Friday, June 24, 2005

Summer is Finally Here!

Hard to believe, but officially, the first day of Summer began on Tuesday of this week! What that means to us is triple digit hot, hot, HOT! But that's OK; we'll persevere, use the fans, turn on the air conditioning, and tough it out!

Speaking of hot, have you checked out the web site recently? Mike's been putting on hot/new items like there's no tomorrow! The biggest news is that Bill Abbott has spoken with me and chosen to release his extremely popular, "Chico the Mindreading Chimp" Act exclusively through Hocus Pocus. For those of you who have seen Bill's act, either via his DVDs or live, you know that this is one of the most requested routines he performs! This is a solid 12-minute routine that will include ALL the props, special music, and DVD of three live (and different) performances! This is limited to only 50 units, so if you are a children's or family entertainer, this is definitely worth your serious consideration. Watch the web site next week for details!

Every week, we try to trim down the title page to make it a bit less cluttered, but for every item that comes off the title page, three new ones go up!

Here are just a few of the top sellers this week:

  • Dragster
  • The Thing by Bill Abbott
  • Abyss
  • Raven Slates
  • In the News by Devin Knight
  • CelebriTie
  • Midas

Check these and many new products hitting the web site every day!

As many of you already know, the IBM Convention begins next Tuesday, the 28th of June, in Reno, Nevada. Lots of you have phoned and have planned on stopping by Hocus Pocus on the way to the convention. We look forward to a full house over the weekend and on Monday! If you're coming our way, give us a call; we'd love for you to stop by.

As for me, my youngest son, Max, comes home tomorrow from a week at Summer Camp, which means the house will no longer belong to Betty and me! Max will be sharing stories of his experiences with us over dinner, no doubt! It should make for some interesting conversation... Last week when he packed to go, he made sure to pack one dufflebag full of his novelties to sell. Among his supplies were shocking pens, stink bombs, bomb bags, and whoopie cushions. Since Betty and I did not receive any phone calls from the camp counselors, we can only assume that all went well. I'll let you know...

This weekend, I'll be working in my back yard around the Koi Pond doing some re-landscaping while Betty relaxes from a hectic week (that is, if I can convince her to relax). Mike performs several shows over the weekend, including a show for the premiere of the new movie, "Bewitched." I'll be extremely happy come Tuesday of next week as Tony Blanco will be here officially with Hocus Pocus, all moved out from Las Vegas.

Thank you for your nice letters and comments about last week's blog. I always enjoy reading them. Keep 'em coming!

Until Next time,


Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy Father's Day

As I write this today and look at the calendar, I can't believe that half the year has already gone by! Normally, I talk about things going on here at the shop and all the future irons I have in the fires, but I wanted to forego that today.

I noticed that it's time to recognize all the dads around the world because, as you are probably already aware, this Sunday is Father's Day! Let me tell you a little bit about my dad:

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Marvin Gross, my dad.

My dad was instrumental in the creation of this business, believe it or not! When I was a mere 18 years old and decided I wanted to be in the magic business, my father was right there supporting me all the way. He taught me to work hard and do what it takes to be successful and not be afraid to go the extra mile. Although he may have had his doubts about my success in the business at first, he never once voiced them. Instead, he supported me, helped me get the bank loan, and he even came and helped me paint the walls and hang shelving at my first store! I learned from my dad how to be a good businessman, but more importantly, how to take care of my children. He was the best audience whenever I got the newest magic tricks and wanted to perform them. If I could fool him, I knew it was perfect. If not, back to the drawing board.

Dad had a great sense of humor and was always the center of attention at any party or get-together he attended. He attracted people like a magnet. He stood a full 6' 6" tall, a bit intimidating when you first saw and met him, but he had a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off his back and the last dollar in his pocket without hesitation if you needed it. He was honest, hard-working, and never selfish. He had literally hundreds of friends who I didn't even know, and he was never a stranger anywhere he went. He was always there for my sister and me no matter what we were going through!

When we were kids, our Father's Day tradition was to let Dad sleep in on Sunday morning followed by the breakfast of his choice! Then we would go visit my grandparents, and the highlight was going to Foster's to get a Root Beer Freeze! Sounds simple but it was a great time for us all!

It has been 16 years since my dad passed away, and I still think about him every day. Referring to his words of wisdom whenever it comes to making a life or business decision, I always find myself reflecting and repeating the words of advice and love he always gave me.

So, if you can, give your dad a call or visit this Father's Day. Me? I think I'll sleep in, do a little visiting of my own, and go to Foster's for that Root Beer Freeze...

Happy Father's Day!


Thursday, June 09, 2005

John Calvert!

So, imagine my surprise this week when I hear the doorbell ring here at the shop on Monday, and I see what looks to be a man resembling John Calvert standing outside the warehouse. I ring him in, and it IS John Calvert! What a surprise! John and Tammy had a few days off in between their very busy lecture tour from Florida to California, and John decided to spend some time with his "son from Fresno." That's what he calls me.

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John hangs out at Hocus Pocus

John said that since they had a few days off, he knew I would have a project for him. He was right; I had three! I suggested that John and I produce a series of DVDs featuring his famous Magazine Tear, 100 Foot Rope Escape, and Sightless Vision Act. John immediately agreed, and in less than 24 hours, the cameras were rolling and guests were seated in our in-house studio! The DVDs should be ready for release in 30 - 45 days from now, and they will be worth every penny! John releases the nuances and subtle hints that make these three showpieces worth their weight in gold! In case you didn't realize, John Calvert, besides being a living legend of magic, has been performing these and other effects continually for the last 50 + years!

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John performs the Sightless Vision Act

At 94 years of age, that's right -- I said 94 -- he's got more energy and gusto than people a third of his age! The man is always going and continually busy! He wraps up this year with numerous performances and lectures at the Magic Castle and is one of the headlining acts of England's Magic Circle Centennial Celebration!

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Mike gets first-hand lessons on the Sightless Vision Act

While John and Tammy were here, we enjoyed having them as our guests for dinner each evening as John told numerous stories of his days as a movie star, magician, and traveller around the world! He also brought along a very rare McElroy Brothers' Talking Skull. For those of you who know me, antique and collectible magic is a passion of mine, and this was a one-of-a-kind piece custom made just for John in 1937! Not only was it featured in his full stage show, it even made its appearance in several of John's movies. Check out the photo below: I'm the one drooling all over the table!

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John, me, and George

As I write this, John & Tammy are packing up their gigantic motor home and heading south for Bakersfield, Las Vegas, San Diego, Long Beach, and it goes on from there! If you have a chance to see John & Tammy lecture, DO NOT miss it!

I'm taking tomorrow off, heading south myself to Santa Barbara where my oldest daughter is graduating from UCSB! I couldn't be more proud! If you have someone graduating from high school or college, congratulations to you as well!

Boy, with all the excitement that this week has brought, I can't even imagine what next week will bring; there's never a dull moment at Hocus Pocus!

Until next time,


Friday, June 03, 2005

Wow, What a Week!

Indeed, what a week it's been. There's lots to talk about, so let's get right into it:

First, I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend last week. I certainly enjoyed my four days off with the family, and I appreciate Mike taking over blogging responsibilities for me...

I'd like to congratulate all the performers of the World's Greatest Magic Show:

Kevin James
Paul Kozak
Joseph Gabriel
The Majestix

They've all won the International Magic Awards, which will be presented to them this week in Las Vegas at the Greek Isles Casino, where the show is performed nightly! I can personally say that it is an award well-deserved!

As you know, Tony Blanco has officially joined the Hocus Pocus crew Tuesday, and he has fit like a glove! It's as if he's been here forever! I couldn't be happier with this new crew, and it means that Hocus Pocus will be an even MORE well-oiled machine than it was...

This week at the shop has been non-stop BUSY. With the Monday holiday, Tuesday morning came with a BANG! Thanks to all of you, it has been one of the largest weeks Hocus Pocus has ever had. In fact, we shipped out so many packages every day this week, we had to schedule an additional 3rd UPS pick-up! Bravo to all of you!

Big news department: I have secured another exclusive for Hocus Pocus. Mike may have tipped you last week about this: the product is Cerebro Solo, and it reads INCREDIBLE! The best part is that the product delivers on every written word describing it and its possibilities! I urge you to read the description on the site.

Another hot item, straight from Bill Abbott's working repertoire, is The Thing! Check out the description and the online video of Bill performing The Thing live on the street here! Through exclusive arrangement, Hocus Pocus will be the only supplier of The Thing for a limited time. Pre-order yours now for guaranteed delivery. Remember, it will be here before it will be available anywhere else!

There are also a ton of new books and DVDs Mike has been putting on this week, so spend some time and check them out. The faster I give these new products to Mike to put on the site, the faster he puts them up.

On the home front this weekend, my sons Cole and Max are hosting their first-ever garage sale! Cole's been going to every relative in the family collecting things to sell. Out garage is so full of stuff, it looks like a scene from Sanford & Son! While Cole runs his garage sale, Max will have his Novelty Table set up as well. It will be very interesting to see how the day unfolds, and I'll be sure to inform you about it next week. Cole's goal is to earn as much money as he can to purchase a laptop computer! Max just wants the cash!

My daughter, Renee, is graduating from U.C. Santa Barbara next Saturday! Betty and I are extremely proud of how hard she's worked to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology. Wow! It really is mind-numbing to believe that she's been away for four very short years! Time does fly, and I'm shaking my head in disbelief as I write this...

So there you have it: quite a full week, and it was only four days! I can't wait to see what a full five days will be like next week!

Until next time,