Thursday, May 07, 2009

Back From The Castle



You might remember that last week, we were heading south to the Magic Castle's Swap Meet. It was quite a weekend! We arrived Friday afternoon to meet up with Chuck and Gerald Kirchner from Magic City, Inc., Robert Baxt, and Jay Leslie. We all met at Musso and Frank's, our favorite place for lunch that has become a tradition. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel to talk about magic and the business. Before you knew it, it was time to go to the Magic Castle for dinner and entertainment. Betty and I met up again with Chuck along with Mark and Nani Wilson and had a great dinner. Mark had just returned from a trip to Japan and shared stories of his travels and his son, Greg's new show there. Then it was time to head into the Palace of Mystery. Afterwards, it was downstairs to the Inner Circle Bar where I met up with good friend, Glenn Farrington, who wowed the crowd with his incredible close-up magic. Late now, and it was time to head back to the hotel to get some rest before the Swap Meet Saturday morning.

At 8:00 AM, Robert Baxt called me to ask if I would help him set up his table for the Swap Meet, which I was more than happy to do. I felt that this would be a very busy Swap Meet due to the fact that tables were already sold out weeks in advance. Boy, was I correct! The place was swamped! More sellers than I had ever seen and more rare and unique items, so off I went on a spree! I bought Harry Anderson's Sword Through Neck, vintage Warner, Abbott's, Magic Hands pieces and more! One of the biggest items I brought back was a Rice, Checkers, and Globe built by John Gaughan for Peter Reveen's illusion show that traveled the globe back in the early 1980s! Still in magnificent condition, I was thrilled to be able to acquire this. I have not yet decided whether I will part with this or not as it is such an important piece of magic history. Check it out below:


Rice, Checkers, and Globe

After several hours, it was time to pack up the car and head home. Fortunately for me, my good friends, Frank Thurston and Jay Leslie, helped me gather up all my findings and pack up the car. This was where the real magic came in; my car was literally packed top to bottom, side to side with not an inch to spare, but we got it all in there. After packing the car, my wife wanted to go to Sprinkles Cupcakes. If you haven't heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes, you've not lived until you've tried one. Overhearing our conversation, Frank Thurston said that he was going there as well, so off we went on a cupcake caravan. Located about 5 miles away from the Castle in Beverly Hills, it was nice to sit back and relax before the long drive home. We waited in line, which I hear at times is out the door and around the block, and bought our cupcakes. Back in the car and homeward bound. It was a great weekend, and I can't wait until the next Swap Meet in the Fall.


Sitting outside Sprinkles, cupcakes in hand (the Red Velvet is the best, by the way)



There are so many great performers that I have admired over the years and looked up to and been inspired by. Many of them I've talked about here before. One of the greatest and original magic acts I've ever had the pleasure of seeing was Marvyn and Carol Roy's Mr. Electric act. Sadly, one half of that dynamic duo passed away earlier this week: Carol Roy. Carol was always so full of energy and one of the nicest, most genuine people you could ever meet. I remember reading her column "It Ain't All Glamor" in Genii magazine and laughing out loud at some of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans she wrote about regarding Marvyn's and her travels. She was the consummate performer, vivacious, beautiful, and how she squeezed into that jumbo light bulb, I'll never know. They both shared a love for magic and each other. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marvyn and their children in this most difficult time. Thanks, Carol -- you were the real electricity in Mr. Electric's act.

Please enjoy Mr. Electric on the Merv Griffin Show back in the 1970s below:

video

Until next time,

Paul

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Big Thanks

I want to say a big thank you to all of you who participated in our recent private collection/estate event. To say it was a success is an understatement; so many of you took advantage of some of the great bargains and rare finds we had to offer. It was really a lot of fun going through all these items, some new, some old, some rare, and some I've never seen before. Over 80% of the first list sold out in 48 hours! Even after the banner was removed from the front page, calls still kept coming in with inquiries about the listed items. Some items were still available, but many I'm sorry to say were already sold. So, thank you to everyone who participated, and we're in active preparation for list #2! As we get close to its release, I'll announce it here. Remember, you must be an online member to receive advanced notice. If you are not already a member, you can sign up for free HERE!


Class is almost in session

We're just a couple of days away now from the official launch of Mark Wilson's Magic University! I'm very pleased with the response over this exciting new concept. And by the amount of pre-registered founding members, so are you! If you've not yet signed up, you still have a few hours left to become a founding member as today is the last day. This will entitle you to an extra bonus free gift, founding member bonuses, as well as considerable savings on a year-long tuition. To sign up and for more information, click HERE.

I'm leaving early this afternoon to get ready for my trip to Hollywood for the Magic Castle Swap Meet this weekend. Saturday, the Magic Castle will open its doors and hundreds of vendors will be there selling, swapping, trading, and wheeling and dealing with all who attend. As always, I will be looking for rare, unusual, and hard-to-find items to bring back especially for you. I understand that they anticipate an unusually high attendance this time, which is exciting to hear! Watch the web site early next week as these items will magically appear. Even if I don't find anything (which is extremely rare), it's always a lot of fun and a great afternoon of meeting new and old friends. If you plan on attending and see me, please stop me and say hello.


Every Dollar Counts

Just a teaser, next Monday evening, there will be a brand new product category listed called BARGAIN BASEMENT, and for 4 days only, we will list numerous DVDs, books, and effects at wholesale or below prices! For four days only and limited to stock on-hand, you'll have to hurry to get in on all the action! I guarantee you'll be glad you did!

So thanks again for all your support. We appreciate it more than you know. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and we'll see you here again next week!

Until next time,

Paul

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

It's a short blog today; Mike and I have been feverishly working over the last couple of months, along with our good friend, Steve Dick, to compile the biggest private estate and collectible event we've ever offered! There are over 1000 items, from small pocket tricks to large scale illusions (some item's I've never even seen in the 40 years I've been into magic) that will be featured in this list. The first list contains nearly 250 items and will be sent out via email tomorrow, Saturday afternoon, April 25th, but only Hocus Pocus online members will receive the email and get first dibs on these items. If you are not yet an online member, you can sign up for free HERE in order to get in on this huge event. Here are a few pictures to give you a taste of what's in store. What's that? Need a larger view? Simply click on the pictures to open a larger view.


It's like a maze of magic everywhere you look!


From vanishing radios to vintage ventriloquist figures


Some of the larger scale illusions and props


Smaller items adorn the shelves and more shelves


Another view


There really is something for everyone!


Barely room to walk


Rare, one of a kind, radio-controlled talking skull

So there's just a small sampling of what's in store. It's taken what seems like forever just to inventory and prepare this first list. I'm very excited to be able to offer such a wide variety of items for you. If you want a sneak peak of a small sampling of some of these products being offered, make sure you check out the Private/Estate category inside the online store! Until then, be on the lookout for the email tomorrow afternoon. But remember, there's only one of each item listed, and it's first come, first serve.

Get on your mark. Get set. And...

Until next time,

Paul

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Never Judge A Book

How many times have we heard the old saying "Never judge a book by its cover?" It's an old saying, but it's one that constantly rings true. We are all guilty of it. There is not a person alive who isn't guilty of it. Whether it be about a person, a place, etc., we make snap judgments without truly giving them a chance.

This week, every major news channel, radio station, and almost every newspaper carried the story of Susan Boyle who tried out for Britain's Got Talent. Even before she stepped out onstage, this 48 year-old, single woman, who had never been married or even kissed, as she admitted, began to receive snickers, dirty looks, rolling eyes, and giggles from the audience and her fellow competitors. Stepping onstage, the judges' reactions were obviously preconceived as well. They halfheartedly interviewed her and, as the cameras panned the audience before Boyle began to sing, the laughs and looks continued. Ah, but wait; the music started and what followed was completely unexpected and angelic. What an inspiration this woman is, and more importantly, what a message she has sent across the globe. Hooray for you, Susan Boyle, for teaching us all a very important message and one that won't soon be forgotten. We can all learn to be a little more tolerant, and a little less judgmental in the way we treat one another.

In the rare case you've not gotten a chance to witness this incredible performance viewed over 20 million times in the past 3 days, I've included a video clip below for you to watch again and again and again.

video

Even though the final results have not been revealed for Britain's Got Talent, you've got our vote, Susan Boyle!

Until next time,

Paul

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fond Memories of an Afternoon of Allakazam

They came, they saw, and they learned magic. That pretty much sums up what happened here last Saturday here at Hocus Pocus during our Afternoon of Allakazam event! Mark, Nani, and good friend, Mark Nelson arrived last Friday evening, and we had an amazing barbecue and a great time reminiscing and sharing stories about magic, magicians, and their travels. Saturday morning, I picked up Nani at the hotel and brought her to Hocus Pocus where she set up for the day's activities. Around 12:00, our guests began to arrive, and there was a real buzz in the air in anticipation for what was about to happen! At 1:00 sharp, to an audience of 105 people, I introduced Mark Wilson. For the first hour, the afternoon began with a video presentation of Mark and Nani's career and some of their accomplishments in magic. Mark shared stories and his experiences about how it all began, how he met Nani Darnell, and getting their television show on the air. Before you knew it, the first hour was finished and it was time for a short break.

After the break, it was time to begin Magic University! For the next 2 hours, Mark performed and then expertly taught each trick in detail, supplying all the necessary props to do so for each student in attendance. There were tricks with corks, ropes, napkins, playing cards, money, and a special bonus effect where a borrowed bill with a torn corner ended up inside a Chapstick tube held by another spectator across the room! As an added bonus, Mark and Nani performed the Allakazam Egg and for the finale, Nani even coaxed him into performing his famous Color Changing Knife routine!


The audience in preparation, minutes before the event begins


My introduction




Introducing Mark Wilson


The Afternoon of Allakazam begins


A packed house of eager students


Mark and Nani speaking about their vast career in magic


Magic University begins with the 2 Cork trick


Mark demonstrating solid through solid


Impossible? Not for Mark Wilson


Next was tricks with rope


Check out everybody learning the routine




Even Renee and Nani got into the act


Mark's famous Torn & Restored Napkin trick




Mark performs his Borrowed Bill to Chapstick routine


Mark and Nani perform their famous Allakazam Egg effect


To perform the Allakazam Egg, you need your magic coin


Presto! The silk turns into an egg! Or does it?


Peeling the spot off the egg


Cracking open the egg into a glass


Mark and Nani perform Mark's version of Paul Curry's Out of This World




Heartfelt tribute to Nani had everyone feeling the emotions


Mark and Nani thank everyone for coming to An Afternoon of Allakazam


A very happy Mark Wilson


Nani and Renee manning the Allakazam merchandise tables

I've had so many positive emails and phone calls about this event. The most incredible part is the mix of people who attended; there were men, women, grandparents with grandchildren, teenagers, and every single person in the room was spellbound throughout the day. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, walked away with special memories and the new found abilities to perform every single magic trick they were taught that day. It was truly magical to bring a bunch of strangers together for several hours in an afternoon and and watch them become part of a small family together as they learned and watched together. And I must mention that Mark is still the grandmaster of magic, performing each effect flawlessly and teaching in great detail, so that no one felt left out.



This afternoon's event is proof that Mark and Nani's creation of the new Magic University program is an important and significant contribution to the art of magic! Young or old, male or female, imagine getting 3 personal magic lessons delivered to your email inbox per week from none other than Mark Wilson. I think that it's a pretty incredible deal, and I urge you to read more about it HERE!

I said it before, and I'll say it again until I'm blue in the face: No one has contributed to and done more for the art of magic than Mark and Nani Wilson. Their long and exciting career has spanned the globe and touched countless lives, and they continue to do so to this day! And speaking of special accomplishments, tomorrow, Saturday, April 11th is Mark's 80th birthday! So why not drop him a line and wish him a happy birthday at mark@markwilsonmagic.com.

For me personally, Mark and Nani: you both know how special you are to me. I'm honored to call you my friends and Mark, I wish you the happiest of birthdays for tomorrow and for many years to come!

Until next time,

Paul

Friday, April 03, 2009

Ready for Allakazam


105 chairs all set up!



The stage is set, the chairs are in place, and we're just 24 hours away from our Afternoon of Allakazam. Mark and Nani Wilson, along with the Magic Castle's own Mark Nelson will be here later this afternoon, and we will all head over to my house this evening for barbecue and prepare for tomorrow's event. Then, tomorrow, 105 lucky people will be able to spend 3 unforgettable hours with the legends of magic, Mark and Nani! The first hour will be a retrospect of their glorious career. The final two hours will be spent with a performance my Mark and Nani and then a teach-in session. We're very excited about this event (I think I'm more excited than anybody) and hope that you are lucky enough to be able to attend.

Last week's call to recycle your old magic, also known as Trade-In Days, was a huge success! Many of you took advantage of our offer and traded in your old or unwanted magic for instant in-store credit to use for future purchases. Thank you to all who participated.



Speaking of special events, we're just a little over a week away from our lecture with Wayne Houchin! This promises to be one of the biggest lecture events we've ever held as the response so far has been tremendous. We anticipate a huge turnout! Throughout this 3 hour event, Wayne will perform and teach a selection of his favorite pieces of powerful magic, including unpublished material. Character development, goal setting, and the art of success including Why Magicians Fail will also be discussed.

WHEN: Monday, April 13 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Hocus Pocus 1492 N. Clark #104 Fresno, CA. 93703
COST: $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door

To make reservations by credit card or for further information call toll-free (800) 407-4040 or 559-266-5150. For more information click HERE!

As if all this isn't keeping us busy enough, check out the web site; a record amount of products have hit the site this week, including Deep 3 by Bro Gilbert and Paul Harris! This one's received tons of action and acclaim on all the boards and blogs, and for good reason!

Well, there is still a little more work to do in preparation for tomorrow's Afternoon of Allakazam, so it's back to work we go. Once again, I hope to see you here tomorrow if possible, and I'll have photos and a follow-up next week.

Until next time,

Paul

Friday, March 27, 2009

An Afternoon Of Allakazam Is Almost Here!



The phones are ringing off the hook, the emails are flying in, the local newspaper is calling for a press release! I'd say it's official: people are extremely excited for our Afternoon of Allakazam event with Mark and Nani Wilson on Saturday, April 4th from 1-4 PM. If you haven't pre-registered, please do so soon; there are still a few seats available. Remember, this event is limited to only 100 people, and you must pre-register in order to attend. Remember, this is a FREE event with all materials needed for the tricks taught by the Wilsons supplied at the door, and they are yours to keep. I personally can't think of two better people to teach magic than these two! Mark and Nani will be available for all questions and answers for what we guarantee will be an afternoon that you'll never forget. And, did we mention, this is a FREE event? That's right; it won't cost you a dime! We'll also have a special prize drawing and more surprises from Mark and Nano in store! What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with two of magic's biggest legends and most beloved performers! I've said this before, but I guarantee this is an experience you'll never forget. You can reserve your seat by phone at 800-407-4040 or 559-266-5150 or via email at sales@hocus-pocus.com.

RECYCLE YOUR MAGIC

We all have them: Special rooms, closets or drawers, and maybe even storage facilities overflowing with magic effects that we never use. Well, what if you could recycle all those unused effects? Well, now you can; exchange your unwanted magic for brand new magic!

It only happens once a year: Trade-In Days are here again!

Have we got a deal for you! We've all done it: we've bought some tricks we thought we just couldn't live without only to find out that they just didn't fit our style or we just couldn't use it in our act. Hocus Pocus has come to your rescue with our fabulous Trade In Days Event! Here's how it works:

1. Put together a list of the items you would like to trade for in-store credit. Please state the condition of the items and if they are complete with instructions.

2. Email your list along with your telephone number to sales@hocus-pocus.com and we will review the items you send us. If we're interested, we will email you within 24 hours and make you an offer. If you accept, simply send the merchandise to us and receive your in-store credit to use any time you wish! It's that easy!

PLEASE: No books, DVDs, videos, packet or pocket tricks. We are specifically looking for mid-sized to larger items. We are always looking for Collector's Workshop pieces, older pieces, collectibles, or whatever you can't use!

IMPORTANT: PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR LIST FOR CONSIDERATION ON OR BEFORE MONDAY, MARCH 30th AT MIDNIGHT.

So here's your chance to turn that old stuff into new! Please feel free to contact us by email, sales@hocus-pocus.com or toll-free at 800-407-4040 or 559-266-5150.

What have you got you lose? Who knows; that magic you can't use just might be what we are looking for and you can recycle it into store credit for future purchases. Remember all lists must be submitted no later than MONDAY, MARCH 30th at midnight.

On the home front, I'm taking off a little early today to spend the evening with my family, and I'm looking forward to spending the entire weekend in the yard exercising my green thumb. The weather here is absolutely beautiful and the weekend forecast is projecting high 70s to low 80s. There is a lot of work to do, but I enjoy every single second of it. However you decide to spend your weekend, make it a good one!

Until next time,

Paul

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lights, Candles, Action!



A couple of weeks ago, my good friend, Paul Romhany, contacted me regarding a magician he had met in Canada named Zoran Krezic. Paul was excited about a magic effect that Zoran had created. Wanting to get his product on the market, Paul immediately suggested he contact us, which he did by phone. I was surprised when Zoran told me that, rather than send pictures or even a video demo, he wanted to show it to me personally. Imagine believing in a product so strongly, Zoran was willing to drive 2.5 days from his home in Vancouver, BC all the way to Fresno, California! That's exactly what he did. Monday morning, bright and early, Zoran, his wife Zdravka, and son Tony arrived here at Hocus Pocus. Within minutes, Zoran was set up to perform his Lit Candles Mystery:


Zoran presents his Lit Candles Mystery


No one saw the finale coming!

Everyone on hand gathered around the stage to watch Zoran perform this miracle. Everyone, including Mike and myself were completely fooled. So much so that Mike didn't even want to know how it was done! I must say that I see hundreds if not thousand of magic products come through these doors every year, but I have not seen anything of this caliber, quality, craftsmanship, and uniqueness in the last 20 or so years. Zoran is not only a master award-winning magician, but he is also a master craftsman the likes we haven't seen for a long time. While this is not an inexpensive prop or one that is suitable for every single performer out there, I urge you to take a few minutes and watch the online video right here!

My only regret is that I can't show you how it's done or the fine machining and craftsmanship along with all the steps Zoran has thought out with this incredible effect. We enjoyed our visit with Zoran and his family. Nicer and down-to-Earth people like them are a rarity in this day and age. I look forward to this new relationship with Zoran and his family, and I'm excited and honored that he chose Hocus Pocus to be the exclusive dealer to carry the Lit Candles Mystery. And just a tip: he's already told me about the next effect that he'll be releasing soon. I can't wait!



Other news here at Hocus Pocus: this coming Monday, my good friend, Bruce Calver, will be here to lecture. If you haven't seen Bruce before, you are truly missing out on one of the most practical performers out there. Bruce has something for everyone in his lecture, whether you perform close-up magic, mentalism, or stage magic; Bruce has something just for you. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity. The lecture is Monday, March 23 at 7:00 PM here at Hocus Pocus. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door. I hope to see you here.



Calling All Allakazamers! Where will you be Saturday, April 4th 1-4 PM?


The excitement is certainly building for our Afternoon of Allakazam event with Mark and Nani Wilson on Saturday, April 4th from 1-4 PM. So many of you have already signed up, and if you haven't please do so soon. Remember, this is limited to only 100 people, and you must pre-register to attend. Everything that you'll need for the tricks taught will be supplied to you at the door, and remember, this is a FREE event. As excited as I am about this event, Mark and Nani are even more excited to be here and meet all of you and share their experiences, knowledge, and Mark is excited about teaching you several magic effects. We'll have a special prize drawing and more surprizes in store! What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with two of magic's biggest legends and most beloved performers! I guarantee this is an experience you'll never forget.

On the home front, our oldest son, Cole, just called to inform us that he has just gotten a job working for an accounting firm. This was quite a long process as the firm was narrowing down the prospective employees. It went from 40 applicants to 20 to 10 to 5 to 4, and then Cole! We're very excited and proud, so Betty and I will be leaving tomorrow morning to visit Cole and celebrate his success.

So, it's time to wrap it up. Try to make it to the lecture if you're in the area Monday night, and make sure to sign up for our Afternoon of Allakazam.

Until next time,

Paul