Friday, March 07, 2008
A Magic Land of Allakazam Kind of Week!
Wow. Lots to talk about so let's get started:
As you all know, last weekend, Betty, Max, Mike, and I all made the trip to Hollywood, California Saturday. Saturday night, we had a great dinner at the Magic Castle with our hosts Mark Nelson and Mark & Nani Wilson (who also had been giving private lessons to Fred Rosenberg, a student who had traveled all the way from Alaska to learn from the Wilsons). After a great dinner, we all caught the Palace of Mystery show featuring Ice McDonald, whose dove act was not only unique but extremely entertaining. Also on the bill was Mystina, whose high energy and versatile act captured the entire audience's imagination. It was a great show, and we decided to skip the rest of the shows to head downstairs to see our good friend Glenn Farrington perform at the W.C. Field's Bar. Glenn slayed 'em! His dice stacking routine was one of the best I'd ever seen, but he really knows how to rev up a crowd and keep them in the palm of his hand. Now, close to eleven o'clock, we all headed back to our respective hotel rooms and call it a night.
At 8:00 AM the next morning, Mike, Betty, Max, and I headed over to the Castle with both cars filled to the brim with magic and met Tim Mannix! Immediately we backed into the side exit and began to unload and set up our tables for Dealers' Day with Tim's help.
Trying to find any open space possible
Setting up and straightening out
The doors open for business
And they kept coming
Catching up with my old friend, James Hamilton
My son Max working the booth
This year's Dealer Day was even busier than last year's. There was a little bit of concern due to the fact that the famous Los Angeles Marathon was happening the same day, and all the streets surrounding the Magic Castle were blocked off, but hey -- they are magicians; they found their way. Lots of old friends stopped by to say hello like James Hamilton who, in case you did not know, performs a historical magic act as Alexander Hermann. Mark and Nani's student, Fred Rosenberg also hung out at the booth as did Rich Hurley of Ring Finale fame, and we all had a great time talking to him as well. If you haven't checked out Ring Finale on our web site yet, please do so! Rich is a real down-to-earth guy and his Ring Finale is one of the best-selling items this year. It was nice visiting with other friends and customers as the day rapidly progressed. Dealer's Day was originally set to close at 3:00, but it was so busy that we didn't start breaking down our booth until almost 5:00! Special thanks to our good friend, Tim Mannix, who helped us out all day long, and even demonstrated products behind our booth! Tim is a great guy and a wonderful performer, and we were lucky to have him there to help us. Mike also demonstrated products like crazy but the biggest seller was PyroKinesis, which completely sold out. We even had one customer offer to buy Mike's demo model. What a great day it was.
A highlight was finally meeting Mark and Nani Wilson's son, Greg Wilson and his wife. We had a set of linking rings that Greg had been looking for, and he walked away with them lovingly holding them in his arms. Even when Nani offered to lock them up in the Castle Classroom, Greg refused
The best part of the day came next:
As we teased last week about an upcoming project with Mark and Nani Wilson, Sunday was the secret unveiling and debut of this exclusive item. It all started last December, when Betty and I visited Mark and Nani at their warehouse. Mark expressed an interest in finally releasing the Allakazam Hat! Of course, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved with them in this project. Mark's concern was finding the right builder to tackle the project, and I told him I knew just the guy for the job. After a few phone calls to my good friend Jay Leslie, a meeting was scheduled and the result is what you see below: the Limited Edition Allakazam Hat! If you could have seen the looks on Mark's, Nani's, Mike's, and my faces when Jay unveiled it at the Castle last Sunday; nothing more needed to be said. Jay really outdid himself with this! For me, it was like taking a trip back to seeing the Magic Land of Allakazam for the first time! Being in the same room with those great people who started it all for me was almost overwhelming...
It all started here in October of 1960
On October 1, 1960 many of our lives were changed forever when the first episode of the Magic Land of Allakazam aired. Every Saturday morning, Mark and Nani (Darnell) Wilson came into our homes and amazed and delighted us with unforgettable magic. One of the featured effects performed was the famous Allakazam Hat.
The Allakazam Hat is a stylized, improved version of the Square Circle that became a regular effect on many of the Magic Land of Allakazam episodes that were seen by millions of viewers every week. As a matter of fact, the Allakazam Hat was used to produce Basil, the Baffling Bunny, the live rabbit who appeared in many episodes, and it was occasionally used to produce some of Basil's friends, such as Doris, the Daring Dove, Gertrude, the Glamorous Guinea Pig, Harriet, the Harmonious Hamster, and Charles, the Charming Chicken!
Due to the specialized design of the hat, its brim, and breakfront cabinet, the handling and performance was different than that of the standard Square Circle, creating a more deceptive performance and fooling those who were familiar with the Square Circle principle.
At the end of the five-year run of the Magic Land of Allakazam, because of the vast audience available through the medium of network television, the Allakazam Hat was the one magic prop that had been seen by more people throughout the world than any other magic prop in history!
For years, magicians have asked Mark to make this wonderful prop available. Now, Hocus Pocus is proud to announce, through exclusive arrangements with Mark and Nani Wilson, the Allakazam Hat!
Nani, Mark, and I with the Allakazam Hat
Limited to only 50 custom made units, each Allakazam Hat has been painstakingly recreated by master craftsman Jay Leslie and officially authorized by Mark and Nani Wilson, each unit will be personally signed and numbered by Mark and Nani along with a certificate of authenticity. Plus, if you are among the first 36 magicians to pre-order the Allakazam Hat, you will receive absolutely free, a Magic Land of Allakazam Memorabilia package which includes many original and rare valuable items. As an additional special bonus, an original 8" X 10" publicity photo of Mark and Nani Wilson will be autographed to you personally with your name included.
Now that you understand the versatility of this incredible prop, its uses are merely limited by your imagination. Whether you are a performer or collector, you will be proud to own this beautiful prop and piece of magic history.
As of the time of this blog, we have already pre-sold 17 units. If you are interested, we urge you to check it out HERE!
Mark and Nani Wilson are truly magic's national treasures. Can you name any other couple in the history of magic who have done and continue to do so much to promote the art of magic? They are continually teaching magic classes both privately and at the Magic Castle and continue to be sought-after consultants for TV, movies, theme parks, etc. This is your golden opportunity to own a real piece of magic history and memorabilia with Mark and Nani's stamp of approval. It's a real honor to be involved with Mark and Nani in this project (in ANY project, for that matter). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: they truly are my magical heroes.
I wish to thank Mark and Nani and our gracious host Mark Nelson for their generous hospitality this past weekend, and I look forward to our next meeting.
With all this activity, this weekend Betty and I have decided to take it easy and relax. I think we've earned it.
Until next time,