Archive for June, 2009

On Your Mark

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by hocuspoc

It’s been a great week here at Hocus Pocus. On Tuesday, Betty and I traveled north to meet with Mark and Trish Mason. It was a great day as Mark demonstrated his product line, including some newer effects from his Elite line not yet released. I have to tell you there’s no better pitchman or demonstrator than Mark. He reintroduced me to what I feel is the best coin in bottle ever produced, Blindspot! Trust me when I tell you, this will fry any audience when they see it! Even knowing how it worked, I was still captivated by it when I saw it performed again. And the best part is, anybody, and I mean ANYBODY can perform this almost immediately after receiving it. The other item I particularly enjoyed was the new Metamorphosis, created by Wayne Dobson and marketed by Mark Mason. Being that we were gone on Tuesday, when our shipment arrived at the store the same day, I didn’t have a chance to check it out, so the first time I saw it was when Mark demonstrated it for me. Whoever you perform this for won’t believe their eyes. This is a precision-made coin gaff that enables you to cause a visual and impossible transformation of two coins. Do yourself a favor and check both of these items out along with the online videos. The best thing about Mark Mason’s line is anyone can perform each and every one of these routines with no difficult sleight-of-hand. As an extra bonus, Mark Mason has created a DVD catalog with demonstrations of each of his effects. If you’d like to have one, please request one the next time you place an order, and we’ll be happy to throw one in at no charge. We’ve now created a special Mark Mason product category on the web site which should make all of your Mark Mason shopping easier than ever. The day went by quick but not before Mark and I discussed a special project just for you: in a few weeks, I’ll be sending a letter out to all online members with a special offer. This will be for an item that Mark has created ONLY for Hocus Pocus and no one else. Stay tuned for more details about this and other new Mark Mason releases.

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Mark Mason and me.

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Speaking of Marks, the reception to the Mark Wilson Magic University has been overwhelming! We’ve gotten so many nice emails and phone calls from many of you who have already joined. Each week, an automatic email goes out containing three new magic lessons. On a personal note, I’ve really enjoyed watching each one of the lessons and have even had the opportunity to perform them at dinner the other night. It’s really quite a bargain; less than a few dollars per lesson and what you receive is priceless. If you haven’t already enrolled in Mark Wilson’s Magic University, check it out here!

SOMETHING NEW FROM THE MAGIC LAND OF ALLAKAZAM

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More Mark and Nani Wilson news: due to the tremendous success of the Allakazam Hat, the Allakazam Egg, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Magic University, Mark and Nani have agreed to let us release yet another of their classic routines. Now, like before, I can’t tip more than I already have, but I will tell you that we are feverishly working on getting this project completed for its debut at the MAGIC Live convention this August in Las Vegas! I’ll be honest with you when I say it’s going to be tough to have it completed by then due to the intricate manufacturing process necessary, so keep your fingers crossed; I’m really excited about this one, and I think you will be too. It’s an effect for all types of performers and will include a personal performance and instructional DVD from Mark himself.

MAGIC ON TELEVISION

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Be sure to watch David Blaine on Ellen DeGeneres’ TBS Special, “Ellens Bigger, Longer and Wider” that airs tomorrow, Saturday, June 27 at 9pm EST to see a very clever use of an iPhone application described below.Check it out:

Magician David Blaine Teams up with Partners 1993 to Bring His Favorite Close-up Card Magic, See-A-Card, to Apple’s App Store

Now iPhone and iPod Touch Users Can Amaze Everyone with Easily Downloaded App

LOS ANGELES – June 29, 2009 – The coolest new app for the Apple® iPhone™ and iPod touch lets users perform famed magician David Blaine’s amazing card effect that astounds audiences everywhere, thanks to the skills of software engineering firm Partners 1993.

The user-friendly app — “Street Magic: See A Card” — works on supported iPhones, including the new 3G S, and iPod touch devices, and allows users to become a magician, like Blaine, in boggling the minds of those who see the effect performed. The app became available for downloads at Apple’s iTunes app store for $1.99 on Friday, June 26, 2009.

“This is my favorite piece of magic; it was pivotal in gaining my first TV special. Now, for the first time, I am making it available to magic fans as a download from the Apple app store,” said Blaine, who continually strives to amaze audiences with magic and public feats of endurance that include levitation and remaining under water longer than any other human being.

“Turning the iPhone into a virtual deck of cards is no small feat,” he added. “This is one of the hardest card effects to get right, and Partners 1993 has really demonstrated its technical skills. This application makes every owner of a supported iPhone and iPod touch a magician.”

David Blaine’s software firm, Mindboggling LLC, chose Partners 1993 to develop Street Magic for the iPhone and iPod touch because of its track record of innovatively solving complex mobile-application problems.

“Partners 1993 is pleased to have collaborated with David Blaine in adapting the physical effect to one that works in the iPhone and iPod touch formats,” said Lew Roth, Partners 1993 vice president of business development. “We’re proud that we could apply our out-of-the-box thinking and implementation skills to Street Magic and deliver an app that allows any performer to duplicate what David Blaine does best – leave audiences of all ages amazed by what they have just seen.”

Roth said building Street Magic to replicate Blaine’s legerdemain presented many challenges, including:

Developing the full size, composite animated imagery and sequencing needed for the iPhone to be perceived as a three-dimensional full deck of cards. Getting the iPhone 3-D deck to behave the same as the physical deck of cards when David Blaine performs the effect. Getting the card seen by the viewer to be the same card that is revealed on the iPhone screen.

“Street Magic was one of the most fun yet challenging iPhone projects we’ve undertaken at Partners 1993. We were inspired by David Blaine’s initial vision and driven by the extraordinary responses that this card trick evokes,” said Roth.

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With only a few days left in the month, it’s hard for me to believe that next weekend will be the Fourth of July. This means we’re less than 2 months away from the MAGIC Live convention in Las vegas. Everything is set for us to attend, and we have the largest dealer’s booth possible. This means we’ll be bringing everything with us minus the kitchen sink. There will be new items, exclusives, antiques, and collectibles. Special guests at our booth will be Zoran demonstrating his Lit Candle Mystery, Tim Wisseman demonstrating his entire line of unique products, Mark and Nani Wilson, and of course, our own Mike Giusti, Tim Mannix, Betty and myself. We’re all very excited to meet you in person, and can’t wait for August to get here.

Until next time,

Paul

WOW!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 by hocuspoc

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Wow. Just look at it. You’re eyes don’t deceive you; this is the real deal! This is an original Okito-Redmon Checker Cabinet. In all my years in the magic business, I’ve never seen one of these in person. This has to be, without a doubt, one of the most beautifully made pieces of magic I have ever seen. And to be chosen by the private collector to offer it to you is an extremely high honor! It’s certainly not a secret that my true love is antique, older magic, and this piece is icing on the cake! If you’d like to see all the photos and read all the details, please head on over to the website and check it out! I know we have it for sale, but I personally wouldn’t mind if it stuck around for a few more days and marvel at its beauty…

As I write this today and look at the calendar, I can’t believe that Sunday marks the first day of Summer and also Father’s Day. I reflected last year on Father’s Day and my father and thought I would share it with you again, especially for the new readers of the blog. As I read it aloud to myself, it is just as powerful now as when I originally wrote it. Enjoy.

Can you hear his words of wisdom? I’m talking about your dad, of course. How many times have you gone to your dad for help, advice, or just to talk? Where would we be without our dads? I noticed that it’s time to recognize all the dads around the world because, as you are probably already aware, this Sunday is Father’s Day! Let me tell you a little bit about my dad:

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Marvin Gross, my dad.

My dad was instrumental in the creation of this business, believe it or not! When I was a mere 18 years old and decided I wanted to be in the magic business, my father was right there supporting me all the way. He taught me to work hard and do what it takes to be successful and not be afraid to go the extra mile. Although he may have had his doubts about my success in the business at first, he never once voiced them. Not once! Instead, he supported me, helped me get a bank loan, and he even came and helped me paint the walls and hang shelving at my first store! I learned from my dad how to be a good businessman, but more importantly, how to take care of my children and how to be a good husband. He was always the best audience whenever I got the newest magic tricks and wanted to perform them. If I could fool him, I knew it was perfect. If not, back to the drawing board.

My dad had a great sense of humor and was always the center of attention at any party or get-together he attended. He attracted people like a magnet. He stood a full 6′ 6″ tall, a bit intimidating when you first saw and met him, had a boisterous voice, however, he had a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off his back and the last dollar in his pocket without hesitation if you needed it. He was honest, hard-working, and never selfish. He had literally hundreds of friends who I didn’t even know, and he was never a stranger anywhere he went. He was always there for my sister and me no matter what we were going through! Always supportive and overly patient, a trait of his I wish I had inherited, he was a great provider, and we always had everything we needed and then some.

He worked long hours, sometimes up to 14 hours per day, sometimes weeks on end without any days off to make sure his family were well taken care of, and he never complained. No matter how busy he was, he always had time for his family.

When we were kids, our Father’s Day tradition was to let Dad sleep in on Sunday morning followed by the breakfast of his choice! Then we would go visit my grandparents, and the highlight was going to Foster’s to get a Root Beer Freeze! Sounds simple but it was a great time for us all!

It has been 19 years since my dad passed away, and I still think about him every day. Referring to his words of wisdom whenever it comes to making a life or business decision, I always find myself reflecting and repeating the words of advice and love he always gave me.

So, this weekend, my boys and I are going to work in the back yard and have a boys barbecue Saturday night. On Sunday, I’m going to do something my dad always did for us: I’ll spend it with the family. Just like last year, the pool will no doubt be full of kids and the back yard will be at capacity. And who knows, perhaps a trip to Foster’s for a Root Beer Freeze! I can’t think of a better way to spend my Father’s Day weekend.

So, if you’re a dad, happy Father’s Day, and if you can, wish your dad the same.

Until next time,

Paul

It’s Friday Already?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2009 by hocuspoc

How can it be? This week went by faster than any week I can remember. We’ve been very busy putting up new products and exclusives every day, and thanks to you, lots of orders this week have kept us running (literally) in high gear.

Treasure Chest Update:

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The response to the posting of last week’s new feature, “The Hocus Pocus Treasure Chest,” was overwhelming. In just 3 short days, lucky online member J.P. Jackson claimed the first Treasure Chest prize package. Never in the history of Hocus Pocus have we had such a huge response to any other promotion. So, being such a huge success, we’re going to do it again. Starting next Monday, a new Treasure Chest prize package, worth $500.00 will go up for grabs. Remember, you must be an online member to participate in this event, and no purchase is necessary! Check out the Treasure Chest product category first thing Monday morning for the first of three different names to be posted. If you are not an online member, you still have time to sign up over the weekend, so don’t miss out!

Gnome Man’s Land

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Last week I posted about my newest obsession: collecting garden gnomes. I’m happy to say that I received many emails, even some from overseas, from others who suffer from the same “affliction.” I was happy to see that I wasn’t alone in my quest for more gnomes. And even more exciting, I was sent an email with photos of an antique garden gnome from the 1050s with an offer to purchase it. I, of course, took advantage of the offer, and this new little guy will arrive via Fed-Ex Monday morning. I’ve already got a spot picked out for him in my garden. Almost every day this week, a box has arrived via post, UPS, or Fed-Ex containing another gnome. My sister looks at me like I’m nuts, but I noticed the other day that she was eying one and discussing the possibility of getting one for her garden as well. Is it possible I’ve started a new trend? I’ll try to take some photos of my yard this weekend for next week’s blog.

On the home front, my oldest son, Cole, leaves for the Bay Area on Sunday to start his new job Monday morning. He’s very excited about this new chapter in his life, and both Betty and I are very happy for him. Today is Max’s last day of school. To say he’s excited is an understatement; he’s a chip off the ol’ block. Last night he went online to submit applications for a Summer job, and he’ll start pounding the pavement on Monday to see what he can find.

Mike is working on the possibility of us doing a video blog here once per month, so look forward to seeing a new feature on the blog. If everything goes well, we should be able to do this in a couple of weeks.

MAGIC Live!

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Stan Allen’s MAGIC Live! convention in Las Vegas is just 2 months away. Many of you have asked if we’ll be attending, and the answer is a resounding YES! We’ll have a dealer’s booth, and we have some surprises up our sleeve, which I’ll be revealing in the coming weeks right here on the blog. The convention begins Sunday, August 16th and runs through Wednesday, August 19th. Of all the conventions I’ve ever done, I have to say that this one is the best by far! I hope to meet many of you in person there.

So stay tuned for more information and new features to the blog in the coming weeks.

Until next time,

Paul

Treasures

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2009 by hocuspoc

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in and out of my dentist’s office. What started out as a broken tooth turned into a full-blown crown. As I sat in the dentist’s office, I remembered back when I was a kid, and my dentist had a treasure chest. You know, that little treasure chest that sat in the corner, and you knew that if you were a good kid, you’d be able to get a prize. No matter scared you may have been, you knew that treasure chest was there at the end of your visit. You’d open it up, and there were hundreds of prizes for you to select from. I hadn’t thought about this for years until I was standing at the counter waiting to pay for my visit, which was actually more painful than the visit itself. Glancing in the corner, there it was: the same treasure chest that had been here all those years. A smile came over my face, and for a moment, I remembered how excited I was as a kid. So, on my drive back to Hocus Pocus, I started to think more about that treasure chest, and from that, the Hocus Pocus Treasure Chest was born!

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Starting Monday, there will be a new product category called Treasure Chest. Every Monday, the Treasure Chest will contain $500.00 worth of assorted magic tricks. Each day, 3 randomly-selected online members will be chosen, one at a time, their name being displayed in the Treasure Chest product category. If your name is displayed, you have a limited amount of time to contact us to redeem your prize, because every 2 hours, the names will change if the prize is not claimed. This will continue Monday through Friday until the $500.00 prize is claimed. If, at the end of the week, the prize has not been claimed, we will add another $50.00 worth of magic to the Treasure Chest. This offer applies to ALL online members and no purchase is necessary. And hey, no trip to the dentist either. If you have any questions about the promotion, please feel free to contact me via phone 800-407-4040 or 559-266-5150 or email me at sales@hocus-pocus.com.

dreamholiday1Speaking of giving things away, our good friend, Paul Romhany, is offering all our Hocus Pocus friends and customers a chance to download a free mentalism effect, called The Dream Holiday. Paul is one of the most creative guys we know, and we thank him for his generosity and for sharing this with all of you. Check it out HERE!

A Man Without A Gnome

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As many of you know, my garden is my hobby. Several months ago, I was given a lucky garden gnome from some close family friends, and a funny thing has happened; they’ve just started to multiply. One turned into two, two turned into four, and before you knew it, there were 24 gnomes living in my garden. In case you haven’t guessed, I have a newfound love for these little guys. Now you have to understand that they must meet my criteria: They must be made of cement. No plastic or ceramic. Cement. The older, the better. I found myself sitting up late at night searching eBay, Craig’s List, and other sources, looking for old cement garden gnomes. I was excited last night as I scored one from the early 1940s. There was a fierce bidding competition between myself and others on eBay, but I emerged victorious. If you have a cement garden gnome or know anyone who does, I’m looking to adopt them and promise to give them a good home. In the next few weeks, I’ll post photos from the garden of the little fellows.

A Good Read

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Our good friend and longtime Hocus Pocus supporter, Jerry Dunn, has written a new book called MY FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH, just published by National Geographic. It features 75 remarkable people — from the Dali Lama to Will Ferrell to Jane Goodall — each talking about the one place they love most in the world. Examples: Natalie Portman (Jerusalem); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Arizona); Robin Williams (San Francisco); Tom Brokaw (Tibet); Calvin Klein (Tanzania); James Taylor (the middle of the Atlantic Ocean); Jerry Seinfeld (Central Park, NY). AND from the world of magic, Lance Burton, talking about his first trip to Las Vegas at age 21 with Johnny Thompson. The book is a very interesting read, and I envy Jerry for being able to interview all the interesting people in his book. It makes a great gift for yourself or someone you know. You can see the complete roster of famous people and their favorite spots at www.myfavoriteplacenatgeo.com

Before I go, don’t forget to check out the Treasure Chest on Monday. Who knows; your name just might be the first one posted!

Until next time,

Paul