CBC Television presents "Telescope"

He's a little elf of a man, with bright eyes, an impish smile, and fingers that can make things evaporate faster than a batch of cookies at a Cub meeting. His younger admirers call him The Magic Man. When he turns up at a party, whether for kings, kids or ordinary mortals, everyone becomes six years old and has a whale of a time, including John Giordmaine. He's one of the best-known, most appealing masters of legerdemain on this continent; in fact, his reputation for magic extends right around the world, for he has made things disappear in more places than the Artful Dodger ever dreamed of - and on the right side of the law.

On Thursday night "Telescope" presents a colour portrait of this lovable, jaunty magician, directed by Colin Smith. Fletcher Markle is host-producer. Giordmaine is shown in his home in Toronto, and amusing youngsters at the Colonade Theatre. "They're the hardest audience to entertain", he says. "The whole secret of success is to go along with them, to pretend to let them catch you making a mistake. But children catch on if they see the same trick repeated too often. Swift, successive tricks are the secret to a good magician".

He's been practising sleight of hand for over 60 years - ever since, at the age of nine in his birthplace, Malta, he saw "a magician who impressed me, and that day I vowed I'd follow in his footsteps". He came to Canada in 1919, when he was 21, and while working as an electrician during the day, took a correspondence course in magic at night. "I used to practise in darkened movie theatres for two or three hours at a time, and really developed speed". He has appeared on many Canadian and U. S. TV shows, and at least 15 of the tricks he perfected have been published in magicians' magazines and adopted by leaders in the art. He'll also tell you that he's the author of a bestseller, "'What Men Know About Women' by John Giordmaine, famous master of mystery". But when you reach for a copy, you'll find that its pages are blank.

-From the CBC TIMES (January 27th - February 2nd, 1968)


Johnny relaxing at home

In his library of magic books

In performance; coins from kid's nose

Producing his famous "Big Nickel"

Discussing the history of magic

Demonstrating his love of music

"Magic's all around us, everywhere"

In conversation outdoors with Anna

Again, in performance...

In his wonderful magic den

Showing "how it is done" (not!)

Title credit (at end of show)

I've painstakingly photographed a few random favourite moments from this delightful half hour CBC TV filmed feature on Johnny. It was made in late 1967 and/or early 1968. It was aired on CBC TV in late January or early February 1968 - and much later shown at the memorable September 1973 SCM tribute to Johnny - but to the best of my knowledge it has never been seen anywhere by anyone else since. A great pity for it captures Johnny's warmth and charm so well. These images are the first seen anywhere from it in almost 40 years.

My thanks to former SCM president Larry Silverman for unearthing this rare and fragile old video tape from his magic archives to share with us. The video tape was originally in Johnny's personal collection; Larry purchased it at the auction following Johnny's death in 1974. Thank goodness he did or it might have been lost forever!

Coming up next - our fifth anniversary online with some very special content! - jp