Born on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month in 1917, Magic Tom Auburn grew to be one of the most respected members of the magical community in North America. He has passed away at his home in Montreal, Canada, on January 3, 1990.
Tom started his life’s magical journey at the age of twelve, when quarantined with a bout of scarlet fever, he received a twenty-five cent booklet of magic tricks from a cousin. The journey continued through eighteen years on local television, on both French and English channels; theatres; supper clubs; and over thirty years in the restaurant table-hopping business. His picture and stories of his work appeared on the covers and within the pages of magic’s leading publications.
His repertoire ranged from the smallest of close-up tricks to the largest of illusions. He toured a large review to entertain the troops as World War Two came to an end. And he was at the forefront of using magic as a selling medium. Magic Tom, as he was known to Montrealers, was regarded as one of the best children’s entertainers this city, if not Canada, has seen.
Magic Tom was also a supporter of things magical. He celebrated fifty years of membership in both S.A.M. and I.B.M.. He was a founder and honorary lifetime member of S.A.M. Assembly 58, Montreal, which conducted, at his request, the broken wand ceremony on Friday, January 5, 1990. This scribe and S.A.M. Regional V.P., Phil Matlin presided with the assistance of the family minister. Approximately fifteen long-time S.A.M. members and friends joined the immediate family for this service.
Tom was noted for his charitable performances for Montrealers of all ages, and Montrealers responded with an out-pouring of sympathy at the news of his sudden death to his wife Dolores, his son Byron and daughter Darlene. As the news of his demise spread, radio shows were interrupted and the television news carried coverage. Over the days preceding the funeral, newspaper stories and radio phone-in shows paid tribute to Magic Tom and to his contributions to this city of Montreal. Final respects were also paid with the coverage of his funeral on January 6, 1990.
Tom Auburn – collector, performer, agent, husband and father. At seventy two years of age, he had worked New Years Eve and was completing his fifth year New Years Day at the Sheraton Center Hotel Brunch here in Montreal. He left Montreal as Magic Tom, at the top. He was a man of class. He has closed his show on New Years Day and has taken it on the road to entertain the littlest of God’s angels. I am sure I can hear the applause now.
You will be missed Magic Tom
Broken Wand Eulogy
Né la septième heure, du septième jour, du septième mois, en 1917, Oncle Tom est devenu au fil des ans l'un des membres les plus respectés de la fraternité des magiciens en Amérique du Nord. Il est décédé à son domicile de Montréal, Canada, le 3 janvier 1990.
Tom a débuté son odyssée magique à l'âge de douze ans, alors que la scarlatine le força à la quarantaine. Il reçu alors d'un cousin un livret de vingt-cinq cents contenant des tours de magie. Ce voyage allait se poursuivre pendant dix-huit ans à la télévision locale, autant aux canaux francophones qu'anglophones; les théâtres, les clubs huppés et plus de trente ans dans les restaurants à titre de magicien aux tables. Son visage et ses accomplissements firent la couverture des magazines les plus influents dans le monde de la magie.
Son répertoire était composé du plus petit des trucs jusqu'aux plus grandes illusions. Il prit part à une tournée de spectacles pour divertir les troupes militaires jusqu'à la fin de la deuxième grande guerre. Oncle Tom ou Magic Tom, tel que le connaissait les montréalais, était perçu comme l'un des meilleurs artistes pour enfants que cette ville, et possiblement le reste du Canada, ait connu.
Oncle Tom a toujours vécu pour la magie. Il a célébré cinquante ans d'adhésion à titre de membre de S.A.M. et de I.B.M. Il fut le fondateur et le membre honoraire à vie de l'Assemblée 58 de Montréal, pour S.A.M., qui a célébré, à sa demande, la cérémonie du bris de la baguette magique, le vendredi 5 janvier 1990. La présidence de cette cérémonie fut confiée au vice-président régional de S.A.M., Phil Matlin, au prêtre de la famille et au compositeur de cet éloge. Environs quinze membres de longue date et amis de la Société des Magiciens d'Amérique se sont joints à la famille immédiate pour la célébration de ce service.
Tom a toujours été reconnu pour son travail de magicien bénévole auprès des montréalais de tous âges. Ceux-ci répondirent par des témoignages de sympathie à sa femme Dolores, son fils Byron et sa fille Darlene, à l'annonce de sa mort si soudaine. à mesure que son départ de ce monde se répandit, les émissions de radio furent interrompues et les bulletins de nouvelles radio-télé couvrirent l'événement. Dans les jours qui ont précédé les funérailles, des articles de journaux et les lignes ouvertes à la radio offrirent de nombreux hommages à Oncle Tom et à sa contribution à la ville de Montréal. Un dernier hommage fut ensuite offert avec la couverture médiatique de ses funérailles le 6 janvier 1990.
Tom Auburn, collectionneur, artiste, agent, mari et père. à soixante-douze ans, il travaillait encore au réveillon du Nouvel An et complétait sa cinquième année au brunch du jour de l'An à l'hôtel Sheraton Centre de Montréal. Il quitta Montréal comme Oncle Tom l'aurait voulu, au top de sa carrière. Il était un homme qui avait de la classe. Il a terminé son spectacle la journée du premier de l'an et a pris la route du ciel pour le présenter à tous les petits anges de Dieu. Je crois pouvoir entendre les applaudissements.
Vous allez nous manquer Oncle Tom.
Bris de la baquette magique
By watching Magic Tom on television during the 70s, I became more addicted to the art of magic. He was THE magician in the Province of Quebec and a role model for every youngster who had decided to do magic for a living or simply for entertaining their friends.
In 1978, I went to see him at the Hilton Hotel in Dorval when he was doing close up magic at the in house restaurant. Somebody at the front desk told him that my father and I were arriving from Quebec City just to see him perform. He greeted us with a smile and a kindness that only true professionals can share. He stood at our table for almost an hour, showing his best card tricks and illusions. Before leaving, I took a picture with him (see Gallery section) and said goodbye. Never in both our lives, did we knew at that time that our path would cross again.
This site is a tribute to a wonderful man, a great artist and a fantastic magician. Since 1990, the world of magic changed forever with the passing of one of its great master. I missed you Magic Tom.
CEO Gargouille Media
Founder of the Magic Tom Auburn Official Website
C'est en regardant Oncle Tom à la télévision lors des années 70 que je suis devenu un vrai amant de la magie. Il était LE magicien au Québec et un modèle pour tous les jeunes qui voulaient faire de la magie, une profession ou un passe-temps.
En 1978, je suis allé le rencontrer à l'hôtel Hilton de Dorval ou il présentait un spectacle intime de magie à titre d'artiste invité. Le concierge de l'hôtel avait pris la peine de mentionner à Tom que mon père et moi arrivions de la ville de Québec que pour le voir performer. Il nous a reçus avec un magnifique sourire et une grande gentillesse. Il est demeuré à notre table pour plus d'une heure, nous présentant ses meilleurs numéros de cartes, de cordes et autre illusions. Avant le départ, c'était le temps de la photo et des salutations (voir la section Photos). Jamais à cet instant, nous avions pensé que le destin nous unirait à nouveau, 31 ans plus tard.
Ce site internet est un hommage à un grand artiste et à un extraordinaire magicien. Depuis le 3 janvier 1990, le monde de la magie a changé pour toujours avec le décès de l'un de ses maîtres. Vous me manquez Oncle Tom!
CEO Gargouille Média
Fondateur du site officiel d'Oncle Tom Auburn
C’était un homme charmant, merveilleux et doué d’une extraordinaire générosité. Il aimait travailler avec les jeunes et son départ est une grande perte. Il faisait très attention à sa santé et m’avait semblé en grande forme lorsque je l’ai rencontré pour la dernière fois sur le plateau des « Démons du Midi » à l’occasion de l’anniversaire de Gilles Latulippe.
1938 - 1996
We first met Tom Auburn personally the way many Montrealers did - at Piazza Tomasso at a birthday party. Magic Tom was the “house magician”, and most of the attraction of having a birthday party there! We still have the pictures of Magic Tom showing my nephew Robbie, whose birthday party it was (9 years old then, now 49), magic.
Magic Tom was a household word as he had weekly television show with young children as his guests. Everyone knew Magic Tom.
Tom wasn’t a show off or loud. He was a gentleman, mild-mannered and pleasant, which is why the children liked him so much, not to mention the adults. Most of all, he was an excellent magician. He always seemed relaxed, which made you relax as he led you down the garden path and the wham! He did the impossible. He made you laugh and wonder. He knew the meaning of entertainment.
When we opened our shop Perfect Magic over 30 years ago, Tom popped in often to see what was new and exciting (no internet back then). We would have long chats and we got to know each other well.
When we had our first of nineteen conventions, Magie Montreal in 1979 at the Quebec Pavilion on Ile Notre Dame, site of Expo ’67, Tom was there as our first honouree. After the convention he told us that he wanted to donate a trophy at the next convention for fellowship and artistry in the art of magic. It was a large trophy and the winner had a little plaque at the base of it and received a small trophy to take home. It was a much coveted award and it sits in our shop; the base, front and sides, covered with the proud winners of “The Tom Auburn Award”.
When he died, his wife Dolores asked Phil to perform the broken wand ceremony, which was a task that he was both honoured and saddened to do. The passing of Tom was a passing of an era, which most Montrealers who lived here then, can readily identify with.
Phil & Evelyn Matlin
4755 Van Horne suite 100A
J'ai connu Oncle Tom par la télévision anglaise et française. Ce que je me rappelle surtout, c’est son habileté à communiquer avec les spectateurs. Il a contribué à quelques tours pour le livre « Tarbell Course in Magic », un ouvrage très respecté des magiciens et traduit en plusieurs langues.
Oncle Tom fut un pionnier de la magie dans les restaurants au Québec. Dans mon travail de magicien, il arrive très souvent que des spectateurs me parlent des bons moments passé en compagnie d’Oncle Tom au restaurant Piazza Tomasso.
Guy D. Camirand
Camirand Académie de Magie
Camirand Academy of Magic
Tout au long de mon enfance, je vous ai vu faire vos tours de magie à la télé en français. J'ai grandi avec vous, et j'ai essayé longtemps de recréer vos tours, sans succès. Vous avez émerveillé un petit garçon et éveillé son imagination.
Merci Oncle Tom!
In 1984, at the Magie Montreal Convention, performing as the Great Unknown Magician, I won the "Magic Tom Auburn Award" for the "most entertaining act" at the occasion of the stage magic competition.
I felt both honored, of course, and overwhelmed considering who the donator of this trophy was. My artistry was a pale shadow of HIS artistry. My only regret: at the time, HE wasn't there to hand me HIS trophy.
Magic Tom gave me thrills whenever I watched him at work. He inspired me to become a magician and he gave me great joy and pride when I received his trophy. In 1990, God had decided to hire him for eternity to perform in his paradise.
Tom, may you RIP, i.e. Rock In Paradise.
The Great Unknown Magician
J'ai eu le plaisir de connaitre cet homme de cœur et généreux, étant infirmier à l'Hôpital Rivière des Prairies de Montréal. Il venait y donner des spectacles pour les clients, sans être payé
Tous, les clients et le personnel, nous l'aimions. Il réussissait toujours à nous impressionner. Il a marqué nos cœurs à jamais!
Claude Meunier i.a.p.
Dans les années 1960, mon père travaillait pour la compagnie Krugar de ville Lasalle. Quand nous allions aux partys de Noël, c’est Oncle Tom qui était l’invité pour nous amuser. Je me souviens aussi de l’avoir vu à la télé avec Johnny Jellybean. Dans les années 1980, j’ai fait la rencontre d’Alain Choquette qui a remis à mon fils un livre sur la magie. Aujourd’hui grand-mère, j’ai fait l’achat d’une trousse de magie pour mon petit fils et cela par amour pour la magie et Oncle Tom.
When I was nine years old, I was hospitalized at The Montreal Children's Hospital in Montreal. It was 1971, and I felt all alone at the hospital. I was afraid of yet more needles, and I was trying to figure a way to avoid the dreaded needles. I was on the verge of tears when into my room walked Magic Tom! I was speechless! Magic Tom explained to me that he was there to perform magic on me! He waved his magic wand over my head and pulled my ear, and pulled a candy out of my nose! He also told me the needles would now hurt only a tiny little bit, instead of a lot. He was right! He made that little boy's stay in the hospital the high point of his childhood. I will never forget that day for a the rest of my life. He changed a miserable experience into one that I will cherish the rest of my life. I couldn't wait to get out of the hospital so I could tell everybody Magic Tom performed magic on me. I'm sure he hastened my recovery. I never got chance to thank him..... Thank you Magic Tom.
Audiences love to be entertained by a charismatic gentleman, and Tom Auburn was the ultimate example. Tom treated his audiences and volunteers with great respect and he entertained with kindness.
I was seven years old when I first met Magic Tom at Piazza Tomasso Restaurant, and I remember that he gave me goose bumps when he produced an egg from behind my ear.
A few years later I watched Tom perform a miracle with coloured handkerchiefs (20th Century Silks) on television, and I still remember where I was standing as I witnessed this feet. This was a turning point for me and I decided that I wanted to become a magician.
In 1986 I was performing weekly close-up magic at the South Seas Restaurant on St. Jacques Street in Montreal. I approached a table to perform a few tricks and realized that sitting there was Tom Auburn (my idol at the time) and his wife, Dolores. I was speechless but Tom was the ultimate gentleman and we had a great conversation about magic.
CFCF Television aired a story about a young up-and-coming Montreal magician (me) and the veteran magician (Tom Auburn). After the piece aired Tom called me to congratulate me on being a fine example of a promising young magician. I felt like a million bucks! In 1997 I had the great honour of winning the “Tom Auburn Award” for fellowship and artistry in the art of magic. This was a great highlight in my career.
Magic Tom Auburn will always be part of what I do and I am very grateful for the magical moments we shared together.
Great job on the article in the M-U-M magazine for July on "Magic" Tom Auburn.
It was great to see some of the old photos and watch a couple of the video clips on the site also. Many a visit I had with Tom in the early 70's at his offices.
From the clips you have on the site, I have Tom's "House of Swords" (Temple of Benares) that he gave to me, and also the sub trunk that he fell off of during the filming of the commercials (the trunk was not his though). The fall was shown as a "blooper" on one of his later interviews.
Tom really supported the SAM in Montreal supplying us a room in the Sheraton Mount Royal Hotel at no cost, through his connection with May Johnson Associates who had their offices there. He also donated much of the material that formed the basis for many of the club's auctions. When I think of the Thayer and Owen magic that was sold at bargain prices, little did we know their future value. I am now over 40 years with the S.A.M.
I was also privileged to be one of the few professional magicians that Tom had on his Roadshow series as a fellow performing magician. These shows were fun. Romaine was also on, and so was Kenny and May, a local chinese magic act. at times.
Can you imagine my surprise when I heard of Tom's passing that January!! I had just spent New Years Eve with him, at the Mother Tuckers restaurant. 4 days later I would be at the Auburn home with Dolores, Byron, and Darlene putting the finishing touches on the obituaries that I wrote and which would be published in the major magic magazines. I also helped prepare for the broken wand ceremony which we conducted at the funeral home with the assistance of several local magicians.
Magic Tom represents to me exactly what his name states: "Magic". I remember so well how much Magic Tom meant to my brother and sister and I, growing up in Valleyfield in the early 1970's. He filled our little heads with wonder and joy, as we sat transfixed in front of that old black and white t.v. They were indeed magical times, back in an era when the world wasn't as complex and complicated. Magic Tom was a huge part of our childhood, and I will always remember how much I enjoyed watching him. He was kind and friendly, and really came across as someone who derived great pleasure from making others (particularly kids) happy. I remember meeting him one Sunday at the old Fairview Mall in Pointe Claire. He put on a magic show and took the time to meet his young audience. I must have only been about three or four, but I was absolutely awestruck by him. Truly an unsung great Canadian. Thank you, Magic Tom, for all the wonderful memories!
Magic Tom was not only a popular Montreal magician, beloved by children, he was one of the most charming and elegant gentlemen I have ever met. As a freelance journalist, I asked the editor of The NDG Monitor, if I might write a piece about Magic Tom and he agreed to publish it if I could get an interview.
When I contacted Tom Auburn, he invited me to his home. There, he not only answered all my questions, he opened his file drawers for me and invited me to read anything I wanted to see. There were many fan letters. I could not read them all.
The result of this meeting was a full half page spread above the fold in the then standard size Monitor. It was an inspiring piece about a lovely, talented gentleman.
Now here's the rub: After the article appeared, I went to see Editor Rice to ask for my fee. Rice told me to go ask Tom Auburn to pay me. He said the article was so complimentary, I should have been working for Magic Tom.
Well, why wouldn't it be a complimentary story? I was not looking for scandal. There was nothing negative to say about Tom Auburn. He was a fine family man, respected in the community and everyone loved him.
But Rice made a mistake when he refused to pay me for my work. I was prepared to take him to court. Finally the Monitor's editor paid me five dollars for the piece. That made him a very small man, but I was satisfied on principle. Having the privilege of meeting Tom Auburn, getting to know him, and seeing that story in print was sufficient payment for me.
Years later, I learned that Tom Auburn kept a studio photograph of my future husband, Cliff Carter - Mr. Nostalgia of RCA Records - in his own photo album as they had apparently been friends. Small world.
One day, when I go through my many files and albums, I will dig up the article I wrote about Magic Tom and enjoy reading it again. He is one of my fond memories.
I never met Magic Tom but as I understand it, his visits to the Montreal Childrens' Hospital began with a visit to my sister, Karen, who was dying of cancer. It was the summer of 1962 and my mother's cousin worked in an office near Tom Auburn's. She asked if he would visit my sister and he said that he would. When he arrived, my mother was in the room. His visit cheered up my sister. A short time later, Karen died and a note was sent to Magic Tom informing him that "little Karen Sullivan" had passed away. Magic Tom kept visiting the hospital.
Years later, there was an article about Magic Tom in the Montreal Gazette and my sister's name was mentioned in it. I wrote to Magic Tom and thanked him for being so kind to my sister whom I had never met. If I remember correctly, the letter was sent to CFCF Television and given to Tom's son - a cameraman at the station. Magic Tom wrote a kind letter back to me and included an autographed photo of himself.
I hope he knew what he meant to us.
To a little boy growing up in the late sixties and early seventies there was no grander star than Magic Tom. Seeing him performing his magic tricks on tv was always enthralling but none more so than the occasion that I got to see him performing in person along with hundreds of other kids in a church basement. The venue was not grand but the cause was...raising funds for the church. I remember we were all so amazed and excited to have a real magician in front of us and Magic Tom no less! I can still feel the wonder of that moment and I am very glad to have that memory. It may have been a simpler time for children without all the electronic gadgetry and video games but I doubt that the youngsters of today will ever experience the thrill, amazement and artistry that the class act that was Magic Tom brought to the hearts and minds of children a generation or two ago. I am sure there are thousands who feel the same way as i do.
Thank you for the wonderful childhood memories Magic Tom