Friday, March 30, 2007

Press Release Time!

Philip and Henry show Emily Yeung How to Conjure Up a New Way to Wow Viewers

Toronto, Canada - Fans are still talking about the recent appearance of Philip Murad, renowned professional magician and ventriloquist, on the This Is Emily Yeung Show on Treehouse TV. Philip and his partner in magical comedy, Henry, showed off their skills to six-year-old host Emily Yeung. What makes their act even more unique is the fact that Henry is not only the other namesake for their company- Philip and Henry Productions- but he’s also made of wood. (And ‘Wood’ is, coincidentally, his name)

Henry is Philip’s ventriloquist puppet, and they’ve been together a long time- over 20 years in fact- and are still making appearances. Philip and Henry amazed Emily and viewers with a combination of skilled magic and illusion, as well as hilarious comedy, which is a standard practice in their shows. Emily’s show was the perfect for place for the pair to appear. “Emily Yeung was a brilliant host who allowed us to demonstrate what magic is all about,” said Philip, “I would not hesitate to do something like this again in the future!”

Ironically, Philip could even be doing other such appearances in the future, judging by the overall response to the TV spot. Many loyal fans as well as new clients, both young and old, tuned into the show and loved what they saw. “I did not expect so many people to respond in such a positive way, especially when we heard from so many adults!” exclaimed Philip. The company has also benefited- from an increase in business since the show aired.

He has also taken the skills and love of magic he has built over the years, and started his own business, Philip and Henry Productions. Which provides a variety of magic shows for all types of people, all across North America. “We have a huge ring of Magicians all over North America, ready and willing to perform the best possible magic shows they can for us,” said Philip.

Philip Murad and his team of magicians at Philip and Henry Productions have been putting smiles on people’s faces for over 20 years. The company offers a wide variety of magic shows, for all age groups all across North America. Philip and Henry Productions ensures quality performances, and highly trained magicians, who are passionate, and motivated in their field of work. For more information please visit http://www.philipandhenry.com.

The This Is Emily Yeung show, features six-year-old curious host Emily Yeung, and airs on Treehouse TV and Playhouse Disney. Viewers join Emily as she journeys with a variety of guests such as fireworks experts, farmers, and now, even puppets.

EDIT: You can actually check out a preview of the episode here on the Emily Yeung website.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another Magical Day

Today the office dynamic was a tad bit different- Gina, a former employee of the company, and motivational speaker, came into the office today to pep-talk (and in some cases train) our sales reps. She brought all manner of props and gifts, including a mug for each of the employees, filled with chocolate, and gave everyone a kick-start with her unique enthusiasm.

To pick up the slack, I was answering the phones, which was definitely a change from the norm. Daunting at first, but certainly worth the experience!

For lunch we all stuffed ourselves full of pizza, and had an overall good time.

Photos to come later.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Holy Email, Batman

(Via CBC News)

Yahoo, in an attempt to adequately compete with Google, Microsoft, Lycos and like, will slowly be uncapping the email storage limit on their web-based email system.

Speaking as somebody that has had the same email address for about 10 years, I really wish this development had happened long ago enough for me to have kept all of the memorable emails that I've had to delete over the years.

Well, on the other hand, it's only email. ;)

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Harry Potter Cover Revealed

In an attempt to whet the appetites of crazed Harry Potter fans (like me), publishers have released both the child and adult covers for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, to be released July 21st (see countdown below).

I, for one, can't wait. Will the boy magician, er, WIZARD die in the last book?

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A New Twist on the Houdini story

Two of the places that renowned magician Harry Houdini called home- New York and Appleton- have both just broken the story that relatives of Houdini's widow adamantly oppose the exhumation and are now taking steps against it.

Descendants of Bess Houdini, John and Jeffrey Wood, have openly stated that they believe the exhumation is unnecessary and merely an attempt to boost book sales on the part of the authors.

"The Secret Life of Houdini" poses that Houdini was murdered by a group of psychics, The Spiritualists, due to his continuous debunking of their practices. After reading the book, Houdini's Great Nephew George Hardeen decided that the exhumation would be a good idea.

The paperwork for the exhumation is set either to be filed next week (according to WLNS) or today (according to the Albuquerque Tribune). I'll post a more in depth analysis later.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gorgeous!

The sun is shining, the air is warm, and the season for outdoor fun is nearly upon us. Philip and Henry's mingling magicians will likely have their work cut out for them soon.

When I get home I think I'll grab a book and a lemonade and sit out on my balcony.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

A little more perspective

Here's a much better article about the Houdini exhumation from the Washington Post, that I found via Magic Unlimited. Ironically, it ends on much the same note I did.

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Age is no issue when you've got magic

(Via Google News)

He's four years old, and already he can do magic tricks and play the ukulele- which is more than I can do. ;) his name is Liam Reid and he travels around New Zealand with parents Bill and Mandy, participating in their magic shows.

Apparently, Liam has been willingly been performing magic since he was 22 months old.

I really wish this article had a video attached.

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The Masked Magician will return....in a graphic novel, and possibly even the big screen?

(Via Super Hero Hype)

Remember that guy that enraged fellow magicians by revealing key secrets on prime time television? Well, he's now going to be the subject of a fictionalized graphic novel. That's right, the Masked Magician.

Back in the 90s Nash Entertainment produced Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed, which starred the anonymous 'Masked Magician'. He quickly became the bane of every magician's existence by explaining mysteries of magic to millions of people on television. In the last episode, he was revealed to be well-known illusionist Val Valentino.

Well, now Bruce Nash wants to turn it into a fictionalized graphic novel, in hopes of starting a franchise that could lead to a feature film. Nash describes the story as a 'cross between Darkman and the movie FX', about a magician on the run from the law, who fights crime using his magician skills, in order to redeem himself from his dark past. In doing so, the story would again explain various methods of magic.

The four original specials will re-air on the Fox Reality channel this spring.

Now, am I the only one that finds this to be an odd concept? Will it again 'raise the ire' of magicians everywhere? Is it just riding on the coat-tails of the recent interest in magic in the mainstream media?

Tune in this year. Same blog time, same blog URL!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Russian Villagers paranoid over barcodes

(Via Reuters)

Some residents of the village Bogolyubovo, in Russia, have rejected new passports because they include a bar code. Why? Because the bar code on the passports included 'three sixes' (presumably three sets of six). Some of them also rejected newer pension stubs for the same reason.

Why all this worry? There was talk back in like 2000 that due to the prevalence of magnetic cards for just about everything (Debit, SIN, Health Card etc), that governments would combine them into a single number. This set a number of minds reeling, and many people speculated that it would come down to a single number tattooed on a person's body. Even wilder speculation predicted that the number would be three sets of six-digit numbers, and that it would have to be tattooed on either the wrist or the forehead.

All of this springs from the book of Revelation which says (13:16-18):
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.


I wouldn't consider a passport to be a 'mark' necessarily, but it is such an important document, that one might need to carry it with them wherever they go.

Superstition can be a funny thing, especially in relation to technology, or other things we don't understand. I found a post on Chet's Magical Mysteries from last summer that tackled the issue of Hypnosis and Religion. He points out people are often hesitant to be hypnotized, because of the strange things they've heard about hypnotism.

Magicians, of course, have a responsibility to not abuse this lack of information, and to inform (as much as they can anyway) their participants in such a way as to make them feel comfortable.

This is a round-a-bout way of saying I think perhaps the villagers should have been brought up to date on how barcodes work, and what they've been used for so far in history.

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Houdini's death will not escape speculation

Here's a weird one:

George Hardeen, famous magician Harry Houdini's Great Nephew, is bidding to have his body exhumed, to investigate whether or not Houdini may have been murdered.

Despite the fact that Houdini died of a ruptured appendix, there was no autopsy. Some people believe that his death was caused by a punch to the abdomen (someone challenged him to take blows to the stomach), while others yet again believe it may have been poisoning from a group of psychics he had attempted to debunk.

Personally, I'm not sure what they could gain from exhuming his body at this point. But wouldn't it be funny if the casket was empty?

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Magical Power Outage Adventure Time

So yesterday around lunch time, the power suddenly went out- at first we just sort of sat there, hoping it would come back on, but after about an hour we started to wonder.

Phil had us do some general maintenance around the office while we waited to find out the problem. We had one flashlight- Vince's- which we promptly traded back and forth so we could use the bathrooms (which have no windows).

Phil held a meeting about the status of the company, and gave a compelling impromptu speech about how proud he was of the way things were going. Our co-op student, Etti, wanted to see a magic show, so he ad libbed a little for her benefit.

Eventually we figured out that it was a blown transformer, so we all went home to wait it out.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

What's better than Comedy Magic? Comedy Cooking Magic!

Phil Robinson the "Cooking French Magician" will be appearing on Britain's Got Talent, and showing off his skills for the judges, including the famous Simon Cowell.

I'm trying to picture what exactly it is that he does, and I'm having trouble. But apparently it involves making wine bottles disappear.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Adding some Real Magic- Onstage

Most of us probably know the magic of watching a well-executed musical being performed onstage, but what if that musical involved actual magic?

I ran across an article via Google News today about a Magician that isn't just performing shows, but also teaching high school drama students how to perform them.

Illusionist Rob Lake has been traveling to schools and theater groups across the country, helping them put on a version "Beauty of the Beast" that integrates magic and illusion. Lake enjoys teaching them the concepts, and watching the show come to life, while simultaneously emphasizing the secretive nature of these magical skills.

This is a fascinating mix of performance art that holds the potential to be a great teaching tool-not just in terms of learning an art, but also taking two passions and bringing them together.

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CBC says Build Your Child's Self-Esteem

CBC.ca's Health Tip last week was the various ways in which you can build your child's self-esteem. Of particular interest is this one:

Encourage her to participate in activities that encourage cooperation, rather than competition

(It intrigues me that they used 'her')

One of the things I am bent on exploring here at Philip and Henry is how Magic or training to be a Magician can improve the self-esteem and confidence of a child, in both the short and long term. Magic stands out as being very non-competitive, and a way for a child to gain positive attention.

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The first day of spring

Our weather reports here in Toronto are telling us that tomorrow's temperatures could be anywhere from 11 degrees (that's Celsius, folks) to 17. They can't seem to totally agree, but the general consensus appears to be that we're going to have some beautiful spring weather to look forward to.

Compared to what we usually get, that's pretty good.

In fact, you could almost say it's...magic? ;)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Awww, how cute.

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Magical Moments in the Lives of Children

Kindness works a magic of its own, especially if the one performing it is truly invested in the act itself. I found an interesting article via Google news today.

Basketball coach Flip Saunders from the Detroit Pistons showed off his skills as a magician Monday, as part of the renovation program "Live, Learn and Play Center" at Eton Academy in Birmingham. Eton itself is a private school (kindergarten through high school) for students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD. The Pistons-Palace Foundation renovated four rooms of the school with new learning facilities suited to the students' special needs, and had a number of small festivities to honour the occasion. Saunders did some simple vanishing tricks and spun a basketball on his finger, amazing his young audience.

Check out the article:
http://www.wnba.com/shock/news/learningcenter_070320.html

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Flashback Moment

Of all the videos on the website, I think this one is currently my favourite:

http://www.philipandhenry.com/video_cmm.htm

Check it out!

The Magician in the video is Philip Murad, by the way- our intrepid leader, and namesake.

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The Movie Beat: Magicians trailer

One of the new fads in the movie biz lately seems to be the Magician theme- but hey, we don't mind! I'll be posting reviews, trailers, and hopefully feedback from actual Magicians on how they're enjoying these big-screen representations. Without further adieu, here's our first victim:



A British film by the Director of Copy Cats, Magicians covers the tumultuous friendship of Harry and Karl, two magicians whose partnership goes sour after accidentally beheading their assistant. They embark on a competition, with hilarious, and often disastrous results.

Mitchell & Webb are famous for their shows "That Mitchell and Webb Look" and "Peep Show".

Coming May 2007

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Hi! Welcome to the Philip and Henry Blog!

This is going to be a one-stop zeitgeist on the misadventures of a young writer working at a Magic company that books Magic Shows for Magicians. It's like The Office, meets Harry Potter, meets Enchanted Inc., meets... well, you get the idea.

I'm going to include a lot of goings-on here at the office, the magic shows, as well as stuff about the industry, and anything that happens to catch my interest particularly.

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