Thursday, December 27, 2007

Time to Wrap It Up

I hope you all had a great holiday so far. Last Friday, we had our annual Hocus Pocus Christmas luncheon, where we were all treated to some authentic Armenian cuisine. Everyone exchanged gifts, and wanted to take a nap after it was all over.

Clockwise: Betty, Tony, me, Renee, Jan, Karen, and Ken.

Monday, Christmas Eve, Tony and I arrived early to get all those last-minute orders that we still shipped out overnight for arrival the day after Christmas. The phones and emails were very full, and it took us all day to catch up. My son, Max, continued to call me all day updating me on the fact that it was Christmas Eve, and he couldn't wait to open up his Christmas gifts. So, mercifully spared him the extra wait time and agony and headed home a little early. By the time I arrived home, he had already segregated all of the gifts, ready for opening. It didn't take long for him to go through all of his gifts: all the things he had wanted for his car, a couple of DVDs, and more. The rest of us finished opening our gifts, and then it was off to my mother in-law's house, where we spent time visiting the relatives and eating a hearty meal. And of course, for Max, there were more gifts! After our fill of good cheer, it was home-bound for us for a good night sleep.

Christmas day was spent at my sister's house with her family, and there we visited, ate, and shared more gifts. Before I knew it, it was late and time to go home -- Christmas was over, but what a great time we all had.

Overall, it was a great Christmas season here at Hocus Pocus. Thanks to all of you for keeping us so busy. I hope you all got everything you wished for and more. It's hard to believe that in just a few more days, we'll be celebrating the new year. It just doesn't seem possible; where did 2007 go? I'm excited to see what the new year brings, personally and professionally. So many wonderful things and memories this year alone has brought, that I can't wait to see what 2008 has in store...

I will be taking off the next five days to enjoy some family time with Max and Betty. Cole is off to Canada skiing, Renee is working, and Aimee is finishing up her studies in school. The Twilight Zone Marathon starts New Year's Eve and runs through New Year's Day at midnight on the Sci-Fi Channel, and every year, it has become tradition for my family and I to relive those episodes like we did when we were younger. Hey, I might even pop in a few DVDs of the Magic Land of Allakazam while I'm at it. Thanks, Mark and Nani!

However you celebrate New Year's, I wish for all of you good health, happiness, and prosperity in the upcoming new year, and I thank you for your continued support and friendship.

Until next time,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Magic Land of Allakazam: A Day I'll Never Forget

Normally, I write the blog every Friday. However, I was so excited to report about my trip last week that I decided to write a day early. As many of you know, Betty and I traveled south to spend the day with Mark and Nani Wilson at their warehouse last Friday. Thursday evening, I was like a kid waiting for Christmas. I kept thinking about what I would see and experience once we arrived there. I couldn't sleep and got up early to get ready to go.

We arrived around 11:15 AM and were met at the door by Nani and Mark, and they graciously took us into their offices. I think Mark could sense how excited I was to tour their warehouse first, so out the back door we went. The first stop was a small room that contained files and files of promotional materials, memorabilia, and some of the early mail-order magic sets. I glanced up to one of the top of the file cabinets where there was a box labeled "Mark's Fake Head." Of course, I immediately wanted to know if that was really in the box. And it was. This was part of an illusion that Mark performed where parts of his body were physically assembled as part of an illusion. The legs, body, and head were placed inside of an upright cabinet, spun around, and the doors opened to reveal Mark in the flesh.

Mark's Head in my hands

Mark, Nani and I in front of the legendary backdrop from the Magic Land of Allakazam

Next, we entered the warehouse where Nani pointed out a large, blue curtain with white stars and moons. This was the actual backdrop curtain used on the Magic Land of Allakazam show. Wow! What memories this brought back! Betty looked at me as I stared at the curtain and asked, "Don't you want to touch it, Paul?" Of course, I did. It was mesmerizing to think of all the memories this backdrop curtain contained and how many children saw it every Saturday morning.

Guillotines and illusions for as far as the eye can see

Props, scenery, and more

Nani giving the guided tour

As we toured the aisles of the warehouse, there were hundreds of crates and custom cases containing a lifetime's worth of illusions and props stacked from floor to ceiling, wall to wall! Overhead, there were cartons of custom made costumes that Nani designed for each of their television shows and appearances. Down one aisle were not one but several guillotines (one of which recently made its appearance on CBS's C.S.I. New York) and also a custom-made thin model sawing that Mark explained was created for Flip Wilson to saw the late, great Johnny Carson in half. At the end of another aisle was a custom made cabinet that was absolutely huge. Nani opened it to show that it contained drawers filled with custom "Good Night" banners they used for corporate sponsor shows, etc. There were so many in all the drawers neatly folded that at a moment's notice, they could be pulled out and used again immediately!

A view from above of Nani's office

Cartons and suitcases full of costumes

The tour continued as we gazed upon countless illusions and props until we came back into the offices and entered Nani's very own department. Here's where she takes and processes all the orders, assembles props, and takes care of the business end of magic. Up the spiral staircase of her office, we entered the second story where to the right, there are countless file boxes neatly stacked, all containing parts and pieces for the magic kits that were sold. We then entered another room where Mark showed me a multi-file cabinet that housed even more promotional materials and additional memorabilia! I have to tell you that at this point, I could not believe everything I was seeing. And the best was yet to come!

Scripts and show ideas

Hundreds of boxes containing original musical scores

Show film and video archives

Mark going through each show

Next, Mark pulled out many different artists' renderings of the many shows they've created for theme parks, television, and corporate events. The artwork itself was so beautiful that it could be framed and hung on any wall! As we strolled down the hallway, there were shelves containing hundreds of boxes of original music reels that were created specifically for Mark and Nani. Every effect they performed in every show that used music was written and scored exclusively for them.

Down a narrow hallway to another room that contained racks and racks of original film cannisters from Mark and Nani's many television shows and performances. I was completely awestruck to see all that I had seen so far exceeded even my own expectations!

The hallway to Mark's office

Back downstairs, to Mark's office we went. As you walk, all the walls are adorned with posters, memorabilia, and photos of their vast career. It was like walking in a time capsule; the things that I saw and all the memories that flooded back to me were truly overwhelming! I felt like a kid again seeing all that I saw, and to be standing and talking to the very people who were responsible for all that was humbling, to say the least. We went into Mark's office where he and Nani shared stories of their magical lives. We watched DVDs and poured through scrapbooks containing every nuance and detail of their legacy. I even found out things about Mark and Nani that I didn't even know; how he designed magical trade show booths and traveled with them all over the world, how the Robot Girl trade show attraction caused quite a stir in England, and so much more! Mark even showed us a few tricks and talked to us about a few new projects in development.

It's a pretty amazing life Mark and Nani Wilson have led so far: The first couple to have a live weekly magic show on television, the first American magicians to perform in China, thousands of performances under their belts, one of the most successful courses in magic ever published, and invaluable resource to performers both new and old, all the corporate and amusement park shows and attractions they've created, all the television shows they've helped to consult and supply props for, and it doesn't end there! Being with them, it is evident that they truly love one another and are real partners in life supporting each other in every endeavor. Betty and I walked away feeling like how you felt when you gazed at the stars for the first time and felt truly inspired by them.

The day had truly flown by, and before we knew it, it was time to go home. I was so excited by everything I had seen and experienced that day that I couldn't stop talking about it all the way home. Poor Betty -- she couldn't get a word in edgewise as I jibbered and jabbered all the way home. She just looked at me and smiled; she knew what this day had meant to me. I still haven't stopped talking and thinking about it (as is evident here). It became evident to me that their entire lives from the beginning to present day were housed inside that wonderful building that they so graciously allowed me to be a part of for that day. Before we left, Mark and Nani gave us a beautiful set of four autographed promotional stills, which will hang framed in a special place in my office:

To say my Christmas came early is an understatement. Thank you, Mark and Nani, for a day that I'll never forget.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Until next time,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The REAL Magic Land of Allakazam

Writing the blog a day early this week as tomorrow morning, Betty and I head south to Valencia, CA. to spend the day with Mark and Nani Wilson. They are giving us a tour of their warehouse and who knows what else will happen? Mark has promised to show me some interesting things and a few surprises along the way. All I can tell you is that I'm extremely excited in anticipation of what the day will bring. I promise to take pictures and tell you all about the experience next week. I've been looking forward to this since the last time I was in Southern California, when the heavy traffic kept us from visiting Mark and Nani, and the normally 3 hour trip took more than 6 hours!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Hocus Pocus. This week has been exceptionally busy, even more so than last year, which is always a good thing! UPS, Fed-Ex, and the post office trucks pull in, drop off, come back, pick up, drop off all day long! We appreciate you keeping us so busy; it is always our goal to have your packages to you as quickly as humanly possible during this hectic time of year...

The Swap Meet and Get-Together is only a month away, and Mike has updated the information page, including a lineup of lecturers. Believe it or not, we are still working on a few more lecturers before the final lineup is complete. If you haven't yet registered, please do so soon as spots are rapidly filling up. Don't forget -- you can also rent a table if you wish to sell your magic. For more information and details, click here!

So that about wraps it up today as the phones and guests are keeping me very busy today.

Until next time,


Friday, December 07, 2007

Lights, Camera, Christmas!

It's official. As promised, here are some outside photos of the Gross Family homestead. All lit up and ready for the holidays. Unfortunately, pictures at nighttime are never as good as seeing it live in person, but you get the idea. Remember, start sending your holiday decoration photos to us and we may even share them on the blog (with your permission, of course). Remember, the winner receives a $100.00 Hocus Pocus gift certificate!

We're all excited here as John and Tammy Calvert will be arriving for their lecture/performance Monday evening. It's going to be a full house and a rare chance to see a real living legend of film and magic! If you are anywhere near Hocus Pocus, we urge you to not pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see John lecture. Click the banner above for more information.

My son, Cole, will be home today for Winter break from college, and Max has one more week before he's out of school for his break. Cole's already making plans for hitting the ski slopes in the Sierras as soon as he gets here and Max is anxiously awaiting Christmas day with as much anticipation as when he was 8 years-old. Circling the Christmas tree is not only a ritual for Max, it has become some sort of strange tradition, given the fact that he's now 15! I love the fact that the magic of Christmas still captivates him, and it makes me feel like a kid again.

Things have been really buzzing here at Hocus Pocus. Orders are coming in faster than we can process them (almost), but have no fear; as we say every year at this time, your orders all receive top priority no matter what time of year it is! Our shipping department is even faster than ever before this season so have no fear when placing those orders for your holiday shows and gifts.

Speaking of Cali (I know, I didn't), the little bird is getting along quite nicely at home as Max and I have trained her to come to me when her name is called, and she gets a little treat. She also gives kisses on command and walks up and down her little ladder that we gave to her. She even puts a miniature basketball through a basketball hoop! Each day, we train her to do something new, and she picks up on it very quickly! It's amazing how intelligent these little cockatoos are, and the way she nuzzles up to me at night just melts my heart. She has really been a terrific "addition" to the Gross family menagerie. By the way, I want to thank all of you who emailed me handling tips for cockatoos; your information has been very helpful and informative.

We're only a little over a month away from the 2nd Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet and Get-Together, so if you have not yet reserved your seat and table for selling your wares, space is running out. For more information, click the banner above and call us toll-free at 800-407-4040 to get your tickets and to reserve a table for the Swap Meet.

Next week, Betty and I have been invited to travel to the Los Angeles area to meet with Mark and Nani Wilson. They've graciously offered to give us a tour of their offices and facility. Talk about a dream come true!!! I'll be like a little kid in a candy store as I soak up the atmosphere. Who knows what we'll see? All I know is that it will be one of the greatest days of my life! As expected, I'll have plenty of pictures and tales to share with you all, so stay tuned.

With only 18 shopping days left until Christmas, I hope most of you have nearly finished up all your shopping. Betty and I will be finishing up this weekend and Max will be kicking up his heels as the presents begin to magically multiply under the tree!

Until next time,


Friday, November 30, 2007

Where Are Santa's Helpers?

First off, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving last week. We certainly enjoyed the holiday with friends and family. My sons Cole, Max and I strung all the holiday lights and decorations on the outside of the house on Saturday (a yearly tradition) while Betty did all the decorating inside. We were in such a holiday spirit that we went out and purchased the tree that same day. By Saturday evening, it was a winter wonderland, both inside and out at the Gross household. As Cole, Max, and I admired our handiwork outside Saturday evening, we noticed that there were a couple of blank spots in the yard. So, we all got in my car and drove to Lowe's and patched that right up! We bought a life-sized Santa and sleigh, and it waves, turns his head, and sings Christmas carols. But wait; there's more. Next to Santa was a trio of caroling snowmen, whose heads rock back and forth. Oh yeah, we had to have that, too! And needless to say, there are no more blank spots. All the neighbors have come out to take a look and admire all the decorations on the front yard, and have even had cars slow down and stop to take it all in. I'll take pictures of the yard and post them on next week's blog for you.

If you have pictures to share of your home decorated this holiday season, send them to us and the best one will win a $100.00 Hocus Pocus gift certificate. Send your emails with photos attached to

Wow is all I can say about "Black Friday!" We've never been busier the day after Thanksgiving! Check out the photos below of the orders being prepped for shipping to all of our customers' destinations. This is just a portion of the shipping department, and as you can see the outgoing boxes are stacked 3-deep!

Where's Waldo?

Orders, orders, and more orders!

Tony and I both got here at 6:30 AM and the phones were already ringing off the hook! The message machine was full from that morning, and there were tons of online orders ready to be received! Thank you all for a great kickoff to a fantastic holiday season! The inventory levels in the warehouse are well-stocked (as you can see) for immediate shipping to ensure prompt arrival for your holiday gift-giving and shows, so have no fear!

Do any of you remember how you got started in magic? For most of us, it was that first magic set that magically appeared under the tree or for our birthdays. To this day, I still collect them, and as you saw in previous blogs, they sit comfortably on the many shelves in my office. They range from the very old to the best of the new. They bring back a lot of memories as I look through them. Why not share the magic with your son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild by taking a look at our brand new Magic Sets category inside the Hocus Pocus web shop? Who knows, you may kick off the career of the next Houdini, Mark and Nani Wilson, or David Copperfield?

Speaking of gift-giving, if you are trying to hint to your loved ones this holiday season, why not print your wish list and email it to them? Or perhaps a gift certificate would do the job. Whatever your holiday needs and wants are, Hocus Pocus has you covered!

Watch the web site; there are so many products coming in every single day to add to your holiday wish list and also, check out the newest TrickTalk MagiCast by our very own Mike Giusti who takes a turn from the ordinary review podcast and sits down with our good friend and all around creative genius, Bob Kohler!

Oh, and don't forget: the second annual Hocus Pocus Swapmeet and Get-Together is right around the corner. Last year's was such a huge success that this year's promises to blow that one out of the water! Remember to mark your calenders for Saturday, January 19th and Sunday, 20th, 2008 and we hope to see you here. To reserve your spot, call us toll-free 800-407-4040.

Until next time,


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


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 many times before, but I'm very thankful for everything 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 and his girlfriend Yumi 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 each and every year. There'll be a humongous feast of great homemade Armenian food and drink. My eldest son, Cole, will be here for Thanksgiving along with his girlfriend, Amanda, 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 all go back to the homestead and watch "It's a Wonderful Life." My daughters will join us and celebrate by spending time with the rest of the family before they go back to their jobs, which is very busy this time of year (especially AFTER Thanksgiving). 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.

From all of us here at Hocus Pocus, we wish you a warm and family-filled Thanksgiving!

Until next time,


Friday, November 16, 2007

The Magic Land of Allakazam

Just the sound of those words takes me back. A few days ago, a package was delivered with my name on it, and when I saw the return address, it was from Mark and Nani Wilson. Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found a complete set of the Magic Land of Allakazam DVDs personally autographed by Mark and Nani along with a comic book, Mark Wilson Magic Club Membership Card (a highly treasured treat for kids of all ages in the 1960s), and a very nice note. Talk about the ultimate gift!

I know I've spoken before about Mark and Nani Wilson, and it certainly is no secret that they are my magical favorites. It was like being a kid again as I popped in each DVD and watched those wonderful vintage shows in black and white that started it all for me when I was just 6 years old! There they were: Mark and Nani, Rebo the Clown, Basil, the Baffling Bunny, and even those old Kellog's commercials! They say you can't go home again, but I sure did for those few hours... I would guess that there are millions of you worldwide who, like myself, experienced magic for the very first time because of Mark and Nani Wilson. How would I have reacted as a child if I knew then that they someday would be my friends?! How could that possibly happen? It is still one of the biggest thrills for me when I get a page from the staff that Mark and Nani Wilson are on the phone wishing to speak to me! They are truly magical treasures and two of the nicest, most down-to-Earth people I have ever met.

So inspired by what they've done, we've dedicated a brand new section of our web site devoted to the entire Mark and Nani Wilson line of magic. For those of you who, like me, grew up watching the Magic Land of Allakazam, I cannot stress how cool it was for me to watch these DVDs and relive my childhood again. Now, you can too; these DVDs are available to purchase and keep for your own and to show your children and grandchildren. In these days of flash-in-the-pan, soon-to-be-forgotten performers who rely on camera tricks and editing to achieve the impossible, the routines from the Magic Land of Allakazam were done in real time in front of a live studio audience, without the aid of any camera trickery. What you saw was magic in its purest form, the way it should always be performed. Put more simply, these performances are timeless, suitable for EVERY audience, and more importantly, the entire collection is a historical collective of the birth of magic on television. Think about it -- in 20, 30, even 50 years from now, the names Mark and Nani Wilson will always be synonymous with the very notion of magic. They brought style, elegance, and class to our art form, and the magic community owes them a world of gratitude for their contributions. We can all learn a lesson from what the Wilsons have given us.

I can't imagine what the world of magic would have been like without Mark and Nani. I want to personally thank you for all you have done and continue to do in order to enlighten, enrich, and educate the world of magic.

Now do yourself a favor and check out the brand new Mark Wilson section of our web site, pick up the entire Magic Land of Allakazam in time to share with your friends and family during the holidays. And get ready to relive your childhood and watch the birth of magic unfold.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and from all of us here at Hocus Pocus to all of you: we wish you the happiest and most wonderful Thanksgiving possible!

Until next time,


Friday, November 09, 2007

And the Animals Came


As many of you may recall several months ago, I told you about a cockatoo circus that I purchased for my son, Max. He's been actively searching for a cockatoo ever since. Last weekend, there was a bird show held here at the fairgrounds, and Max wanted to add some more finches and button quail to his outdoor aviary. So off we went to check out the bird exhibit. Now, let me tell you: every kind of bird imaginable was there. It was amazing. Max quickly found his white finches and button quail. As we continued to walk the aisles, we came upon a woman selling cockatoos! She must have had at least a couple dozen, and Max went wild with excitement. The cool part was that most of them were not even caged; they were walking around freely. We walked up to her booth and one instantly came up to us as if to say, "Take me home." After a long conversation with the breeder, we hesitantly walked away and continued to look at some of the other birds in the show. Betty looked at both of us and said, "Why don't you two just go back and get the bird?" It didn't take much prodding, and I don't know who was more excited -- Max or me. So, we adopted "Cali," a white female goffin cockatoo.

I'm extremely impressed with how smart these birds are; in just the few days we've had her, we've already trained her to come when we call her name, climb up and down a ladder, and pick up and bring us a ball. All this accomplished by just spending a few hours an evening with her. It's been a great project for both Max and myself, and we can't wait to see what new trick we can train her to do. I'll keep you posted as the weeks progress as far as any new trick Max and I have taught Cali. If you are an experienced bird owner and have hints and tips insofar as cockatoo training goes, feel free to leave your comments for Max and me here on the blog.

A couple of weeks ago, while at the Magic Castle, I had the pleasure to witness David Regal perform his close-up act. One of the effects he performed that evening was his coin effect, "Trans-Locations." After the show, I discussed with him the possibility of Hocus Pocus carrying this item, and I'm happy to say that David has given us the exclusive on this awesome close-up effect. Check out the product details as well as the online video of it HERE!

Speaking of exclusives, check out Brian Geer's Knife Through Coat. Not only is this an exceptional routine, the price is way to nice to pass up! Brian was nice enough to grant Hocus Pocus the exclusive on this item and you can also check out the product details and the online video HERE!

Happy Holidays?

Can you believe it? In less than 2 weeks, it will be Thanksgiving! How can that be? This year has gone by faster than any other year I can remember, and it's not just me; the staff agree as well. 2007 has really flown by in the blink of an eye. And, no sooner will Thanksgiving be here and in a few more weeks, the big day will arrive. WOW! Speaking of which, have you started your holiday shopping yet?

Mike has just put the finishing touches on the 5th installment of Trick Talk MagiCast, which you can download from iTunes or by directing your web browser HERE! This has proven to be a very positive and popular feature of the site, and it's apparent by the number of downloads it has gotten. Both Mike and I are dumbstruck by the number of downloads each installment gets. Just last night, after the fifth episode went up at around 4:00 PM, it received 105 downloads by 11:00 PM. We really appreciate your support and interest in this project, and we invite you to submit your comments and suggestions on the web site or by emailing Mike at

This weekend, Mike has both music and magic shows, and it's apparent by his schedule that this year is going to be a doozie! Who knows, with the cockatoo trained, maybe Max, Mike, and I can all go on the road together with magic and music and the cockatoo circus! Oh, wait -- I have to run Hocus Pocus. Scratch that idea for now... Maybe someday. No matter what you are planning to do this weekend, I hope it's a good one!

Until next time,


Friday, November 02, 2007


Hello, all. Well, Halloween has come and gone and it didn't leave us without a little bit of controversy in the magic community. If you watched Phenomenon that evening, you know what I am referring to. Thanks to our friends at iTricks, we were able to learn the following:

Criss Angel and paranormalist Jim Callahan had to be separated by host Tim Vincent and Uri Geller on live television during Wednesday’s two-hour episode of Phenomenon. As he was judging his act, Criss objected to Callahan’s claim that he was actually speaking to the dead and said he would offer $1,000,000 of his own money if either Callahan or Geller could name what was in a sealed envelope in his hand. The video can be seen here on Access Hollywood’s site.

Callahan has claimed that he is going to take the James Randi Educational Foundation’s $1,000,000 prize for proof of paranormal abilities under scientific testing.

On the Magic Cafe message boards early Thursday morning, Callahan posted the following

It was not staged.

And it was not a fight but rather a heated confrontation.

I almost did pitch Tim (The host) into the audience and held him to prevent him from being injured as I saw he would have gone over the edge of the stage.

Sorry I cannot post more right now but thought I should clear this bit up right now.

Best Wishes,


As for those following the cuts, Jim Karol and Successor contestant Ehud Segev were dismissed in favor of "Russian Roulette" stand out Eran Raven and "Human Phone Number" stand out Gerry McCambridge.

Wow. So what did you think about the special that aired on Halloween? Was it an improvement over last week's episode? Was it exciting or did you feel as if the confrontation was staged? We'd love to hear from you!

Guy Bavli

On a related and brighter note, I felt our good friend Guy Bavli did a fantastic job creeping out the audience and especially Raven Simone with his "heart-stopping" performance. We really want to hear your thoughts on the show and performers, both good and critical right here on the blog. Feel free to post what you like below.

Switching gears, a new product hit the doors this week called Insta-Cube, and wow is it cool! Remember Daryl's version of the Enchanted Cube that came almost ten years ago? You know, the effect where a mixed-up Rubik's Cube is tossed into the air and instantly solves itself when caught? Well, what would you say if you could actually hand it out for examination after the cube has been solved? Well, now you can; Insta-Cube delivers that promise, and the method is extremely clever. When we took a look at it yesterday morning, we all had smiles on our faces when we figured it out. Check it out for yourself and watch the online video of Insta-Cube in action HERE!

Wow! The response to our latest contest has been truly overwhelming since we officially posted the rules on our site on Wednesday. We've received well over 200 entries for the chance to win a $1000.00 gift certificate to spend at Hocus Pocus, and all you have to do is follow the simple rules. It's like getting free money! If you're interested, check it out HERE!

The 2nd Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet and Get-Together is coming together quite nicely. In addition to finalizing all the talent to be showcased that weekend, we are also excited to announce that it looks like Johnny Thompson of The Great Tomsoni & Company fame will be joining us as well to lecture and host a workshop on the following Sunday! If you haven't already reserved your space or purchased a table to sell your wares for the swap meet, contact us now at or 800-407-4040 or 559-266-5150.

So here we are in the second day of November, and how time has flown this year! Last night they were already showing Christmas commercials, although I shouldn't be surprised; they were already selling decorations and fake Christmas trees in September... Oh well, it's time to get into the holiday spirit and mind set. Don't forget to check out the web site for all your holiday needs for upcoming shows, and there's a good way to make sure you're on top of things: sign up for our daily updates inside the shop. Every new product that is put up daily will get sent to you via email with a direct link to the product's description and image. Pretty cool, eh? All you have to do is enter your email address on the right-hand column underneath the New Feature.

Well that about wraps it up for this week. Have a great weekend.

Until next time,


Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone! We're just a few days away from the huge candy-fest know affectionately as Halloween! Our cupboards at home are bursting at the seams with candy, and I'm sure it will be all gone come Wednesday evening with the number of trick-or-treaters we regularly receive each year.


Speaking of Halloween, that evening will host the 2nd episode of "Phenomenon," in which our good friends Guy Bavli, Angela Funovits, Mike Super, and Jason Scott will make their appearance. So stay tuned and make sure to vote for your favorite performer.

This week has been very busy here at Hocus Pocus. Obviously, judging from the orders we've taken, many of you are gearing up for the holiday season, which is rapidly approaching. You may even want to check out the new "Holiday Items" category on the web site to help you make your holiday effects come to life. There are many effects we've hand-picked that are perfect for any holiday party in which you are performing this year! Remember, adding one or two effects like these to your show sets you apart from your competition, and your audiences and clients will remember this the next time they book you.

Just got off the phone with Robert Baxt who has been working at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas substituting for Jeff Hobson for 10 days while Jeff is away. Robert's having a great time, and he was telling me how he spent last night at Lance Burton's house until 3:00 AM along with Johnny Thompson and 30 other guests. They are filming a new Johnny Thompson DVD, which will make its appearance in the near future. Robert was amazed with Burton's new home which was built like a castle to meet Lance's entertaining needs. Filled with trap doors, secret passageways, it's a magician's dream home, for sure! Robert jokingly remarked that the house itself is so big that you need to stop and rest every so often just to get from one end to the other. He's taken many pictures, which we'll post here next week, so look forward to that.

Special thoughts and prayers go out to our many friends who are dealing with the fires in the Los Angeles/Southern California area. We've been in contact with many of them over the phone, and they have managed to escape any harm so far. One of our friends has been without power now for several days, and it's taking our very own local PG&E crews to travel down to those spots to help out. Special thanks to all the firefighters and others who have done so much to help get this situation under control. Hopefully, we're coming to the end very soon.

Wedding Bells toll for our very own Tony Blanco who is getting married Saturday morning at 10:00 AM. We wish Tony and Lisa all the happiness in the world as they begin a new chapter in their lives together.

How would you like to have $1000.00 to spend at Hocus Pocus? Don't forget to check the special page on our web site on October 31st for all the details. One lucky person will win a $1000.00 gift certificate to go on a Hocus Pocus shopping spree!

Until next week,


Friday, October 19, 2007

Home From Hollywood!

What a weekend it was! Betty and I left early Friday morning for Hollywood, California, and arrived around 11:30 AM at our usual destination, Musso & Frank's! My friend, Craig Harlan and his fiance, Deborah, followed us from Fresno and hooked up with us as well in time for lunch. The whole gang was there, including Robert Baxt, Carl Ballantine, Chuck and Gerald Kirchner, Steven Steele, Joe Porper, Glenn and Melinda Farrington, and Big Lou Hirschorn. We all had a great time, and it was good to be back together with my old friends.

Clockwise: Steven Steele, me, Carl Ballantine, Robert Baxt, and Lou Hirschorn

Craig Harlan, Deborah, and Glenn Farrington

Joe Porper, Steven Steele, Betty, Me, and Carl

Big Bad Lou Hirschorn

After lunch, we trouped down Hollywood Boulevard to a new store that captured my fancy online, called Dapper Cadaver. This place is filled with the strange, weird, and bizarre. In short, I loved it! The owner, B.J. Winslow and his staff graciously gave us a tour of his facility. They are a major prop rental and sales house for the television and motion picture industry, and chances are, you've seen their props in more than a few movies. Anything from an iron maiden to pickled punks, they've got it all! They even custom make props as well. I made a couple of purchases to add to my collection. These folks are great, and I urge you to visit them on their web site, and tell them Hocus Pocus sent you:

The Dapper Cadaver entrance off Hollywood Boulevard

The Iron Maiden

The Electric Chair

Are you talking to me?

Chupacabra in the window display

Have a few skeletons in your closet?

A view of the showroom

Alien autopsy. Yes, I bought this.

Pickled punks galore

Scoping out all the gory details

Watch out for the giant cockroach!

Thanks again to B.J. Winslow and his staff at Dapper Cadaver for showing us a great time!

Back in the car to the hotel where I met up with Chuck and Gerald Kirchner again where we talked about magic, I caught a glimpse of David Regal walking through the hotel lobby. We called him over, and he told us that he was there filming for a TV reality show that will air on VH1. It will be like Dancing With the Stars, only celebrities will be taught to perform with professional magicians as coaches. Some of the coaches are David Regal, Simon Lovell, David Kaye (Silly Billy), Rocco, and more. All these guys were staying at the Magic Castle Hotel while filming, so stay tuned for more details on VH1.

As David Regal left our room to get ready for his spot on the show, who else but Terry Seabrooke showed up! Having just arrived from England to work his week at the Magic Castle, we realized we were having quite the magical afternoon, and we hadn't yet gone to the Castle yet!

Time to get ready to go to the Castle for dinner, so we dressed up and met up again with Craig, Deborah, Chuck, and Gerald, Robert Baxt, and his girlfriend, Yumi.

Betty and I, Deborah, Craig, and Chuck

After a terrific dinner, we all went to the Palace of Mystery for a great show, and we were in for a pleasant surprise, when our friend, Shoot Ogawa, showed up as guest entertainer. Shoot opened the show with a bang and really set the show for the rest of the evening! After the Palace of Mystery show, we went downstairs to enjoy David Regal perform some of his signature close-up magic. Late now, we had to go back to the hotel room to get some rest before the Swap Meet the next day.

Saying goodnight to the Magic Castle

The next morning came rather quickly. I was first in line for the Swap Meet, and the doors opened right on time at 9:00 AM. Lots of things to see, and I was lucky enough to pick up a few of the more rare items. One of the highlights for me was acquiring another of Doug Henning's costumes for my collection. We were excited because Mark and Nani Wilson had asked us to stop by their warehouse on the way home for a tour, and I couldn't have been more excited! Unfortunately, there was a massive accident the night before on the Interstate 5. It was closed, so we were unable to make our appointment with Mark and Nani. What would have normally been a 3 hour trip home turned into 6 hours! Mark and Nani have graciously extended their invitation to us the next time we are down their way, so I plan on taking them up on their offer. I can't wait...

So there you have it. Thanks to Mike for taking over the blog last week. I want to also thank all of you who have written us and given us your comments and compliments on the new interface of our web site. My son, Cole, is home from college this weekend in time to celebrate Betty's birthday this weekend, so whatever you're doing, make sure your weekend is a good one.

Until next time,