Archive for November, 2011

Giving Thanks

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2011 by hocuspoc


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday and I hope all of you did, too! What can be better than gathering with your friends and family for a great meal to celebrate and give thanks for all that you have. Betty and I are grateful for so many things; each other, our kids, our grandchild, our family, wonderful friends, our health and the continued success of a business we love. 

This year we had two new additions to our Thanksgiving table, Zachary our grandson who was celebrating his first Thanksgiving, the first of many, many more to come and our good friend Tim Mannix joined in the family festivities, also. My mother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook, has been working on this meal for a week and she had my sister-in-law, Susan, an equally great cook, helping her out. With these two in charge you know you’re in for a feast! We had all the fixings with our turkey. One of my favorites, and a tradition with Betty’s family, is souberag. Basically, souberag is dough with butter and cheese… I mean, really, how can you go wrong with that? You know, I looked around the table yesterday and thought I really do have it all – what more could I want. We should really take time more frequently and regularly to recognize and be thankful for our blessings. 

Speaking of Tim

I have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! After years of begging and pleading, Tim Mannix has FINALLY agreed to come and work at Hocus Pocus. YAY! Tim, as you know, has come to Fresno frequently to help out with Private Estate items and promotional items. He has gone to Magic Live and the Magic Castle Swap meets with me to help find new items for our Private Estate collection as well as new introductions. He’s been at Hocus Pocus the last two weeks helping me inspect, catalog and photograph a huge amount of new arrivals for Private Estate and has even been the model for some new magazine advertisements. Tim will be making the permanent move in February and will continue to do shows and performances in the Southern California, as well.  Just one more thing to be thankful for…WELCOME, TIM!!!

And, one more thing to be thankful for is all of you and the support you continually give to me and Hocus Pocus. THANK YOU!

I hope you’re all enjoying a long weekend.

Until next time,


Speaking of Side Shows…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2011 by hocuspoc
From the Desk of Max Gross

Hi, everyone, Max here.

 Paul and Betty (Dad and Mom to me) are off gallivanting around today so I decided to write the Blog.

Sideshow Central

Last week Paul gave you a great story about watching old horror and science fiction movies with Aunt Jan and Grandma Molly. This story then led into his fascination with sideshows. Well, I guess “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” (not my phrase, someone else told me to say that) because I love sideshows, too.

Venice Beach, CA, as anyone who has ever been there would swear to, can almost be labeled a sideshow itself. But, there is actually a real sideshow in Venice Beach and last weekend I was there. It was just so cool.  

I stopped in a store, admission $5, to get a peak at this side-show. These things were all alive: two-headed snake (kinda weird); a lot of two headed turtles; two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon; and a five-legged dog. I took a picture with the hairy faced man, then went into a show and this other guy swallowed swords, put a meat hook through his nose and into his mouth, and hammered a nail into his nose (sounds like some magic tricks we sell at Hocus Pocus)…it was a bizarre day and I was thankful the show was only 10 minutes long.

 Time for Thanks

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the USA. I love Thanksgiving because of the great food that I will eat at my grandmother’s house. Not only is the food great on Thanksgiving, but Grandma makes enough so that we can all take home leftovers. It’s the meal that just keeps on giving. YUM! I’m also very thankful that I’m in school and doing well, I’m working at the Magic Shop and I think I’m doing well (I’ve been answering the phones this week, so really, the customers will be a better judge of how I’m doing), and I have a great family that loves me and I love them. What more could you want?

I started asking my co-workers what they were thankful for because I was curious (and I needed to make the Blog longer) and this is what they said:

“My family, my grandchildren, my health and a whole bunch of other stuff…Oh, and a happy life.”  – Jan

“My family, my friends and my job.”  – Karen

“Good friends, magic tricks and Buddy the dog.” – Tim

“My family, my friends and the very wonderful, patient people I work with at Hocus Pocus; and the very colorful customers who make me laugh every day.” – Debbie

We all hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

Have a good weekend.

Until next time,


Christmas, Creatures and The Circus

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 by hocuspoc


We all know it’s coming, we look forward to it every year and we’re so happy when it’s done! What else can it be but Christmas? That wonderful Holiday Season is upon us! One of the things I like best about Christmas, from a purely magic standpoint, is reviewing the new product. And this year we have so many new Christmas items. It is so fun, so inspired, you just gotta love it! This year we put together a special holiday section on the Hocus Pocus Home Page to direct you to the Christmas product. One of my VERY FAVORITE NEW ITEMS is the Tommy James Comedy Christmas Magic Wand. This wand is very ingenious, but what really elevates it to the next level is Tommy’s routine, which he is so graciously sharing with everyone. Take a look at this and have a great laugh…



Creature Feature

Do you remember? Do you remember watching Creature Feature Saturday nights at 11 o’clock? This is back, way back in the early 1970s; a great television series. Every episode was a great creature or horror movie, made in the 1950s or 1960s and they were always filmed in black and white. I loved them AND I got this love from my grandmother. Yes, you heard that right, my grandmother. My sister Jan and I used to stay with our grandparents on Saturday nights and our grandmother LOVED horror movies and the old science fiction movies. She would have us watch these movies with her, movies like Them (1954) and The Blob (1958); we all loved these movies and this developed into my love of side-shows and all things associated with them. So now you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about this…well look right here and you will see why. I received this “creature” today, a “beautiful” Doug Higley creature, and it sparked so

Higley Creature

much conversation here in the showroom about the old creature movies. Some of us (that would be me and Jan) loved the movies and this creature, and others in the showroom, well not so much. But, we all agreed that this Higley creature could definitely be the “STAR” of a Creature Feature movie.


Happy Anniversary, Magic Circus

It has been 40 years since the first Magic Circus special aired on television. This coming week, The Magic Castle is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of The Magic Circus. On November 17, there will be a Castle Perk Interview/Discussion with Mark & Nani Wilson and many of the other people that were instrumental to the creation of these innovative shows. Mark Wilson pioneered the performance of magic on television and it was Mark who proved to the networks and sponsors that magic could amaze and entertain audiences via television. He effectively delivered quality magic to the masses. There were six shows, two per year in 1971, 1972 and 1973. This was the first full-color magic series on TV. Mark and Nani Wilson hosted guests such as Jay Marshall and Lefty, Dai Vernon, Carl Ballantine and Shimada on The Magic Circus.  Happy Anniversary.

 I hope you all have a great weekend!

Until next time,



Magic For The Stars

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2011 by hocuspoc

Bye-Bye Zig Zag 

Bye-bye Bud West Zig Zag

This week I had to say goodbye to the Bud West Zig Zag. Yes, it was for sale and yes we wanted to sell it, but I loved having that Zig Zag here; it was a piece of art. It was so beautifully crafted and in pristine condition. The upside to this is that I know it’s going to a good home. We’ll miss you, ZigZag!


Holy Smoke! This is NO TRICK!

We were all stunned on Monday when we heard the news that the Magic Castle was on fire. The fact that it was Halloween didn’t escape us, but we soon learned

The Magic Castle on fire

that this was no trick. The phone calls started pouring in from friends in the Hollywood area who were witnessing this terrible fire. The Magic Castle is a treasure and houses a treasure trove of magic memorabilia so you know the panic that was spreading throughout the magic community at this point in time wondering what the damage was. You can imagine my relief when Nani Wilson phoned and said ALL the memorabilia was SAFE. The fire was limited to the attic and office areas. As more than 100 firefighters fought the fire, they removed pictures and other items so that they wouldn’t suffer water or smoke damage. GREAT BIG SHOUT OUT to the LAFD! The plan is to re-open the Magic Castle for business today; now we can all breathe a big sigh of relief.

 i-phone, u-phone, we-all-phone…

It was a great surprise and pleasure when Greg Rostami dropped in for a visit this

Paul with Greg Rostami

week. Not only is Greg a very friendly and engaging person, but he is brilliant. We carry his DVD, Stuck, which is a great effect and everyone should own this, but that’s not really what I want to share with you. Greg has developed an APP that can be used on iPhones, iPod touch and Android phones. IT IS BRILLIANT! You have never seen a mind-reading effect like this, he had everyone at Hocus Pocus entertained and mesmerized, we couldn’t get enough. Trust me when I say go to Greg’s website, and take a look at iForce. You won’t regret it.

We introduced our new EXCLUSIVE, Any Card Called For by Dennis Loomis, this week.  I was very excited to get this exclusive for Hocus Pocus because it is just that good. You can go directly to the card the spectator names…in a shuffled deck! But, don’t take my word for it, Jeff McBride says, “This amazing deck allows you to cut to any card quickly and easily.” Take a look at the video…

Boys Will Be Boys

Lucky me, I had both of my sons, Max and Cole, in the Showroom one afternoon this week. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but when it does we do enjoy ourselves!


Max, Paul and Cole playing in the Hocus Pocus Showroom

Have a great weekend!

Until next time,