Tag Archives: CFCF TV

Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina 1968 and Saul Cohen working at Place Bonaventure from-Ramblings of a Rebel with a Cause!

Never Miss a Chance to Dance!

No one in this world wanted to take over tap dancer Ann Miller’s job more than I did. After 70 long years of random attempts, all that remains is a pair of silver tap shoes tucked away in a cupboard long forgotten. I used to wear them on a day to day basis for many years as I always believed one should be on call if someone had the odd tap dancing job. In life I have always winged it: life, eyeliner, just everything.

As a child my mother told my father that I had natural rhythm and would probably belong to a professional dance troupe. Actually, what she really wanted me to be was one of the dancers on American Bandstand, but I had other goals in mind. When I was eight I wanted to fluff out my tutu and be the Sugar Plum Fairy so badly that I accidentally bumped the reigning fairy off the stage during practice. Seeing the stage was a foot off the ground, she was luckily not hurt, and I was to remain a Waltzing Flower forever.

At 17 I had my first “break”. I became one of the regular “crowd” dancers on a Montreal based TV show called “Like Young”. Every Saturday afternoon I lined up outside CFCF-TV sporting my grandmother’s orthopedic brown lace up shoes, ready to dance. Those borrowed shoes were just super for dancing and they looked fabulous with my floor dusting Le Chateau gabardine pants. I was nothing but double-trouble on the dance floor.

After the show was over we would all head downtown and refresh our spirits at the Honey Dew restaurant on Saint Catherine Street. One giant glass of Honey Dew along with a hot dog and then it was off to Place Du Soul. It was the “all ages” place to be, that was right across from the Greyhound Bus Station in case you had to leave town quickly. Each week I resumed my Sugar Plum Fairy dreams of long ago– only this time it was for the coveted title of go-go cage dancer. The elevated cages were about twenty stairs up a shaky ladder and it became a weekly goal to try and fight the others to be queen of the dancing soul-castle.

One weekend James Brown was the headlining act and even though I had issues with vertigo I decided I was finally going to be dancing in that cage that evening.  As I stood in line waiting my turn I told several people that the lead singer Bruce from “Les Sultans” was soon to be coming in the front door.

“Les Sultans” were the French Canadian version of the Beatles in those days, and I tell you that line stopped being a line in about two seconds flat. Smiling a very large sinister smile I climbed those twenty stairs wearing a short print mini dress, white boots and a huge white bow on top of my head. I never looked down once and realized quickly there was no lady-like way to climb that ladder without flashing my underpants. Remember, there is always a wee bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good.

James started to sing, “I Feel Good,” and it couldn’t have been a better song. I stayed up in the cage as long as I could and danced my boots off. Others got tired of me hogging the limelight and tried to climb up and get rid of me. I threw my boots down one at a time.  Last song, bootless, and eyeliner running down my face James threw me a kiss in the air and sang “I Got You”. I would never live my mother’s dream of being one of Dick Clark’s dancers, but finally, I was the Sugar Plum Fairy of Soul and covered in a “Cold Sweat”!
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we should dance. When you are sixty and still dancing, you become something of a curiosity. If you hit seventy and you can still get a foot off the ground, you’re phenomenal. Now, with a cane, dancing can be difficult, but I still dance like nobody’s watching. Because, in reality, they aren’t watching you. That’s because they are all too busy checking their phones. Why be moody, when you can shake your booty!

Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

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Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

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Hello Boys and Girls, it’s time for Magic Tom!

Every afternoon as a child, I was glued to the TV set awaiting my beloved Magic Tom Auburn on CFCF TV out of Montreal. Tom once described himself as a “man who played with silk hankies” but to me and every child he was a man with something new up his sleeve every single day on “Surprise Party”. Canada’s Man of Magic was never fully appreciated by my Father as he constantly said Magic Tom needed to polish up his act. I realized he was never as good as the local circus that passed through Cowansville, Quebec once a year, but you have to remember– to us children magicians were magic.

Magic Tom once said that little girls only wanted to be three things in life: a Mommy, a Nurse, and an Airline Stewardess. It was the same thing I heard a few years later in the CHS Vice Principal’s office when I told him I wanted to I wanted to be a fashion designer, but  in all honesty Magic Tom could say no wrong to me.

 

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My grandfather seemed to be friendly with the magicians, ventriloquists and the puppeteers that frequented our small town and and I just got involved with all of it hook line and sinker. Later I became obsessed with great magicians like Houdini and became obsessed with the Westerfield House in San Francisco.

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Tom began his career at age 13 with a bout of scarlet fever, a magic book and a lot of time on his hands just outside Cornwall. It is the unspoken ethic of all magicians to not reveal the secrets and once in a blue moon Tom did. Sometimes the kids thought he was cheating and expressed their sentiments– but the next time you saw the same trick, maybe you didn’t see that glass of milk sinking under the red cloth– and wondered if you had been right the first time.

Each day I waited until the end of the show to see the empty silver dish suddenly become full of candy for the kids that were watching with a simple mere tap of his magician’s wand. No matter how hard I looked I could not find out how Magic Tom did this trick. I found out however that this same trick was performed in WW11 by a small group of French Patriots who were being held prisoner by the Germans. They made a deal with their captors that if they performed this trick they would be let go. There was a happy ending and they were freed but their captors were shot in the morning for making such a bad decision.

 

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Magic Tom’s fans were everything to him and one day he played at the NAC in Ottawa and told reporters he had to cut the interview short as there was an 8 year- old waiting in the wings for Magic Tom to look at his magician’s wand. The young boy had told Tom that his wand must be defective as it just couldn’t seem to do anything, so Tom was going to offer some helpful suggestions.

 

Magic Tom and his wife Dolores have long passed and are buried in the Cornwall region at the St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery near Long Sault/Cornwall. I hope people remember Magic Tom as a  kind man who brought magic to the people as he pushed the boundaries of wonder for all of us. Some people say there isn’t magic. Some people say there is. I say there always will be— as in a way, we are all magicians.

 

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Linda Nilson-Rogers Magic Tom Auburn! Saw him at a “White Elephant” sale my Gran used to take me to somewhere in Verdun,I think! I was under 6…he amazed me then

Rosemary Jones I loved Magic Tom as a kid. He was a regular on our TV and I saw him perform as a child.

Paula Theriault Wow, lol. I didn’t think anyone besides me knew of him. I got to be on the show when I was 5 or 6yrs old. You had to sing a song and i sang ” I Can Sing A Rainbow” lol. It not long after we moved to Montreal from England in ’71 or ’72. I have that exact same autographed photo somewhere . Forgot about it

Ann Brady OMGosh, have not thought of Magic Tom in decades!

Nancy Bourdeau Loved the part of his show when he would note viewers birthdays. He would put his magic top hat upside down on a table and tap it and candy would spill out of it 🙂 He was a gentle man..always admired him.

 

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Johnny Jellybean– CFCF TV

 

Judy Goyette-Marsh Man I remember him . Also Johnny Jellybean.

John Dykeman My wife’s dad worked at CFCF in entertainment group; Magic Tom and Johnny Jellybean were visitors at there home. JJ at lunchtime in 1966-67

Emily Turpin He was great, loved his show and raced home every day to watch. Also Johnny Jellybean at lunchtime. xx

Helene McSween He came to the Christmas party for kids at my father’s company in Beauharnois in 1968 approx. When I was 4 years old. I still have a signed post card with his picture! He was great!

Sue Frechette Had to accompany my cousins, Sandi and Peter Singleton to one of his shows, as per request of Aunt Theresa.

Shirley Ann Mewett I was 6 coming out of Eatons in downtown Montreal with my mum, and he was on the side walk. I remember telling mum look it’s Magic Tom. He heard me came over and I was so shy I couldn’t say anything. Mum told him how much I loved his show. He was very nice!

Penny Dustin Rodrigues I went to see him in Montreal for my birthday…can’t remember which one, I think I was 8 or 9. so much fun!

Christine Et Pierre Rousseau My sister was on his show.

Shirley Nortcliffe I was once on his show! To talk about my postcard collection! In appreciation, he sent me a copy of “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss.

Rob Forster The Vilas Company in Cowansville hired him annually to entertain at their families’ Christmas party, which of course he did very ably and in both languages. (We Vilas kids were BTW allowed to leave school early to attend that, which made it a party indeed.) A more adult memory of Tom was when I was in my 20s and he did a series of shows that I watched before leaving to do the 3-11 shift at my summer job. It was a series of local travelogues where he did some ordinary stuff like visiting the Granby Zoo, but also a long sequence where the premise was that he was lost in time inside the old Frontier Town theme park in upper NY State. He wandered around for weeks meeting the various characters there, all of it set to the tune of ‘Duelling Banjos’ from the then-recent movie ‘Deliverance.’

Oh yeah, and at one of the Vilas affairs Magic Tom had me up on the stage and made me a magic paper party hat out of a glass of milk or something. Upon examination later, I was mildly disappointed to find it was made from ordinary glue and crepe paper. I don’t know what I was expecting. I do remember that it got harder for him to do his show as the baby boom kids aged, we always knew where the bunny had really gone even if we didn’t know how.

Finally I remember seeing Magic Tom interviewed a long while after his show had been cancelled on CFCF. He was very sad that he hadn’t known what turned out to be his last show (I think it was the Frontier Town sequence) was to be his last one; he said that he would have made a very special good bye episode if he’d known.

Nelson Wyatt One of my assignments when I worked for the Sherbrooke Record was to cover Magic Tom when he did an appearance at, I think, Camp Garagona. I showed up ready to interview him and take a few pics and then he told me that was fine but then asked me if I’d mind helping him out with a few tricks so I became Magic Tom’s assistant for the show, which was a kick after watching him for so many years on CFCF. He was a really nice guy and the kids loved him.

Sharron Raymond I remember going to see Magic Tom at the St. Therese girl’s Catholic school in Cowansville one Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It was packed full. It must have been winter because the floors were a mess with slushy dirt and sloppy. Magic Tom was late arriving probably because of the roads. That must have been between the years 1960 and 1962.

Darlene Dover I remember him being at the Princess Theatre in Cowansville when I was young. He was doing a magic show, and I think I still have his little card.

Wayne Kemp Magic Tom rented a cottage next door to ours at Selby lake for several summers the cottage belonged to my uncle Charlie Buchanan who lived in cowansville it was so neat because all the kids enjoyed his magic shows quite often

Kathy Taylor I remember being on his TV show. My sister Susan and I were showing our Dalmatian, Kerry. I was so terrified I couldn’t speak.

John Farrell when my father was in charge of the dance hall at the Pinnacle Lodge in Selby Lake he would have Magic Tom come out and perform there…maybe that’s when he would rent the cottage that Wayne Kemp mentions….my father and Magic Tom grew up together in those triplexes they have in Verdun…there were two Tommies…Tommy upstairs, and Tommy downstairs, one of those Tommies grew up to be Magic Tom.

Watch some episodes of the old Magic Tom Show here.. CLICK HERE

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

 

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