shows?  No. It isn’t the “exposure” that killed illusion shows, it is the lack of venues, the increase of digital special effects and the competition for eyes on  social media and the Internet.

Every new technology goes to excess and is very experimental at first. The internet is still in its infancy.

I think the novelty will wear off and new technological (point to point private) will become more of the norm.

The reason will be cost of bandwidth. Already the US is moving away from Net Neutrality and that will limit a lot of free You Tube.

The real change will be where knowledge is so ubiquitous that “no one will care”.  Magical entertainment will transition into something where only the unique and talented and get an audience. So all the magicians with just boxes, glitzy assistants and smoke and lights will go away.. All that was a late 20th Century fad anyway.  It was built on the dying days of network TV and the excess consumer cash , prior to the Great Recession, that allowed middle class families to go to Las Vegas and sail on Cruise ships as well as see anything of cable TV.

I am not hopeful that those economic situations will return to the Americas, if ever. The United States is headed into a new Feudalism  (Few Rich owners and many poor working peasants) all maintained by a Neo- Superstitious cultural mindset and a coming succession of failed political Messiahs.   Pessimistically, we could just wallow along for centuries this way until we are drowned in sea-level rise or nuclear fire. Or we could wise up and try to build a global Middle Class of consumers.

I think that there will always be a place for magic. It will probably return formally as a “wealthy” person’s entertainment. The poor will muddle along with folk street-corner close up tricks and whatever they can get on television outlets.

The Internet effect should be the last thing magicians worry about…

Dennis Phillips



This entry was posted in Monthly Newsletter. Bookmark the permalink.