Pull up a lawn chair or log and join the Magic Camp Campfire! These 6 special guests share magic camp stories. Listen Here
Today we are joined with six incredible guests who share their magic camp stories from Sorcerer’s Summer Safari and Tannens Magic Camp. We’re joined with these incredible guests:
Joan Caesar, Shawn Farquhar, Greg Frewin, Scott Hammell, and campers Noah Nogueira and Nick Popa.
They share several unique experiences attending Sorcerer’s Summer Safari Magic Camp plus we talk with a magician who attended this year’s Tannen’s Virtual Magic Camp.
We also discover if our guests have seen Disney’s Magic Camp Movie and their reactions. Let's tell magic camp stories!
Feature: Magic Camp Stories
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Check out Dean Bootcheck's work on the QR Code idea we shared in episode 64. He shares a template you can customize.
Visit Dean's page here https://www.magicatdinner.com/
Make sure and listen to Episode 71 with Magic Mike Segal: 20 Years of Sorcerer's Summer Safari Magic Camp
Audio Transcript of Episode 72
Joan Caesar: I was involved in some respect or another with both Tannen's and Sorcerer's and there they're so different. It's really amazing. Oh, I'll start with Tannen's because that was the first one that I was involved with. I knew Tannen's in the early nineties, when it was held in a school on long Island, I drove my son, Ben there and was amazed when I saw kids going to Camp carrying tales and bird cages. This is, this was not the Canadian Camp yeah.
Ryan Joyce: Burton's walking around. I'm sorry.
Joan Caesar: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Hiawatha was and probably still is a major influence. He can coach a kid with an okay. Act into a complete winner and the kids adored him. My first impression of Hiawatha was at a hotel at an Sam convention. He was walking along the lobby with about a dozen kids walking behind him in worship. And I thought immediately he's the pied Piper of Magic. That's so great. Oh yeah. I still think
Ryan Joyce: He has an ability to teach inspire and create tension. That is just magnetic.
Joan Caesar: Yup. Yup. I just, I think the world of the guy in so many different ways. Yeah. And the other thing about Tannen's is that some really world-class magicians have come out of it. And the only one I can think of off hand and I I'm sure I'm insulting. Half a dozen people is Darren Romeo who was a camper there, and now has this unbelievable show in pigeon forge, Tennessee. It was a college of Magic.
Ryan Joyce: Yeah. I remember Darren there what's a, that was Tannen's. There was also a bit, there was wizards. Did you ever,
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Joan Caesar: I have no knowledge of visitors at all. No only Tannen's. And Sorcerer's
Ryan Joyce: Tell us about Sorcerer's Summer Safari
Joan Caesar: Well, I'm, I'm a child of the Canadian Camp I, I lived in breathe Canadian camps when I was a kid and I could still cry over them. I loved them so much. And Sorcerer's was a true Canadian Camp beside a Lake amongst trees, kids living in cabins bonfires at night with a huge variety of activities. Not just Magic of course Magic was the, the thing that was promoted the most, but it had swimming and volleyball and canoeing and tennis and all archery and all sorts of activities that I forget. Mike attracted some outstanding magicians from around North America, including Greg Frewin and Shawn Farquhar both of whom brought their families every year. One unforgettable moment was Michael Lamar who performed card to the sea ceiling. Were you there that year?
Ryan Joyce: I wasn't. I hate, you know,
Joan Caesar: Preferred card to the ceiling outside at night and the card just gradually drifted to the heavens with, with everybody watching it just, Oh, that's blowing up to heaven. It was, it, it was magical. It was, it was a true Camp and the Canadian sense of the word. And I'm, it's, it's a pity that it is no longer, but Mike put his heart and soul into that camp. And I am so grateful that for 20 years he did what he did for Canadian and, and some American, uh, aspiring magicians.
Ryan Joyce: Did you attend many all, what was your, how many Sorcerer's Summer Safari did you get to?
Joan Caesar: I, I went most, I went most years for a couple of days, but I always, I always felt like a phony because most people that went there were really good additions. And so I didn't, I, I was always more than welcomed with open arms, but never really felt as if I should be. So I never went for the whole time. I only went for a few days to say hello and support it.
Ryan Joyce: Oh, that's so interesting. You couldn't fit in any better place between the nature and the match. That's so fascinating.
Joan Caesar: I, I love that. Camp there was one thing that I, I should say about both camps. They provided not only lessons, but networking, friendships that have lasted through time with people who wouldn't have necessarily, um, met at all the end, these camps, both of them made life richer for everybody who went to it. And you know, the interesting thing too, is that I made friends with some of Ben's Camp mates that I'm still friends with, like Allie, Shelley. Wow. That's awesome. Oh yeah. She's um, we've, we've gotten together when, when we could she's come to our cottage. I love the kid.
Ryan Joyce: Nice. I remember her from, from Camp. She was lovely. Yeah.
Joan Caesar: Oh, she's wonderful.
Ryan Joyce: Have you seen the Magic Camp movie yet?
Joan Caesar: No, I haven't. It's a huge tribute to what Mike has done for Magic in.
Ryan Joyce: How did you find out about Sorcerer's Summer Safari
Greg Frewin: Well, actually Lee Asher and Mike, Segal both approached me. My son was about, I think, seven or eight years old at the time and said, would he be interested in going? And I'm like, yeah, but I'm interested in going. So that was my first introduction. And we went, Oh gosh, that was back in like probably 2004, maybe five, something like that. And how many of you,
Ryan Joyce: You think you've attended? Cause you went to quite a few.
Greg Frewin: I am pretty well went to everyone after that, but the unfortunate thing for me was I wasn't able to stay for the whole entire Camp because I was always working. Uh Summer was always busy for us August the busiest time of year. So I'd get up there for at least two days if I could at a time, but I never got to do the whole Camp, uh, from beginning to end, which was really sad, but I enjoy every minute that I was there.
Ryan Joyce: Have you, cause there's really only three Mike talked about in the podcast. There's only three Magic Camp the two predominant ones later was Tannen's of course. And Sorcerer's Summer Safari they were the two big, had you ever attended Tannen's have you ever been or been a guest?
Greg Frewin: Um, so first of all, I only think there is one camp and it was actually this archive Sorcerer's Safari that's my personal opinion, but yes I did. Uh, I did actually, if you go to, um, Tannen's Camp many, many years ago as a, uh, consulting or not consultant, but you know, I did some seminars and stuff with the kids and stayed there for, I think it was like three days. Uh, it was pretty cool. Well, I think, you know, I'm in the middle of obviously focused a lot around Magic of course, but I think the Sorcerer's had such a much more of a Camp because you're in a campground and you, you can't where, you know, the Tannen's was actually, I think it was university or something like that. Uh, and, uh, so it was kind of cool, but you weren't really camping. So the word Camp doesn't work as good. Right.
Ryan Joyce: And do you have, have you seen the Disney movie?
Greg Frewin: I haven't seen it yet. I've heard a lot about it. I just been too busy.
Ryan Joyce: Yeah. I haven't seen it either. I'm curious to see any, uh, words, uh, about the stuff that Mike has done. It's a big account.
Shawn Farquhar: Well, hi Ryan. It's Shawn Farquhar, uh, from out here and maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, two time world champion in Magic two time, Penn and teller fool, us and the owner and chief cook and bottle washer of hidden wonders. The speakeasy Magic experience in new Westminster BC tell you about my first Camp experience. I really didn't know what to expect. I mean, uh, I'm a magician, so, you know, I don't go camping. And when I arrived and saw just all these kids running around, I thought this is going to be bizarre and it wasn't, it was anything, but it was the coolest experience of a lifetime. Uh, I was surrounded by young people., uh, this need to learn, uh, they were like sponges. Just second, all the information out of you asking cool questions and stupid questions and hanging out and eating hot dogs and, uh, sitting by campfires and, uh, planned by the Lake.
Uh, there was physical activity, there was interactive, uh, uh Magic and improv classes. It was, um, it was a real bonding experience. It was my first Camp experience was so good. I knew it would not be my last, I begged Mike Segal, uh, to allow me to attend Sorcerer's Safari for another year. And in fact, my family went each and every year, uh, until the very end, uh, they are the best summers of my life. Yeah. Uh, the only way I can describe it is it was such a great experience, uh, to be able to share my Magic with so many people. At the same time, I learned by sharing and being surrounded with so many other talented magicians who are sharing their Magic and giving of their time. Uh, there are so many names, it would be impossible, but once it pop into minor people like Michael Lamar and Danny Garcia, Oh wait, ouch.
And these guys, you know, uh, Lee Asher uh, uh, Aaron, all of them gave so much, uh, information to these young people. And I watched people like Marie Hatfield and Greg Frewin and Eric Bosu who just, you know, uh, would show up at, do a professional show and freak them out. One of the most memorable moments would be, uh, the year, um, Billy sways cabin decided the, the boys all decided to, uh, uh, sneak into my cabin and they, uh, duct taped all my clothes and, uh, property, uh, to, uh, the walls and ceiling of my cabin. That was pretty memorable. Uh, I in turn stole one of each of their shoes and tied them all into one big ball, uh, so that they had to come down, uh, each with just a shoe and try it. Yeah, that was fun. Uh, that was, has a good memory.
Uh, second wouldn't be, uh, any night by the Lake. Um, those, those were so great just sitting by the Lake and, uh, here in the loons and watching people do magic tricks, especially on Gavin beach party nights, uh, when Steven Steph would put on the party for their son, Gavin, it was unbelievably a lot of fun, uh, such good memories of that, uh, such good people. Um, I had a third one. It would be, uh, any last night Camp show, nothing was more amazing than seeing how Camp would change people in such a short period of team time. They would go from, you know, being really nervous, uh, to being able to stand on a stage, the big pine tree theater, uh, pine cages, and to do a show in front of their peers. Uh, wow. Uh, uh, all of those were spectacular. Uh, uh, some of the acts have gone on to become professional.
Yeah. I seen Disney's Magic Camp of course I have. I saw it on the opening night. I could not believe how good I understand that Mike, Segal his brother-in-law, uh, originally wrote the script and you can see that in the movie, even though it's gone through, I probably more than a dozen and changes in a decade of getting ready to be produced, you can still see Sorcerer's Safari all over it. Uh, it was fun movie and, uh, you know, it's a Disney thing and there was some, uh, great Magic and, uh, kudos to the consultants who put it together. Uh, they did a great job of, uh, picking some good Magic and Shawn light, uh, Magic in a positive light. Um, yeah, I really loved it. It was one of those positive things to, uh, be able to, uh, know that I signed up for Disney. Plus I signed up for the Mandalorian and I stayed for Disney. Magic there's your quote.
Scott Hammell: Hello. My name is Scott Hammell. I am a professional entertainer and I've been performing since 1998. I have traveled the world doing all types of different styles of Magic speaking and large scale stunts every few years. And currently, I'm building out the world's smallest Magic theater. That's going to be launching soon for audiences of up to, up to four people. So the world's smallest Magic theater and yeah, that's coming soon. I attended Sorcerer's Safari the best Magic Camp in the world from the time I was 15 until the very end. So I'm, I don't know how many years that was. I think it was over 10. Uh, but yeah, I was there for, for quite a while. I think I w I attended the third year of that Camp, uh, and again, right through to the very end, I started at the age of 15 as a counselor in training.
Uh, then I was a counselor for cabins, age 12. I believe my memory serves correctly. And then I was an instructor and instructed card classes, juggling classes. And I think one year we did a lockpicking class. Uh, so we did all types of different things there. So my first Magic Camp, I was 15 years old and it was awesome because I grew up in a fairly small town. So I was one of, you know, maybe less than five magicians around my age. And so, you know, growing up with that as my little bubble, I thought that I was, I was pretty skilled as a magician. And I remember arriving at camp at the age of 15 thinking that I was, you know, pretty competent in what I was able to do. And I was just absolutely blown away by these, uh, these kids from all over the world, flying in.
And, you know, they were able to do really difficult sleight of hand stuff moves that I'd never even heard about. They were reading books that I had never heard about. And I remember on the first day of Camp walking, uh, with Lee Asher and, uh, he was asking what type of Magic I was into and what moves I was practicing and stuff. And I was like, Oh, I do the Erdnase color change. And he's like, which one? And I was like, which one, what do you mean? Which one? And that was when I really had my, of Magic universe blown wide open and was able to really understand that, uh, I was not nearly as skilled as I thought I was. And there were all these magicians around the world who were practicing all the time. And it was, it was a really, really humbling experience.
And one that I'm, I'm really glad that I got to got to experience Magic Camp. I mean, it was always the highlight of my year. I, there were so many times where I would wake up the next day on my stomach. My abs were literally sore from laughing so hard all night, just swapping stories with other magicians and, and stuff. I became incredibly close with people like Aaron Fisher and Mark Clearview, and, you know, just, it just really opened me up to a lot of things. One really unique thing that I think that Sorcerer's, or Safari was, was fantastic at was the magicians, at least who got it and understood the Camp a really check their egos at the door. And so you'd have world-class performers up at that Camp and they were there for the kids. It wasn't about who had performed where, and for what audiences and stuff.
It was just about the kids and giving the kids the best experience possible. Um, man, memorable moments, just laughing so hard. I remember, uh, think might've been my last year or no, it wasn't my last year of Camp. I think it was the last year of, of Camp when it was held at Camp white pine, I was doing a suspension straight jacket escape, and I was using a manual chain hoist connected to the roof of the, or the ceiling of the theater. And it was the first time I'd ever used this thing. There was a, basically a big chain loop and that loop was, was spun in one direction to raise the hook and the other direction to lower the hook. And when I was fully raised, uh, the loop was hitting me in the face. So basically what we decided to do is tie little string and kind of have one of the, uh, one of the people who was helping me out, Mark Clearview, he's going to just kind of hold that side stage and it would just pull that loop out of my way.
And so I'm hanging upside down my stomach because I was an idiot and decided to eat dinner, which I never eat before performed. But that night I was just so off in my own little world and enjoying the Camp experience. I like at least one full plate of spaghetti, uh, some upside down it's, you know, the blood's rushing to my head. I can feel this food trying to make its escape and just brutal. And so I eventually get out of the chains and get out of the straight jacket and Mark starts lowering the loop, uh, by spinning it in the one direction. But he doesn't, uh, unhook the, the piece of twine that had been used to pull that loop over to the side. So as he's looping it through that chain keeps going through and getting lodged in the, the mechanism, which enables the hook to go down.
And every time that loop goes through in a full rotation, it just gets more and more stuck. It starts getting kind of choppy and chunky. And then eventually about halfway down as I'm being lowered, it just stops altogether. And you know, the kids are there watching, there is a television or a film crew they're filming a documentary and I'm just hanging upside down, trying so hard, not to puke, it's hot. And I'm just literally stuck hanging upside down. And eventually we had enough people who are able to like lift me up and I was able to just barely unhook my feet. And then I promptly ran off stage and puked my guts out. I remember special guests like Darrell and Michael Lamb are the year Michael Ammar was, was up at Camp. A Chuck Norris jokes were really big. And there were a lot of like Michael Lamb are jokes about he's so good.
He does card to ceiling outside and stuff like that. And so we were joking making these jokes all week about him. He was just the coolest, most humble guy. And at the end of one of the night shows that we did every night, he literally walked us outside and did card to ceiling outside the theater. He did it first in the theater and that ceiling was like 50 feet. And I've performed in that venue several times since then. And those cards are still stuck to the ceiling from when Michael, mr. Did it maybe five or 10 years ago. And so, uh, yeah, it was just, it was the coolest, coolest thing. Um, man, there are so many, so many memories up there. Again, it was, it was just the best experience. And one of my favorite weeks every year, I have not seen the Magic Camp Disney movie.
I have seen the previews for it and it looks pretty funny. I would have loved to have had them, the producers or the writers or whomever come to Sorcerer's Safari and see what our Camp was like. Because again, I think our Camp was very unique in terms of, uh, the magicians really checking their ego at the door. We never ran it like a competition for the campers, any camper who wanted to perform got the opportunity to perform, which some years meant that the camper show was like six hours long. But I mean, we were there for the kids and it was, you know, it was just such a welcoming environment for them to perform and get the opportunity to perform. And for some of them that week was the first time that they had ever held the deck of cards. And so that was their very first time on stage.
And, you know, they, they were able to just get up and rip it and not have to worry about how good am I or the politics of, you know, who's my mentor. Therefore, that's why I'm getting into the show. And it's a competition every year. There was none of that. It was, uh, Sorcerer's Safari was just, was perfectly done. Some of my other favorite Camp memories. Uh, I think it was my first year. It might've been my second year at Camp. Uh, I was sitting, this was at the original Camp location called Camp Tamarack. And we were sitting in one of Lee Asher his card classes, and he was doing a lecture about pulp friction, and literally the roof of that building collapsed and nobody got hurt. Thank God. Or at least I don't think anybody was at least seriously hurt, but, uh, he literally brought the place down.
It was so funny and the fact that nobody got seriously hurt, maybe a couple of kids died, but it was, it was just awesome. Uh, another one of my favourite experiences, there was a, uh, a guy that worked at Camp white pine, who wasn't part of Magic Camp. He was part of the actual Camp, uh, and his name was Mike and he knew that Camp better than anybody. And this one night after the cameras had gone to sleep, he gets us on this golf cart and he had messed with the governor of the golf cart so that this thing could go really, really fast. And I think there were probably 15, literally 15 people on this golf cart, Nate Kranz, ode, Jason Dean, Aaron Fisher, Lee Asher, we're all just literally stacked on top of each other. There are people sitting on the roof, people holding onto the back and he was driving like an absolute maniac through this forest.
We went over this big dip. Uh, there was this big pathway down by the theatre that we built up a ton of speed. And then we got airborne going over this little pipe part of the foot path. And I have done some gnarly stunts in my day. I've performed the bullet catch with a sniper rifle. I've jumped out of an airplane, blindfolded and handcuffed to my waist of juggled live explosives that on the golf core cart was the closest to death. I feel like I have ever come. I was terrified. It was just this beautiful night, just ripping through this forest on a golf cart, by a guy who knows the grounds literally better than anybody else. And after we stopped and we were, we were laughing so hard. I'm sure half of us literally peat our pants. It was just one of those nights that I will never forget. All right, buddy. Uh, hope that works. If you need anything else or need anything rerecorded or redone, or want me to elaborate on anything, please? Don't hesitate to ask hope. You're well, Missy buddy. Can't wait to see ya. Bye.