Flashback to September, 1973

Thanks to former SCM (Society of Canadian Magicians) president Larry Silverman, the missing "lost" issue of the old SCM publication "The Levitator" has finally reappeared as if by magic. Thank you Larry! That issue is of special interest to this site because it appeared immediately after Johnny's September 1973 SCM 75th birthday celebration (which we've already discussed on this site.) That memorable celebration was the brainchild of SCM executives Larry and Norm Wyvern and others. As Larry recently told me, "We wanted to honour Johnny while he was still with us, so he could enjoy it". What spectacular timing, given Johnny was to pass away too soon shortly after in early January 1974. What follows is Norm's moving review of the event followed by my published letter in the same issue and Johnny's reply sent to me afterwards (and published in a subsequent issue).



by Norm Wyvern

(From "The Levitator", October 1973)

We recently had the distinct honour and pleasure of attending the first [SCM] meeting of the new season, at the Inn On The Park [hotel, Toronto], which presented to what was the largest audience I have ever seen in the Wilket Creek Room, the Lecture and 75th Birthday Celebration of John Giordmaine.

Since the room was packed to standing only up against the rear wall, I need not elaborate on the success of the event. We were most fortunate to have had the services of Phil Pitman, who video-taped the entire proceedings, and these treasured records will enter our hoarding of most treasured possessions. This could be the first in the SCM's attempt to record for future generations glimpses of The Greats of our era.

The meeting started off with the showing of the CBC [Television] "Telescope" film of Johnny, which as everyone who has ever seen it will attest, is possibly the finest half-hour of film ever to be produced. If you have not already seen this film don't miss any opportunity you may have to see it in the future. With Johnny's permission perhaps a copy could be made for the SCM's archives.

John's lecture, as always, is extremely informative and most hilarious, with many a tear coming to the eye of those watching. To watch the faces of our younger members as they try desperately to absorb even a small fragment of the greatness which is John Giordmaine warms the heart of the oldsters, who smile and chuckle at the mirth and merriment they have had the privilege of knowing and respecting for many a year. Once can never tire of such talent, love, and the exhausting giving of this man. Thank you John.

Near the end of the afternoon several presentations were made to John, which he accepted with the heaping of praise on those who were endeavouring to pay homage to him. Isn't that typical. How do you cope with a man like that? They are a rare breed, and we are knowingly fortunate to know and love him, and to have the great privilege of having him with us.

As folklore has it, to trick an Irish leprachaun is to inherit his pot of gold. We have been given both gold and tricks by our own Maltese leprachaun. God bless you, John Giordmaine.


Norm Wyvern was the editor of "The Levitator" at the time and, along with Larry Silverman, one of the unsung "movers and shakers" behind the scenes at the old wonderful (and now sadly long defunct) Society of Canadian Magicians. One day they will receive the rightful credit they deserve for their many years of dedication to the Canadian magic scene.

Next, my untitled tribute to Johnny which appeared in the same issue.


The SCM meeting of September 16th [1973] was indeed a day to remember for it marked Johnny Giordmaine's 75th birthday and paid tribute to his life of magic.

Words cannot adequately pay tribute to this outstanding magician; and his constant, endless efforts to entertain, and by doing so help raise magic to the high plateau as an artform that it so rightfully deserves.

His magic is flawless and his entertaining a treat to watch. His humour and warmth come out in a performance, and his audience enjoy watching him as much as he enjoys performing.

Offstage, so to speak, his warmth and kindness do not disappear. He is more than willing to give his time and energy to help others and to share his knowledge and experiences - something often forgotten in this fast-paced world of ours. I know that these qualities are greatly appreciated and admired in a performer.

To be part of the September meeting was a privilege, for it not only honoured a great magician, but a great human-being as well.

John Pellatt/Junior Member, SCM



(LEFT) Johnny's generously-spirited reply appeared in the November or possibly December 1973 issue of the SCM's "Levitator" . He was kind enough to snailmail me the original which I am delighted to finally share with you. The scan cuts off a little bit of the right margin of his original letter but it is an interesting example of one of his letterheads from that era. You can see by this time he was well and truly "The Merry Magician".

It is kind of funny to read my own words from 1973. I can remember feeling how inadequate they were at the time. But they make me realise that this website is definitely a continuation of that appreciation begun so long ago!

Next - we salute the 75th anniversary of Genii, The Conjuror's Magazine (as of December 2012) with an officially authorized reproduction of its sensational May 1964 cover and cover story...