The Mystery of the Blue Crate

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.


Until next time,



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