Ross Bertram The Benson Bowl

In 1953, the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada created a weekly documentary series, specifically for television, called “On the Spot.” It was designed like a short newsreel, only fifteen minutes long, and it was filmed on site with a skeleton crew of three. 

On February 16, 1954, a three-man crew, with Austin Willis positioned as the host, visited Toronto's Hat & Rabbit Club during a regular monthly magic meeting. Many Toronto luminaries were there including, Sid Lorraine, John Giordmaine, and Ross Bertram performing for the television team.

Here is a clip of Ross Bertram presenting one of his signature routines, the Benson Bowl.

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.