Archive for April, 2012

Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2012 by hocuspoc

Monday night we held a benefit auction at Hocus Pocus for our friend, Tony Blanco. Tony, a full-time magician, is ill and has not been able to work for several months. For you long time Hocus Pocus members, you’ll recall that Tony worked here about six years ago.  Tony is a good person and an active

Tony Blanco

member of the Fresno magic community so we wanted to do something for him.

We got the word out to the local Fresno magicians and it was decided that we would hold an auction of magic effects with all the proceeds going to Tony.

For two weeks before the auction, local magicians dropped off their donations. Combined with what Hocus Pocus donated you would not believe how much there was to choose from, some items were even brand new and never before used. While we were setting up for the auction on Monday, my son-in-law Jonathan decides to pick up the microphone and pretends he’s an auctioneer. A star was born, he was a perfect auctioneer for the evening.

Magicians previewing the auction items

We had a great turnout for the auction – the Fresno Magic Club and magicians from 90 miles away showed up ready to support Tony, have a good time and spend some money! A Perfect Storm for an auction.

The doors opened at 6 p.m. for the previews and people were still dropping off donations! It was just so great.

At 7 p.m. we started the auction. Jonathan was the auctioneer, Tim and I held up the items and gave descriptions and Dexter kept track of the winning bids. Teamwork at its finest!

The bidding was crazy!

In all my life, I have never witnessed something so hysterical. Husbands and wives were bidding against each other; one participant drove the price up on an item from $10 to $40 all on their own — no one was bidding against them!

Bidding on the auction items

This just goes to show you the generous spirit of the local magicians. Everyone was here to help out one of their own, and help out they did. The auction was very successful. I want to thank everyone for their help and generosity in making this event a great success. It’s times like this that make me very proud to be a part of the Fresno magic community.

One final look at the auction…

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

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Home From Hollywood

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 by hocuspoc

Magic Castle Swap Meet

Last weekend we attended yet another successful Magic Castle Swap Meet! I cannot believe the great items we came home with and none of it was what we brought to the Swap Meet to sell. We completely filled two SUVs to the brim with new items and barely had room for the people who needed to ride back home. And, after five days we’ve sold through about 80% of it…the demand for the Private Estate Collection continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I need to apologize to all the very good customers who called this week with questions about items we had just put on the website, and then sold immediately, so they were no longer available when they called; I wish I could get more of these great collectibles, but quantities in this end of the business are definitely limited. Which brings me to my next point…if you have any effects or illusions that you no longer are using, give me a call and let’s see what we can work out.

Tim and Max bringing Chalet Backstage With A Magician into the Hocus Pocus Showroom

Tim and Max bringing Chalet Backstage With A Magician into the Hocus Pocus Showroom

As Long As We’re Here…

As long as we were in Hollywood, Betty and I wanted to stop by one of our favorite stores, Nick Metropolis, and see what they had that we “needed”. This store is always overflowing with great items that you can’t get anywhere else (like Hocus Pocus!) so you want to make sure you have the time to browse. Well, we found the best item, a vintage pedal car that we knew would be perfect for our grandson, Zachary. When we were finished with the Swap Meet on Saturday, we headed over to the store to pick up the pedal card, the store is about 10 minutes from the Magic Castle so it is very convenient. Or so we thought…we get to within two blocks of the store and discover the roads are blocked because of a marathon. It then took us 45 minutes, as we took all the detours, to get to the store. But, it was well worth the time and trouble, take a look at this…

Zachary and his vintage pedal car

Magic Classes Coming

We’re getting close to the start of our inaugural Magic Class. The first class is scheduled for May 5 and then the following three Saturdays. Yesterday, we were visited by Rick Bentley, of the Fresno Bee, who interviewed Tim Mannix for an article about the magic classes appearing in the Bee next week.

We are so proud and honored to announce that Mark and Nani Wilson are going to be guest instructors at the May 19 class. What I would have given to be at a magic class instructed by Mark and Nani when I was a kid or really anytime in my life for that matter! This is such a great opportunity for all aspiring magicians! To reserve your seat for the Magic Classes, call 559-266-5150 or 800-407-4040 and you can email tim@hocus-pocus.com

Tim with the Fresno Bee photographer and Max standing by with the rabbit

Tim getting his close-ups done with the Fresno Bee photographer

Happy Birthday, Nani!

And last, but not least comes a very important announcement: yesterday was Nani Darnell Wilson’s birthday. No one brings elegance and class to magic the way Nani does. So, to the half of the dynamic duo from the Magic Land of Allakazam and the Magic Circus who inspired me, Happy Birthday, “Magic Mom” from Betty and me. We so enjoyed celebrating your birthday with you last week at the Magic Castle and love every moment we spend together with you.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

On the Road

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 by hocuspoc

Magic Castle Swap Meet

This morning we’re on the road to Hollywood for the Magic Castle Swap Meet and you know what this means…great hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind effects will be appearing on the website next week! In addition to buying, Hocus Pocus will also be selling. We have about 20 very large cartons of product we’re hauling to the Swap Meet. Once again, we will have our world-renowned, ridiculously low priced $1-$5-$10 item boxes – seriously, last time we had a $100 item that we sold for $5. We were mobbed when we put these boxes out at the last Swap Meet; so if you’re there don’t delay coming to our tables because the best always goes first.

Betty and her sister, Susan, will be operating the sale tables (sorry, Betty and Susan) while Tim and I will be out shopping everyone else’s tables and trying to find those elusive items that we know you want. You never know what you’re going to find at the Swap Meet, and that is half the fun of being there. I love scouring the tables and discovering the surprises, and believe me, there are always good finds and lots of surprises. If you’re in the Hollywood area you should spend Saturday at the Magic Castle Swap Meet, you will love it and touring the newly remodeled Castle is not so bad, either.

Sorting the Hocus Pocus $1-5-10 boxes for the Magic Castle Swap Meet

 

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Mark Wilson! Mark celebrated his 83rd birthday this week. We’re celebrating with Mark and Nani Wilson tonight with dinner at the Magic Castle. Joining Betty and I for this great occasion will be Susan, Tim Mannix, Greg Wilson and his wife. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to celebrate Mark’s birthday with him; Mark is my mentor, teacher and friend and I cherish our time spent together. Not only are we celebrating Mark’s birthday this week, but we are celebrating a very special lady’s day coming up next week, Nani Darnell Wilson’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Nani, my magical Mom! I can’t wait to see you both tonight!

Mark & Nani Wilson 50th Anniversary of Allkazam

Keith Fields

Keith Fields was in the house Monday night and gave what I think is one of the best lectures I’ve ever seen. This guy is a performer! He was thrilling and funny and gave a great presentation. The lecture was full of great ideas and practical things that everyone can use in their act. Keith also spoke on and talked about magic theory and misdirection. Everyone is the audience hung on his every word! Keith arrived at Hocus Pocus earlier in the day and hung out with us; he even spent time going through the items we pulled for the Magic Castle Swap Meet. He was back again on Tuesday before he headed up to Northern California. I you ever have the chance to see Keith Fields perform – do not miss it! Truly one of the best I’ve seen.

Keith Fields performing The Human Xylophone at Hocus Pocus

Keith Fields Lecture at Hocus Pocus

Keith Fields riding the Kangaroo at Hocus Pocus

 

Hope to see you at the Swap Meet!

Until next time,

Paul

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2012 by hocuspoc

Cannons and Robots?

I’m sitting in my office a couple of days ago, perusing all the latest news in the world of magic, when Betty comes in and asks me if I’m expecting any large shipments.  She then explains that there is a very large freight truck out front with a delivery and the driver is asking if we have a fork lift. A fork lift? While we do receive large stage illusions on a regular basis, none of them require a fork lift. Luckily, our neighbor does have a fork lift so I sent Tim next door to see if we could convince them into helping us out. Being the good neighbors they are, they quickly agreed. So they drove it over and unloaded the exceptionally LARGE pallet from the freight truck. Betty then asks if I was expecting this shipment and what is it? To which I replied, “of course, I was expecting it and it’s a cannon and a six foot robot.” Yes, it’s surprising, but true.

The cannon originally belonged to Magician Melinda Saxe of Las Vegas (as seen in image below) and used in her stage act. It was then repainted by Disney Studios to look like a Civil War cannon and used in her Disney TV Special. It has been stored for awhile in a Las Vegas warehouse until we were able to magically procure it; it now resides in the Hocus Pocus warehouse.

 

Melinda and the cannon as originally painted

Paul Gross shooting Tim Mannix out of the cannon at Hocus Pocus

Now about the robot…the robot was a bonus in this deal; it’s one-of-a-kind and completely made of fiberglass. When I was a kid I used to watch Lost In Space on television and I always wanted my own robot. This robot is designed to hide a person inside to operate the hands, flashing lights, gears and dispense predictions. Did I mention that the head turns from side-to-side? It’s pretty perfect…

 

Paul and his new robot in the Hocus Pocus Showroom

Magicians in the House!

I was very happy to welcome Andy Amyx, Michael Rappa and Trevor Wyatt to Hocus Pocus today.  It’s always a pleasure to welcome magicians to Hocus Pocus, but to have three at one time was almost sensory overload! The enthusiasm, ideas and creative and back-and-forth conversation made my day! Thanks for visiting!

Tim Mannix, Andy Amyx, Michael Rappa, Trevor Wyatt and Paul Gross in the Hocus Pocus Showroom

Have a great weekend!

Until next time,

Paul