Mike Segal: 20 Years of Magic Camp. The camp that inspired the movie

Today we’re chatting with Mike Segal, magician and founder of Sorcerer's Summer Safari Magic Camp. We talk about Mike’s career in magic, how a robbery changed his life, the magic trick that started it all, and of course, Sorcerer's Summer Safari!


We talk about the beginning years, starting with two campers and growing to be a premiere magic camp nestled in the Canadian wilderness with an international reputation for magic.

Mike also talks about Disney’s Magic Camp, a script written seventeen-years ago and how it all connects with Sorcerer’s Summer Safari.


For twenty years, Sorcerer’s Summer Safari Magic Camp was visited by countless future wizards and acclaimed magicians from all over the world. I personally have many incredible memories from attending Mike’s magic camp and I was fascinated to hear these stories and perspective from his career in magic and journey behind Sorcerer’s Summer Safari,


Grab your bug-spray and the marshmallows, let’s talk about magic camp with Mike Segal.


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Short Bio of Magic Mike Segal

Over the past thirty years, “Magic Mike” Segal has been presenting his unique, innovative and interactive brand of comedy magic for audiences across North America.

Magic Mike was the featured magician on an internationally televised series, which aired daily in Canada for five years. Mike also has many guest spots on all the top children’s television shows and is a regular on City TV. Performing for millions of people, Magic Mike has proven himself to be an “astoundingly funny, sure-fire hit” for audiences of all ages, with clients ranging from AT&T, Liptons, Southam News Group to Young People’s Theatre.


 Magic Mike is a BFA (Theatre Performance) graduate and a member of;


The International Brotherhood Of Magicians, Order Of Merlin and awarded The Presidential Citation


The Society Of American Magicians, The Magic Circle (U.K)

The Canadian Association of Magicians -Awarding Mike ‘The Canadian Magician Of The Year 2013/14’


Mike is also Director of The Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp, (the only Canadian camp where magic as an Art is taught) for the last seventeen years. Mike also teaches magic to adults and children through the Greater Toronto Area Boards of Education.  

Magic Mike has designed magic and illusions for Disney, LiveEnt and many other Gemini winning theatrical productions, television series, commercials and music videos.

“Magic Mike” has been a regular fixture in the Toronto magic fraternity, performing at the C.N.E., Casa Loma, The Art Gallery Of Ontario, ROM, Science Centre, Metro Convention Hall, Massey Hall, Roy Thompson Hall as well as his frequent television appearances on City TV.


His daily children’s show on Y.T.V. has made Magic Mike one of the more recognizable faces in Canada’s magic community.


He has astounded and amused crowds in Europe, Asia and India and from coast to coast in Canada and the USA. His successful and unique brand of comedy-magic and audience participation is still a concert favorite with audiences both young and old alike!


Disney's Magic Camp Movie Trailer

Audio Transcript

Mike Segal: Houdini water torture that was his first Broadway show, the magic show. And this poster was advertising the TV special as Oh cool. That's one is actually Houdini and it's a, a lettergram that he wrote backstage, uh, to forward to one of his shows, inviting  somebody to come along. So that's what the, the sort of, I'm trying to do this, like whether man, but that's what the thing about the bottom is on the top.


Ryan Joyce: You always are collector. Like I remember walking into your house the first time and one of the massive posters on the wall. And I was just in awe because I, and I don't remember it be not even as massive as I remember it, but I just, I was like, I love that so much because it showed how much you valued the art that you would have it on your wall. And I really respected. So how do you collect, would you say


Mike Segal: I did well, it wasn't really active collecting, so I was a, Oh, by the way, the poster you saw was the biggest one I ever had, which was an eight sheet. It was a Carter eight sheet. So that's about eight, 10 feet by eight feet. Uh, so that's, uh, that's now residing in the Hamilton studio of Scotty Hamel. No kidding. Yes, God, he's got the eight sheet and then the other ones I had were three sheets. Those are about the size of a door, you know, as, um, sort of an outside door. And I had a bunch of those. So I never actually collected per se. What I did was I to work. So this is back in the old days of touring, no internet. So I would come in and do a town. I had agents that would book or, you know, phone companies that would like call and book, you know, a couple of months of shows.


And then I go and basically, uh, spend my money doing all these shows. And then when it's all done, they pay me back. Right. And uh, every town I would go into, I didn't know anybody. And when I say Tannens, I'm talking like little places across Canada and the U S and so I would pull out the yellow pages and I would look up for magic shops. And most of the places never had a magic shop. So I'd look up magicians and, you know, I'd invite them to the show. Uh, but also to see if maybe they wanted to have dinner before or after. Cause I'm alone. I'm just driving around for two months in my car with my magic equipment. And I would go to these magic shops and I would buy like a book and then I'd come home. And we had two magic shops in Toronto, Morrissey magic and Browsers Den, and they were awesome.


They are awesome shops. Well, Morrissey is no longer their Browsers Den is, is a great, great magic place. And I would come home and they would have the book and it'd be like, well, I just spent, you asked money. Plus I'm trucking it around for a month, trying not to, you know, get a dirty or whatever. So I started, um, and again, just cause this was the way it was back in the day, but I would start calling guys from the yellow pages and invite myself to their house. I would say, hi, I'm a magician. I'm doing town. Uh, I'm doing some shows. I'd love for you to come. I will call you, but I don't know anybody. And um, you know, I really liked him come by your place and maybe have a coffee or something. And nine out of 10 times they were more than willing.


And one time I was at this guy's house and he had these magic posters and it was something I'd never thought of. And I thought, well, this is something unique and different. I can get these. And I will remember because Browsers Den or horsey magic won't have a 60 year old poster sitting in their store and sure enough, that's, that's how it happened. So I ended up seeing some guys buying posters for like $50 that are yeah, worth $500, five years ago, those posters were worth $800. Right. Marcus kind of dropped on that, but, um, I just loved it. I just loved it. And, and for me it was magic, but it was the artwork and it was the history of it. And as, as a working guy, like I just, I didn't need to buy another deck of cards. I didn't need another way to make a card rise or, or whatever.


I'm not saying that creation is bad, but it's just, you know, once you have something that works and again, this is the difference between a professional magician and an amateur professional magician does the same magic for different people. And amateur does different magic for the same people. So I don't have to change my show every week. I, you know, if a routine works in my show, I'm going to keep it in there for as long as that routine works, it took a lot of work to get it to that place. How many years have you been doing this then? So I really have never had another job. Right. I, I worked at a gas station, like in high school, I worked at a convenience store and I worked at a gas station and then I started doing birthday parties. Um, and then I was always interested in puzzles, chemistry sets, puzzles, that kind of thing.


And I got into magic and, and like, I really enjoyed it, but I never really looked at it as a business until high school when, uh, so I was working at a gas station, got robbed. And, um, the guy in the store when it happened, no, uh, I actually there, but the guy who was got pistol whipped, he got beat on the head and um, and then the next day I got robbed and so, uh, long story short, my parents were like, okay, you can't work at the gas station. And, um, that was in Toronto. Where was this in Toronto? This was on the corner of Bayview and Shepard the shell station. Uh, cause I lived in the baby views, which was right by baby village. And again, back in the day I walked everywhere. So I could walk up to the corner and that was my job.


And I would do the midnight shift at, I don't remember what it was, but like five bucks an hour, whatever that was. And my shift was 11:00 PM till 7:00 AM. And I would come out with, I dunno, let's say a hundred bucks and I did a birthday party and I got $75 and it was a half an hour and it was doing magic that I loved to do. It was a terrible show. It was, it was truly horrible. But, um, it, it just, it set bells off for me. Okay. So if I read it, work on this properly, then this could be my job. And that's kinda how it went and then totally lucked out. I auditioned for York university for the, uh, uh, BFA, bachelor of fine arts, uh, by major in performance while I was there. Uh, they started a TV station called Y T V.


Oh my very last year of university. I go to a party and the guy who started White TV is at the party meets me. He goes, Oh, you're a magician. I haven't the kids station. We definitely need a magician for a kid station. And so and so like right out of university, I did my first TV series with White TV, which was called Brown stove kids. And that ran, uh, I don't know, we filmed it over. So we did like one year, one season and, um, and it got really popular. So then I think we did three more. Uh, but they were all like, Mike my bits were all done in a week. Like I would show up. Yeah. Uh, they filled the CHCH in Hamilton. So I show up there and I have a hotel for the week. My car was loaded with every single trick I had and, um, they would present the script and, you know, I would have to figure out some magic to do with fire band or airplanes or growing food or whatever the theme of the show was.


I'd figure out a magic trick. I'd filled my bit, they'd hand me the next show. I go change my outfit and I'm trying to figure out a trick to do with that for you. So, uh, so I did that for a while that got really popular. I got to do the magic Mike show and that was on why TV or TVO kids? I can't remember. And then I did breakfast TV for two years. Um, uh, every Friday they had magic bikes been in or something. And so that was a hundred, a hundred appearances, I think on, uh, Toronto's morning show. And because of that, uh, as I say like now I'm at a university, let's say five, seven years having done nothing but magic. So it was like, okay, well I guess this is the journey I'm going to take. So that's, that's, that's quite a career in a very short amount of time, the opportunities that were paved, just absolutely.


But it was, it was slightly different times that too, um, you know, so once, like there was a time and I, and I'm not saying this to make it sound anything, but like, ah, sort of the mid eighties, certainly like late eighties, early nineties army, if, if any magic thing was coming to town, the newspaper would call me for a quote or, um, you know, I did so many things. I introduced Al Jolson when they, uh, when the show Jolson came to town, I did magic for the Lord of the rigs, the live play that was done. I taught magic to a couple of Disney ship, uh, shows crews, uh, because they, they rehearsed in Toronto, you know, Disney cruise line, rehearse their shows in Toronto and then take them out everywhere. So, uh, so I was doing all kinds of stuff and I was working a ton.


Um, and, and it was great. I was like in my mid twenties to kind of early thirties and it was, it was awesome. I loved it. Uh, then I went to Korea, I was 30. I went to Korea on a two month visa. I think it was a two month contracts. I'm thinking like that. And the agent kept renewing. So I ended up being there for four months and, and came home on my own. And I had a brand new family at that time. Uh, we weren't married yet, but Jen and I were living together and, uh, Samantha, my daughter was there and honestly I was on the road easily, six months out of a year. And, um, I needed to be a part of Samantha's life. And so I thought, what can I do in town? I was working at the CNE. I did the CME for about 10 years and, uh, Ontario place.


I did, uh, I did that, but, but I needed something that I in control of not like, hopefully the CNE is going to call me for this two weeks or whatever, and I wanted to be at home. And honestly, I felt like I had something to give back. I felt like I had spent so much time in a really, and again, this is all pre-internet. So it's like, I just, there was real wisdom that I thought I could save some young guys, real trouble. And, uh, and so the camp started, um, and that was it. It was just my chance to kind of be in the city, uh, for, not for Samantha, but like for, for the family and for my sanity. And honestly that is when I started talking to him.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. But I started the camp. That was it. Cause when you're out there performing, it's your own little bubble, like you've got to just go from place to place. And then the times that your home is just recharge and recycle


Mike Segal: Exactly, exactly. And catch up with friends, but not like go to the magic meeting or hang out at the magic store. Like you're kind of done on that, you know? Um, and again, I like, I love magicians. I love magic, but if we're going to be friends, we have to have something else.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. Right. Exactly. Multiple layers to the personality and the character that you connect with that makes total sense. And so what year did the camp start then? What was the first year?


Mike Segal: Very first year was 1995 or six. I can't honestly remember which one, because it didn't actually run the very first year. So I had been talking, Jeff Pinsky had just taken over the Browser's Den and we had talked about this because I, at that point I, uh, got a Canada council grant for magic. So it's me. I think David Ben and Doug Henning as far as I know, that's it for magic Canada council grants. Um, because I was all about, I just done, you know, uh, York university and a theater program. So I was all about magic as theater, not as like a guy at a birthday party, here's the trick, here's a trick, but like really trying to incorporate it into show seamlessly into a show, that kind of thing. And um, because of the Canada council grant, and again, I was a real go getter.


So I had an Ontario arts can, I I've lived on grants for about three or four years. Um, but I got the artists and residents. I did inner city angels. I did prologue the performing arts. So that's hundreds of shows in the schools. And so doing that, I realized like, well, what if we just taught magic? You know, as a, as a fun little, I wish somebody had taught me. Um, and again, you know, teaching magic, I learned an awful lot about teaching magic. You know, you think you need to teach them the good stuff, but you don't, they don't know about the good stuff. Don't teach them the good stuff. Right. Teach them decent things. But you know, add certain rules in teaching it now, all these things.


Ryan Joyce: And he is just as important as the how, and early on. You've really got to teach them.


Mike Segal: Exactly, exactly. And kids. Uh, when they're kids, I'm not talking about adults that are taken magic class kids, they just want the secret. They're never going to do it again. They don't care. They just, you fooled me. Where'd that coin go. Oh, okay. Next next. Yeah. That's it. They don't want to practice it. They don't want to do it. They just want, they want secrets. Right. They want knowledge that they didn't have, or they're afraid


Ryan Joyce: This would be the same of course now, but the internet makes it so accessible. But I wonder if the clientele it, a magic camp would change. Now. I don't have an answer to that. I don't know.


Mike Segal: Yeah. I don't, I don't either, but yeah. You know, it's always been there, right? Like you could go to the library, you could do a show. And then if somebody's really wanting to, like I did, when I was a kid, somebody made a bus ticket, disappear in my head, it grade four. So I'm like 11 or 12 years old. And I remember that moment, he, I had a bus ticket, so we didn't have a lot of money. We had just moved from Montreal to Toronto, not a lot of money in my family. And these bus tickets were like gold to me because, you know, they would just work and this guy took the bus to get, he made it disappear. And then when he brought it back, there were two of them and he gave them both to me. Oh wow. And so for me, that was like, Whoa, how did you do? And so I went to the library, the school library to figure out how he did it. Of course I never did.


Ryan Joyce: Did you ever find out who it was?


Mike Segal: No, I, you know what? I looked at my class pictures because this guy sent me down a path of my life changed your life. Yeah. But sadly, I honestly don't remember. It was in the school yard. He was like, just doing magic for everybody. I don't think he was in my class. I really don't remember other than just the feeling inside me. Wow. Of, of seeing like a great magic trick. And so, yeah.


Ryan Joyce: And, and so you want to inspire that also with, with the camp? That was one of the initial goals, of course. I mean, I'm sure it, towards the end 20 years later, I'm sure you had many goals at the end because it would have what a week that turned out to be. Would you, if you don't mind go back to the beginning of the couple, first couple of years. Cause I don't imagine you would have many people or experiences to be able to ask about running a magic. Tell me, just tell me about the first.


Mike Segal: Okay. So the first, so, Oh, sorry. So Jeff Pinsky was running. The magic shop did a, the very first year two kids signed up. So I didn't run the camp. What I did was I met those kids at the magic shop a couple of times that week, I think for five days, because I'd given the parents, my proudest Vinny charged him anything. Jeff was nice enough and I'd sit at the magic shop from like 10 until noon or something and just teach the kids magic by myself, two kids in the magic shop. That was it. The next year. Um, I bought a house and while I was negotiating for the house, um, I negotiated for the camp as well, uh, to get some money for the rental. So I actually rented a camp for the second year and which was officially the first year. And if I'm not mistaken, you were there that year.


Ryan Joyce: Might've been then year three 30. I'm not sure. Cause uh, it was, I remember the camp there was about 30 people or maybe it was 50, 50. Oh, I don't know.


Mike Segal: We doubled. So it was really, really cool. So the first, first five years we rented a place called camp Tamarack right. And so that went five years. The very first year I had my daughter, uh, two of the staff had their kids. So that was three plus I think we had eight kids that actually signed up. So, so let's say we add 10, 10 kids, 10 or 11. Uh, one of those kids stiffed me. Right.


Ryan Joyce: Remember that


Mike Segal: The mom gave me a check. We went up to the camp, did the camp and the end of the camp. Uh, I find out the kids check bounce and we don't have any contact info, nothing. So yeah, they're well live and learn. So, uh, so the second year we went to 20 kids. The third year we went to 40 kids the next year, the fourth year we went to 80 kids and our last year at camp Tamarack we had 150 kids. So we doubled, I, I made arrangements so that like, Oh, if we grow, we'll have, you know, the staff or whatever, but I never counted on doubling. And it truly did double those first five years, um, fakes in about huge part two, uh, our administrator at the time Linda Gross. And uh, she just, she was a go getter and anyhow, we doubled doubled.


So we had 150 kids in our fifth year that wasn't enough money to rent. The camp I had always wanted to do, which was a camp called camp. White Pine that I was actually at, I was a drama staff. I can't White Pine uh, for two summers. And the experience was just amazing to me. Um, and uh, at that time there were only two cabs magic camps in existence, West coast wizards run by David Goodsell and, uh, Tannens that was run by Tony speeder. I telephone, well, again, back in the old days, I telephone them both and said, hi, I'm this, you know, 32 year old kid or whatever, uh, up in Canada, I'm thinking of starting to magic camp. Do you have any advice? Is there anything, you know, I don't want to give you guys any grief I'm up here in Canada. I doubt this is ever going to be a thing.


David Goodsell couldn't have been nicer. He was awesome. He was like, good luck. Um, in fact, I'm closing my camp. We ran 10 years. That's enough for me. I'm done. Um, Tony speeda was not very nice. And um, yeah, so, uh, it did really help me a lot there. However, at that time Tannens, it wasn't really what it is today. Uh, it was kind of like an afterthought. They would get rid of whatever old stock they had in the store. That's what they would give the kids. They would get, you know, some local guys to kinda help out, um, at that time. So can I, it used to be like a real good camp, but this was sort of in that weird area where some years it ran some years, it didn't change locations a whole bunch of times, that kind of thing. Um, yeah. And so then, then I just started to camp.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. And, uh, so I was there for both of the locations. I got a chance to see both uh Tamarack and White Pine both of them were amazing. Um, I can not tell you, I mean, that changed my life early on as well, because all of those amazing memories, you know, I mean really the connections that were made at those times as just a camper are profound. I can't imagine, you know, as you guys, as adults back then, how cool that would have been, you know what I mean? Like that would have been, and then I eventually got to that point with everybody. It was old enough and it was a different experience. So it was like, it was kind of like I'm like maturing into magic with a bunch of pals kind of thing. And that was super fun about camp. I was also like at that time, just traveling. So that was a nice time to get to one spot with, for sure. Or the fellow magicians.


Mike Segal: Yeah. Well, I mean, there's guys like, uh, Farquhar for example, Shawn Farquhar FISM winner. He came up to camp on his own dime, uh, every year, like, you know, starting from whatever the first year it came up, was he, he, he and his family must've come out. I don't know, let's say 10 times in the 20 years, but, um, you know, once as my guest and nine times he used his air miles and, you know, brought the family, it was that worthwhile. I loved doing it. I really, really did. Um, my idea of the camp and what it ended up morphing into over those 20 years, uh, was, was amazing because the camp was so much better than anything I had ever envisioned. And it was because we used one of the things I learnt when touring. And again, I, I am a magician, so I'm not looking to dismiss auditions, but in my limited experience, what I've seen are magicians.


They're the writer, they're their director. They're the stagehand, they're the lighting designer. They're sound design. Well, you know, people go to school to learn this stuff. And there are people that are really, really good at it. And you don't have to reinvent the wheel the way somebody could go to a magic store and buy every trick that you do, or they could just hire you to do the tricks properly. And, you know, do that. It, I learned that in theater. And so I learned that when you're working with a group, there is always somebody that knows more than you about something, always listen to them. And don't just be a, what I call an ask hole, where you ask a question and they give you an answer and then you don't do anything in that answer. Okay. I ask a question, how can we make this better?


And gain Harlan goes, Oh, well, when Jeff McBride and I were doing this, we did that. That's brilliant. That's a great idea. Let's do that. I can't remember what it was doing that as an example, but everybody did that guys would come in and they'd be like, Hey, have you ever thought of doing this? And it's like, no, that's a great idea. And so that was it. The camp really ended up being a cooperative. Like everybody came, especially in those last few years, everybody knew where they were sleeping, what they were doing, all their responsibilities. So we just showed up and it was just a great magic time. It really was. It really was special. It's probably the most special thing I've done in magic


At its height. What was the total number of campers that you had like over the 20 years? Yeah. Oh, I don't know thousands. I mean, in one, in one


What year? So our largest, our largest and one year was 175, I think, which was the first year. I think it was either the first or second year at camp White Pine. Uh, but we never got that high again. Uh, it started, it started coming down slowly again, as the internet became more and more popular. I mean, we saw this on the camp website. Kids would be like, well, why do I have to go to camp and fight bugs when I can like, learn this trick online? Oh boy. You know, it was like, okay, well, if all you want to do is learn the trick then yeah. Do it online, you know? But, but like, like you said, for coming, if, if you're a working magician, the, the, the things you got from this particular camp, we put kids on, on Marie Hatfield's international tours, right across Canada. We, we gave kids TV appearances. We like, we were working magic thing. You know, Canada day, we did Harbor front and it was all magic camp and all that kind of stuff. Um, it was about really bringing magic to the people.


And what was the decision behind closing?


Well, a good, the, uh, pardon me? Sorry. Have a bit of a call. No, COVID, don't worry. No, the reason, the reason we had to close was, um, ah, it was a few reasons, but, but the landscape had changed and, uh, uh, camp was always like, uh, check your ego at the door and you come in and you'll have a physical winner sitting on the floor, doing card tricks with a birthday party guy and, uh, a 10 year old kid and a 15 year old kid that could run circles around all of them, you know? And, and it was great. It was, it was really great, but, uh, there's a lot of ego in this business and the check your ego at the door was great when everybody was humble, it got a just, you know, personalities and pressures, the amount of work it took.


Um, well first, I mean, it, it, it, I went from doing by my largest year was about 340 shows in a year. And, and I'm talking like in different venues, right? For the most part. I mean, sometimes I do like five shows a over in a day and I'd probably counted those, but, but I was doing consistently hundreds and hundreds of shows a year with the camp in my market. I gave all these kids the ammunition. So now, you know, you can hire this 40 year old guy, uh, or you can hire this 20 year old guy for half the price that kind of knows what he's going to do. Um, so I ended up cutting, you know, kind of my own income stream a little bit. That's not why the camp closed.


Ryan Joyce: Nobody would have thought about myself included. I never would thought about that as being a potential side effect down the road. Everybody thought of it. Yeah. Yeah. Wow.


Mike Segal: And I was happy for the kids. Like, don't get me wrong. A lot of these things are things I wouldn't do any more anyhow, you know? Uh, and I was just very happy, but now we've got these working kids and they're like too busy to come to care. Or, you know, the new generation of young kids have done everything online and magicians again, generally. Uh, aren't super social. And the fact that they got to go, if we were a real kid, our camp was a real camp. That was very important to me. I didn't want to do it in a school. I didn't want to do it on a campus somewhere. I wanted bonfires in a Lake and canoes and bugs and you know, all that stuff. I wanted kids to have that experience. Camp food was good though. I can't. Food was pretty good. Yeah. Yeah. We did. We did super well. Nobody died and that's huge. Uh, cause you know, we're not early childhood educators. We're, we're all magicians. Right, right. I know these guys for a week. I mean, I know we cross paths, but like for a day, you know, and then really I, I spent a week with them at the camp and then they're off again. So yeah. So I don't really know anybody.


Ryan Joyce: Yeah. How many months would you plan for the week?


Mike Segal: Oh, the whole year. The whole year. So I mean, it would start camp would end right in September.


Ryan Joyce: And I would say Julie and Jen just tune out for a week or two afterwards. Did you literally disconnect?


Mike Segal: Well, that was always the idea, but again, the way can't work because everybody was coming in voluntarily, um, a lot of people made like a trip to Toronto part of their, so we always had people stayed with us. So when camp was over, we would still have like eight people sleeping at our house. So the week before camp and the week after camp. So for us camp was basically a three weeks. But those people that were stayed with us, you know, before camp, they were helping me pack up all of the zombie balls and cameras, all the sponge balls, you know, that kind of thing. Like it lay out all the cabinets. And so they were all very helpful. And then at the end of camp, uh, we have a locker. So we bring, you know, our 30 dates in caves and our 30 foot, whatever Linky greens and whatever, and put them all in the locker. Um,


Ryan Joyce: I love dancing King class. I just love dancing. Yeah.


Mike Segal: Yup. That was so much fun. It was so much fun. I, you know, and now I look at it, I really miss it, but it, it, it, you know, by year 20 it had taken its toll, not just on a bee, but on a lot of the head staff I'll call it for sure. For sure. And you're right. Most of the day was spent putting out fires. That was my job all day long. Um, and everybody else could go and do card tricks and do whatever. And I'd have to, again, you, you know, you've got a hundred kids, no parents and these, and, and when I say kids keep in mind, our campers were 10 to 20 years old. Right. Right. So that was the, that was the age 10 to 20. So you're dealing with a ton of 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds. And it doesn't matter who you are when you're that age. You're a Dick, you know, kids go through it. I saw the nicest kids turn into monsters for two years and then turned back into beautiful human beings again. Yeah. Those, those couple of years are tough on kids. Yeah.


Ryan Joyce: Oh, that's so interesting. You would have seen it. It was such a different perspective for sure. I can't imagine the headaches and the fires you put out. Have you gotten a chance to see the Disney?


Mike Segal: Yeah. So I don't know if you know it's written by my brother-in-law no. Oh, it's inspired by Sorcerers Safari


Ryan Joyce: Might be a potential rumor, but I didn't know that.


Mike Segal: No, no, no, no. It's true. A hundred percent true. Oh, how cool is that team years ago by brother-in-law Gabe Sachs, who does, does freaks and geeks. And he worked with Judd Apatow. So all those movies where the a 40 year old Virgin. Okay. So this is a scene. This is, he said it was completely inspired by me in, and I can't remember the movie now, but he does a magic trick. And then they go, wait, you carry that plastic thumb with you all day, just in case somebody asks you to do something and then you do it. And he goes, yeah. I learned that at magic camp that was put into the movie after or not after, but like while shooting, it wasn't in the actual script. It was after he had come to town, um, for, you know, Christmas or something. And we spent some time and he saw that and he thought, Oh, that'd be really funny.


Um, and he, after that, there's a bunch of magic references and a lot of those things, but, but Gabe wrote this movie, uh, called magic camp. And, uh, based on what I told him, what he saw, I think they, they came up to the camp one summer for like a day or two. They, we, we meet a camp video every year. So that's how he shopped it around. Also the camp that we did magic camp at was the camp. They filmed the movie meatballs. So the pitch was basically meatballs meets Harry Potter. And that was the pitch for magic camp. Uh, again, that's 17 years ago. So there were different stars that will point Steve Martin, uh, different people, uh, were involved, but, uh, it ended up coming out last week. Uh, uh, Gabe was actually no longer part of it. I mean, his name is still there. He's an executive producer. He's also a writer, but there's like 17 writers at this point. So, uh, but he originated the script, but he was working on his other TV show called the night shift with this movie was filmed. So he didn't have anything to do with it. I obviously was way out of the picture. So I just waited to watch it. And then when I watched it, I saw so many camp influences. So


Ryan Joyce: Really, Oh my God, I can't wait to see. So what's your rating. It's it's obviously,


Mike Segal: I, I mean, I'm super biased first. yeah. This is such


Ryan Joyce: Treat. I can't wait to watch it. Are you going to get a poster of it? That's what I was.


Mike Segal: Oh, maybe if I saw one, I probably would probably what, you know, so I moved jury this pandemic. That's why I've got my posters on the floor. And I realized how many posters I have. I, as I say, I sold a couple of that eight sheet. It doesn't travel super well. So I had to make sure somebody would have the wall space for it. Uh, got rid of a couple of three sheets as well, but I still have about a hundred posters of like all litho. So, um, these are really what I collect the, the Doug Henning Doug was a huge influence for me coming up Doug was a big,


Ryan Joyce: Did you meet him? Obviously? He was true


Mike Segal: Couple of times and I was fortunate enough. Well, first I met him at, uh, there used to be a magic club called the society of Canadian magicians. And so that was the first place I, I met him and then, uh, he actually did a one of the, with diverted. So they were both there and there's that famous Irving desk for photo of a Doug di at the convention. And I always thought that was here. It turns out it was in New York or whatever, but I thought it was at that Toronto thing, which is the second place I got him. And then, uh, I was fortunate enough to be a PA, which is basically a gofer, a production assistant, all of the DVD of the magic show. So they filled that at the queen Elizabeth theater. I was 60, I think, 16 or 17 because they needed my parents' permission. But, uh, I was there for five days, shoveling elephant shit, moving boxes, doing whatever. And Doug was so nice that like, on a couple of those days, he sat on the stairs and we chatted and I told him about my, you know, rock and roll magic show dreams and all that kind of stuff and was like, good luck TV. He was always very nice


Ryan Joyce: Is quite a journey. My God, all those stories. Um, I, I could talk to you for hours. I'm sure. Cause honestly, I know I've known you for years. I know like I've been on the road. We have out of touch for a while, but I didn't know a third of this stuff. Like I feel like you're a treasure trove of so much magic history.


Mike Segal: Well, that's nice. Thank you. And by the way, congratulations to you. I mean, really the journey you've add has been absolutely amazing and I've been fortunate enough to be able to watch it, like from the very beginning where I wouldn't want to see those videos, but I'm talking about like, even you calling me because you got a, I'm trying to think. The first two things you called me about, I think one was the car shell. You had to make a car vanish or something. And working with a symphony was before that you did something with a symphony and you called me and those were like big, big milestones for you at that time. Those were big, big shows. And I remember you calling me for advice and I so appreciated that


Ryan Joyce: I, so that you've been so like, I know, like I said, I just, in the last couple of years I've been out of touch, but honestly, when I look back at it, there's so much that you've been in, had your thumb on, you know what I mean, from camp to, I remember driving down to your place and getting more advice, you know, really, and truly Mike, you've really done so much for magic. Do you, my last question, do you hate Hollywood for what they did to your name?


Mike Segal: Well, I know, you know, it gave me a new opening line. Definitely got a lot more traffic to my website then did, uh, convert into booking. Um, but you, when they made that movie, I have the date magic. Mike registered in Canada because of the TV shows and everything. So they actually had to call me to get permission, but it's not what you'd think. I mean, they, they have a battery of lawyers. There's somebody's name at every movie. There's really a guy named Homer Simpson somewhere. There's, you know, that kind of takes. So they called me up. They were like, Hey, we've got this movie coming out. I know you have the name, we're going with magic. Mike not movie dog. Um, but, uh, Hey, here's two free tickets in the T shirt. And that was it. That was it. Yeah. They were giving you a poster, not even a poster, but then I wouldn't have put that one out probably.


Ryan Joyce: Well, how can people follow you? Mike I'm sorry. How can people follow you?


Mike Segal: Follow me. Oh, uh, I have Facebook. I know mike.com. Sorcerers safari.com the magic camp.com go to YouTube and watch the videos after you see magic camp, Disney's magic camp, by the way, there's another one called magic camp. And that's a documentary about Tannens. Uh, and it's awesome. It's really, really good too, but don't get the two confused. One is a documentary about, uh, Tannens magic camp and uh, magic camp. The Disney one is a movie. It just has some elements of Sorcerers Safari in it though. The way some people have asked me about it. I just said the documentary magic camp is a magic lecture and the movie magic camp is a magic show. That's awesome. Um, yeah. So, uh, I'm thrilled with the movie. I mean, I have nothing to do with it really at all, but I just, uh, you know, I'm glad the camp director wasn't an idiot like they do in most movies. That was the one ass gave I went, look, if they're coming to this camp, the director's gotta be like, okay. Or they wouldn't come, but the staff wouldn't be there. If the guy was a complete, not so decent. So he's he's yeah. So, uh, as opposed to meatballs.


Yeah, no, I met that's a real good point. Oh man. I can't wait to see this now. I there's so many references that, that make this even more special and I was already looking forward to it. Mike thanks so much for your time. It's my pleasure.


Have you ever attended magic camp? Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Share your comments below!

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