Archive for May, 2011

From the Desk of Max Gross

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 by hocuspoc

From the title of the Blog you may have guessed that Betty and Paul are taking a long weekend and have left me in charge (in charge of the Blog anyway). For those of you who don’t know me, I am Betty and Paul’s son, Max.

I have stated in this forum before that I don’t really like writing. I’m a college student forced to write papers. Now that I am on summer break I really don’t want to write any papers and to me, the Blog is just another name for a paper.

This has been a very enlightening week at the office. I’m getting my hands in a lot of different aspects of the job and find it very exciting. REALLY!  Everyone here helped me out and taught me about their jobs.

Debbie told me about the Magic Mask; that if I wear this mask I will learn everything much faster.


Max with the Magic Mask



 Karen told me that shipping was the most important job, but she didn’t think I was skilled enough to do it. So, I practically had to beg her and then I offered to pay for her lunch if she would let me do the shipping. It worked! She seemed to be okay with it after all…she just kept chuckling.


My original job was measuring everything to calculate shipping charges, but these items are so huge. I like shipping much better.


Max measuring illusions


Jan told me to file orders and invoices to help out my Mom, but I couldn’t figure out her system.


Max and his filing system


Finally, I got to ride the Kangaroo which they all told me was my reward for a job well done.


Max riding the Kangaroo


 Have a great weekend!

Until next time,


Lights, Camera, Action

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2011 by hocuspoc

This was an exciting week at Hocus Pocus. You’ll recall I told you a few weeks ago that we were working on a new effect with Norberto Jansenson; well, we have made great progress with the effect.

Norberto arrived early this week to finalize details and approve pre-production materials. All day Wednesday, from early morning to evening, was dedicated to filming the performance and instructional videos here at our in-house studios.  It was a madhouse around here; film crews, models, performers and paparazzi (just kidding) coming and going all week long. It was just so incredibly hectic and exhausting, but thrilling all at the same time! Norberto is such a pro that the performance part of the video was done in just 1 take; everyone here was thrilled to be able to see a professional magician of Jansenson’s caliber perform live!

The film crew checking on the lighting

Jansenson and film crew setting up


Jansenson and Paige doing stills


We’re very excited to introduce the first two in a series of Jansenson’s classic routines EXCLUSIVE to Hocus Pocus. We feel that when you see what Jansenson has to offer you’ll agree that it is some of the most original, engaging and entertaining material out there today. I’m so excited about this endeavor and cannot wait to be able to tell you more details!

Private Estate

On the Private Estate side, I just acquired a great collection of over 40 Alan Warner items, many no longer available and some limited editions. The shipment arrives on Monday morning and will start appearing on the website the minute it is unpacked. If you’re a collector of Warner items then this is for you, do not miss out! If there are specific pieces you’re looking for, just contact me now and I’ll let you know what is arriving.

New Alan Warner items


 Empty Nest

Last week I told you Max just turned nineteen and we’re still trying to get used to that milestone. We knew it would happen, but you’re never quite ready for it. Our “baby”, Max, moved out today to venture out into the world on his own. He and “several” friends are renting a house together Max is very excited and both Betty and I remember how we felt the first time we left the nest. So now it’s just Betty, me and our two dogs, Buddy and Buster, and a lot of empty bedrooms. You would think that we will be missing him terribly, but that is not the case because when he lived at home we never saw him. Ever. However, he is now working at Hocus Pocus so we will be seeing him more than we have since he got his first car!

Our empty nest


And one more of the Kangaroo ride… 


Paul helping Zachary with his first ride on the Kangaroo

 The newest Wizard in training…

Renee and Zachary with his Magic Wand


Until next time,


This and That

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2011 by hocuspoc

It’s here! The Kangaroo Kiddie Ride arrived this week and I couldn’t be happier with it. It is one of my childhood dreams fulfilled and it is the perfect ride for my grandson, Zachary. Although Zachary isn’t old enough yet to ride it, or to hold on, or to sit up for that matter, the Kangaroo Ride will not be idle. Everyone loves it and wants to ride it! I should have bought one of these years ago. My good friend, Danny Archer, magician extraordinaire, dropped in this week and gave it the inaugural ride. Look at the expression on Danny’s face…who says you can’t go home again. Now I need to find an elephant to go with it. Woohoo!!!


Danny Archer and Paul with the Kangaroo

Our son Cole continues to establish his roots in the Bay Area. He went to college there, he lives there, he works there and now he’s moving his classic 1935 Plymouth Coupe there. We’re getting the hint that he’s not moving back to Fresno any time soon. Cole inherited this classic from his grandfather (Betty’s father) who had three classic cars and left them to his three grandsons. Max has already parlayed his car into three other cars, but Cole has held on to his and is now joining a classic car club. Betty’s father’s first car was a ’35 Plymouth exactly like this one, but his sister totaled it when he was in the service; he vowed then to find another one and replace it. It took him a while, but he finally found this car in Canada, bought it from Polaroid pictures (no internet back then) and had it trucked from Canada to California. Now it belongs to his grandson, Cole. So if you’re driving around the Bay and see this beauty, give the driver a wave – it will probably be Cole!

This week we celebrated Max’s 19th birthday; it seems like he was just born, that he was just a baby; now our “baby” stands 6’3” tall, is in college and helping here at the store inventorying books! Happy Birthday, Max!

Betty and I are taking a long weekend to relax and enjoy the spring weather. I understand everyone has a different idea of what relaxation is…our idea of relaxing is driving to our favorite garden décor store in the San Francisco area and then having dinner at Scoma’s on Fisherman’s Wharf. The food is absolutely delicious at Scoma’s and the views of San Francisco Bay are breathtaking…now that is relaxation!

Until next time,


Illusions, Pizza, Kangaroos and Mom

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2011 by hocuspoc

It’s Not an Illusion

I received a phone call this week asking if we carried any Illusions. Yes, you read correctly; someone asking ME if I carried any illusions. After answering the customer that, yes, we do have some Illusions; I got to thinking about some of the great Illusions surrounding me in the showroom. We have had to expand our warehouse space because of the number of illusions we have…it is now 20,000 square feet of space! My aunt calls the showroom just a larger version of my bedroom when I was a kid! It’s been a while since we updated the video of the showroom so I thought some pictures were in order. Some of these Illusions you don’t see on the market very often so I thought I could share a few with you…


 Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of our Illusions!

Pizza Eating Contest

Winning! Yes, our family is full of winners! Our son, Cole, broke the pizza eating record at his office by eating 2 and 3/4 pounds of extra cheese extra pepperoni pizza in 8 minutes. There were 11 competitors, three women and eight men.  Cole earned 1st place by 1/2 an ounce; it was an extremely close competition, but Cole is now the two year champ with the company record. 🙂 One of Cole’s female co-workers earned 4th place overall beating five guys and making Cole’s department the unanimous champs.  It’s a little overwhelming (and maybe I could say “gross”) to think of eating that much pizza, but it is a pretty fun way to blow off steam after tax season at an accounting firm.

Cole, The Champ, is in the upper right hand side of this photo

Childhood Fantasies

Over the years I’ve shared a few stories of being able to fulfill my childhood fantasies; being a magician, having Mark and Nani Wilson in my life, and getting to wear suede shoes whenever I want (which is every day, by the way, accept during the summer) just to name a few. This week I’m fulfilling one more childhood fantasy. When I was a kid, all the grocery stores had these coin operated kiddie rides in front of the store; for twenty-five cents you could ride the animal, the car, and the airplane, whatever. I dreamt of having one of these kiddie rides at home. Life would just be great if I could only have one. WELL, guess what I found the other day and is now in transit to the warehouse. A Kangaroo Kiddie Ride! I know it’s a little early to be buying this for my grandson Zachary, he is, after all, only two months old and he can’t even sit up let alone hold on, but it will be here this week and it will be ready when he is…

Mother’s Day

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I am looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day with Betty and this is my daughter Renee’s first Mothers Day! Let’s all take a moment in honor of all the mothers who have put up with sons and daughters (or husbands) in the world of magic, we know they are a special lot.

Until next time,