SAM’s Woman of Many Hats

a. A region in Northwest Spain
b. A French opera
c. A popular female name in Quebec, Canada
d. The ultra-friendly Society of American Magicians’ National
It’s a trick question, because the answer is “all of the above.” Here is another question: Who was the National Administrator before Manon Rodriguez? You’ll discover the answer later in our story.

Manon Rodriguez is a long-time friend of the S.A.M. As National Administrator, she is often the first contact a new member will have with our national organization. She is one of the few salaried employees of the S.A.M. Although she considers herself a “professional audience,” her magic roots are deep and strong. And she is very entertaining performing the six-dollar repeat.

Yes, she was born in French Quebec, Canada, but her family moved to New York City when she was very young. Unique at that time, her mother, Teri Jourdan, held a professional job at the United Nations. Her father, Jean Jourdan, originally from France, worked with computers (do you remember Fortran?). Manon enjoyed the peaceful outdoors of the Catskills and she excelled in artistic endeavors, including wood block prints, acrylics, photography, and stained glass. She attended high school in Monticello, New York – the same high school Jeff McBride attended. Could this have been foreshadowing of the magical things to come – for Jeff? Everything Manon touches becomes magic.

Her father became a computer programmer with Diners Club, and relocated to Colorado, but Manon stayed in New York to strike it big. She met her first husband, Robin Casanova, and they eventually moved to Colorado to be close to family upon the birth of Tara, her first child. Several years later, Colin joined the family. Since shards of stained glass look like Jolly Rancher candies, her love of stained glass art had to be put on hold. Robin was training in emergency services, but he was also a weekend magician. To further supplement their income, he purchased a Zeezo’s Magic Castle in Fort Collins. Zeezo’s was a chain magic and costume shop, founded by Zeezo the Clown, AKA Larry Campbell, with several locations in Colorado.

Manon worked the store and attended Denver S.A.M. Assembly 37 meetings. Another local magician, Sam “The Hat” Kent was the owner of The Wizard Magic Shop on the Pearl Street Mall
in Boulder, Colorado. He connected Manon with an ad agency that provided public relations for McDonald’s restaurants. Her responsibilities included booking shows and travelling with Ronald McDonald.

Robin was Ronald’s assistant first, but it did not work out. So Manon took over that role in 1984. Unfortunately, Robin and Manon separated, and over several years, her relationship with Ronald grew. This is a trade secret, but that Ronald McDonald was Dan Rodriguez. Dan is a native Coloradoan, who, as a youth, attended magic classes taught by Bruce and Kitty Spangler (see M-U-M, May 2014). Manon booked and set up ten thousand school assembly shows for Dan. But they were also a team in magic and did so much more.

Read all about Manon and her many hats in the S.A.M. in the August issue of M-U-M by Clicking HERE

Manon Fixes Poster

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