Thursday, December 28, 2006

What A Year It's Been!

I hope you all had a happy holiday last weekend and were able to enjoy your friends and family. I personally had the best holiday ever this year! I had two great days of family and cheer, and my good friend, Robert Baxt, spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with us. He was the hit of Christmas day at my sister's house, performing impromptu magic for everyone! I especially want to thank all of you who sent emails, cards, and Christmas wishes from all over the world. I hate to take them all down, so I think I'll leave them hanging up until after New Year's Day. Thanks again; it really means a lot to all of us here at Hocus Pocus.

And what a year it's been! So many things have happened, so many things have changed. First, we moved from our old building into our new 10,000 square foot location, which has been a real blessing and enabled us to do so many things we could never do before and to be able to efficiently run the business and pack & ship packages out faster than ever! It even enables us to hold our First Annual Swap Meet & Get-Together just a few weeks away on January 20th.

Old location

New location

My daughter, Renee, moved back to Fresno this year after graduating from college and has a great management job in a formidable department store just as my oldest son, Cole, moved away to begin his college life. He was able to get into the college of his dreams, St. Mary's, and is doing extremely well there. My younger daughter, Aimee, went back to school and will graduate next year with a business degree, taking after her old man. And last, but not least: MAX! Starting high school this year and now, almost as tall as I am (6' 2"), it seems almost impossible to me that at one time, I could hold them all in my arms at a time where my first building was a mere fraction of what it has become. And next, one of the biggest changes of all this year (I almost didn't put this up as it is a bit embarrassing) was my recent weight loss of 178 pounds! Don't believe me? Check out the before and after image below:

Me before (top) and me after! The real magic trick!

I've never felt better, never been healthier, and have never had more energy than I do now. I feel like a kid again, ready to go out and tackle the world. It's the best thing I've ever done for myself, and everyone here tells me that I should be very proud of myself; it was no easy task, but one very much worth it! And I couldn't end this all without talking about the best thing in my life, my wife Betty, without whom none of anything I've talked about would even be possible!

As this year draws to a close, I find myself very much looking forward to the new year. 2007 promises to be one of the most exciting and successful years to date, and I have you all to thank for it. I couldn't end this without thanking you all for THIS year, 2006. Your continued support and friendship are the lifeblood of Hocus Pocus. All of you are truly the reason Hocus Pocus has become what it is today, and I will never forget that.

So, however you spend your New Year's, be safe and enjoy it to the fullest!

Until next time,


Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

From all of us here at Hocus Pocus, we wish you a Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays. It seems like just last week we were talking about the beginning of the holidays and now, in just a few short days, Christmas will be upon us. The showroom is all set up for our Christmas Luncheon this year, and everyone is exchanging gifts with one another. I wish it could be like this all the time: great music, great cheer, and great memories.

Update: We just ate and everyone is full and happy:

My good friend, Robert Baxt, who spent Thanksgiving with us, will also be spending Christmas with us as well as he travels from Hollywood to be with us. We'll all be spending Christmas Eve at my mother in-law's house and Christmas day at my sister's place. All my kids will be there, as well as everyone else's kids, so it' will be two great days filled to the brim with excitement and merriment.

Thank you all for keeping us busy this time of year and, of course, for your continued support and friendship. No matter what you do or how you celebrate, I hope you create new holiday memories of your own to cherish forever!

Until next time,


Friday, December 15, 2006


Run, run, run, and I'm not talking about Rudolph. It's in high overdrive here at Hocus Pocus as the big day is just about here. We're having multiple UPS, Fed-Ex, and Postal pickups here daily, and the UPS driver remarked the other day that it seemed that we were shipping 3 times the number of boxes than from last year. I think he's right. You still have time to do your last minute shopping with us and with expidited shipping, still get it in time for Christmas.

We're getting lots of responses about our upcoming Swap Meet & Get-Together. I spoke to Robert Baxt last night, and he's also planning on attending and doing a lecture as well. Carl Ballantine is planning on making the trip with Robert as an added surprise!

Robert Baxt & Carl Ballantine will be attending the 1st Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-Together

I don't want to spill the beans, but there will be more announcements once other committments have been fulfilled. For more information about the First Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-Together, click the banner below:

Next Friday, we'll be celebrating the holiday here with a catered lunch for the entire staff. There'll be photos posted and lots of fun to be had by all. We'll try to keep Tony out of his Elf Suit while he dances merrily around the tree...

I want to thank everyone for their holiday emails and Christmas cards which adorn the inside of Betty's office. It truly has been a great holiday season. Our good friend, Paul Romhany sent us this great email:

To my dear friends at Hocus-Pocus,

I just wanted to send you a Christmas message wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you so much for all your support in 2006 and I am so excited about 2007 as I have some wonderful new products coming up that I know you'll be excited about.

Lots of other wonderful products to come. I think if 2006 was anything to go
by then 2007 will be even better with the products I am going to produce. Let me reiterate my sincere thanks to you all for your wonderful support and encouragement, it really has meant a lot to Natalie and myself.

I've attached a photo taken 2 weeks ago here in Vancouver. We fly out to NZ in two days time and I will be away in March. I will be in touch while I'm away and can still produce the Ultimate DVDs while I'm away if any come in.

Fondest Regards,

Paul and Natalie Romhany

Before I go, let me share with you a special poem written by our good friend and customer, Frank Collins. Enjoy:


'Twas weeks before Christmas
and all through the place,
orders were called in
no more room no more space.

Hot items there going
Fast off the wall,
Magicians from everywhere
Were beginning to call.

Please ship the order
Hurry they say,
I have a gig
It's later today.

The shop was buzzing
World fame it was great,
Paul you look good,
Did you lose weight?

Tony's weekly tips
With encouragement bound,
Vegas was great,
But in Fresno I'm found.

What to pick what to chose,
They are not all the same,
Which trick will take me
To glory and fame?

The one by Dexter
Of mental delight,
Can I be the next Kreskin
If I practice all night?

And Mike by his wonders
and marvelous sleights,
has entertained passengers,
on cruises at night.

Ken's seen so much
A book he will pen,
Writing of greats
Like Tarbell and Ginn.

Sister Jan in shipping
Memories of Paul's sword in the neck,
Don't have the full story
It's a trick what the heck.

Cousin Karen receiving
She has Joey a son,
The next Lance Burton
Is he the one?

Jeremy in warehouse
I heard him say,
If you want it tomorrow
Should have ordered yesterday.

If you look closely
Read all the facts,
There's a young man on the screen
That's Paul's son Max.

True magic to Paul
And Hocus Pocus life,
Is his loving partner
Betty his wife.

I heard Paul say
Ever so merry,
No time rest
We have Wilson and Barry.

And to all who shop here,
My blessings I send.
When you see a rainbow
The shops at the end.

Until next time,


Friday, December 08, 2006

Warp 5, Captain!

It's definitely looking a lot like Christmas here at Hocus Pocus. To quote Mr. Scott from Star Trek, "We've got 'er at warp 5, Captain!" As fast as the orders are coming in, and I do mean they're coming in, they are going out the door just as quickly! My sister runs the shipping department and does an excellent job, as always! Remember, if you are purchasing for the holidays, the Post Office is now saying that anything shipped after December 11th by Parcel Post may not reach you in time for the holidays. You may wish to consider soon upgrading your shipping options. Rest assured that Hocus Pocus will do everything we can to make sure you receive your packages on time. Here's a quick shot of JUST the back of the shipping department with orders ready to ship out today!

Can you see your order in here?

Even though we live in California, and last time we saw snow here in Fresno was over 30 years ago, the weather here has been below freezing every single night for the last two weeks, and although that might not be cold for some of you, here in California, THAT'S COLD! Every morning windows, grass, rooftops, and cars are frozen over with frost. That's as close to a white Christmas as we'll probably get.

Last week, I talked about the upcoming Hocus Pocus Swap Meet this January 20. I'm happy to say that we'll have two guest lecturers that day: Dick Barry and Mark & Nani Wilson! It's turned into a one-day mini convention. We've already taken several reservations for tables, and if you want to join in to sell your magic wares, contact us here at or 800-407-4040. We're extremely excited about this event and look forward to seeing you here.

Proud new parents, Chance and Shelley Wolf

Congratulations to Chance and Shelley Wolf of Wolf's Magic as they celebrate the birth of their first child, a brand new baby boy! I spoke to Chance earlier in the week, and I could tell from his tone, that he was beaming at the prospect of being a new dad. What better Christmas gift could anyone receive?

On the home front, all our Christmas shopping is done, which is record time for us! With four children and other relatives to buy for, we're usually shopping right up to the last minute. My son Max checks the bottom of the Christmas Tree regularly, just to see if there are any new gifts for him. Betty has made it harder to guess what's inside this year as she's disguised every single one of his gifts. It's driving him crazy, and if you think I'm going to hint at what some of them are here, you're nuts; I know Max reads this...

We hope your holidays and bright, cheerful, warm, and cozy this year as you spend them with your family and loved ones. Remember, don't let the fact that we only have 16 days left until Christmas drive you crazy; relax and enjoy and take each day in stride.

Until next time,


Friday, December 01, 2006

Only 23 Days Left

How can it be? We just finished Thanksgiving and there's 23 days left before we celebrate Christmas. What a great holiday kickoff we had last week. All the family gathered for our traditional Thanksgiving celebration. Robert Baxt spent a couple of days here celebrating as well. Both of our families were entertained by Robert and his impromptu magic shows. See the photos below for a more in-depth look:

That's me cutting up the bird.

At my Mother in-law's house.

The day after Thanksgiving started off with a bang. We were busier than ever before. Max and Cole hung the Christmas lights outside the house and helped to put all the Christmas decorations up while Betty and I worked inside getting it decked out for the holidays as well. We were so much in the Christmas spirit Saturday afternoon, we went out and bought our tree. Sunday afternoon, my daughters, Aimee and Renee, my sons Max and Cole, and Cole's girlfriend, Amanda, came over to see the decorations. We all went out to dinner and afterwards came home to watch all the kids decorate the Christmas tree. It's been our tradition since they could walk to decorate the tree any way they want.

Here at Hocus Pocus, the holiday spirit's also taken over. Now that we have all this room in our new location, Betty and my sister have taken up the official duties of decorating. From the warehouse to the offices, the holiday spirit abounds!

There's been a huge influx of new and exciting products arriving daily. Most notable are Cody Fisher's Bet Your Bucks Routine. Hocus Pocus is excited to be the exclusive dealer and manufacturer of Cody's latest offering. This effect is two years in the making and definitely worth your time to check out! Other exciting products are Psy-Key and Kronos by Yves Doumergue. Also, do yourself a favor and check out Sykys as well as Mark Wilson's Color Changing Knife Routine! While you're at it, check out the special Holiday Items section of our web site, filled with tons of products that will satisfy that holiday urge. Don't forget: by adding one or two of these effects to your shows will set you apart from your competition. It's a small investment with a huge payoff.

Hocus Pocus will be hosting its first annual Swap Meet Day. Tentative date is Saturday, January 20th, and everyone is welcome to attend. If you wish to participate and sell within the swap meet, table fees are just $15.00 each and must be reserved in advance. To reserve your table, call toll-free 800-407-4040 and ask to speak to either myself or Tony. We will also have two guest lecturers that day as well as special guests to be announced very soon. Don't miss out on this chance to sell some of those items that you don't use anymore or pick up a few bargains yourself and check out a couple of great lectures at the same time.

Oh, one more thing: Do you want to win a free Bet Your Bucks by Cody Fisher? All you have to do is tune in to Mike Giusti's radio show on the Magic Broadcast Tuesday, December 5 at 8:00 PM PST for your opportunity. Mike will be giving one of these away absolutely free, so make sure you tune in. Check the link below to listen to the replayed shows:


So there you have it. No time to rest 'cause it's always busy, busy, busy! Hope you all have a great weekend and are in the holiday spirit.

Until next week,


Friday, November 24, 2006


And what an extreme it is... After such a relaxing and refreshing Thanksgiving Day with my family, it is completely opposite here today. The phones and faxes are ringing off the hook and my email program is working overtime, bursting at the seams. Looks like this is gearing up to be one of the best holiday seasons ever, so it's back to work for now; we'll resume the blog next week.

Until then,


Friday, November 17, 2006


It's almost here. Thanksgiving, that is. It's a good time to reflect on what you are truly thankful for. I know I've said it before, but I'm very thankful for everything that I have. I have a beautiful and intelligent wife, four terrific kids, a wonderful home, and a great business! The great business part is due to all of you who continue to support and nurture Hocus Pocus. Without you, Hocus Pocus could never have grown as it has. So, I am truly thankful for all of you!

This Thanksgiving, my good friend Robert Baxt will be spending the holidays with us at our home here in Fresno. We'll begin Thanksgiving by going to my mother in-law's house, as we do every year. There'll be a huge feast of great homemade Armenian food and drink. My eldest son, Cole, will be here for Thanksgiving along with his girlfriend, and he's looking forward to a home cooked meal after a couple of months of college food. After my mother in-law's, later in the afternoon, we'll be going to my cousin Karen's house to celebrate once again. All in all, it will be a very full day, in more ways than one! As you sit at your Thanksgiving table this year, do yourself a favor and take a moment to reflect on all the goodness in your life for which you are thankful.

If you have Thanksgiving photos or memories you wish to share with us, send them to for a future blog consideration.

Until next time,


Friday, November 10, 2006


Sometimes in life, we take things for granted. It's human nature to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and lose a little perspective. Every once in a while something happens to bring the proper perspective back into view. Such is the case for my good friend, Craig. We've been friends for many years. Last week, he was here to pick up some magic as he does every so often. He was telling me how he wasn't feeling well and was on his way into the doctor's office for some tests. Well, the tests have since come back, and Craig found out that it is cancer. When he called me Monday to tell me the results, I could hear the fear in his voice and I was speechless. You see, my friend Craig is only a few years older than me, and he is a physical fitness fanatic. Never in a million years would I have guessed that it could happen to him. All of a sudden, life can change dramatically. It made me think to myself that my little day-to-day problems weren't nearly as important. Perspective. It's all something we lose sight of. It's a shame it takes something like this to shake us back into reality. Craig knows that I am here for him should he need anything, and he is keeping a positive attitude that will definitely come in handy over the next few months as he begins extensive chemotherapy.

Veteran's Weekend is here, and I can't help but think about perspective again. Think of all the veterans, past and present, who have given so much of themselves for us to live in this great country. Some have given their time and others have given the ultimate sacrifice. If you see a veteran this weekend in a parade, on the street, or a gentleman or woman in uniform, walk up to them, shake their hand, and say thank you. I guarantee you positive results.

Last week, I told you about my daughter, Renee and Gene Simmons making an appearance at the department store at which she works. She and her boyfriend, Will, brought this picture by along with their cute little puppy yesterday, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing it:

Will, Gene Simmons, and Renee

From Hong Kong to Fresno, magician and inventor Alan Wong made a special trip to see us this past weekend. Alan showed me many new effects that Hocus Pocus will be carrying exclusively. One of the most exciting new items we will have is Alan's new Dream Lock. This was a huge hit at the recent FISM Convention. When Alan demonstrated it for me, I was completely fooled by it and had no idea how it was done. You can see this on the web site HERE and stay tuned for other Alan Wong products next week.

My good friend, Bob Kohler, has just released his closer for the past 18 years, The Human Phone Number! He introduced it at last weekend's MindVention in Las Vegas and completely sold out! Hocus Pocus is a proud BK Pro Line dealer, and we've been selling them like crazy on our site. Interested? You should be, so check it out HERE and HERE!

So there you have it. Don't forget to keep in mind the word perspective and try to keep it in check. I sure am.

Until next time,


Friday, November 03, 2006

And So It Goes...

This morning, I received a very sad email from my friend, Jay Leslie, informing me of the death of one of magic's most revered performers. James Swoger passed away on November 1. Jay was like a son to Jim and always had great stories to tell about him. Just a few weeks ago at the Magic Castle Swap Meet, Jay was saying that Jim was not doing well, but you really are never prepared for the inevitable sometimes...

James Wesley Swoger, born January 26 1918, died November 1, 2006

If you never saw Jim swoger perform magic, you missed it. He had the wonderful ability to perform each effect as though it was the first time. Those who watched his manipulation with coins, balls, rope and cards were mesmerized. He hardly ever performed the same routine twice.

His moves were a melody of motion where no one cared how he did it; they were more interested in what came next. He was a true artist. He was especially proud of the fact that he headlined 18 convention shows with his sleight of hand. He had a loyal following of friends and students who often drove across the country to spend time with him. Once, Del Ray called the party he was supposed to be at and told them his car broke down because Del was trying to learn a rope move that Jim invented and Del needed to know...right then. Jim Swoger's nature was very gentle. He tried very hard never to say anything negative about anyone. He always made people feel good about their skills and encouraged them to become better because it was what they wanted to do. We say goodbye to a man who lived and breathed magic, who was a walking encyclopedia, and was the nicest, kindest gentlest man you could ever have the chance to meet. He is survived by his wife Betty, his daughter Andrina, her daughter Stephanie, his son Jim Jr., and his other unofficially adopted son Jay Leslie.

Robert Long from Wichita, Kansas

In happier news, we received a visit from Robert Long of Wichita, Kansas, who was traveling through California performing school show assemblies. Robert has quite a busy schedule as he was leaving here to travel to Oakhurst then San Francisco and on to Redding, California and on from there. He spent several hours here with us and made several purchases. I think he was a little overwhelmed by the size of our building and all the merchandise displayed throughout. Remember, any time you are traveling through California and wish to make a special visit to Hocus Pocus, you are always welcome here.

The new Kevin James Snow Animator 4.0

In other exciting news, we just listed the brand new Kevin James Snow Animator 4.0 and the long awaited Floating Rose, now available on DVD! These are the perfect items to include in your show, especially with the holidays right around the corner! The new Snow Animator features smaller props that all fit into a hat-sized carry case, quieter and more powerful motor, and most importantly, a reputation that you will have wherever you go! Check them out on the web site!

Another product we're excited about is a Hocus Pocus Exclusive entitled Matrix Mirror! There are only 25 custom made for us, and when they're gone, we won't be getting any more. It's perhaps the perfect stage penetration effect that will have 'em all scratching their heads! Check it out on the web site as well...

The holidays are a-comin'! Can you believe Halloween's already over and Turkey Day's just a few weeks away? And to bring it all in perspective, Santa Claus will be coming to town before you know it! This year's really flown by! It's really true: the older you get, the faster time flies!

Touchdown! The high school I graduated from is Hoover High. Our big rival at the time was with Bullard High, which my son, Max attends. Tonight is the infamous Battle of Barstow, named such as both schools reside on Barstow Avenue, just a few miles apart from one another. This is a rival that has lasted more than 40 years, and it's the most contested football rivalry ever! Needless to say, I've been needling Max all week long about how my old Alma Mater is going to kick some butt! He doesn't find the humor in it. After tonight's game, we'll see who has the last laugh.

Remember, if you haven't done so already, be sure to visit and sign up for the Hocus Pocus Round Table Chat Rooms. They are literally bursting at the seams with lots of discussion on magic, and your input is valuable! Visit the forums at:

Well, that about covers it. Have a great weekend.

Until next time,


Friday, October 27, 2006


Well, it's almost here! Halloween, that is. I remember years ago, before there were all these Halloween Specialty Stores, Halloween was one of the biggest holidays for a walk-in magic shop. You would start buying and planning a year in advance for all your Halloween sales. Starting every year, on August 25th, we would move every single stick of non-Halloween inventory, lock, stock, and barrel, out of our shop and fill it with Halloween merchandise. In five short days, on September 1, we were Fresno's official Halloween Headquarters! We were so packed with customers, you could barely move from one counter to another! We used to hire a security guard just to stand watch at the door and do crowd control. We were located in a shopping center at the time, and the lines would go clear around the shopping center. I wish I took pictures. Then, on November 1, the day after Halloween, we would have to close for one full week to remove all the Halloween inventory and fill the shop back up with magic items to prepare for the oncoming Christmas season. It sure was a lot of work but definitely worth it! Today, we are no longer in the Halloween business with the advent of the Internet, but the magic business keeps us busy all year 'round!

Gene Simmons

Kiss. The famous rock star, Gene Simmons, paid a visit to Fresno yesterday to promote his new line of men's and women's colognes. The promotion was held at Gottschalk's department store. My daughter, Renee, who manages the men's and women's shoe department was his official liaison. She called me to tell me what a gentleman he was and even went out of his way to spend an extra 2 hours with fans, taking photos and signing autographs. Renee took several photos herself, and hopefully I'll be able to post them here next week.

Speaking of my daughters, my youngest daughter, Aimee, just turned 21. OH NO! To celebrate, she and her sister, Renee, took off for Las Vegas this morning. I really do hope that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...

My oldest son, Cole, will be visiting us from St. Mary's College this weekend to help celebrate Halloween. He spoke to Betty last night to tell us he's coming down, and he already has his itinerary filled for the weekend. We're hoping to at least get a couple of hours with him before he has to go back.

Max now has a new interest (go figure). Besides cars, girls, and various pets, he just acquired 3 quail. When the Fresno Fair was here and we went to the exhibits, Max went nuts over the quail exhibit. He took the phone numbers off the cages and called them. The rest is history, and history now resides in our back yard alongside our doves.

The Prestige

This week, Betty and I took in The Prestige with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. If you haven't seen it yet, RUN OUT AND DO IT TODAY! The movie is terrific, and the ending is even more so! With movies like The Prestige and The Illusionist, it's fantastic to see Hollywood take a closer look at magic and its rich history. There are so many details in The Prestige that you magicians should be able to recognize them all. In fact, it was so good, I'm thinking about seeing it again.

That about wraps it up. Don't forget to set your clocks BACK (yea, we gain an hour!) this Saturday evening before you go to bed. So stock up on your Halloween candy and get ready to trick or treat!

Until next time,


Friday, October 20, 2006

What a Weekend!

Sorry for not posting last Friday, but as you all know, we were in Hollywood, CA. to attend the 2nd Annual Magic Castle Swap Meet. Betty and I left early friday morning followed by Mike and his girlfriend, Julie. We arrived around 11:30 AM and headed over to Musso & Frank's for what's now become our traditional luncheon. Everyone was there, including Pete Biro, Joe Porper, Glenn and Melinda Farrington, Chuck and Gerald Kirchner of Magic City, Lou Hirschorn of Disney Studios, LA radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly, Rick and Josette Burr, Steven Steele, Robert Baxt, and Carl Ballantine. We started the lunch off with a toast to Carl Ballantine, wishing him a belated 89th birthday and presented him with a special gift, a custom embroidered hat with his name and WGM printed on it. He immediately put the hat on and as always, kept us entertained throughout the luncheon.

The official Hocus Pocus Hollywood Hangout

From left to right: Shotgun Tom Kelly, Gerald Kirchner, me, Chuck Kirchner, Glenn Farrington, and Carl Ballantine (seated)

All the gang at the Hocus Pocus Luncheon

A view from the other end of the table

Josette Burr chats it up with Joe Porper

Mike and his girlfriend, Julie

After lunch, we headed back to our hotel where a group of us sat and caught up. We talked about the magic business and how it's changed over the years. Before we knew it, it was time to get dressed and head over to the Castle, where we had one of the finest dinners ever! After dinner we caught the Palace of Mystery show. Whit Haydn was the MC, and this was the first time I'd seen him perform in his new character. He was great and brought the house down several times. Other performers were Eric Buss, who did a hilarious Pogo Stick routine and his lounge singer closer had everyone rolling! Next was Murray, the CD Guy, who performed several illusions and some unique effects using CDs. After that, we all caught some acts in the Parlor of Prestidigitation and the Close-Up Room. Before we knew it, it was almost midnight. Time to go to sleep to rise early for the Swap Meet.

The gang at the Magic Castle

We all met at 8:30 AM and stood in line talking with people like Jay Leslie, Chuck Kirchner, Dave Baram, and Burton Sperbur, anxiously awaiting the doors to open. Once the doors opened, it was complete pandemonium! I immediately went downstairs to meet Joe Porper, where he showed me his new coin bender, which you can read about HERE! He also showed me a new deck switcher and several items soon to be released. As always, Hocus Pocus will be the first dealer to bring all these items to you. Joe and I even gave Mike a birthday present: one of Joe's new Salt Pour gimmicks, which Mike still walks around palming everywhere he goes!

Eagerly awaiting the opening doors

Joe Porper, the master of all he surveys

The crowd pours in to check out all the vendors' wares

Inside the Seance Room

Upstairs, I ran into my good friends, Dick and Gwen Barry. Dick is one of the most creative people in magic, as he's always coming up with something new. He was excited to show me his new and improved version of his Snake Basket, which you can find HERE. He told me that he was only producing 18 of them, and we could have 12. The rest were for his customers. I immediately took them all, and we're almost sold out of them! After visiting with a few more friends and picking up some hidden treasures, it was time to go. Can't wait until next April to attend the next one!

Dick Barry showing me his new Snake Basket

Todd Karr, me, and Pete Biro

Robert Baxt and I working on a hot deal over the phone

So in other exciting news, after many years of requests, we have finally added a new section to our web site. It's called Meet the Staff, and you can see everyone who works for Hocus Pocus and learn a little more about them HERE! It's just another window for you to peek into the goings on here at Hocus Pocus and the people behind the scenes. Now you can finally put a face to all the names.

In the meantime, the holiday sales have already begun here at Hocus Pocus as it's obvious that many of you are planning well ahead. Remember, it's adding little touches like these that will set you apart from the competition. So as we head into the holiday season, start pre-planning for your events now.

This weekend is Betty's birthday. I'm going to take her out to her favorite restaurant tomorrow evening and hopefully, sometime this weekend also catch The Prestige with her.

So there you have it, another exciting week and weekend at Hocus Pocus and another exciting weekend to come! Thanks again for taking time to read this blog and thanks to you who keep sending me nice letters, emails, and comments.

Until next time,


Monday, October 16, 2006

Await the Return

We've just returned from our weekend in Hollywood at the Magic Castle, and we will tell you all about the juicy details this Friday, October 20th. Stay tuned.


Friday, October 06, 2006

The Final Countdown...

It's official! One week from today, Mike and I will be in Hollywood gearing up for the semi-annual Magic Castle Swap Meet! Mike's bringing along the camera, so there'll be lots of photos to post, and of course, we'll let you know of all the happenings while we were there. Don't forget, if you have the chance to attend, it is next Saturday, October 14th (which is also Mike's birthday).

On the home front, Max was excited to be able to participate in the Fair with his part in the Blade Box Illusion. However, when he began rehearsing, he found he was too tall to fit inside the box. Not that he didn't give it the ol' college try; he really wanted to do this. It killed him to have to give up the opportunity and offer it to someone else more... small.

Just got this email from Paul Stone about an upcoming event he's been advertising in all the magazines. If you're a professional entertainer, we highly recommend this event to you, and as a special bonus, if you decide to sign up and mention Hocus Pocus, you'll receive a $50.00 discount on your registration fee for the event.

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The Magic Round Table Forums have been growing exponentially since we first announced its return. We've added such notables as Marc deSouza, John Mendoza, Peter Loughran, and even the Magic Broadcast! We encourage your participation simply by clicking on the link below:

HOT BUTTON, HOT DEALS! This is a new feature of the web site located on the front page, and it is dedicated to major deals every week on many new and exciting products! For example, this week we showcase The Black Widow and That Bottle Production at a vastly reduced price. Every week there'll be something new as the items will change, so do yourself a favor and check it out every week as the prices are good for only that amount of time.

Spoke to Robert Baxt again yesterday, and he and Ballantine still plan on visiting to play the horses at the big Fresno Fair. They plan on showing up on Wednesday or Thursday, and then we'll all caravan down to Southern California for the Magic Castle Swap Meet. It will be great having lunch with them at Musso & Frank's along with the likes of Joe Porper, Pete Biro, Gerald and Chuck Kirchner, Doug Malloy, Rick Burr, Los Angeles radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly, Glenn Farrington and his wife, Mike and his girlfriend Julie, and of course, my wife and me. Who knows who else will show up; this luncheon gets bigger and bigger every year, and everyone has a blast!

It's been extremely cold here as the weather was 56 degrees and foggy this morning. We're starting to switch to sweats and jeans and putting the short sleeve shirts and shorts in the drawers. I absolutely love this time of year and relish it because it never lasts long, although the cool weather is a welcomed change.

Before I go, don't forget to check out the web site as a ton of new products have hit the shelves this week, and they are certainly exciting. Do yourself a favor and watch the video of the late Billy McComb performing his Half Dyed Hank routine at the Magic Castle HERE!

So there you have it! Another exciting week at Hocus Pocus and another exciting week to come! I hope you and your family have a safe and fun-filled weekend.

Until next time,


Friday, September 29, 2006

Like a Phoenix...

Resurrected from the ashes, the Hocus Pocus Round Table forums have returned with a vengeance! If you haven't already taken the time to visit, please do so now, sign up, and contribute to the boards by clicking the banner below:

With already over 3,000 hits in less than 1 week, we're extremely excited about this project, now that key members are in place to help moderate and contribute. People like Bill Abbott, Chance Wolf, Bill Palmer, Robert Baxt, John Mendoza, and others with whom we are in negotiations. This board will be different from all others as we will strive to help promote and help the magic community grow and learn. We appreciate any comments and suggestions, and if there's a particular topic or forum you'd like to see, let us know on the boards. It's with your help and suggestions, these forums will grow ever stronger! Since the boards will keep me very busy, I'll still be updating the blog, albeit less frequently and with some modicum of regularity.

There's been lots of excitement around here this week as we've gained a number of Hocus Pocus Exclusives. You'll definitely want to check out the two newest products from England's Wayne Dobson called $wop and Lucky Dip. Both were huge hits at the recent FISM convention in Sweden and are now sweeping the nation! The other item we're extremely excited about obtaining the exclusive on is Mike Caldwell's Perfect Choice. Check it out on our web site. You'll be glad you did!

The big Fresno Fair arrives on the fourth of October, and the entire town will be attending at some point. My good friend, Tom Jorgenson, will be in town performing at the fair, and he has promised to stop by Hocus Pocus as well. My son, Max, will be working with Tom during the fourteen day fair run as his assistant in the Blade Box Illusion. It's 5-7 shows per day, every day, and the pay isn't too bad either. Max is going to put the money in the bank as he's saving up his money to buy a car. My guess is by the end of this run, he'll be sick of corn dogs and lemonade.

Speaking of the Fair, there's live horse racing every day as well as concerts from some of the music industry's most notables. In fact, Carl Ballantine and Robert Baxt will be here next week to take in the races themselves as well. Carl's a big fan of horse races, and we're excited to have him drive up to see our new location. I'll give you a report soon on Max's days during the fair, so stay tuned.

So there you have it: they'll be chatting on the forums, new products galore, and events to come (I keep thinking about Carl and the horses and my son in the boxes). Oh, what great things we'll have to discuss next week. In the meantime, have a fantastic weekend. I know I will...

Until next time,


Friday, September 22, 2006

As the Week Ends...

How can it be Friday already? This week has flown by at supersonic speed! The weather has gradually cooled down from the 90s to the 80s, and the nights couldn't be more comfortable with lows reaching the high 40s and low 50s. I guess Fall is officially here!

Tony Blanco is strapping on his tool belt as he begins construction on our new stage here in the building. This new stage will enable us to begin the Lecture Series again and allow local performers to practice their stage shows when they're here. It will also facilitate Tony's magic lessons which have become a huge success! He's on his second session with older children and adults. We'll be posting here as the Lecture Series begins anew with upcoming lecturers, entertainers, and events if you wish to participate.

Cirque du Soleil

Speaking of Tony, this week Fresno hosted two performances of Cirque du Soleil. One of their performer is also a magician, and Tony helped him make several purchases here at Hocus Pocus! For his time and effort, Tony was given both entrance and backstage passes to the show! Tony was describing the goings on backstage and was even asked to do several magic tricks for the show's manager. This weekend, Fresno hosts Mickey's Magic Show, a Disney production featuring the illusions of Jim Steinmeyer. The guys from the show have been hanging out at the store. It's been a really good time. If either of these shows come to your hometown, I highly recommend you go see them.

Mickey's Magic Show

Mike has been working diligently resurrecting and remodeling the Hocus Pocus Round Table chat board, which will go live within a week. Stay tuned to the front page of our web site for the big announcement and come ready to post, post, post! It is our contention to provide a positive and informative forum that will benefit the magic community, and we would love to have you be a part of it.

Last week, I told you that I would be seeing the Black Dahlia by Brian dePalma. Now, trust me; I'm no Siskel & Roeper, but I have to be honest and tell you that you should probably wait until it comes out on DVD before seeing it. I'm sorry to say it, but this one just didn't pan out for me. However, speaking of movies, I'll be taking my son, Max, to see Jackass 2 today. Can you see the excitement in my typing? I thought not. I'm sure I'll have a few chuckles, though. It will be a great father and son outing and then later, Betty will join us for dinner.

Tomorrow night, we celebrate my mother's 74th birthday and all my family will be there. Even Cole's making the trip from college to help in the festivities. It will be great to have everyone all together once again, if even for a little while...

With the Fall season rapidly approaching, lots of new products are arriving every day. So much so that I can't even keep up with it, and it's just begun; wait until you see the Fall lineup we have for you. It will be better than anything network programming has to offer...

So, as you can see, there's been a lot happening this week, which probably explains the speed in which it's passed. I can't wait until next week. Have a great weekend, do something you enjoy, and don't forget your family.

Until next time,


Friday, September 15, 2006

76 Cool Degrees...

And just like that, almost overnight, we went from a sweltering 102 degrees Wednesday to a cool 76 degrees today! The girls in the warehouse are wearing sweaters today, that's how cool it is. Let's keep our fingers crossed in that it really is the beginning of Fall here in Central California!

Mike wanted me to remind everyone that this Tuesday will be the final day to submit your Most Embarrassing Moment to the Mike on the Mic Show on Magic Broadcast. The winners (there will be 2 this time) will receive a Bowling Pin Production by Michael Mode and some super cool videos and DVDs. You can email your submission to Mike directly at The winners will also be announced this Tuesday evening at 8:15 PM PST. Check out the show at Magic Broadcast!

Mike and I will be taking our semi-annual trip to the Magic Castle in a little less than a month, October 14th, the final Magic Castle Swap Meet of the year. It is also Mike's birthday that day, so I'm certain he'll be in hog heaven. We always have a great time when we go the day before, when we go to our traditional Musso & Frank's lunch. Everyone will be there, including Chuck and Gerald Kirchner from Magic City, Doug Malloy, Joe Porper, Pete Biro, Robert Baxt, Carl Ballantine, and new guest this year, Glen Farrington, and who knows who else will show up? If you're planning to go to the Swap Meet this year, make sure you stop me while I'm running around to say hello. If you've never been to the Magic Castle Swap Meet, you really should go; it's a great time to see a ton of things, both new and vintage, and meet new people in a great atmosphere.

Congratulations to Stan Allen and MAGIC Magazine, who celebrate their 15th year in publication! Stan continues to produce the finest magic magazine on the planet. His attention to quality, detail, and layout continues to be unsurpassed!

Joe Porper does it again with his take on the classic Ellis Ring by creating one of the coolest magic props that can be worn with you at all times: the Wedding Band Ellis Ring! Joe took a few of these to the recent FISM Convention in Sweden and sold out immediately! Just to tell you how good they are, Joe didn't even have printed instructions ready at the time; he was just showing demonstrations and sold them all on the spot! If you are looking for a truly impromptu miracle, check out Joe Porpers Wedding Band Ellis Ring!

Betty and I saw the new movie, Hollywoodland, last week, and I have to say that we both give it two thumbtips up! If you haven't seen it, it's well worth your time checking it out. That's two movies in two weeks: The Illusionist and Hollywoodland, and both were great! Tonight, we'll be seeing The Black Dahlia. I'll be sure to give you my movie review for that next week.

The cool weather here reminds me so much of Fall, which is my favorite time of year. We should start thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, because, before you know it, I'll be writing about it! Thanks for checking in this week. Relax, enjoy your family, and see a good movie while you're at it.

Until next time,


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Week After

First of all, thank you so much for all your nice emails, phone calls, and especially those who sang happy birthday to me on the answering machine. I also want to thank Mike for taking over the blog last week during my short 5-day vacation. No one could believe I actually took that many days off in a row. In fact, I found it hard to believe myself, now that I think about it... I spent the time off with my family: we had dinner together; Betty and I caught the film, "The Illusionist," which I highly recommend if you haven't already seen it. Also, before the movie, we caught the preview of the other magic related movie coming out, "The Prestige" with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. This looks exciting and I can't wait until its release! My daughters gave me a new book on Frank Sinatra, one of my favorite singers. From the rest of my family, I got a new Koi for the Koi pond and other goodies too many to mention. All in all, it was a fantastic birthday celebration. Thanks again, everyone!

This week has been very busy as we've been receiving lots of effects, one of which is the award-winning FISM effect from Henry Evans entitled "Find the Way." When Marc DeSouza returned from the convention in Sweden, he told me that this was a must-have, and I can see why! We are very excited to be able to offer a limited supply to you, our Hocus Pocus fans! If you have a moment, check it out on the website here and check out the new online video as well!

This just in! We're very excited to be able to carry the David & Dania line of quick-change products. Their first offering is the David & Dania Top Hat & Color Changing Gloves, a fantastic and unique color change straight out of their award-winning act! Stay tuned as we'll be offering more of their products as they become available.

Also, Lee Alex's Color Changing Vest has been flying off the shelves. It is definitely one of the hottest-selling items we've ever offered, and I cannot believe the quality that went into making these! Costume Change effects are HOT, thanks to David & Dania. Adding something like this definitely sets your act apart from your competition. It really is a small investment that delivers a very large return! Check this out as well as other color-changing effects we have to offer.

Cole is all settled into College and doing well. We know this because we rarely hear from him anymore. I'm sure his schedule is just as busy as mine, if not more so, with all the reading, writing, and homework that gets piled on!

Speaking of school, Max is now in his third week of high school! The first week took some adjustment for him, but he's in the swing of things now. He's excited because the last class of the day is P.E., and right now, they're swimming, one of his favorite things to do.

My oldest daughter, Rene, is enjoying her new management position with Gottschalks department stores. She's all settled into her new apartment, and she was telling me the other night how Gottschalks is getting ready to set up camp for Christmas the end of this month. Man, it seems like the stores are doing this earlier and earlier every year, doesn't it?

My younger daughter, Amy, continues to study hard as she nears her final year in college. Where has all the time gone??? I can still remember them all in diapers like it was yesterday.

We're very excited about a special offer here at Hocus Pocus. On your next order, upon request, you will receive 2 free DVD demos of various effects available at Hocus Pocus. This is part of a new program we're starting, and we will continue to update and offer new DVDs as time goes on. They're absolutely free, and all you have to do is request one on your next order. It's like having your own visual catalog you can watch over and over again!

Bill Palmer with his Cups & Balls display at TAOM

I just got off the phone with Bill Palmer, who was very excited about his History of the Cups & Balls lecture at the most recent TAOM Convention in Texas. For those of you who don't know, Bill is THE authoritarian on Cups and Balls and owns just about every version ever made! Bill sent the above photo showcasing just a small sampling of his collection on display! Thanks, Bill!

So there you have it. Never a dull moment here at Hocus Pocus. This place is where the action is, that's for sure! I think I'll take off a little early this afternoon as Betty and I will try to catch the new movie, "Hollywoodland." Have yourself a fantastic weekend.

Until next time,