Archive for April, 2007

Back to the 70s

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2007 by hocuspoc

Talk about taking a trip back in time, last week at the Magic Castle Swap Meet, I purchased several of the late Doug Henning’s costumes. The one with the stars is most recognizable as the costume Doug wore when he performed the Dancing Handkerchief and Things That Go Bump in the Night on his network television special. I was also fortunate to pick up several Henning posters and other memorabilia as well. I intend on putting these items into a custom shadow box and displaying it in the showroom. If any of you have any Doug Henning items you wish to part with, please contact me via phone at 800-407-4040 or email me at sales@hocus-pocus.com


Two of Doug Henning’s costumes

Speaking of the Magic Castle, next Sunday, May 6th is Dealer’s Day! The entire Hocus Pocus gang, including Mike, Tony, Betty and myself will be attending and selling. Also at our booth will be the legendary Carl Ballantine, who will be signing and selling his special edition posters, and our good friend, Robert Baxt. We hope that if you are in the Southern California area, you’ll make a point to stop by and say hello. If you’re not a Magic Castle member and wish to attend, simply tell the receptionist at the front desk that you are a guest of Hocus Pocus. It starts at 10:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM and promises to be a very exciting and fun-filled event!

Lots of new products this week, including one of the most notable, The Red Carpet by Jason Palter! This is entertaining mentalism with an ending that is so startling and funny, it is sure to bring the house down!

Originally presented in its debut performance in 1985, the routine caused such magic notables as Sid Lorraine, Howard Lyons, Norm Houghton and Bruce Posgate to give a standing ovation! This closely guarded routine is now being released to the public for the first time.

The Effect:

We are a society that is obsessed with celebrities and famous people. Their sometimes fairy-tale stories are published all over, and many of us seem drawn to these reports. Everywhere we turn there is some story about someone famous doing something!

With that introduction, you display a large sketch book of celebrity and character illustrations drawn by your friend. No, your friend is not a stalker; just an admirer of the rich and famous! The book contains 40 different images of famous people and personalities.

An audience member is brought on stage and allowed to randomly select one of the images from the book. The spectator mentally focuses on their chosen icon. Then, while you are blindfolded by the “Red Carpet” (actually a red fabric bag that covers your head to prohibit any peeking), you actually fail to find the name. After what appears to be a botched attempt at entertaining and mystifying the crowd with an experiment in telepathy, you whip off the hood to reveal you have now transformed into the exact likeness of the chosen celebrity! A hilarious smash climax that will bring the audience to their feet!

The Red Carpet is simple to learn, and is easy to perform. It is a hysterical and astounding commercial mentalism effect that is perfect for all professionals and hobbyists and the routine has been honed through countless live performances. This is a fresh and brand new approach to mentalism, and the eye-popping routine will play to audiences of all sizes.

The Red Carpet comes complete with everything you need to perform the full routine, including all props, gimmicks, the detailed 8-minute audience-tested comedy script, a performance DVD, and live and broadcast performance rights.

Each trick is hand signed, numbered and comes in an authentic metal film-reel canister from the movies!

You are supplied with EVERYTHING YOU NEED to perform this trick, right out of the box (or the film canister, as it were!), and that includes the comedy, audience-tested 8 minute routine.

Also includes a sketchbook with custom, hand-drawn, ROYALTY-FREE celebrity and character images. To have one of these produced, it would cost more than $1100.00! Any performer can use it without any worry of copyright infringement during performance.

To read more about this exciting product and to check out the performance video as well as the many other products that have come through our doors this week, click here!

Where’s Laurel and Hardy? That’s who you’d expect to see driving this car… If you are looking for a vintage Model-T, the same one pictured above, give me a call. This belongs to Max, my youngest son, who’s more interested in a Chevy Chevelle right now. He’s hoping to sell the Model-T to help fund his Chevelle passion. Max will begin driving lessons this year, and he can’t wait.

That about wraps it up this week. I’ll be back on Thursday of next week before Hocus Pocus’ trip to Hollywood, so until that time,

Paul

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Castle Capers

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2007 by hocuspoc

It’s been quite the week, to say the least! Last Friday, Betty and I left for Hollywood, California to attend the Magic Castle Swap Meet. Friday, we arrived around 11:30 AM and met up with Chuck and Gerald Kirchner from Magic City and gathered for lunch at Musso & Frank’s along with Robert Baxt, Pete Biro, Joe Porper, Doug Malloy, Glen Farrington, Steven Steele, Lou Hirshorn, and Carl Ballantine. Carl was in rare form, as always, keeping the table in stitches while we TRIED to eat, and he asked me to bring Scott Alexander’s Slashed Rope routine for him, and he was delighted and intrigued by this prop and looked forward to checking it out. Joe Porper and Pete Biro showed me two brand new items, which you will see appearing very soon on our web site. One is a prop that most mentalists will be extremely interested in purchasing, and the other is a very unique new paddle involving a wine bottle. I really liked this effect as it is completely different from any other paddle on the market today.


Carl is happy with his gift


We always have a great time with Lou Hirshorn


Robert Baxt orders his “usual”


The gang at Musso & Franks, our semi-annual tradition

After lunch, we made our way back to the hotel, sat around the pool relaxing until it was time to get ready to go to the Magic Castle for dinner. Carl Ballantine joined us for dinner and told stories of his days in Vaudeville and reminisced about the many different magicians and acts he’d witnessed. Spending time with Carl is a true gift, and just being near the man, you know he is someone special.


John Cassidy

Our good friend, Robert Baxt, was the MC at the Palace of Mystery and, as always, he did an outstanding job balancing all the acts and keeping the crowd entertained as only Robert can. The first act was Magic Christian from Europe who performed a silent manipulation act (his manipulation of cards while wearing black gloves was outstanding). Closing the Palace show was John Cassidy. The only way to describe this man’s act is: scripted insanity with balloons and magic. He had the entire room laughing and was a fantastic way to close the show. I really don’t know who could have followed him. If you are attending a magic convention or event, I can’t recommend seeing John’s act enough!

Afterwards, we made our way backstage to talk with Robert, and the following photo was taken:


Betty, Gerald Kirchner, Carl Ballantine, Me, and Chuck Kirchner

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to be first in line for the Swap Meet and man, was I glad to be there! I bought so many items, you couldn’t see out of the rear mirror of my Jeep while driving home. While there, I saw a lot of old friends, and as I was getting ready to leave, who shows up but one of my favorite comedians, Rip Taylor! This man is just as funny as he was 30 years ago! And what a nice guy! We talked for a while, and he told me about an upcoming one-man show he’s working on. A great way to end the day, that’s for sure!


Clowning around with Rip Taylor


Rip Taylor, always in rare form!

Heading back to Fresno, my good friend, Chuck Kirchner, came back with Betty and I to see the new location and to witness the Mark Mason lecture, held last Monday evening. Mark and his wife, Trish, are two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We all had dinner Monday night before Mark’s lecture and then back to the shop for the 7:00 PM lecture. It was easily one of the best lectures we have had, and I urge your club or organization to book Mark whenever you can! Afterwards, we all went back to my house and sat up and talked until well after 1:00 in the morning. Great people, great time.


Me, Mark Mason, Trish Mason, and Chuck Kirchner


Mark Mason visits Hocus Pocus


Mark Mason puts on one terrific lecture!

I promised an update on the aviary my son, Max, and I built. Check out the photos below and tell me what you think:


The famous aviary


Max with Mugsy

So there you have it: lots of excitement, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week.

Until next time,

Paul

One Day Early, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2007 by hocuspoc

That’s right, we’re a day early again. That’s because tomorrow, I’m headin’ south! South to Hollywood, California for the semi-annual Magic Castle Swap Meet which hopefully, will be every bit as good as last year’s. Of course, we’ll start with our ceremonial luncheon with folks like Robert Baxt, Carl Ballantine, Steven Steele, Joe Porper, Pete Biro, Glenn Farrington, Doug Malloy, and who knows who else will show up? Later on, we’ll all have dinner at the Castle and watch as Robert MCs the Palace of Mystery show. I know Robert will do a great job hosting Magic Christian and John Cassidy.

Speaking of Robert Baxt, Robert sent me a few photos of the Academy of Magical Arts Awards Banquet, which honored Carl Ballantine with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him by actor/comedian/magician Steve Martin. Robert reports to us that it was quite the swanky affair and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Our hats are off to Carl, who certainly deserves this award!


Robert with the “celebrity crowd.”


Robert and Lifetime Achievement Award-Winner, Carl Ballantine


Robert with Steve Martin

We had several visitors this week at Hocus Pocus, including our good friend Daisuke Seo of Seo Magic of Japan, who brought many new samples of excellent products that we’ll be offering to you very soon! Watch the web site over the next few weeks as they begin to appear. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!


Stoil and Ekaterina

On Tuesday, Stoil and Ekaterina dropped in after performing at a private event at Table Mountain Casino on their way back to their home in Los Angeles. What a nice and charming couple they are, and they both had a field day in our warehouse and showroom. They have a terrific act which includes many different costume changes and highlights many unique magic effects.


Ultimate Ring Grinder by Chance Wolf

Speaking of unique magic effects, we here at Hocus Pocus are proud to be the exclusive dealer to carry Chance Wolf’s latest creation, the Ultimate Ring Grinder. There is a very good reason the word “ultimate” is in the title, because it really is the best around. It has so many funny and unique features, including a full routine, why not check it out on the web site to see what all the hullabaloo is about?


An Evening with Mark Mason

Don’t forget: Monday evening, April 16th at 7:00 PM, Hocus Pocus will be hosting an Evening with Mark Mason! Mark has been a full time professional magician for over 15 years and has performed his unique brand of magic at every type of event imaginable, from small select celebrity parties to the Las Vegas Strip. With his silky skills and fast wit he has rapidly become one of the most sought after magicians in the corporate world. For more information and to participate in Monday’s lecture, CLICK HERE.

AVIARY UPDATE!

Max and I finally finished the aviary last Thursday and Friday and released all the doves into their new home. On Friday morning, Max called several local pet stores looking specifically for Bob White or button quail. He was excited to find a store that carried both, and we headed on over almost immediately and bought four Bob White quail and six button quail. Of course, while we were there, Max spotted some beautiful white racing pigeons and a new dove we’d never seen before, called the Diamond Dove. In case you haven’t figured out where this scenario is going, they are all now living in the aviary as well. As of this morning, the quails, a few pairs of doves, and the new pigeons have all created their nests and have laid eggs. I guess that’s the sign that they are all comfortable and happy with their new home. Next week, I promise to post photos of the completed aviary, so stick around.

And now, it’s time for me to pack up and head on over to Hollywood. Don’t forget, if you are planning to attend the Swap Meet, be sure to stop me and say hello. I’ll be sure and let you all know what great things I’ve picked up along the way and post photos as well…

Until next time,

Paul

One Day Early

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2007 by hocuspoc

Posting a day early this week as I am planning on taking an extended weekend to spend with my family. Max and I are starting out early Friday morning putting the finishing touches on the aviary, which I’ll hopefully have pictures for next week’s blog. Max is very proud of the finished product, as he should very well be; the whole project turned out a lot better than we expected. The aviary will become a major focal point in our yard. By this evening, our flock of doves will be living in their new home.


Bruce Kalver

This week, my good friend, Bruce Kalver, the creator of such great effects like Tipper Monkey, the Growing & Shrinking Head, and many others, stopped into town on his way to Los Angeles and spent a couple of days with us. Bruce is from Rhode Island and is in California on official SAM business and performing along the way. It’s been 7 years since his last visit, and although we talk all the time on the phone, it is a nice change when he comes to visit.

Our Estate and Private collectible sale was a massive success, thanks to all of you. The majority of the items sold within a period of 24 hours and a lot of great, hard-to-find items found new homes. Mike and I are in the process of creating a second list, which we will be posting in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.


The Magic Castle

Next week is the Magic Castle Swap Meet. I’ll be attending looking for unique and hard-to-find items. If you’re there and see me, be sure to stop me and say hello. I’ll be the one rubbernecking along with everyone else… If you’ve never attended and you are in the area, do yourself a favor: stop by and get ready to check out some terrific deals on items you may have never even seen before!

Spring vacation is here, and my son, Cole, visiting from college flew to Tennessee on Tuesday to visit relatives. His flight left in the afternoon and he was to arrive in Tennessee at around 9:00 PM, but unfortunately, the weather had other plans. They had to arrive in a different airport for a long layover and it wasn’t until 4:00 AM that he finally arrived at his destination. He’ll be back Friday just in time to celebrate Easter.

Easter weekend is officially here. If you celebrate the holiday, be sure to enjoy yourself and the time spent with family and friends.

Until next time,

Paul