Tuesday, January 11, 2011


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.


1reina1 said...

It was nice to read your article. Tom Auburn was a cousin of mine, through my grandmother's side of the family - the Auburn's. Though I never met him, I was always reminded by my mother of my "famous" family connection when I was growing up in Montreal.

Phyllis Carter said...

Thank you so much for writing. As I report my experiences on Phyllis Carter's Journal, I am trying to do justice. That means fighting crime and corruption, but it also means giving credit where credit is due and trying to keep the memories of precious people alive. Magic Tom was a lovely man, a warm and kind person who was dearly loved by many people. I am happy to hear from a member of his family, especially someone who did not have the privilege of enjoying his company.

Rodney Rawlings said...

I appeared on his show as a kid, with my pet budgie. I wonder if the film of his shows was kept? I'd love to see myself back then!

Phyllis Carter said...

Thank you for writing, Rodney,
I suggest you contact CTV. They may have photos of those shows.