Archive for March, 2011

Houdini at 137 and more…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 by hocuspoc

Happy Birthday, Houdini

Houdini is The Man…we all know this, but what made him the man? Was it the fact that he was one more immigrant to America that realized his dream (as so many of our families have done); or maybe, because he ran away from home intending to join the circus (every boy’s dream adventure); or that he paid tribute to the great Robert-Houdin by adding the “i” and creating Houdini (and what a trend in professional names that sparked). It is all of the above and so much more; long gone and still the number one recognizable magician of all time. Houdini was an accomplished athlete, performer, master showman and promoter.  Ask anyone to name a magician and the first word is Houdini. Quite an accomplishment!  So with that we would like to say Happy 137th Birthday, Houdini.



Calling For Back-up

We’re continuing to work on the James Robinson estate books and effects. It is such a daunting task that we have hired an extra person to just input books (we’re still working on the hardbound books!); my good friend Tim Mannix arrives on Monday to sort through more magic tricks and effects; and Bill Goodwin, the Magic Castle Librarian, is arriving this week to help us with all the pamphlets, magazines, and other printed materials. This is going to take months to get through the Robinson estate, what a collection! Continue watching the website as we continue to update it hourly. Read about the books…

Just SOME of the hardbound books!


 Something Fishy is Going On!

We see a lot of magic effects come through the showroom and warehouse and I still get excited when one of them just grabs me and won’t let me let go of it. This is how I feel about Dick Barry’s Fish in a Bottle because the magic happens close up in the spectator’s hand. As fast as Dick is making these, we’re shipping them out! Read more…

Hey, if you’re in the Bakersfield, CA area you should check out 2nd Monday Magic at The Intimate Theatre & Music Hall. Ron Saylor has a great line-up of talent performing magic every (yes, you guessed it) second Monday of the month through the summer. For more information call 661.809.4826 or 661.323.1976.

Time for Some R&R

It is a great understatement to say we have been burning the candle at both ends for the last few weeks. So, Betty and I are escaping the magic shop, the acquisitions, and the computers and looking forward to going to the San Mateo Garden Show this weekend. We are so excited about our little escape; we will fill Saturday feasting on the beauty of the garden and then have dinner with our son, Cole, Saturday night.  Sigh…I’m relaxing already.

Until next time,


Books! Books! and more Books!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2011 by hocuspoc

This isn't really me, but it could be!!


My goal this week was to get the books from the Robinson estate on the website. Well, here it is Friday and I’m not even half way. That’s not to say that we haven’t made progress, we’ve listed more than 500 books, but we have such a long way to go. There are so many books, so many GREAT books and we haven’t even gotten to all the soft cover collections like The Fred Braue Notebooks. Stay tuned because we have so much more coming on to the website. Click here to view all the Robinson estate books on the website…

Although I love all the vintage and antique items that we have been receiving, I need to share with you a couple of great NEW items that hit the warehouse this week.


Steve Fearson’s Anti-Gravity Sharpie, G-Sharp, is a prop that no magician should be without.  You probably already carry a Sharpie marker, why not carry one that can DEFY GRAVITY at any time? And it does it without any threads, wires or magnets!

Click here to read more about G-Sharp and view the ONLINE VIDEO.

The next item that has my heart racing is the new Ultra Telethought Wallet II from our good friend Chris Kenworthy. We received it this week and all I can say is WOW!!  Chris is one of the most creative people I know and he never ceases to amaze me. I can’t believe how he improved upon the original Telethought…it is business card size, well made and an exceptional value. Virtually any “mind-reading effect” can be performed with this new version. Click here to read more…

You will want to carry this with you AT ALL TIMES!

One more thing… Paul Harris’ LITTLE MAN HAS ARRIVED!! We have Little Man in stock in the warehouse available for immediate shipping. Get yours now because they’re going fast and the next shipment is taking a $100 price increase! Click here to read more about Little Man and view the ONLINE VIDEO.

Paul Harris' Little Man


Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to our friends and customers in Japan…our hearts are crying for you. Be safe, take care, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this most trying of times.

Until next time,


The Good Life

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2011 by hocuspoc

Everyone defines the “good life” differently and, depending on what is happening in your life, your personal definition of the good life may change from time to time.  My personal definition of the good life has been changing BY THE HOUR this week. Every time I turn around I come across another exciting item!

Take a look at this Jack Hughes piece; only four were imported in to the U.S. 50 years ago and we have one of them!

Where the Rainbow Ends by Jack Hughes

But that’s not all, so many exciting things…

Tim Mannix and I unpacking and rearranging


We have cataloged and inventoried 1500 hardbound collectible books (only a fraction of which are on the website) and we have another 1000 booklets, pamphlets, and lecture notes to sort through and put on the website. It is unbelievable some of the books that we received with the James Robinson estate. It will take us a few weeks to get this all on the website for you. If you’re looking for any special books, give us a call and we will check to see if we have it even though it is not on the website.

books, books and more books

Found among the pamphlets is this original Super-Magic Comic Volume 1, Number 1 May 1941 signed by Harry Blackstone, Sr on the front cover. This one is MINE!


 I knew I was REALLY living the good life when I opened a box and found the BEST THING EVER, Horrible Herman!  When I was a young boy I wanted nothing more than to buy Horrible Herman which was advertised in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. I loved movie monsters and wanted to own my own monster so that as the advertisement says, “you can dare anyone to look…the hideous, frightening ASIATIC INSECT…absolutely “kills” people who look.”  It cost 75 cents plus 25 cents for shipping and handling; what a bargain. I couldn’t decide between Dracula’s Own Rubber Bat, Gruesome Skull Cup, Live Monkey or Herman. So after much debate and deliberation, my friends and I each chipped in a quarter and placed the order for Horrible Herman. It took months to receive and during the wait each and every day I anticipated his arrival. So finally it arrived and I remember the day like it was yesterday. I came home and my mom told me there was a package for me, I knew it was going to be a HUGE box and would probably cover my entire bed, BUT imagine my HORROR when I saw this tiny little package no bigger than a matchbox.  How could a monster fit in this little box??? My first hard-knock lesson learned in the world of mail order. Opening the package I found this small box that said Horrible Herman on the outside and having great faith that something scary could be inside I slowly pushed the drawer open…to find inside the infamous Horrible Herman. Allow me to explain exactly what Horrible Herman is, it’s a washer with glitter glued to it, a couple of bird feathers, two rubber bands for antenna, and a lever connected to the bottom of it through the bottom of the box that causes it to move around when you open the box. Hardly Horrible! Although a “horrible” experience then, it is a fond childhood memory now and one of my greatest joys of this week. Horrible Herman now resides in my office with the shrunken heads.

Horrible Herman with the original 1966 magazine adv


Famous Monster of Filmland magazine with Horrible Herman


Houdini: Art and Magic

Through impossibly daring feats, magician and escape artist Harry Houdini captivated audiences worldwide. His gripping theatrical presentations and heart-stopping outdoor spectacles continue to inspire awe. On view at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA from April 28 through September 4, 2011, Houdini: Art and Magic documents Houdini’s rise to celebrity, his lasting cultural influence in the decades beyond his death, and the iconic status he still holds today. It is the first major art museum exhibition to explore the life and legacy of the celebrated American showman. Click on the link for more information and details,

Until next time,


A Thousand Words

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2011 by hocuspoc
They say a picture speaks a thousand words…
Grandpa and grandson

Until next time,