Ray Goulet: Renaissance Man

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Uncle Ray. That’s what I call him. For me, it’s a sign of respect. If I refer to an older, non-relative as “Uncle,” or “Aunt,” you can be sure they are a special person who has impacted my life in a positive way. Ray Goulet is at the top of that very short list.

In my little world, living in a southern suburb of Boston, I was a typical kid, who thought he knew all he needed to know about magic by reading the only magic book in the public library, getting magic sets for birthdays, and ordering from Marshall Brodien. When I was fourteen, my little bubble popped when I was introduced to a (now nonexistent) magic shop in Boston; the following year I was employed as an “Elf” at that establishment and I worked there for the next eleven years. In 1984, a magician friend I had known for a few months said, “Hey, let’s go to Ray Goulet’s Magic Art Studio.” My response was a quick, positive, “Sure. What’s a ‘Magic Art Studio?’ And who is Ray Goulet?” My world was about to get rocked.

When you first meet Ray at the shop, it’s strange. He has the ability to seem intimidating; he sometimes looks as if he’s going to chew your head off for something you haven’t even done yet. The usual greeting of, “Wadda you want?” erupts from behind the counter with a slightly gravely, sarcastic tone, carefully blended with a definite Boston accent. If you’re a first-timer, he may go a little easier on you, but not much. His greeting is always followed by an ear-to-ear grin and his willingness to guide you to what’s best for you and your magic. He’ll ask questions about your background in and out of magic; you’ll be tested on your ability to follow directions and your overall knowledge on all subjects magic. And so your real magic adventure begins.

Ray’s adventure began on January 20, 1930, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only son of Mary Marrano and Valmore Goulet. At the age of three, Raymond’s parents divorced, and he was taken in by his grandmother, aunt, and uncle, who raised him. Growing into his adolescence, he enjoyed playing sports, especially football, hockey, and basketball. This time in his young life is when Ray began to develop his very well-known work ethic. Many local families at the time were struggling (post depression-era), including the Goulets. Not uncommon at the time (but rare and possibly illegal today), Ray held a variety of  jobs as a dishwasher, sold newspapers on street corners, ran errands for local merchants, swept floors, and cleaned sidewalks; wanting to do anything to help the family, he started this workingman’s lifestyle when he was only five years old! This became the basis for Ray’s dedication to not just doing a job, but doing it honestly, and doing it well.

Over the years, this work ethic easily transferred to his magic, in his performances, as well as in his dedication to running his shop, his perfection as a producer, and his meticulous attention to detail as a collector and curator.  Yes, Ray Goulet is a magician, and a damned good one, at that. But, Ray is more than a magician – so much more. He is a world-traveler, performer, producer, collector, carpenter, appraiser, musician, and the proverbial list goes on. Read the whole article at www.magicsam.com

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