Archive for October, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2011 by hocuspoc

On The Road Again

Today, we left on a road trip to hopefully acquire some new Private Estate items. Betty and I, along with Tim Mannix, headed out early this morning on our latest adventure/excursion. It’s always a great adventure when we’re on one of our road trips; we’re going to review a private collection and you never know what you’re going to find until you are actually there. Really, it could be everything or it could be nothing.

Harry Houdini Autographed Chinese Water Torture Cell Program

The anticipation of a possible massive discovery at the destination is almost overwhelming because the excitement is so great. It is like buying a lottery ticket; you have that entire length of time between purchasing the lottery ticket and when they actually announce the numbers to imagine what you are going to do with your winnings. Good thing for me, and the Hocus Pocus members, is that our odds of winning (that is finding a great Private Estate item) are much better than they are with the lottery.

Sometimes Private Estate items come our way from the most unexpected places. Just this week we received a Harry Houdini Autographed Chinese Water Torture Cell Program. One day I receive a phone call and the next day it’s on the Hocus Pocus Website. And, talk about timing, the 85th Anniversary of the death of Houdini is this Monday, Halloween Night.

 This is the perfect item for the Houdini collector.  It’s an original program from Houdini’s performance at the Orpheum Theater in St. Louis, January 1923. The program is autographed boldly in blue ink by Houdini right next to the printed description of his act and it includes the original ticket stub to this show! Read more




Trade-in Days are Here!

In addition to road trips looking for Private Estate items, this week we are having Trade-in Days. Now is your opportunity to trade-in your old magic for new magic. We are usually looking for mid-large size apparatus, antique and vintage items (no DVDs, small packet or pocket tricks).  I know there are some great items out there sitting in closets that someone else would love to have – trade them in now for store credit toward new magic items. You would be amazed at what we can gather during Trade-In Days.

P&L Blooming Rosebush

Take a look at this P&L Blooming Rosebush. It is a thing of beauty and it was a trade-in! This is believed to be one of the last of the 12 rosebushes ever manufactured by the legendary Petrie-Lewis Co. The attention to detail, especially on the hand painted metal leaves, is stunning. Without question, one of the nicest ones I’ve ever seen. And, again, it was a trade-in! Contact me at if you have something you would like to trade-in. Just give your name and phone number, what the item is and what condition it’s in, does it have instructions, etc.


Something New

Tonight we’re announcing a very exciting EXCLUSIVE.  It’s not only a great effect, but it is priced very attractively and we’re giving a FREE GIFT with every purchase. I can’t tell you what it is, but it will be front and center on the website. Stayed tuned.

Take a Bow, Harry  


I want to end this week’s Blog with one final nod to the genius of Harry Houdini who died on Halloween night 1926.

Where would we all be had it not been for Houdini’s elevation of the magic craft? Houdini  left an enduring legacy of not only magic illusion, but stage presence, promotion and general entertainment that lives to this day.  Bravo!

 Until next time,


Trades, Swaps and Honors

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2011 by hocuspoc

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Years ago, in 1970 to be exact, I was shopping at the House of Magic in San Francisco (my absolute favorite store of that era) and Buma, the owner, said to me, “Paul, I have something you need to buy”. I was game so I asked him what was it and he answered, “It’s a book”.  So I asked what book and he said, “The Magic of Robert Harbin. You need to own this.” So I asked, “How much?” $100 was the answer; I was shocked because to me, at that time in my life, no book was worth $100. I said no way. Buma told me that this book was going to be a collector’s item and I needed to reconsider. Well, I didn’t reconsider and have regretted it ever since. This week, The Magic of Robert Harbin book arrived at Hocus Pocus as a Private Estate item. It is beautiful. It is pristine. It is so worth the money that I didn’t spend 40 years ago. Today, it is on the website for $2000 and it is worth it. Yes, it did indeed become a collector’s item, but if it were mine I would never sell it. To me, it is priceless. Take a look…


Swap Meet

Last weekend, Betty and I went to the Magic Castle Swap Meet.  We arrived Friday for a special luncheon planned by Milt Larsen and the Magic Castle Board of Directors where Betty and I were both presented with Lifetime Memberships to the Magic Castle. It was like Christmas, only better! Wow!!


Then Friday night I made arrangements for Betty, Susan and I to have dinner

Betty and Paul going to dinner and show at the Castle

with a group of friends at the Magic Castle. We were joined by Tim Mannix, Nani and Mark Wilson, Chuck and Gerald Kirchner of Magic City and Irene Larsen. The food and more importantly the company were terrific! After dinner, we enjoyed the Palace of Mystery Show, Mike Caveney and Tina Lenert are always so great. For the first time, we saw Ventriloquist Jay Johnson who stole the show! This is a must see act!



The Swap Meet was wild and crazy! This year we brought some great magic bargains to sell. We were mobbed! Betty’s sister Susan came with us to help out because while the two of them were selling, I was out scouring the Swap Meet and buying. Thank you, Susan!! I found some great items which have been making their way onto the website every day. Keep checking the Private Estate section to catch these before they’re gone!


Paul and Susan being mobbed at the Swap Meet



Saturday afternoon, I was invited to the Magic Castle Library and the surprise was on me! There, hanging in the Library, was a plaque honoring me for donations. You know, I love everything about the Magic Castle. One of the things I love most about the Castle is their dedication to preserving magic; not only memorabilia, but the history of our craft. The Library is an incredible resource, unlike any other in the world, and it is my honor to be able to contribute what I can for future magicians, students of magic and magic historians. The world of magic owes a great debt to the Larsen Family for creating the environment in which this library can thrive.


Paul and his plaque in the Magic Castle Library



My last stop of the weekend was at the Gift Shop; I just couldn’t resist this for my grandson, Zachary.


for Zachary


Until next time,


Snake, Rattle and Roll

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13, 2011 by hocuspoc

Food, Fun and Little Anthony

The Big Fresno Fair! Last week, Betty and I were at the fair for opening day as is our tradition. That was just our first visit! We were back at the Fair on the weekend with the kids and grandchild. We spent the day eating (again or should I say more);playing the carnival games where you can spend $30 to win a $1 goldfish;

Max tossing for that elusive goldfish


strolling the Midway taking in all the attractions; and I can’t forget to mention the people watching, which is extreme!


Paul and Betty


 Next, we were at the Fair on Wednesday night to see Little Anthony and the Imperials perform (my choice) and back again on Thursday night to see Foreigner and Journey perform (Betty’s choice and my ears are still ringing). I love music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and all doo-wop, so I was very excited to see Little Anthony and the Imperials perform, not only that, but I got to meet them and get autographs after the show. They are as good now as they have ever been, playing all their classics like Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop, Tears on My Pillow and Hurt So Bad. The audience was up on their feet the entire performance and the 90 minutes flew by.


Paul with Little Anthony and the Imperials


Magic Castle Swap Meet

We leave for the Magic Castle Swap Meet on Friday where you can see anyone and find anything. We’re having dinner Friday night at the Magic Castle with a group of friends that include our favorites, Nani and Mark Wilson.

Saturday is the swap meet. Every time I go to the Swap Meet I find truly exciting items and sometimes, very unexpected items that people are there to sell. It’s a treasure trove of magic! Not only am I going to be on the prowl to bring back unique magic effects for Hocus Pocus customers (or maybe something for my private collection), but Hocus Pocus is going to have a table for selling. I’m bringing some great items and pricing them to be incredible bargains. Lucky for us, Tim Mannix was here last week helping select the items we’re bringing (in addition to being our super model) and he has already transported them to Hollywood for us. Thank you, Tim; you made this trip very easy on me and Betty! If you are in the Hollywood area on Saturday, you owe it to yourself to go to the Magic Castle Swap Meet. If you’re there, please stop by our booth to say hello.

New and Exciting

I was very excited this week because an item I’ve been wanting for Hocus Pocus is finally here! Seymour the Psychic Snake in a Basket is a thing of beauty. Why, you ask? Because we wanted three things in a new Snake in a Basket effect: larger size (the basket is 22 inches tall and Seymour can extend another 32 inches above that!); the Snake needed “personality” (Seymour is very colorful and unique); and there need to be more to the routine than selecting a card so we now have a prediction making, milk drinking, card shooting Snake. But, don’t take my word for it, take a look at the video below or read more here…






We’re packing up and heading out to The Magic Castle. Have a great weekend.

Until next time,



Fall, Fair and Fun

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2011 by hocuspoc

Super Models on the Loose

We received some great new exclusive product this week: appearing guitars, floating guitars, mutilated umbrellas and more.  We took samples to Magic Live to get reaction and it was great! We placed the order immediately and just received them this week. Since these items are Hocus Pocus’ exclusives we had to do all the photography for the website. So we put out the call and to the rescue came our two TOP SUPER MODELS, Wacko and Tim Mannix.

On any given day, both Wacko and Tim are top notch entertainers that will keep you in stitches. BUT, put them together, in front of a camera and they are unstoppable. They kept everyone at Hocus Pocus entertained. I really want to get them to start making product teaser videos. I don’t think it could get any better than the two of them. THANK YOU Tim and Wacko!!!


Wacko and Tim Mannix with Four Appearing Guitars




Wacko with Three Appearing Guitars




Tim Mannix with Bag to Light Foulard




Wacko and Tim Mannix in Nosey Volunteers


Charlie Chaplin Where Are You?

We have a new picture of our littlest magician, Jon-Paul Romhany, kicking back in Canada wearing Daddy’s costumes. Can’t wait to have him riding The Kangaroo!



Jon-Paul Romhany



The County Fair is Here!

Wednesday was the opening day of The Big Fresno Fair. The annual county fair runs every October right after the main grape harvesting season and Betty and I have attended opening day every year for the last 20 years. Earlier in the day, we were a little unsure if we would be able to make it because there was a HUGE rainstorm (and this was VERY HUGE – more rain in one day than we had all of October last year) all night and throughout the morning, but Lady Luck was on our side and the weather cleared up for us by late afternoon (maybe we should have gone to the horse races, too).

We love the Fair, or maybe I should say we love the FOOD at the Fair because that is our main reason for attending.  Yes, yes, we look at the art, agriculture and home exhibits, but really we’re there for the FOOD. Did I tell you the world’s BEST cinnamon rolls are at the Fair? Not to mention the soft tacos and pretzels. Yummy!


The Big Fresno Fair



Magic Castle Swap Meet

Next weekend Betty and I will be heading to the Magic Castle Swap Meet. This year we have a couple of tables, which will be LOADED with MAGIC GOODIES, and you won’t believe the bargains we’re offering. Tim Mannix pulled double duty this week; not only was he one of our Top Models, but he scoured the warehouse and Private Estate section to select items for sale at the Swap Meet. Again, THANK YOU TIM! Come by and see us! Remember, seeing is believing! Not only are we selling, but I’ll be shopping, too.  I’ll be looking for great finds to post on the website when we get home. Keep checking the website because I always do well at the Castle’s Swap Meet.

Sad News


Burt Sperber

Lastly, I want to mention my good friend Burt Sperber who passed away last week. Burt had many accomplishments in his lifetime: the business he started as a 19-year-old grew to be on Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s 500 Largest Companies; was inducted into the prestigious Inner Magic Circle of England; Magician of the Year in 2011; he was a magic historian; Korean War veteran; and he headed up and contributed to many charitable causes. But, to me Burt was friend and mentor; he treated me like a son from the first moment I met him. He was the most generous, kind and very special person you could ever want to meet. You meet very few people like Burt Sperber in your lifetime. I can imagine that he touched 1000s of people’s lives, I’m honored that he touched mine.

Until next time,