Archive for April, 2010

Paul Who?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2010 by hocuspoc

Paul who?

I’m sure most of you know Paul has been out all week – this is so unusual we almost forgot what he looks like! Thank the magic stars we have his picture on the website to remind us.

Not only do we have Paul’s picture to remind us of his presence and how much we miss him [cue lip-smacking sound], but all week long we have been unpacking the great finds Betty and Paul discovered at the Magic Castle Swap Meet and we have received other items that are the result of Trade-ins.

Speaking of Trade-ins, the current issue of Magic Magazine which features our Trade-in Days ad is starting to be delivered and we are already receiving a ton of calls from people just like you who want to do trade-ins. This is a great deal…trade-in a magic effect that you no longer use and get store credit for new magic! Just email Paul at with a description of your item, the condition it is in, and does it come complete with instructions and he’ll get back to you. Don’t forget to include your name and phone number. We’re looking for mid-large size items and illusions; no DVDs, books, packet tricks, small items, etc.

Now you may not know this, but this is Paul’s very favorite part of the business: he loves first of all to find one-of-kind, unique, rare, vintage magic effects and illusions; then, he loves negotiating the price; and lastly, he gets to share his enthusiasm and offer them to you at what is usually a great bargain. UNLESS, it happens to be a very special piece that he keeps for his private collection. Such was the case this week when Tim Mannix delivered a John Gaughan Zig Zag. This Zig Zag was built for Mark and Nani Wilson and was used in their Las Vegas show. It is one of only three that were made; Paul has one, James Dimmare has one, and we don’t know who has the third. This piece is so special to Paul that he has left strict instructions that we are not allowed to touch it. Yes, you read correctly, we’re not allowed TO TOUCH IT! Remember when you were a child and you would put your finger so close to your brother/sister and then say, “I’m not touching you” [be sure to use a sing-song tone when saying this]…yes, we’ve been doing this all week. Don’t tell on us!

John Gaughan Zig Zag

We had a crazy busy week and we’re all looking forward to the weekend with family and friends. We’ll be back Monday all rested and refreshed which is a good thing because you-know-who will be back and ready to go. Hmm…maybe we should throw in one last surprise before Monday… I think I’ll go touch something.

Until next time,

Paul’s People

The Magic Castle, The Eagles, Pizza, and Graduation

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 by hocuspoc

It’s not an answer to a Jeopardy question; it’s the series of events from the past week. First of all, Betty and I left last Friday for Hollywood, California to meet with our friends, Rick and Josette Burr to have lunch at Musso & Frank’s. Later that evening, we met up with Mark and Nani Wilson, Mark Nelson, Tim Mannix, and Mark and Nani’s son, Greg, at the Magic Castle, where we had dinner and celebrated Nani’s birthday. We enjoyed the shows and our visit and before we knew it, it was time to head back to our hotel to get ready for the next day’s Swap Meet.

Although the Swap Meet officially opens at 9:00 AM, I always try to get there at 8:00 to be first in line. I was completely surprised as I rounded the corner to see that a long line had already formed. The doors finally opened, and I began my ritualistic search for the unusual, collectible, unique and hard-to-find items. This Swap Meet did NOT disappoint. There were more people and vendors than I have seen in many years there. A couple of the really cool things I grabbed were Channing Pollock’s Cane to Table, Billy McComb’s Hot Ball and some of his other personal items, and a John Gaughan Zig-Zag illusion. After all my shopping was done, the hard part was fitting it all in the back of my Jeep. Below is my car with half of it already unloaded:

It took almost half the day Monday to unload, catalog, and check everything in. Mike and I then went through all the items and have been listing them on the web site, and most are selling as fast as they are put up. It’s going to take several more days to finish listing and photographing them, so check the Private/Estate section for updates!

After the Swap Meet was over, Betty and I drove over to Universal Studio’s City Walk to do a little shopping and have lunch. Back in the car and back to the hotel to rest up for our evening with the Eagles. I’ve driven by the Hollywood Bowl several times, but I had no idea just how big it actually was. We stopped and asked one of the attendants just how many people it seats. I was shocked when she answered, “22,000.” The concert was great, the Eagles are just as good now as they have ever been, and I even entered a contest and won an Eagles CD. The concert ended around 11:00 PM and it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

The Hollywood Bowl by day

The Eagles concert in progress

While we were gone, on Friday afternoon, my son Cole participated in a pizza eating contest at the accounting firm he works for in Northern California. A little background on the contest: Every year on April 16th, the day after taxes, their office celebrates by having a party and ending with this pizza eating contest. The auditing department has been the undefeated champions. Now Cole works in the tax department, and due to the fact that he’s 6.5 feet tall and stands heads above all others, he was instantly chosen to challenge the auditing department. Team Cole t-shirts were made and the trash talking began 2 weeks in advance, but it was Cole who put his mouth where the pizza was and dominated the competition by consuming 4 pounds of pizza in just 8 minutes. Leaving just a few pieces of crust and the auditing department in his wake. For the first time in years, the tax department took home the gold! The funny thing was, Cole said he could have eaten more!

Cole and his manager

Team Cole t-shirts

The entire office celebrates their victory

The pizza eating trophy

And finally, last Saturday, my daughter Renee graduated with her Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from the University of Phoenix! Both Betty and I are so proud of Renee and her accomplishments. Renee has already begun her internship with a local Resource Center for Survivors.

Cap and gown and ready to go

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for Renee’s day of celebration

It’s official!

Whew! So there you have it, an encapsulated version of the entire weekend and week’s events all crammed into one blog post. This weekend, I’ll spend some alone time in my garden getting ready for the rest of the upcoming graduation parties I’m hosting and more!

Until next time,


Brooms, Brooms, and More Brooms

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 by hocuspoc

Two weeks ago we ran a promotion called “Broom Through Body.” It was one of the most successful promotions we’ve ever run; in just 3 short days, we sold more than 200 units! Each day, we patiently waited for UPS to deliver the massive shipment of brooms and Monday was the day! There were brooms as far as the eye could see! As fast as we opened up the cases, they were all shipped out immediately thereafter. So, if you were one of the lucky ones who got in on this great deal, if you haven’t already received yours, it’s on its way. At the end of the day, it reminded me of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, with Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the anathema of the multiplying brooms!

Sponge Ball Wand by Wolf’s Magic

This week we received the new Sponge Ball Wand from Wolf’s Magic ahead of schedule, and man, it’s better than I could have ever imagined! If you haven’t checked it out, I urge you to do so soon as the first shipment is more than 50% sold out. This prop is perfect for any performer whether you work kids shows or close-up; it will drive your audiences wild! Check it out and learn more about it at:

Man, how things have changed! Remember when we went to school, you asked a girl out on a date, and not the other way around?  Earlier this week, my son, Max, came home to find a plate of cupcakes on the porch. Each cupcake had a letter that spelled out “SADIE’S?” He brought them in the house and showed them to me, and then instantly he received a text message from the anonymous girl who left the cupcakes. I watched his reaction and noticed him texting right back. I asked him, “Well?” He said, “I texted back ‘Yes.'” Things sure are different from when I grew up.


Tomorrow, Betty and I depart for a fantastic weekend in Hollywood, California. We’ll be going to the Magic Castle tomorrow night and have dinner with Mark and Nani Wilson, Mark Nelson, and Tim Mannix, and we’ll also take in the various shows. Saturday morning comes my favorite part: the Magic Castle Swap Meet. Trust me when I’ll tell you, I’ll be searching every nook, cranny, and alcove for the best deals I can find. I’m never disappointed, and I always find some unique and hard-to-find items to bring back so keep your eyes on the web site next week, because I’ll be listing all my finds there. If you are going to be at the Swap Meet, be sure to stop me and say hello.

Saturday evening, Betty and I will be attending the Eagles concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl! I’m really looking forward to seeing the Eagles live; I’ve heard so many good things about their performance, and I’m sure I’ll come away with a memory I won’t soon forget. The Eagles are one of my favorite groups, and I’m so glad that Betty bought these tickets as a surprise Christmas gift for me last year.

And last but not least comes a very important announcement: Monday is Nani Darnell-Wilson’s birthday. No one brings elegance and class to magic the way Nani does. So, to the half of the dynamic duo from the Magic Land of Allakazam and the Magic Circus who inspired me, Happy Birthday, “Magic Mom” from Betty and me. We’re looking forward to celebrating  your birthday early tomorrow evening.

Nani Darnell-Wilson

Until next time,


Full Speed Ahead

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by hocuspoc

The last few weeks have flown by and this week seemed like it was on hyper- speed. We started the week with a great lecture by George Schindler with 50 people in attendance. It was so nice to finally meet George, and his wife Nina, in person after doing business with them for 35 years. This was a great lecture where George showed us all some very good commercial effects and, seasoned pro that he is, George stressed the entertainment factor that should always be a part of a great routine. It was amazing to see George use a borrowed finger ring and dollar bill, two standard magic props, and turn it into a solid commercial routine; routines like this show his years of dedication to his craft. It was a real privilege to be in the presence of someone with George’s experience and knowledge. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out George’s DVD, “Entertainment First, Close-Up Magic for the Working Performer” by following this link,

George performs his Card to Wallet routine

George performs his version of Ring Flight

George teaches the proper way to vanish a sponge ball

George teaches the Ring Flight routine step-by-step

George and I hanging out after the lecture


Our favorite clown, Bubbles, brought in her newest group of protégés for a private training session with our friend, Tim Mannix. Tim presented several effects and tricks appropriate for clowns and kids shows, along with suggested routines and tips for wow-factor entertainment. It was so much fun to just observe the interaction, five clowns and Tim all in the showroom at the same time; believe me when I say they were seriously working to enhance their routines with magic and there was no clowning around.

Bubbles and her protégé with Tim Mannix

Tim and I clowning around with Bubbles and her protégé

All eyes and ears on Tim

You could only see a sight like this at a magic shop

After Tim’s tutelage, Bubbles and her entourage packed up their new magic tricks and headed out into the world to make many children very happy.


It’s been hard to keep this one under wraps since Chance Wolf told me about it a few weeks ago. Now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag: I just got off the phone with Chance of Wolf’s Magic, and we were talking about the newest addition to the Wacky Wolfs series of magic, The Sponge Ball Wand. The Sponge Ball Wand is based on the Classic Coin Wand workings; simple and reliable mechanics that allow a 2″ Sponge Ball to be secretly controlled to pop in and out of the wand appearing at the tip. We’ll have The Sponge Ball Wand in stock and ready to ship this Wednesday. Watch the Video Demo for a preview of The Sponge Ball Wand with this link,


This weekend and this weekend only, we are offering you a very special promotion. Check out the video below for details.

What I neglected to mention is that we have a limited supply of the Arm Ratchet Bone Snapper during this free promotional offer, so it’s first come, first served and limited to supply on hand, so get your orders in early. To see the Arm Ratchet Bone Snapper, check out this link:

On the home front, all week long, my son Max has been hauling boxes of stuff into the garage from his room and from my mother in-law’s house to have a massive yard sale. Max is hoping to raise some extra money for a new engine for his vintage 1969 Chevy Nova. Not that he needs a new engine; he just wants a more powerful one. I have to give him credit; he is very resourceful and has been on the fast track for the past few months raising extra money, even selling his parakeets that he raised to a local pet store. Those parakeets are like rabbits: we started with 2 and we ended up with 50! So far, he’s raised over half the money, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next 30 days he hasn’t raised the rest.


I would like to send out a very big Happy Birthday to my friend and mentor, Mark Wilson. It was on that magical date in October 1960 when I first saw Mark’s TV show, Magic Land of Alakazam, that my path to magic was set. To now number Mark among my friends is a great honor, and to this day, I shake my head in disbelief that the Wilsons are my dear friends. Happy Birthday, Mark, and here’s to many, many more!

Until next time,


What A Week It’s Been

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 by hocuspoc

What a week it’s been!

We have been so busy jumping from one project or promotion to another and, it was all so much FUN!

My good friend, Tim Mannix, arrived from L.A. at the beginning of the week to help re-set the showroom with our newest Private Estate acquisitions and to prepare to be one-half of the Hocus Pocus “tag-team magicians” for our “Magic Marathon” on a local television station’s morning show. On April 1, April Fool’s Day, we arrived at 4am for set up and then performed for five hours beginning at 5am. Tim and I took turns performing live for the broadcast. We did everything from close-up card effects to producing doves. You can see Devil’s Pitcher performed and then watch the newscaster, Clayton, disappear in a magic cabinet by following this link, , click on “Great Day”, then click on “Catch Clayton”. Watch the videos:  “Clayton’s Mind Blowing Magic” and “Clayton Disappears.” Also, check out the video below that Tim and I did together.

On top of our TV performance, we were running our April Fools Event, which as everyone knows was anything but a joke. We started pulling merchandise to fill orders at 4am and did not stop until 3:30 in the afternoon. I think we set a record for the number of packages shipped in one day. We’re just not young enough for this anymore! Where are the kids when you need them…I know, I know, school takes precedence…

This week I want to use the blog to announce the teaming up of Hocus Pocus and Jay Leslie as the Miracle Magic Company. Miracle Magic’s focus will be on designing and producing a limited edition, luxury line of fine magic products.  All items in the line will be produced one time and one time only; when they are sold out, no more will be produced. If you are a collector or performer of fine magic then you will want to get in on this. I previewed the first item, The Golden Disk of Amun-Re, 3D, last month at our Big Event. The time and high-quality workmanship put into this item is unbelievable.  Follow this link for more on Amun-Re,

This coming week, on Monday, April 5, George Schindler will be lecturing here at Hocus Pocus. We’re expecting a full-house for this outstanding magician, showman, and teacher.  I can’t wait to finally meet him in person! Follow this link for more information about George and reservations for the event.

And, finally, I want to acknowledge our Fans on Facebook. We have only had our Fanpage for a few weeks and there are almost 400 of you. Thank you!

It’s now Friday and we’re winding down for the Easter weekend. Betty and I, along with our kids, will spend Easter Sunday at my mother-in-law’s house with the rest of the family and celebrate the day with a traditional Armenian Easter meal. My mouth is salivating just thinking about the great food! But, don’t think we’ll be just sitting around and relaxing because it is time for our annual game of Easter Egg Wars, a tradition in Betty’s family for generations. You probably don’t need or want to know all the details of Egg Wars, but in the end we have the world’s greatest egg salad made by my mother-in-law. I’m really looking forward to Sunday with the family and all the love and enjoyment that brings. I wish you a wonderful weekend with your loved ones, also.

Whether it’s Easter or Passover to you, enjoy your weekend with your family. I will.

Until next time,