Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

While the boss is away, the staff will... work! That's right; the only thing that has changed around here (since Paul took a couple of extra days to be with his family and celebrate his birthday) is the radio station. Everything else is, well, busy as usual with no end in sight, save for the weekend! Happy Birthday, Paul! And relax, would'ja?

MAGIC magazine celebrates 16 years of publication!

Speaking of birthdays, I want to take this brief opportunity to wish Stan Allen and his staff a wonderful birthday as well as they celebrate 16 years at MAGIC magazine! Wow! Can it be? 16 years already? I remember the very first issue that graced the magic store newsstand with David Williamson on the cover like it was yesterday! Anyhow, Happy Anniversary, Stan and staff! Job well done, and here's to many, many more years of a great publication to come!

The beautiful Shaver Lake

And speaking of the weekend (I know, I didn't), Happy Labor Day Weekend to you all. I have been looking forward to spending an extra day with my lovely girlfriend for a long time now, and our plans are to get out of these triple digit temperatures, cancel any gigs, and head to higher ground: Shaver Lake!

Also, make sure to tune in to the Magic Broadcast for my weekly radio show, the Mike on the Mic Show every Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM Pacific time for a fun-filled show, where we will be taking your submissions for your most embarrassing moments. Twice a year, it's time to share all those moments where things didn't go quite so right during your performances, and it's your chance not only to share, but to win some great prizes from the nice folks at Hocus Pocus. And believe, me, they are amazing prizes! There are a few ways to submit your Most Embarrassing Moment:

1. Email it to me at

2. Call it in live on the show on September 11th or 18th at 888-851-1534

First, second, and third place winners will be announced at the end of September 18th's show, and your prizes will be mailed to you absolutely free just for submitting your embarrassing moment. Cool, huh?

Oh, and if you are in the Bay Area on October 6th, stop by and see our show, Magic Live, Volume 1: No Camera Tricks, a show that Ray Lum, Marshall Magoon, and I are putting on at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell, California. Here are the details:

Magic Live, Volume 1: No Camera Tricks

Saturday October 6, 2007

Heritage Theatre
1 W. Campbell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008

Two shows

Matinee: 3:00pm
Evening: 8:00pm


$25.00 in advance
$35.00 at the door
$15.00 Children under 12
$20.00 Senior

How to Purchase Tickets:

There are five ways to purchase tickets to Heritage Theatre performances: online, at the Box Office, by phone with Visa, MasterCard or Discover, by fax, or by mail. For more information about ticket sales, call (408) 866-2700 Tuesday-Friday between 9:00am and 5:30pm and Saturdays between 9:00am-1:00pm.

To purchase tickets online:

Or at the box office:

Regular Box Office Hours
Tuesday-Friday from 9:00am-5:30pm
Saturdays from 9:00am-1:00pm
1 hour before Showtime

That about wraps it up for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful and well-rested Labor Day Weekend! Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel, where Paul makes his triumphant return from his birthday weekend!


Friday, August 24, 2007

52. UGH!

How can it be? It seemed like only yesterday I was a young man of 20 years of age. Now, in just a few days, I'll be 52 years-old. My collection of glasses grows by the year as bifocals are completely out of the question! Where has the time gone? I know this may sound like complaining to some of you, but I have to be very honest: I've had a hard time with birthdays since I turned 40. The old adage is true: The older you get, the faster time flies by. It really is true. Two weeks seemed like forever as a young kid, now two weeks fly by in what seems like a wink! Every year, it's the same; two weeks before my birthday, the depression sets in. There's no way to stop it; the day is coming, and just like the odometer in your car, that number rolls over, never to be seen again.

Notice the second pair of glasses on my desk? No bifocals for me. No, sir!

Realistically, however, for the first time in a looooong time, I've never felt better. I have a ton more energy than when I was at my heaviest weight, and I'm taking more time to be with my family and myself, which, as you grow older, finally takes the proper perspective. My hair's a little grayer (OK, it's ALL gray), but my wife says it makes me look distinguished. So, all in all, I guess I better get over it and accept the fact that the big day's almost here and buck up and enjoy it.

Speaking of taking more time, I'm going to be taking off early next week on Wednesday and not returning until the following Tuesday to enjoy the Labor Day holiday with my family and friends. I'm really looking forward to this time off, and everybody at the shop is taking bets that I won't be able to do it without showing up at the shop during that time. Joke's on them.

It's like a treasure hunt. Every day here at Hocus Pocus, we find new treasures from our network of suppliers and manufacturers. New items are the lifeblood of this industry, and there's hardly a day that goes by where they don't show up on our web site. Every day, we are striving to work harder to bring these new and exciting products to you to help spawn your creativity and get your juices flowing. I'm very fortunate to have the staff that I have here at Hocus Pocus; they are as dedicated as I am to providing the best customer service possible in an age where the term seems to have been forgotten or ignored. We have professional magicians on-hand to honestly and truthfully answer your questions about products, ideas, and helpful information for your act or routine. We're always interested in your input and your suggestions on how to make Hocus Pocus a better place to suit your needs. After all, without you, we would not exist for as long as we have.

It's hard to believe that Summer is almost over, and Fall and Winter is just around the corner. Pretty soon, we'll be playing Holiday music on the radio and in the shops at the mall. Probably right after Halloween! The reason I bring this up is because, as I said in a runaround way at the beginning of this, it is important to make the most of every day, because, before you know it, you'll wonder where all the time went.

So with all that, I guess I'll begin my breathing exercises in order to blow out all those candles on the cake.

Maybe Mike will be nice enough to take over the blog next week. Then you're all in trouble.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul (another year older) Gross

Friday, August 17, 2007

All Moved In

Monday morning, bright and early saw Cole, Max, Betty and me heading to Moraga, California to move Cole back to school. It was quite the caravan; Cole in the U-Haul, Betty and Max in Cole's car, and me in mine. We arrived around noon and checked into our hotel, had a nice lunch, and then got back in the car and headed for San Francisco. The nice thing about Cole's school is that San Francisco is only 20 minutes away, so it's the perfect opportunity for Betty and me to go site seeing. Max wanted to go to Pier 39 to look around, so we made that our first stop. After that, we walked down Fisherman's Wharf where I happened upon an antique museum that featured coin operated machines as far back as the 1930s. Many of these used to be on display at the old Cliffhouse in San Francisco and are now owned by a private collector. And they all work perfectly. Admission is free to the museum and it is quite a sight! Filled with people of all ages, they were entranced while playing with the machines. One of my favorites was, of course, the Wizard Fortune Teller. Take a look:

You are greeted by Laughing Sal as you enter the museum

The Wizard Fortune Teller

After spending some time in the museum, we wandered farther down the Wharf and I should probably tell you that Max has been wanting a Nintendo Wii. I bet him $10.00 we'd find one there in the city, and I won the bet! A few stores down was a gaming store that had stacks of them for sale, and, of course, Max walked out with one. Next to Scoma's for dinner because no trip to San Francisco is complete without a meal there.

The famous San Francisco Scoma's

After dinner, we drove back to the hotel where Betty and I were both ready to do absolutely nothing but relax. Max and Cole, on the other hand, had other ideas as their attempt to hook up the Wii to the hotel's television set was something out of a comedy. Since the appropriate port was not available, all they could do was stew and fantasize until Cole realized his own TV was in the back of the U-Haul. You guessed it; they unpacked his TV, brought it into the hotel and proceeded to live in Wii heaven until the "Wii" hours of the morning. They stayed up so late, they overslept the next day. After packing the TV back into the U-Haul, we drove to St. Mary's and unpacked and got him settled into his new dorm room as the new Resident Assistant.

Max's new nemesis: the Nintendo Wii

Oh, and speaking of moving, my daughter, Renee just moved into her new apartment this week as well, and she absolutely loves it. Coincidentally, our very own Ken lives there as well, so she's in good company with Ken and his wife.

This week, Robert Baxt paid us a visit to put the finishing touches on his newest product that we'll be releasing very soon! It's always great when Robert visits; he and Mike talk Apple Mac products and he and I talk magic products until the day is done. Speaking of Mike, it looks like he has a very full weekend; he has a restaurant gig on Friday evening, a close-up walk-around gig on Saturday, a band gig on Saturday evening, and another restaurant gig on Sunday. If he comes to work riding his bike on Monday, I'll be shocked!

No more moving. No more traveling. Just rest and relaxation for me this weekend.

Until next week,


Friday, August 10, 2007

Back From The Beach.

A beautiful view of Carmel, California

The famous Cannery Row

Vacation's over and it's back to work for me. It was great to get away last week. We had a great time sitting on the sand, catching some rays, and just relaxing. The warmest it got was a mere 70 degrees, while here in Fresno, it got up to 108 degrees. While in that wonderful weather, we spent Saturday on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. We all had a great time, and my favorite was the Arcade. My family had a hard time pulling me away from the Deal/No Deal video game. I was like a kid again: completely out of control. I kept putting in tokens and getting back prize tickets. Finally, we gathered all the tickets (which seemed like thousands) and went to redeem them at the prize counter. All we got were two mini basketballs. Ouch. They probably only cost me around $200.00. LOL. Oh well, it was the fun of the game...

Katy's Place

Sunday, we got up early and drove into Carmel, California, where we enjoyed brunch at Betty's favorite restaurant, Katy's Place. If you ever go to Carmel, you must give Katy's Place a shot. It's small, but the food is phenomenal and plentiful. After everyone had their fill, we strolled down the street and did some shopping (no sign of Clint Eastwood, sorry to say) at the many shops. The first shop, Diggity Dog, a dog boutique, where we couldn't go away without getting something for our two dogs, Buddy and Mugsy. Afterwards, a little clothes shopping, and then we happened upon a really cool secret garden store. I don't know how we've never found this place before on our many trips to Carmel, but there it was, just inviting us in. It was just like a paradise in the middle of the hustle and bustle. While there, I purchased a brand new fountain for my back yard, which I'll be assembling and installing this weekend.

After shopping, we all jumped back into the car and went to Monterey, where more shopping was had by all. We had a nice dinner right on the ocean that evening, and back to the beach house for a good night's rest. We're already talking about our trip next year as the planning has already begun.

Back to School

St. Mary's College

This Monday, we load up the U-Haul and drive my oldest son, Cole, back to college. He has an R.A. position this year, which means he has his own private dorm room. No roommate. He's also excited to have his own kitchen, so he can cook his own meals. We'll be driving back on Tuesday afternoon where my good friend, Robert Baxt, will be arriving in Fresno at about the same time to join us for dinner. He'll be with us Tuesday and Wednesday on his way to the Bay Area for weekend performances. While he's here, we'll also be finalizing the details of his next release through Hocus Pocus, so stay tuned.

Speaking of back to school, Max will be starting his sophomore year of high school the week after. All he's done and talked about this year is his new car, and he's so excited to begin driving and showing it off to his friends and schoolmates. A week ago, he completed his first course in driver's training. To say he's anxious is an understatement.

Just got this note from Cody Fisher regarding a new project he's involved with David Copperfield. Take a look:

Question: What do you get when you cross the focus of an occupational hand therapist with the skills of an accomplished magician?

Answer: “Rehabracadabra!” more commonly know as Magic Therapy!

For the past 7 years Debbie and Cody Fisher have been using magic to create miracles for individuals with disabilities. Cody is a full time magician and his wife Debbie is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist (CHT). Together they have been using magic as a new therapeutic modality.

Debbie and Cody just returned from Las Vegas where they were asked to be guest speakers at the 25th anniversary convention for David Copperfield’s “Project Magic”. They lectured to magicians and therapist from around the world on the benefits of using magic as a therapeutic treatment technique. Be sure to check out the July issue of Advance Magazine, Debbie and Cody will be the cover story for the special "Hand Therapy Issue". The article will be about Debbie & Cody's work with using magic in the outpatient clinic setting. This concept originated with David Copperfield’s “Project Magic” and Debbie and Cody have taken it to a whole new level! For more information on magic therapy please visit

Cody Fisher, David Copperfield, & Debbie Fisher MS OTR, CHT

Congratulations to Cody and Debbie for doing a wonderful job giving back to the community as they have done for the past 7 years.

So that about catches us up. On a personal note, I want to thank you for keeping us as busy as we've been here at the shop; we like it when we have to run, run, run. Plus, it's good exercise.

Until next time,