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,