Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Big Five-O!

First off, I want to apologize for not being around the last few weeks. It's not that I didn't want to be here, I just haven't been up to my game insofar as health is concerned... Last week, I came down with the flu and wasn't able to return to work until the beginning of this week. I'm feeling much better now, and knock on wood, say the secret word, I've filled my sick quota for the year. Thanks to Mike for doing a fine job taking over the blog for me.

So much has been happening here at Hocus Pocus, even in my absence. I don't even know where to begin. Let's begin with the huge estate collection that came in just a few days ago. Tony, Mike, and I have been pouring through and salivating over the incredible amount and variety in this collection. There are close to 2000 items, all in mint condition. Some have never even been opened and are still in their original packaging! Mike and I will be compiling a list at the beginning of next week and before long, there will be a special page on the web site with pictures devoted to this estate sale. If you are a Hocus Pocus Online Member, fear not; you'll receive the email when all is up and running. If you're not a member, take this opportunity to join now! Remember, it's a free service, your information is kept strictly confidential, and you can opt out at any time.

Also, we here at the Hocus Pocus family welcome our newest customer service rep, Ken Walker, who is replacing Nancy Wisseman, now preparing for new motherhood. If Ken answers the phone when you call Hocus Pocus, make sure you say hello and introduce yourself to him.

It's been extremely hectic here, which is not the norm for the Summer. Generally, it begins to slow down from the middle to the end of Summer with all the back-to-schools, vacations, etc. Not this year! It's been about 3 times busier than in years past! I'm not complaining; we love it when it's busy! And with Summer now coming to an end, it's time to start thinking about the busiest time of year: the holidays. How can it possibly be? It seems like just yesterday that it was January! Well, it's that time again, and before you know it, temperatures will begin to drop and holiday decorations and music will infiltrate our everyday lives.

Tomorrow, September 1st, I will turn 50 years old! I was talking with Mike, telling him that it doesn't seem that it could possibly be. I remember looking at 50 year-old people when I was younger thinking that they looked, well, old. Now I'm 50, and I now have a different take on that opinion! Tomorrow night, my family will get together and have a great dinner and my favorite German Chocolate Birthday cake. I can't wait! So, if you're celebrating a birthday tomorrow or in the month of September, Happy Birthday to you as well! As for me, the first 50 were pretty good, I can't wait to start working on the next 50.


Mike here. I caught some candid shots of Paul receiving an over-the-hill singing telegram and thought you'd all enjoy seeing Paul covered in Silly String receiving old people diapers.

You gotta love it!

Until next time,


Friday, August 26, 2005


Maybe the name of this blog should be changed to "From the Desk of Mike Giusti," as I've been taking it over for the past couple of weeks; Paul has called in sick today as he has a bit of a fever, but that won't stop us from keeping you abreast of what's going on here at Hocus Pocus.

In other news, right this very second, we are being inundated with calls and questions regarding our Mega Estate & Collectibles Event going on at:

This has got to be the biggest estate and collectible sale we've ever had. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of products that are appearing and will be appearing within the next week on the above page. I plan to update the page daily (not only taking care of things that have sold but adding new items) at around 3:00 PM PST, so do yourself a favor and check it regularly. As the page states, there's literally something for everyone on this list, whether you perform close-up magic, children's magic, or stand-up magic!

Personally, I am not yet settled in my new place, but I AM moved in, and as for my sold house: "This house is clean." I personally need to thank Tony for being a true friend (I told you last week that a sign of a real friend is one who helps you move), and Tony went way beyond the call of duty, helping me for a total of two full days instead of one.

In the middle of the first day of moving, Tony and I decided to see a live concert of three of the most influential jazz virtuosos today: Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty, and Bela Fleck. Called "Trio," if you are a jazz fanatic and these three are coming to your town, do not pass go or collect $200.00. GO SEE THEM! It was a night of incredible music, phenomenal improvisation, and lots of humor.

Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke, and Jean Luc Ponty

With that, as Paul would say, "Until next time,"


Thursday, August 18, 2005

College Bound!

Hey, kids! Mike Giusti here. How's it going? That's fascinating...

I'm officially hijacking Paul's blog again as he is currently college hunting with his wife, Betty, and their son, Cole in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. As of this moment, they are in a meeting with one of the college counselors discussing Cole's future at that particular college. Next, they'll be going to another college for more of the same and hopefully, a little r&r thereafter... Cole is looking to get his degree in business, and I think that's a brilliant decision; this kid's as sharp as a tack, and I remember him when he was just a little kid! It's amazing how much faster time flies the older you get! I can't believe it has been over 13 years since I graduated from college.

As an aside, I know for a fact that Paul has been personally touched by all the emails, letters, and cards he has received from all of you wishing him well. He is almost 100% again, and I know that all your thoughts and well-wishes meant the world to him. And I expect twice as many when I have my next kidney stone!!!

I personally want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Bill Abbott for appearing as my special guest on the Magic Broadcast's Mike on the Mic show. If you missed last Tuesday night's show, it was informative, entertaining, whimsical, and funny as heck. Bill talked about all the ins and outs of his best-selling products, "The Thing" and "Chico, the Mindreading Chimp," available here exclusively at Hocus Pocus! Look for the show when the Magic Broadcast rebroadcasts it in the future. Although I won't be returning to the Broadcast to go live for a couple of weeks, I can guarantee an entertaining and triumphant return when I finish with my move. For those of you who don't know, I sold my house in less than 24 hours (the housing market here is unbelievable) and am moving to the other side of town in order to start another new chapter in my life -- the life of a bachelor! I am actually very excited about it and have a feeling I am going to love my independence.

Tony is actually helping me move this weekend (bless his heart -- a sign of a true friend is helping one move). Speaking of Tony, he is settling in quite nicely here in Fresno, as I promised he would. He has already gotten a weekly gig at a local casino, and the pay truly merits everything that Tony is and has created for himself over the past 20 plus years! Congratulations, Tony!!! Knock 'em dead!

In other news, if you are a performer and like a little mentalism, audience interaction, and perceived improvisation in your shows, I strongly recommend you take a look at the newest Hocus Pocus/Pro Magic Exclusive, "Time Control." This thing is terrific! The effect is that you begin by displaying a prediction hanging on a stand in full view! Explain that you will now ask a volunteer to stand up whenever he wishes during your show. Anytime! He can even stand in the middle of your performance; whenever he feels the urge. Your show begins, and sSometime in the middle of the show the volunteer decides to stand up. You smile because this is the time you wanted him to stand! You then prove it by handing him the prediction envelope that was hanging in full view throughout the entire show and ask him to take out its contents. Inside, the volunteer finds a large, non-working analog kitchen clock with NO batteries! You ask him to compare the time he decided to stand to the time on the large clock. It is the exact same time! Nice!

Also, for you close-up guys, I just received a sample of a new David Forrest effect entitled, "Encased," a Signed Card in Card Case. Since making it visible on the web site, we've already taken dozens of phone calls and email inquiries about this item. Although it is scheduled to ship next week, I would strongly recommend you take look at it if you are a close-up or walkaround worker. I have taken a look through it and can't wait to sit down and play around with the possibility of adding it to my repertoire (as it takes up virtually no room and doesn't interfere with my existing routines).

Well, that about covers it from this corner of the desk. Thank you for checking in from time to time, and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.


Friday, August 12, 2005

The Two Most Dreaded Words

Kidney stones. Two words you never want to hear. You might remember two weeks ago, we took a little break as Mike was going on vacation. No sooner did Mike hit the road when I began to feel a tremendous amount of pain in my back. By Monday evening, my wife, Betty, drove me to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with having kidney stones. I've had these before, and for those of you who have never had them, it's the closest thing for a man to feel giving birth. That's what a female doctor once told Mike (he's had them, too).

A week ago today I had a procedure done, which I will not go into detail about, to blast apart a 7 mm stone with a laser. Most of the stone has "passed," but until all of it disappears, I am forced to drink the most putrid-tasting liquid 3 times a day! In four weeks, I go for another x-ray and, with fingers crossed, if everything's clear, I can stop drinking this stuff. In fact, Mike has been nice enough to type this over the phone while I rest up from home. I would personally like to thank all of you who have called, emailed, and sent letters and get-well cards. I was very touched by all your thoughts and concerns. I will be back Monday with a vengeance, so not to worry.

Other happenings while I was away, it was extremely busy at Hocus Pocus, and I have to say I was (and still am) extremely impressed with how well the entire team handled the workload while I was away. So many new products have hit our doors recently! One of the things I thought was extremely cool was the Houdini action figure. Check it out below:

If you're a Houdini buff or your kids like magic, this is a really cool item to have, either in a collection, or for the kids to play with.

Another thing you should really take a look at is the beautiful Alan Wakeling Automaton on our web site. This automaton was hand-made by the late Alan Wakeling, and when you see it operate, you would swear it's really alive. It's truly a thing of beauty!

You may have noticed on the front page of our web site that our own Tony Blanco has started a blog of his own, entitled "Tony's Picks & Tips." There's a ton of valuable information Tony will be tipping, including honest product reviews and solid performance tips and advice, etc. Well worth checking out!

Last Sunday, Max went off to his second week at YMCA Summer Camp. My oldest son, Cole, drove both he and his best friend, Joe, to the facility in the beautiful mountains near Kings Canyon National Park. Max took along with him two sacks filled with novelties. As soon as he arrived, all the camp councelors greeted him and remembered him as the life of the party last year. What they didn't know was that one of those bags of novelties was filled with 100 stink bombs! Oh, I'm sure they'll remember him next year as well...

I'm looking forward to going back to work Monday after two weeks off. This was not my idea of a vacation. I just have to remember that "slow and steady wins the race."

Finally, Mike will leave you with a snapshot memory from his vacation.

Until next time,