Archive for January, 2011

So Many Magic Sets, So Little Time

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 by hocuspoc

Most of us started in magic this way, getting a magic set from Mom, Dad, our aunt, uncle, etc. for our birthday, Christmas, or other special event. Nothing matched that feeling that you had when you opened that mystical box of wonders. For me, it was a Transogram magic set purchased for me by my folks at Ted’s Bargain Basement. To this day, I still collect magic sets. In fact, the entire upper perimeter of my office is shelved with them. I have so many now, they’re even stacked up around me.

I remember opening the Transogram magic set up and looking at it in the car going home trying to figure out how to work the tricks inside. My dad was good enough to be my teacher, taking time out to help me learn each effect. What this meant was for the next year for every family gathering, I hauled out my box of tricks and performed them for my ever-patient relatives, even though they’d probably seen the tricks several times, they always applauded and encouraged me.

Imagine how excited I was when Greg Wilson showed up on Monday with an entire grouping of vintage magic sets from his dad’s collection. Now, the fun of going through each one and traveling down memory lane and now having the pleasure of offering them to you. There some great kits here, including a Mandrake Magic Set, Royal Wonder Box Magic Set, Greatest Magic Show on Earth Magic Set, and many more! Many of them look like they were stored in a time capsule. See for yourself:

While going through the magic sets with Greg, I couldn’t believe what I was about to see. When I was around 6 years-old, my parents took me to the movies on a Sunday afternoon. Next door to the movie theater was a hobby shop. In their window display, they had these model kits that were miniature versions of large stage illusions. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted them! The store was closed that day, however. My father said that if I saved up my allowance money, he would take me back to the hobby store to buy the model kits. I went on a frantic money-raising campaign, raking leaves, pulling weeds, running errands, anything I could do to raise the money. Within a week’s time, I had enough money, but it was several weeks before my dad could take me back to the hobby store. Sadly, when we finally arrived, the model kits had been sold. I was devastated. So all these years have passed, and now, sitting in my hands, are those very kits:

Manufactured by the Multiple Toymaker Company in the early 1960s and sold in limited supply through hobby and toy stores, these model kits contain a working miniature of the famous Sawing a lady in Half Illusion and Disappearing Lady ready for assembly. Talk about a flood of great memories!

This is just a sampling of a few of the items that Greg brought us from Mark’s personal collection. Each set and kit comes with owner certificate of authenticity from Mark & Nani Wilson. We’ll be posting more of them in the Private Estate section of the web site over the next week, so stay tuned.

So that about wraps it up for this week. Betty and I are leaving early to enjoy the weekend with our son, Cole, to celebrate his 23rd birthday. In the meantime, between you and me, I’ll be toying with all those great magic sets.

Until next time,



A Magical Collaboration

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 by hocuspoc

It’s always great to get together with your magic friends. Last month, my good friend, Tom Olenick was visiting California and spent the day here at Hocus Pocus. While he was here, I received several boxes of private estate items. One of the items was a version of Wayne Dobson’s “This Is Your Knife.” If you are not familiar with the effect, it’s a classic Russian Roulette routine done with daggers. In my opinion, it is one of the strongest effects in Wayne’s stand-up repertoire. As Tom and I examined the prop, we began to discuss different variations with objects, etc. Tom suggested an icepick. The idea light immediately flashed above my head, and we discussed in detail how it could be done. Immediately, I sent an email to my good friend Wayne Dobson and outlined the idea and asked for his permission to manufacture and market the effect. Not only did Wayne agree, he was thrilled with our new take on his effect. I went to work and contacted my other good friend, Jay Leslie, to create the display stand and other parts to which Jay began working on several design concepts. Next, I contacted my OTHER good friend, Steve Dick, to manufacture the special set of icepicks needed to perform the effect. Over the last few weeks and several phone calls and emails, Jay and I finalized the design for the display stand and Steve designed and built the icepicks, which arrived yesterday. Mike Giusti and I listed it on the website yesterday, and judging from the response and the orders coming in, I can say that you are just as excited as I am about the final product.

So, special thanks to Wayne, Tom, Jay, and Steve for their magical collaboration in making “Pick and Mix” a reality! To learn more about Pick and Mix, do yourself a favor and click HERE!

Cold and Foggy

This morning, the fog was so thick coming into work, you could barely see across the street. Every day, for the last 2 weeks, it has been extremely cold (for California) and overcast. The weatherman keeps promising the sun’s going to come out, but I don’t hold much stock in those promises.

Another Private Collection

Next week, if everything goes as planned, Betty and I will be taking a one-day trip out of town to pick up another private collection of magic. As you may remember, a week ago, we brought back a truck load of some great vintage magic. As fast as Mike put it up, it sold and was packed up and ready to ship the same day! So stay tuned for more information on this next acquisition. In the meantime, check out the Private/Estate section of our web site HERE!

Tomorrow, my son Cole and his girlfriend, Amanda, will be coming to town. Amanda’s been invited to my daughter, Renee’s baby shower. It’s hard to believe that, in just about 4 weeks, I’ll be a grandpa! It seems like just yesterday that I posted here that my daughter was expecting. I’m ready and prepared to assume my granfather-ly duties, and rest assured, I’ll be posting pictures and talking about my grandson very soon.

Special thanks to all of you who sent emails, cards, and phoned to wish Betty and me a Happy Anniversary last week — it was very unexpected, and it made our week.

Until next time,


Old Magic, Anniversaries, and the Green Hornet

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 by hocuspoc

We’ve done it again! Betty and I took an “antiquing” road trip last week searching for new acquisitions for the Private Estate Collection. We found tons of “old stuff”, really very incredible and exciting items, and have been putting them on the website all week. Actually, we’ve already taken some of them down because they’ve sold! We’re always looking for good used magic, if you have something you’re not using send a list to me at and we’ll see what we can do. Take a look at some these things…

Just a few items in Private Estate Collection

And more...

And even more!

Here we go again...cataloging more new items for Private Estate

Breathing Room

We’ve been busy as ever around here. It seems that it never lets up, not that we really want it to, but sometimes you can use a little breathing room. One good thing is that we finally saw sunshine this week after having fog and rain for weeks. Hopefully, we can have a little outside time in the garden this weekend. We are thinking, though, of our friends buried under snow in the eastern U. S. and those affected by the flooding in Australia. Our prayers are with you.

The Geek in Me

Yes, I have to admit it…I’m a HUGE Green Hornet fan and will be at the movies on opening day this week. I have been a fan of the Green Hornet since I was eleven years old. Eight days after my 11th birthday on September 9, 1966 the Green Hornet premiered on television and I was hooked.  It was like a birthday gift! How I longed to own the Black Beauty; I didn’t get the Black Beauty, but instead I settled for a model of that coolest car in the world. After all, I was only 11 and wasn’t allowed to drive anyway. Maybe Betty will let me buy it now…

The original Green Hornet and Kato premiered on 09.09.66

The Guys are BACK! Notice the Black Beauty in the back.


This week Betty and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary. We’re actually celebrating tonight with dinner at Betty’s favorite restaurant, The Cracked Pepper, where the food is always excellent and their bread pudding is the best in the world (according to me). Tomorrow night we continue the anniversary celebration at the movies with the Green Hornet.

Happy Anniversary!

Until next time,


A New Year and Off to a Running Start

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 by hocuspoc

I hope you all had a safe and restful New Year. Betty and I rang in the New Year quietly, as we do each year. We took in a movie and just hung out around the house. It was perfect. My original plans were to take off last week, but thanks to a busy work schedule, they were put on hold. I have to say, I didn’t mind it a bit. To say we were busy would be an understatement. Below are photos of the hundreds of orders that arrived over the New Year’s weekend and going out the door.

Starting Tuesday, the products you ordered began arriving from our suppliers who DID take time off last week, and everyone here, and I mean EVERYONE began to unpack, organize and process the orders for shipping. Tuesday and Wednesday’s packages amounted to over 400 between UPS and post. Today’s outgoing packages will be just a little over 200 and then we’ll be all caught up. Thanks again to all of you who made our end of the year more than spectacular.

Tomorrow, I’m taking off to go pick up another private collection. I’ll be back Saturday so make sure you watch the web site as early as Saturday, if possible. I know a lot of the items I’ll be picking up, and I’m very excited about this collection. There are many one-of-a-kind and unique items that I can’t wait to share with you.

Until next time,