Ross Bertram presenting the Cups and Balls

Don Hudson, who would mentor such renowned directors such as Norman Campbell, Harry Rasky and Norman Jewison, was producing the Wayne and Schuster television show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Wayne and Schuster were internationally acclaimed comedians, based in Toronto, but who would eventually make over twenty-five appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show

Hudson approached Ross Bertram, a Toronto-based magician, about creating and presenting some visually startling close up magic that would be intermixed with live interactive dance sequences. Bertram went on to create a superb magical sequence—surreal at times—using virtuoso cup and ball technique to make balls appear, multiple, vanish and reappear beneath cups coupled with a faux explanation in which miniature dancers appeared to move the objects around.

Learn more about Ross Bertram.

playlist 7 videos

Ross Bertram: Master Magician

Ross Bertram was born in Toronto on July 28, 1912. While Ross’ vocation at the age of fourteen may have been music—he was billed as “Boy Saxophonist”—his avocation was, indeed, magic.

In his mid to late teens, Ross was performing all around Toronto, carving out his career as a busy entertainer. To augment his off-season summer work, where he regularly performed at exclusive resorts throughout Ontario’s vibrant “cottage country,” he took up a job demonstrating magic at Whitlam’s Japanese Magic and Novelty Store in downtown Toronto.

Ross became very well-known in magic literature and also played an active role in the magic scene in the 1930s and 1940s. He developed dozens upon dozens of extraordinary magic routines, and became highly regarded by his peers, particularly, for his exquisite, light touch.

Ross was also an early-adopter in recording magic. This playlist features a sample of some of the beautiful and creative work Ross was known for.

We are delighted to share his story in much more detail in the Ross Bertram: Master Magician exhibition, which was written and curated by Ross’ sole protégé, David Ben. We have included a video in this collection where David pays tribute to his mentor in his performance of Ross Bertram’s impossibly beautiful coin assembly, included in the Stars of Magic series in 1951.