Archive for February, 2005

Big News!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2005 by hocuspoc

Some big news happening around these parts.

I spoke to Paul Kozak this morning, and he couldn’t be more excited. Originally, he had been scheduled to be the emcee at the World Magic Seminar awards show. At the last minute, they asked him to close the show instead. Being the steadfast pro that Koz is, he said yes, of course. He brought down the house by ending his entire performance with his salt pour routine. Everyone went crazy! Paul told me that his only regret was that it wasn’t captured on film.

My friend Tony Blanco also shared a great story about the WMS:

No one ever really knows what going to happen (i.e. guests stars). The curtain opens and a video starts with words in the clouds. Imagine, Dream… and I am thinking “David Copperfield?” Then comes a voice-over narration and yes — it’s Copperfield voice. The video screen lifts and out comes David. Standing Ovation. He then goes into his welcome and starts the show with his hand gag.

Out from the wings runs a stagehand whispers something and runs off David looks back and says “You mean this isn’t the MGM?” Sh*t.”

The MC for the afternoon comes out and says, “I guess $60,000 doesn’t get what it used to.”

I’m pleased to announce that we will be carrying a few of the highly coveted Finn Jon products (you probably already noticed the “Finn Jon Smoke From Anywhere” making its appearance). Stay tuned as we’ll be highlighting and showcasing them on the Hocus Pocus web site.

I’m also very pleased to announce that after many trials and runs, the Robert Baxt Computer Cutie is being shipped out as I write this, and each one is absolutely gorgeous! Silkscreened on vinyl in vibrant color, you’ll be proud not only owning this but performing it as well. Robert really has brought the Bathing Beauty concept into the 21st Century and I’m proud to stand behind it!


An early headshot of PUNX

Ted Lesley sent us, from his private collection, all the props and cases that belonged to the late PUNX. This is his entire Baking a Cake routine that PUNX performed in his shows for many years. If you are a collector or a magic historian buff and interested in purchasing this, please contact me for more information at 800-407-4040.

Also, our very own Jason London has been working with a new supplier of some outstanding mentalism products. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like this before. We are very excited about making this new contact and can’t wait to be able to offer the line to you.

I am pleased to report that we will have a very exciting announcement come next week. Although I can’t go into details now, the results will be evident on the site. Make sure you check it out.

So there you have it. There’s one thing for sure: there’s never a dull moment around Hocus Pocus.

Until next time,

Paul

TGIF!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2005 by hocuspoc

Apologies for being a little tardy in posting on the blog; there are so many irons in the fire that it’s getting hard to keep up with everything! Yesterday, we received the DVDs from Kozak regarding the Salt Pour, and of course, we watched it. It. Is. Teriffic! Paul tips so much information from his 20 years of performing the salt pour effect and really does leave no stone unturned! He’s really done his homework on the effect, its history, and its previous performers, and it really shows! I’m so glad that Kozak and I have forged this working relationship. Kozak has several other signature pieces of his to release, and I’m so happy to be a part of it! We’ll keep you posted, of course.

Our own Mike Giusti is a fanatical student of the Salt Pour, having performed it in his stand-up shows and cruise ships. He is planning on releasing a web page devoted to the history of the effect along with pictures of the various gimmicks used over the years.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Ted Lesley earlier in the week. You may have seen the teaser on the front page of our web site about a new effect he’s releasing in partnership with Borodin, the man who brought you the best-selling Cezanne Code. We are especially excited as this is something that has never before been released to the magic fraternity and we’ll keep you updated on this as well.

Special thanks to all of you who continue to send emails regarding the blog and its updates, especially about Max, my son. Many of the letters were very funny, and I made sure to print them all off and give them to Max. He really got a kick out of them! His latest interest is tropical fish. He and I set up his fish tank last weekend and last night we added the first two fish to the tank. He watches them religiously to make sure they are doing fine, and I find myself captivated and calmed by them as well. If all goes as planned, we’ll be adding six neon Tetras this weekend. Max, naturally, can’t wait.

Hope your weekend is a relaxing one. Betty and I plan on going to the movies, seeing Million Dollar Baby, and taking some time for ourselves. Oh yeah, and buying tropical fish.

Until next time,

Paul

A Chip Off the Ol’ Block!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2005 by hocuspoc

No, that’s not me 35 years ago, although looking at older pictures of me, you’d swear it was! That’s Max, who’s taken over the business. Well, his business, anyway…

All of my children have had an interest in magic at some point or another. Whether performing it in front of others or anxiously awaiting the newest magic special, each had some type of interest in it. When I was a kid, I loved all sorts of gag, jokes, and magic tricks. Every day, I waited for the postman to deliver the latest box of novelties from the Johnson Smith Novelty Company. There was no greater feeling than putting that fake dog doo on my mom’s white carpet and waiting for the scream! Who could forget the whoopee cushion at Thanksgiving dinner? Ahh, those were the days. But somehow, these mischievous little genes made their way to my youngest son, and he’s continuing the long standing tradition. Max loves pranks and jokes! It all started a couple of years ago and has truly grown and flourished since. In fact, we do everything in our power to keep Max away from Mike here at the shop! What a pair! Their almost joined at the hip.

Anyway, last summer, Max, the young entrepreneur approached Betty and I about the prospect of having a joke/novelty/magic booth at his school’s carnival. We agreed that it would be a terrific experience for him, and we couldn’t have been more dead-on! Not only did Max walk away with the most sales and people at his booth, he became the epitome of Mr. Cool to all his friends at school! When he returned the following Monday, dozens of kids approached him asking to buy other things he had on display. Max immediately saw the potential here and talked with Betty and I again about having a little business of his own called Max’s Funny Farm! After all, he could now purchase the things he wanted and have fun making some money in the process. He really loves it, and he’s really driven; every day it’s something new: “Dad, can you order me this and that? I’m out of this, so I need some more.”

He even prints his own flyers and prints his own specials. What a little businessman! As a gift for Christmas, Betty and I ordered custom business cards for Max with his private phone line on them! He now has answering machine to catch all incoming calls should he want to go outside and play. I’m truly impressed! We are trying to work it out so that Max can have his own web site. Who knows, it may even be somehow connected to the Hocus Pocus web site! Our idea is for Max to continue selling his products (of course, all the while supervised by Mom & Dad) and putting most of the profits into his college education fund!

After looking at his picture above, I have to admit, he does look rather cool sitting in my office. Who knows? Maybe when I retire, you’ll be dealing with Max instead of Paul…

Thanks for taking time to read the blog.

Until next time,

Paul

Lights, Camera, Action!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2005 by hocuspoc

We’re really runnin’ today! Since we sent out the 2nd Estate/Private Collectibles list yesterday, the phones and FAX machine haven’t stopped ringing and the bell notifying me of new email is going off every two seconds! And boy, oh boy, do we love it! If you haven’t had a chance to stop by the web site recently, we’re excited about our current project with Paul Kozak! You might remember our last conversation we had with you about Kozak, and now it has become a reality. One of Kozak’s pet effects is finally being released to the magic community, and you should check it out for yourself and see him in action via the online video.

You might also remember I said I would give you a full report on my son, Max’s performance for his school play, The Wizard of Oz. Both Betty and I were proud of Max as he acted, sang, danced, and played multiple characters, and even underwent 3 different costume changes! This is the second year Max has participated, and he cannot wait until next year. He put a ton of time, effort, and determination into his performance.



Max (center stage) in one of his many characters

Jason London is slowly adjusting to life with his new daughter, looking more and more ragged each day as he fights for his right to sleep! We told him his days of sleep are long gone! Seriously, his wife Angela, brought Madaleine to visit the other day, and she’s as cute as ever! Now we’re bugging Jason for a little brother.

I spoke with Robert Baxt last evening, who has been hired as a consultant for a new film called “Jumpshot,” starring Danny Devito and Kim Basinger. We’ve had the pleasure of supplying all the props being used in the movie, scheduled for release in early 2006. Below are a couple of pictures showing Robert teaching Danny the Linking Rings. Robert said of Danny: “He’s a real quick learner. Who knows, maybe we’re looking at a second profession?



Robert Baxt with Danny Devito!





Mike says that Danny should play the part of Max Malini!



A little background information on the film:

Jumpshot” is a film noir drama starring Danny Devito and Kim Bassinger, with Ray Liotta, Forrest Whitaker, and Kelsey Grammar in a tale of compulsive gamblers and how their lives are ruined by betting on fixed basketball games. Danny Devito plays the character of Walter the Magician; and the author of the screenplay, writer Robert Tannen, says that the character is based in part on famous magician, Tony Slydini.

So there you have it; there’s always something exciting happening here at Hocus Pocus, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Love hearing from you all and until next time,

Paul