Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2008 by hocuspoc

It’s been an exciting week here, including a visit from Mark and Nani Wilson the past 2 days. Due to storms in our area today, the ghosts and goblins have already wreaked their havok here at Hocus Pocus. This morning, we were without power in a portion of our building but all is up and running fine now.

Allakazam Comes to Fresno


Me, Nani and Mark Wilson with the Allakazam Hat

What a great thrill it was to have Mark and Nani Wilson here for the last two days! They arrived Wednesday afternoon, spent time together at my house, we had a nice dinner, and talked and reminisced about magic, business, and everything else until almost midnight. To my surprise, they gave me a package of several vintage Genii magazines that they appeared on the covers and featured articles written about them and their magical career. I’ve had a great time pouring through the magazines the past few days. What memories they’ve brought back… Thursday, Mark and Nani spent the entire day here at Hocus Pocus, working with Mike on a special upcoming project and overseeing the packaging of the Allakazam Egg. Their visit was undoubtedly the high point of the entire week!


Mark and Nani with the classic Allakazam Egg


Allakazam Eggs ready for shipping for all pre-orders

If you pre-ordered the Allakazam Egg, yours should be on its way to you very shortly. Again, thank you all for your support on this fantastic project.

Hot New Exclusives

There have been some pretty cool exclusive items in stock this week, and a couple we’re especially excited about. I’m really pleased that we were able to work out an exclusive arrangement with Todd Karr of the Miracle Factory for the Shakespeare Experiment. Perhaps the finest mind reading book effect ever printed, it’s the ultimate luxury in mentalism. If you ever wanted to perform a book test, this is a must-have! Absolutely gorgeous to behold and limited to only 1000 copies and not to be reprinted, it has garnered rave reviews from such esteemed performers as Max Maven, Peter Morrison, Michael Weber, Lee Asher, and Andy Nyman! Do yourself a huge favor and check it out HERE!

Other products of interest that just arrived this week are Lit, which was featured on the last David Blaine special. Quite a bit of buzz about this one, gang, but it’s in stock finally and ready to ship. We’re also excited to receive this week the new Methods in Magic DVD by Joshua Jay, which features his live lecture filmed in the UK. Hocus Pocus is one of the first dealers in the USA to have it in stock for immediate delivery. Two other exclusives we have are Angelux and Cigarette Miracle. Both are guaranteed to shock your audience as well as a group of magicians! Make sure you check them out as well on the web site.

Get Out & Vote

Only four days left until Election Day Tuesday, November 4. Make sure you do your civic duty and vote. Remember, no one can tell you the right or wrong way to do it, as long as you do it. It’s more important than ever to make your voice heard. And remember, every vote does make a difference! OK, I’m off the political soapbox. Now on to other things:

Passings


Ted Lesley

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of one of mentalism’s greatest contributors and a good friend, Ted Lesley, this week. Ted was one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. A true gentleman with a huge heart and a real passion for his craft. A wonderful sense of humor kept our conversations exciting and lively, and I will never forget the opportunity we had to bring him with us to the second MAGIC Live Convention in Las Vegas. What a great time we all had, and especially the laughs we shared in Robert Baxt’s car on the way to the World’s Greatest Magic Show as they one-upped each other with one-liners. I laughed so hard, my sides were cramping. The last few years, Ted fought very hard against many different illnesses, but for him, the long battle is now over, and he can rest in peace. We’ll miss you, Ted. You left not only an indelible mark on the world of magic and mentalism, but on my heart as well.

So now we’re back to Halloween. The weather here is perfect: dark, rainy, and gloomy. It won’t be long now until those trick or treaters will be knocking on our door. So Happy Halloween to you and yours.

Until next time,

Paul

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One Last Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2008 by hocuspoc

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This marks my last weekend off before the official beginning of the holiday season at Hocus Pocus. It was Betty’s birthday on Wednesday, so we’re going to celebrate by going to San Francisco. While we’re there, we’ll visit with our son, Cole, who will undoubtedly join us for dinner Saturday night at our favorite San Francisco restaurant, Scoma’s. We’re both looking forward to this final weekend of rest and relaxation before the big holiday push.

Speaking of the big holiday push, it seems like since last Thursday, it’s evident by the amount of orders coming through that you are all ahead of the curve regarding your holiday shows and events. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, then New Year’s. Oh, my! Soon it will be 2009. The older I get, the faster time flies!

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Phillip Huber

Last week, Betty and I attended the Magic Castle Swap Meet and had a great time. I picked up quite a few bargains and a couple of collectibles, which I’m sure you will see me list here soon on the web site. Friday evening, we had dinner at the Magic Castle with Mark and Nani Wilson along with Chuck Kirchner, owner of Magic City. After our dinner, we all watched the show in the Palace of Mystery. The most outstanding act on the bill that night were the Huber Marionettes. I haven’t seen a marionette artist like this since the late Barclay Shaw! These marionettes were almost alive. Here’s a video link from their web site so you can see what I mean. Even though Mr. Huber was not a magician, it truly was magical to see him animate his cast of characters! Truly an art form rarely seen today. What a treat it was to witness this great performer!

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Speaking of Mark and Nani, your response to our latest project with the Wilsons, The Allakazam Egg, has been overwhelming to say the least! Mark and I discussed the in-depth DVD instructions that will be supplied along with all the props necessary, and he’s very excited about the quality and thoroughness of the final cut. Final edit and DVD duplication should be completed shortly, and all pre-orders shipped within 2 weeks. If you are an online member, you should have already received a special announcement and offer in your inbox. Make sure you check it out, because you may regret it if you don’t. Much effort and thought went into this project, and we truly believe that it’s the best version ever released of this now classic effect. If you haven’t already checked it out, click here!

While you’re checking out the Allakazam Egg, why not check out all the other new items Mike has put up this week, including those in the new Mikame Product Category? It’s been several years since we’ve offered the famous Mikame line of products, and we’re happy to be able to do so again! There are several new offerings as well as the tried-and-true products that Mikame is known for, so check them out.

I’ll have to check out now; we’re getting ready to do our photo shoot for Genii and MAGIC Magazine’s December ads. Thanks for the positive comments and great suggestions regarding the economic commentary I made a few weeks back. Sometimes, when we’re faced with adverse situations, it makes us all the stronger, wiser, and more creative when we stand together. Once again, don’t be afraid to use your talents to inspire, uplift, and entertain. No better lesson can be learned.

I hear Mike calling. It’s time for my close-ups, Mr. Demille. Private joke.

Until next time,

Paul

What Came First, The Chicken Or The Allakazam Egg?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 by hocuspoc

Well, we hinted, we teased, we kept you on the ropes for a while, but no more; as many of you have noticed, our latest project with Mark and Nani Wilson, The Allakazam Egg, is now available! After our last successful venture in the production of the limited edition Allakazam Hat (now completely sold out), I wanted to release another Allakazam gem. From personal experience, I always wanted to perform the classic Silk to Egg effect, and had for many, many years. It was actually Mark Wilson’s version that I performed on stage, and it got many rave reviews, even from other magicians. Mark’s handling and presentation just makes sense. No awkward handling or moves to concern yourself with; everything makes perfect sense from start to finish! So, it only made sense to approach Mark and Nani again with the idea of putting this on the market. Both agreed, and the venture began.

Starting in February of this year, we began to search out the perfect egg to use for this effect. Unfortunately, after viewing many samples sent to us, we were just not satisfied with what was offered. It quickly became clear to all of us that in order to offer the Rolls Royce of this effect, it needed to be started from scratch, and so we had the egg custom made to Mark’s exacting specifications. I am thrilled to say that we found a manufacturer to do just that, and the result is amazing — we believe this is the best looking Silk to Egg gimmick ever offered! Couple that with the included accessory package and personal performance and instructional DVD featuring highlights in handling and routining by the master himself, this is the definitive work on this classic effect. Period. Back that up with our unconditional money-back guarantee, this is an offer that cannot be beat. I urge you to take a look HERE!

Mark and Nani have given so much to the world of magic, and this latest offering is just a small sample of their wealth of magic knowledge. I am extremely proud and honored to be able to offer this second in what I hope to be a long series of Allakazam classics.

While on the subject of Mark and Nani Wilson, I’d like to congratulate Mark on winning the well-deserved and prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him last week at the World Magic Awards in Los Angeles. This entire show will be broadcast in the next few weeks, so check your local listings for more information.


Paul Romhany

Other exciting news at Hocus Pocus: our good friend, Paul Romhany and I have embarked on a new endeavor. If you are a bonafide magic dealer reading this blog, we will be offering a selection of Paul’s effects at wholesale prices! Paul’s line has been exclusive to Hocus Pocus for the last 4 years, and all of his effects are commercial, audience-tested, and have a proven sales track record. Both Paul and I are excited to offer his magic to the mainstream, and if you are interested in carrying his products, please contact me toll-free 800-407-4040 or email sales@hocus-pocus.com.

Other exclusives we’ve obtained this week and are very excited about are 3 new Max Krause items, B.T.I.L., Supreme Serial Killer, and The Necklace. All are excellent and highly unique effects that stand out from all the rest. This is the kind of stuff we really like at Hocus Pocus, and they will set you apart from every other magician out there. We appreciate Max Krause for choosing Hocus Pocus to be the exclusive dealer for his fine items. Check them out on our web site.


Sandz

Speaking of effects that make you stand out, our good friend, Jay Mattioli has released his version of the classic effect, Sands of the Desert he calls “Sandz.” This is one classy outfit that will be the centerpiece of any performer’s act. Jay has put his spin and handling on this effect and has updated it to today’s performers’ standards. Mike listed it yesterday, and in less than 24 hours, 6 units have been purchased already. I predict this will be one of Jay’s most popular effects released to date. Check it out HERE!

Ground Control To Major Tom


Richard Garriott

Congratulations to our friend, Richard Garriott, who became the first second generation American in space, and also the sixth private astronaut client of Space Adventures, as well as the first magician in space! Richard is an avid collector of magic apparatus and automatons. You can read up on Richard’s adventures in space HERE!

Tomorrow, Betty and I will be heading south again to Hollywood for the bi-annual Magic Castle Swap Meet Saturday morning. It’s always fun to attend because you never know who and what you’ll see. As always, I’ll have my eyes peeled for any rare, unique, and one-of-a-kind bargains. I hope to see you there, and if you see me rushing past, stop me and say hello.

Last week at the end of my last blog, I made mention of the current economic situation, and I must say that I appreciated all the email and phone messages expressing your views and appreciation, candid and otherwise. It really is important for us not to forget the true power we have as performers and entertainers. In difficult times like these, entertainers are very often called upon to make people laugh and forget about their problems. Remember, no problem is too big to overshadow the most important things in life. As I said before: family, health, and friends — these are the things that truly matter. Now is the time to use your talents to uplift, excite, and inspire. The results will be amazing.

Until next time,

Paul

Brick Wall In A Bag

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2008 by hocuspoc


No, it’s not a category on the game show, Jeopardy. Every once in a while, a product comes along that, quite honestly, is so incredible, it deserves the highest praise. Brick Wall in a Bag by Sean-Paul is exactly one of those products, and not even a magic trick! What it is is a utility backdrop that any performer in any situation would be able to utilize. The set up and breakdown time is mere seconds, and the ease of transport make this a must-have. When Sean-Paul offered Hocus Pocus the opportunity to be the exclusive retailer for this item, we jumped at the chance!

Judging by the satisfied comments received from many of our customers who have already purchased Brick Wall in a Bag, we can see our enthusiasm is shared as well. With the holidays right around the corner, this would be a perfect addition for the performer looking to enhance the look and ambiance of his/her shows. Check it out right HERE!

Thanks for the emails and comments about last week’s Blue Crate entry, especially Michael Grandinetti’s inside info and history on that Doug Henning illusion. It was extremely informative and much appreciated. If any of you have a Blue Crate story, I’d love to hear about it.

It’s hard to believe we’re already midway through October with Halloween rearing its “ugly” head right around the corner… From the orders being placed, I can see that many of you are well ahead of the curve by ordering effects suitable for Halloween shows, and I’ve even seen many orders for Christmas effects coming across my desk. You should be commended for keeping your clientele in mind. Remember, just by adding one or two items like this will set you apart from your competition and keep you in demand for next year as well.

Speaking of Halloween effects, Tim Wisseman’s Dead Ringer Spirit Bell has been one of our biggest selling items so far! Every Thursday afternoon, like clockwork, Tim brings in 10 to 14 Dead Ringers, and as fast as he brings them in, they are out the door with none left over! Amazing! We’ve been able to keep up with the demand so far, due to Tim’s incredible work ethic and attention to detail, however, if you are looking to purchase one, you had better do it soon to have it in time for Halloween. Tim is feverishly working on his next project, which he has already shown to us, and as soon as he is caught up on Spirit Bells, we’ll be releasing it as well, so keep tabs on the web site.

Speaking of new releases, we’re just days away now from announcing our latest collaboration with Mark and Nani Wilson. We’ve been teasing you for a while now, and I promise, the wait is almost over. Everything is ready to go; we’re just awaiting the final DVD edit, and the final product will be complete. As with anything the Wilsons are involved in, everything must be perfect before the release. Months of preparation have gone into this project, including custom-made gimmick that I had made to Mark’s specifications. I can’t tell you how happy and thrilled I am to be working with Mark and Nani again; they are exceptional people and a delight to speak with and be around. Their knowledge of magic and magic’s history is incomparable, and this new product is an example of their committment and dedication to the art of magic. I promise you that this effect will be for everyone and will appeal to any and all audiences.

On a personal note, although the current economic situation may have our spirits a bit lower than usual, I’m reminded of what the Reverend Robert Schueller once said, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” We are lucky enough to be in the entertainment industry, and we have the ability as performers to transport our audiences to positive, mystical, and happy places. Now is the time to work even harder than before to create those positive experiences for them. Remember the most important things in life are our family, health, and friends. We must all hang in there and do our best, work together, and persevere through what will be a very temporary situation.

Until next time,

Paul

The Mystery of the Blue Crate

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2008 by hocuspoc

The title to this week’s blog sounds like an upcoming adventure of Indiana Jones’ next movie, but it’s even better. Last week I got an email from a longtime customer and good friend who wishes to remain anonymous. In the email I was told that a blue crate would be arriving soon to Hocus Pocus, and it would contain a special gift for me. Now I can’t tell you how excited I was to get this information. Not only a gift, but it was in a crate! So every day, when UPS arrived, like a little kid on Christmas morning, I’d run out to the warehouse to see if the mysterious blue crate had arrived. Now before I go any further, I am assuming that this blue crate wouldn’t be a big object. Boy was I wrong:


The arrival of the mysterious blue crate

I circled the blue crate when it arrived like a turkey vulture, trying to guess as to its contents inside. Mike and I tried to figure out how to open it since we didn’t have the necessary tools. The lid was closed tight by a multitude of screws. “Get the toolbox!” I exclaimed. Frantically, I searched the hodgepodge of tools: hammers? We have many of those. Pliers? Those as well. Extension cords, soldering iron, glue gun, the old rod that came from my broken desk chair 3 years ago (why it’s still here, I have no idea; the chair went to the dump a long time ago). Ah, finally a screwdriver. But not a Phillips; a flat head screwdriver!

So off Mike goes to the local Harbor Freight store and returns with Phillips head screwdriver in hand. The suspense killing me, I think of getting an axe and busting open the mysterious blue crate. Instead, as fast as I can, I remove the screws from the top of the crate like a madman. I am now reminded of Darrin McGavin in A Christmas Story with the mysterious crate containing the infamous “Leg Lamp.” After removing over a dozen screws, the top of the crate will still not come undone! Why, you ask? Because it’s held down by over a dozen finishing nails. Back to the toolbox. With pliers and hammer in hand, I frantically remove the nails and the excitement builds as I remove the lid of the crate!

The first thing I see is lots and lots of foam. And soon, something very colorful appears. A note inside explains what is contained inside this glorious crate: It’s an original illusion owned and performed by the late Doug Henning on his World of Magic television special! To say that I was overwhelmed by this gracious gift is a complete understatement! As many of you already know, I have a large collection of Doug Henning memorabilia, including costumes, posters, and illusions. This will definitely be one of my most prized and cherished possessions! The graphics and paint work on the cabinet are flawless, and the illusion itself was that a cabinet was shown empty. A tiny tuxedo placed on a hangar is placed inside the cabinet. Cabinet was then spun around, its door opened, and a live monkey wearing that tiny tuxedo was produced! I even have the monkey’s tuxedo!


Exquisite and beautiful artwork adorn this illusion!

So now along with Harry Blackstone Jr.’s tuxedo, parts of his Garden of Flowers act, one of his Vanishing Birdcages, Mark and Nani Wilson’s illusions and memorabilia, a cast of Billy McComb’s hands, this piece of magic history will be proudly showcased in our growing mini-museum here at Hocus Pocus!

Blue crates don’t come around all that often, but boy when they do… So special thanks to the anonymous donor; you know who you are! I hope my story was amusing because we certainly had a great and interesting time the moment the mysterious blue crate appeared. Hope your mysterious blue crate arrives for you someday soon.

Now all I need is a monkey.

Anyone?

Until next time,

Paul