Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Already?

How can it be Friday already? This week has gone by with lightening speed. If you've been keeping tabs on our web site, I'm sure you've noticed all the new and exciting things happening. The first is the latest offering from Peter Loughran and Sean Bogunia entitled "WitchBoard."

You'll definitely want to read up about it HERE if you are a mentalist or bizarrist; it will change your show forever!

Joe Givan's Improved Ring in Gumball Machine

Another exciting item is Joe Givan's Original Ring in Gumball Machine, which he has graciously given us the exclusive on. These are flying off the shelves with such speed, I cannot believe it. Check it out HERE.

Also check out the brand new items from Theory11. We are excited to be one of the official dealers to offer you such fantastic projects. Not only are they all online, but they are IN-STOCK for immediate delivery. Just check out the special category "Theory11" for all the items we have so far.

These are just a few of the things that have hit our site this week alone. Do yourself a favor and check out the record amount of new items arriving daily.

On the homefront, the temperatures here earlier this week was like being on the coast. In the morning, we were leaving the doors to the offices and warehouse open until we had to turn the air conditioning on later in the day. It was so nice, but it wasn't to last. Yesterday, it spiked to 104 degrees, today will be 105 and Sunday will climb to 106. As I type this, I realize that we are only 90 days away from Fall, and I cannot wait.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Well, not yet but Mike's band, "Smoke Break" is climbing in popularity all over Central California. Selling out in the local bars and pubs, every owner has had glowing reviews on the band's choice of music and the caliber of showmanship. Tonight, Smoke Break plays at Kimmee's in Clovis, CA. from 9 PM - 1 AM (good luck, Mike) and it is guaranteed to be filled to capacity. They will also be playing again on Sunday evening from 7-11 PM, so if you are in the area, show up early to avoid cover charges and lines. In fact, Mike told me that during intermissions, the band would go outside for a break and the lines outside were something out of Studio 54 days. Eerie. Word gets around, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mike has to put his close-up gigs on hold for the music business.

Next week, the wedding bells toll for Yumi and Robert Baxt. They tie the knot a week from Saturday in an intimate gathering of close family and friends. Betty and I will be making the trip to Southern California to attend and hey, who knows: maybe we'll go to Disneyland!

Cars, Cars, and More Cars!

Max's new project. Hopefully, it will look like this.

As I've written before, my son, Max is completely car crazy. He has now added to his collection of vehicles an early model 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. You remember: just like the one Burt Reynolds drove in Smokey and the Bandit. To say that it is a fixer-upper is an understatement, but you'd think he was driving a Rolls Royce when you see him in this thing. Grinning from ear to ear, he believes he has a real treasure. Who knows: it just may be that diamond in the rough. At 16 years of age, he already owns 2 vehicles and I cringe to think of what he may have at 18. I hope our house doesn't turn into a car lot!

Betty and I took in the Dark Knight last weekend. We both enjoyed it thoroughly, and as many have said, the late Heath Ledger's performance was stellar and captivating. At 2 hours and 40 minutes, it's a long one, but there's enough action to keep you on the edge of your seats. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth your time and effort.

So that's about it for me. There will be no blog next week as I'll be in Southern California attending Yumi's and Robert's wedding. I'll definitely report back when I return. On a personal note, I just want to say thanks for taking time to read this blog and visit our site.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 17, 2008


My friend, Craig Harlan

Friends. We all have them. Some closer than others, but still friends, nonetheless. Good friends, TRUE friends are hard to come by. They are the ones that you can call on at any time, day or night, and they'll give you the shirt off their back if you ask them. Always there to listen to your stories and to support you in good times and in bad throughout your life. So let me tell you about my TRUE friend, Craig Harlan.

Craig and I became friends about 9 years ago when he wandered into the magic shop. A child psychologist by profession who always had an interest in magic, Craig thought it would be a great icebreaker working with his young patients. He became a quick study and devoted student to the art of magic. Almost every afternoon, as his schedule allowed, he'd stop by the shop to check out the latest trick, book, or video/DVD. He loved to read anything he got his hands on, and so the books were always the preferred choice. He was a voracious reader and a real sponge. You could always count on Craig to sit in the front row for all lectures and magical events held at Hocus Pocus. Come to think of it, I cannot recall one that he missed... It's funny how his life and mine paralleled; much of the same incidents happening to the both of us.

Several years ago, when it was paramount that I lose my weight, Craig was instrumental in helping me do so. Constantly calling and checking in with me, Craig always monitored my health and took an active interest in my well-being. One of the favorite things he's like to do was go to the Magic Castle, and last October, when he and Deborah went with Betty and me, we all had a great time.

Betty and I with Deborah and Craig along with Chuck Kirchner at the Castle last year

You may remember that in June of last year, Craig was battling cancer. At the time, Craig's prognosis looked good. In fact, after chemotherapy, Craig came into the shop frequently and chatted magic with me almost once per week. He even took a trip to Europe with his girlfriend, Deborah, and everything was looking up.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be; the cancer returned. A long, hard fight Craig had, and the last few weeks, he was in tremendous pain and had to be hospitalized. When Betty and I visited him, as heavily drugged as he was, he still hadn't lost his sense of humor or positive outlook.

Last Thursday, Craig's battle with cancer ended and I lost a good friend to this horrible disease. It's still hard for me to believe. He was only 2 years older than me - 54 years-old and still had so much he wanted to do. It's times like this that really put our lives into perspective. I have promised myself to do all the things I still want to do, including spending more time with those close to me: family and friends. Especially, I am also trying not to take things for granted in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Even though our friendship was short, I learned a lot from Craig and still continue to do so. In fact, he has given me an incredible gift, and I plan on using and sharing that gift as much as possible. I'll miss his surprise visits to the shop and his head popping into my office door with his list of products and books he would ask me about. The funny stories we shared (especially about our kids) I'll always remember and cherish.

So don't sweat the small stuff. Get on the phone to your friend and say hi. Share those stories and moments and store them in your memory banks. My friend may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.

So long, old friend.

Until next week,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cool Customers

Saying "thank you" just doesn't seem like enough. As many of you know, just two weeks ago we put out a call for help for the Losander family, and help you did! Donations have poured in from all corners of the globe, and we are overwhelmed and humbled by your graciousness and thoughtfulness in the Losanders' time of need. Betty spoke to Losander just the other day, and the baby is doing well. Each day, she gets stronger and stronger.

The Losander auction items have gotten quite a bit of action as well. We are very excited to add a special memorabilia package donated graciously by Mark and Nani Wilson. Please take a few moment to visit the auction page HERE before the close of Monday, July 14th. Special thanks to all the donors and contributors of the auction are in order, and remember, all proceeds will go straight to the Losander family to help pay for the hospital bills.

Again, we cannot thank you enough for your generosity and giving in this special time of need.

On the home front, our good friend and magician extraordinaire Cody Fisher and Hocus Pocus have once again teamed up to bring you two brand new and exciting audience-tested routines! First is Razor Shots, a razor blade eating effects that is unlike any other on the market! Extremely practical and logical, your audience (including magicians) will NEVER see this coming! All the special components for this effect have been ordered, and Razor Shots should be available for delivery by the end of this month! We have a special pre-order price and free shipping deal for all you early birds, so act now before this deal disappears! You can check out Razor Shots HERE!

The second item is Cody's $200 Dollar Card Trick. I've been pleading with Cody to release this for years, and Cody finally buckled under the "pressure." I made him an offer he couldn't refuse. This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest routines and presentations that is perfect for parlor or stage workers who wish to invite their entire audience in to their show. You'll receive everything you need to perform this hilarious routine, including full performance rights. This, like Razor Shots, will be ready for delivery in late July. Remember, both of these items are audience-tried-and-tested with all the nuances and patter included in each effect's instructional manuscripts. Check it out HERE!


It's no secret that one of the biggest-selling effects is Jim Rosenbaum's The Gecko! Jim and I have been discussing and developing a contest that we'll be unveiling next week on the front page of our web site. All I can tell you is that there will be some great prizes, and if you're one of the first 25 participants, you will be instant winners of special prizes selected and extra-special prizes for the top-10 winners! So all you Gecko owners, get your thinking caps ready, because we want to see your best Gecko routines. We are looking for Gecko content including some of the following (but not limited to):

*Gecko routines (vanishes, transpositions, etc.)
*Gecko hook-ups (typical and alternatives)
*Gecko handling (smooth vanishes, gimmick clippings, etc.)
*Plus, other suggestions or creative solutions

So get your creative juices flowing and check the front page of our web site this coming Tuesday for all the details!

Yesterday, it was a whopping 112 degrees here in Fresno, California! Today, the weatherman tells us that it's going to cool down to a brisk 110 degrees. Oh boy! So with that in mind, Betty, Max, Cole and I will be taking off tomorrow to Monterey, CA. to enjoy the cooler weather (70 degrees tops, according to and maybe even check out the PCAM Convention going on.

So stay cool and we'll see you here next week.

Until next time,


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Real Magic

Ione Losander

Luna and Ione after surgery

As many of you already know, this week brought news of a brand new baby girl into the world. Dirk and Luna Losander welcomed Baby Ione less than a week ago. Imagine their shock when they were informed that Ione needed to have immediate heart surgery. Imagine their greater shock when they learned that their health insurance provider would not cover this life-saving emergency procedure!! When I spoke to Losander this week after hearing the news, my stomach was in knots. Being a father of four myself, I could not possibly imagine what Dirk and Luna were going through. But I knew that the magic community had to do something. And do something, we did!!!

Many friends of the Losanders, including the cast of the World's Greatest Magic Show in Las Vegas began sending out emails in calls for help. We immediately sent out a letter of our own on Monday asking for donations to help the Losanders in their dire time of need. I cannot express my shock and grattitude for the immediate generosity shown by many of you. Within minutes of sending out the letter, donations began to pour in from all over the world!!! I'm excited to say that within a span of 48 hours, you have helped to raise over $5100.00 in donations, all of which go directly to the Losander family!

To donate, simply go to the special Help Ione Losander category, located HERE.

We've also put up a special auction page devoted to help cover the cost of Ione's surgery. Many of our personal friends, friends like Paul Romhany, Gerald Kirchner, Sean and Rebecca Bogunia, Jim Rosenbaum and Jeff Ezell have all dug down deep and generously donated the items for the auction. Again, 100% of the proceeds received from this auction will go directly to the Losander family, and we thank you for all your support. You can see the auction page HERE.

What a great brotherhood we have to see how you all have rallied to help is truly humbling, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this fraternity of magicians. This is what it's all about, and you all have gone above and beyond. The baby has now gone home today with Mom and Dad, and below is a letter from Losander and Luna:

Dear Friends,

Once again we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers and good wishes and generous contributions to our baby girl Ione. Thanks to all of you and the entire magic community as a whole, we were able to expediently get her surgery on Monday. She came through it great and the procedure was, as far as they can see, a success! We have her home today and she is doing very well.

We had an excellent surgical team and the Doctor was first rate and everyone was so kind and helpful. It was an amazingly positive experience. I think all our energies combined may have had something to do with that! Now what's next is a series of follow ups and constant monitoring to ensure that the heart continues to function correctly and nothing else develops as she grows. It was great that we were able to do this as quickly as we did as there was a tremendous amount of pressure on her heart and it could of given out without notice, at least now she is not at risk of sudden death.

The costs are considerable and with no hope of getting her coverage now or in the future due to a pre-existing condition, the medical expenses will continue for a while but we are optimistic and with friends like you, I know we will be OK. You can go to the website for updates and new photos whenever you like.

We love you all!

In gratitude,


So what began as a possible heart-wrenching story has turned into a success! Again, many thanks to all of you for your donations, support, prayers, and beautiful words. From my family to yours, I wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend.

Until next time,