Friday, September 28, 2007

MySpace or Yours?

Hocus Pocus goes MySpace!

Well, it's finally happened. It was only a matter of time before Hocus Pocus completely embraced 21st Century technology and joined one of the largest online networks on Earth! That's right; Hocus Pocus is now a part of MySpace! Check us out here and add us as your new pal:

There, you can check out some very cool features, including a nice slideshow of new pictures of the shop, guests of ours from the Lecture Series, and much more!

Question: How do you produce a porcupine?

Answer: Very carefully.

At least, that's what our friend Greg Carter says. Greg is a professional magician hailing all the way from Tennessee and while traveling through California performing school shows with his Urban Safari Magic Act, he stopped by Hocus Pocus for a visit and to pick up some supplies. Check out the picture of Tony, Greg, and his prickly friend. Yes, that's Tony holding up one of the quills. Ouch.

A Brand New Look

After an entire year, our brand new web site will be ready to launch next week. Some of you may have noticed this past week, that our new website was actually up and functional for a short period of time. We've done this to test and re-test before launching at 100%. I think you'll not only enjoy the new look of the website, but the new features and ease of navigation will make your viewing and shopping experience more pleasurable.

One of the new features I'm extremely excited about is a "New Product Update." This will enable you to have the hottest and newest products that are put on the site daily delivered to you in email format, keeping you abreast of the latest and greatest on a daily basis! When the new site launches, there will be a New Feature option on the right-hand column. Simply enter your email address, and you will receive daily email updates automatically. It will list all the newly added products for that day with direct links to each and every one of them. And if you'd like, you can opt-out at any time. Cool, huh? I thought you'd like that...

When the new site goes live, any of your comments and suggestions are always appreciated. We've put a lot of thought and effort into this new site and worked with some of the coolest programmers and site designers on Earth. However, ultimately, it is your input and suggestions that help us make the web site the best it can be.

Magic Live

In other news, Ray Lum, Mike Giusti, and Marshall Magoon have been working extremely hard over the last three months to bring you one of the best family-friendly shows in California, and you can see them live next Saturday, October 6th! There will be two shows: Matinee show at 3:00 PM and Evening Show at 8:00 PM. Tickets are on sale as we speak, and they are going fast, so don't miss out on this very exciting and entertaining show exclusively in California's beautiful Bay Area!

The Heritage Theatre in beautiful Cambpell, California

Heritage Theatre Marquee

Remember, there is only 1 week left to purchase tickets for Magic Live, Volume 1: Magic Without Camera Tricks Saturday, October 6th. This promises to be one of the best shows of the year! For more information, check out the link:

I'm continually overwhelmed by the numbers of those who have downloaded our new podcast, Trick Talk, and Mike is working feverishly to finish the next podcast, hopefully, by this afternoon. The numbers are staggering, and with the help of iTunes, it is growing in popularity on a daily basis! Who would'a thunk it? We've gotten a lot of requests for reviews at and Mike is working with some well-known performers for special interviews. This has become quite the project.

Are Two Heads Really Better Than One?

Bobby Reynolds sitting at my desk with a Pickled Punk

World-famous circus sideshowman, Bobby Reynolds thinks that two heads are better than one. Bobby has performed and traveled with his sideshow all over the world and now resides right here in Fresno, California. We always enjoy his visits as he regales us with his many experiences and stories. He is featured in several major books on the subject, including "Secrets of the Sideshow," by Joe Nickell and "Shocked and Amazed" by James Taylor. I wish we could put his life on film; it would be an interesting story to say the least. He truly has been everywhere and done everything!

As Summer ends and Fall begins, the weather is a little more crisp today with slight winds and breezes carrying the tunes of the Big Fresno Fair, which comes next week. Speaking of Fall, the holidays are now upon us, so it's time to begin thinking about those holiday effects you'd like to add to your repertoire.

So there you have it, another week gone by filled with many happenings here at Hocus Pocus! Have a fantastic weekend, and don't forget to watch for the launch of our new web site next week!

Until next time,


Friday, September 21, 2007

And The Pod People Came

Trick Talk with Mike Giusti

Wow! I can't tell you how excited we are about the overwhelming response we've received regarding our new feature, the Trick Talk Podcast with Mike Giusti. From what we can see, over 250 people downloaded the podcast in the first day alone! This does not include the stats from iTunes, where you can also sign up and receive automatic updates for free HERE! Mike is also receiving lots of emails and comments along with requests for additional reviews on other product. This is exactly the kind of response we want, and we're excited to continue bringing you more podcasts and reviews soon. There are already 2 podcasts up and running, and you can download them HERE as well. As I'm typing this, Mike is currently reviewing the newest group of products for the 3rd installment to be released shortly. Your comments, suggestions, and questions are always welcome, and you can post them as comments on the Trick Talk home page or email them to Mike at This is yet another exciting addition to the arsenal of features available to every Hocus Pocus customer.

In other news, I just got an email from our good friend and customer, Hiro Nitta, who performed his act for Stars of Magic 2007 in August. As you can see from the photos, his act is very colorful and was extremely well-received by the audience in attendance. Congratulations, Hiro!

Hiro Nita performing at the Stars of Magic in Tuscon, Arizona

A spectacular finale

Just talked to a jet-lagged Robert Baxt who just returned from England where he performed for the International Stars of Magic Show and lectured along with USA's own Johnny and Pam Thompson. Although Robert is only here for a couple of days before he jets off to Hawaii on Monday, he will be writing and producing a magic show along with Jody Baron. That Robert! He never stays in one place too long before he's off to the next endeavor...

International Stars of Magic Poster

Backstage with the cast and crew of the International Stars of Magic

Speaking of live shows, there are only 2 weeks left to purchase tickets for Mike Giusti, Ray Lum, and Marshall Magoon's Magic Live, Volume 1: Magic Without Camera Tricks Saturday, October 6th. For more information, check out the link:

If you have any photos or information of where you are performing as well, let us know; we'd love to showcase you here on the blog. We like hearing from you and receiving your photos.

How would you like to have $1000.00 to use for a shopping spree here at Hocus Pocus? Well, one lucky person is going to get the opportunity. Go to the front page of our web site for updates and special announcements regarding this contest, and start dreaming of how you would spend that $1000.00!

On the home front, this weekend is my mother's 75th birthday. We'll all be going to my sister's house Saturday night to celebrate. For those of you keeping count, YES -- Max is still washing his car every single day. I hope there's still a paint job on it in the coming months. Although, I have to say, he knows how to wash and detail a car; he did a better job than the car wash on Betty's car and my car!

Have yourself a great weekend.

Until next time,


Friday, September 14, 2007

Pod People

No, I'm not referring to the newest remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Nicole Kidman, I am referring to our newest feature created especially for you! In this day and age of Internet purchasing, it is difficult to make informed decisions about products without actually having them in your hand. That's where Mike Giusti comes in with his brand new podcast, "Trick Talk."

With almost 20 years of performing experience and over 10 years working with us here at Hocus Pocus (Mike is the graphics designer and web master supreme for Hocus Pocus, so almost 100% of these products comes across his desk), Mike has my complete confidence choosing between what is good and what is not so good as he has seen his fair share of gems and bombs (he calls them dogs), and he holds nothing back with his genuine and truthful revelations on this podcast. Many times, I defer to Mike and his honest opinion before we choose which products to represent or not. I value highly his opinion as it is always black and white with him. He has the same "call-it-as-he-sees-it" attitude as I do, so I know his opinion is subjective. Whenever his schedule allows, he will be updating the podcast as frequently as possible (hopefully once every week or so) and telling you all about the products that have caught his eye or those on which he's rolled his eyes. Nothing will be held back, and it's all done in the entertaining, zany fashion for which Mike is known.

We want you to know that with your best interests at heart, the candid opinions expressed on this podcast are our own, and that while you may not always agree with us, hopefully it will help you make an educated decision before spending your hard-earned dollars. At Hocus Pocus, we have your best interests at heart, and we are not beholden to suppliers and creators as some other reviewers may be.

Appearing soon for subscription on iTunes, we want to give you the heads-up on the very first podcast ready for immediate download simply by clicking the image below. Be sure to bookmark that page for regular updates.

Trick Talk

If you have images disabled on your web browser or phone, simply click the below URL:

Another bird, another cage. Shades of Blackstone and Blackstone Jr.

I can't tell you how excited I was this week to receive one of Harry Blackstone Jr.'s tuxedo's as worn for the cover of Magic Manuscript:

This is the creme colored tuxedo that Blackstone Jr. wore on his national tour leading into his Broadway show. Special thanks go to my friend, Joe Long, for helping me obtain this very treasured artifact for my personal collection. Currently, I am having two full-length cases constructed for the Blackstone Jr. memorabilia, including an original Vanishing Birdcage that was built by Harry Blackstone Sr.'s brother, Pete. This cage was used by Blackstone Sr. and then later handed down to Blackstone Jr. The other display case will house the Doug Henning costumes and other memorabilia. Hopefully, in the next two weeks, the project will be finished and I'll be able to share pictures with you on the blog.

The original Blackstone Vanishing Birdcage

7 Days & Counting

Exactly 7 days ago, we picked up Max's car, and I'd like to report that every single day since, Max has washed that car with much gusto! Now, mind you, we've only driven it around the block a couple of times since it has come home, but he is still washing it daily. He is in a panic, because he is going to the coast with a friend today and tomorrow, and he's hoping his car will be as spic and span as it is now. He's been conning me to wash his car while he's away, but I don't think that's how I want to spend my weekend...

So if you already aren't, become a pod person today, listen to Mike's Trick Talk Podcast over the weekend and send any review requests, suggestions and ideas to Mike to

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,


Friday, September 07, 2007

The Party May Be Over...

The party may be over but the celebration continues. Thanks to Mike for taking over the blog last week as I took some time to be with my family. I made it through my 52nd birthday with flying colors, and honestly, it isn't all that bad... It was nice having 5 days off doing just what I wanted to do, how I wanted to do it, when I wanted to do it. When I returned to work on Tuesday, I couldn't believe all the nice emails waiting for me in my inbox wishing me a happy birthday. Thanks to all of you for your birthday wishes via email and cards. It was extremely thoughtful and much appreciated.


No, that's not Mike's nickname; that's the name of one of the hottest items to come out this year. As many of you know, there have been many hitches and delays with this product reaching the market. I'm happy to tell you that our first shipment arrived and left the same day (Wednesday), so those of you who were the first to order FreaKey should be receiving yours shortly, if you haven't already done so. I'm sure you'll all be very pleased with this purchase as it could very well be the perfect walk around item to have with you at all times. The props are natural, not suspicious, the handling is simplistic, and the accompanying instructional/performance DVD is very thorough and of the highest quality. Check it out HERE!

Hobson Egg Bag

Other exciting news: we just received our shipment of the Hobson Egg Bag well ahead of schedule, and it, too, has exceeded our expectations. In addition to a beautifully handmade egg bag by Jeff's Wife, you receive 2 special eggs, a mini-DVD and complete and total access to the special web site that hosts even more features (including a live performance of Jeff performing this hilarious routine on stage). This is a golden opportunity to purchase a seasoned pro's pet effect that has garnered him a reputation as one of the funniest and most creative performers of our day.


Today we anxiously awaited our UPS truck to arrive as we were expecting a special package from Bob Kohler. We are sworn to secrecy and cannot reveal what it is, but I will tell you that this is a project that has been in the works for almost 2 years! I can tell you this: it is a hilarious routine from a well-known magician's act that I guarantee many of you have seen. When the prototype arrived, not only did it FAR exceed our expectations, Mike is still walking around making everyone laugh with it. Hopefully, I've peaked your interest. Stay tuned; we'll make the big announcement sometime in the next 30 days. If you are a stage, parlor or comedy magician, you are definitely going to want to get your hands on this golden egg!

So LOTS of things are happening around here, as you can see. In fact, I just spoke to Robert Baxt who spent all day yesterday at Disney Studios filming a commercial with Ellen DeGeneres for HBO, and he's off flying to England today for a magic performance and lecture appearance. Robert also informed me that he will be working backstage helping Carl Ballantine in this year's "It's Magic" show.

On the home front, yesterday we picked up Max's car after having a new rear window installed. We brought the car home and Max spent at least 2 hours washing it. I took him to Kragen Auto Supply and we purchased new window cranks. Max was out so late that he couldn't see what he was doing anymore; he had to finish the project this morning (where he promptly awoke at 6:00 AM to do so). When I took him to school this morning, he gazed longingly at the car as it disappeared in the distance. Tonight, he'll wash the car again. I hope there's paint left when he's done.

So that about wraps it up for this week. Have a great weekend and enjoy yourselves.

Until next time,