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.
See Cliff Carter, Mr. Nostalgia at http://cliffcartermrnostalgia.blogspot.com.