Archive for October, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 by hocuspoc

My grandson Zachary at his first pumpkin patch.

This last weekend we took my grandson and his parents to a local pumpkin patch. As you can see by the pictures he had a great time! Zachary is now at a point in his young life where he’s beginning to understand what this whole Halloween-thing is about. He’s dressing up as a pirate and will be pillaging the neighborhood, as any good pirate would do, in search of candies and other seasonal goodies. Hopefully, he won’t have to strong-arm anyone for sugary treasure.

Remember, Halloween is the time to start thinking about your upcoming holiday shows, and we have a number of Halloween and Christmas items that play very well with audiences.

The Zombie Deck features original artwork from the U.S. Playing Card Company

Freaky Body Illusions comes to mind. Tim says he’s used this effect in his Halloween shows for years and it goes over like gangbusters. My favorite is Dead Ringer by Tim Wisseman.

Zombies Everywhere!

We now have Zombie Decks, which is a totally unique deck of playing cards, both a traditional deck and a delightfully spooky set of survival tips in case of zombie attacks. Plus, gone are the usual face cards; the royals and jokers have joined the horde.

The Zombie Deck features original artwork on the front and back of the cards, including zombified face cards and jokers.

iProject EXCLUSIVE from Hocus Pocus

These decks were reanimated in the USA at the United States Playing Card Company and printed on premium stock with a quality finish.

iProject is Flying Out the Door

The card through window is a classic in magic and for good reason. The impactful visual of a spectator’s signed card appearing on the other side of a Glass window is simply impossible.

Over the years many magicians have tried to make a portable version of this effect using many things. With iProject you can now have a selected

Zachary panning for gold at the Pumpking Patch

card’s torn corner appear on the spectator’s phone.

  • The card had to be a free selection
  • The card had to be signed
  • The phone the card passes through is a borrowed one
  • No application added to the borrowed phone
  • Everything is inspect-able
  • Works with most ANY smart phone, so it is not limited to the iPhones

And all can be borrowed! The phone, the card and the money. Everything can be borrowed and you can still do this effect..

Out of Town, Again

Again, I have to make a short jaunt out of town to pick up some valued props from a magician that no longer has need for his wonderful vintage and hard-to-find props, so the blog has to go up early once again.

Zachary the mummy, Franken-Daddy and mommy the witch!

Can’t say I mind this kind of trip as it’s like Christmas every time we dive into a box or room crammed with magic.

You’ll surly see some of these fine articles of magic from days gone by in our Private Estate section very soon.

Have a great weekend and a very Happy Halloween!

Until next time,

Paul

P.S.  Be on the lookout for candy-craving pirates!

Swap Meet Success

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2012 by hocuspoc

The clock tower at the L.A. Farmers Market hasn’t changed since my last visit 47 years ago.

As you may know, Betty, my sister-in-law Susan, Tim and I headed south to Hollywood for the Magic Castle swap meet last Thursday. And as expected, we had a really GREAT time. We always depart a day early so that we can get situated, explore the city a bit, and have a nice Friday night dinner with friends and see the shows.

L.A.’s Farmer’s Market

Taking two vehicles is a bright idea because the girls can go shopping and we too can go our own direction, which in this case, was the Farmer’s Market.  On a family trip, my parents had taken me to L.A.’s Farmers Market when I was ten years old.

The Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax is a Los Angeles landmark and world class tourist destination and has been the home to circus acts, parades, petting zoos, and “stargazing” since the early 1930’s. In fact, it was James Dean’s favorite hangout up to his untimely death.

Needless to say, it’s changed a bit in the last 47 years. But it was fun see that the original layout was still intact, and that they’d only added on with the addition of THE GROVE, a mega-deluxe “shopping experience.” Actually, it’s pretty impressive, even to a dyed-in-the-wool Fresno boy.

Dinner with the Wilson’s

After a few short hours of exploration, it was back to the Magic Castle Hotel for a rest and to dress for dinner. As has become our custom, we had dinner with Mark & Nani Wilson, their son Greg Wilson and his wife Aiya that we call “I”. What I like about our friendship is that it’s so easy and the conversation always just seems to flow. We all seem to get along so well, and of course, Magic and Magic History is often the centerpiece of the conversation.

By the way, it was a great show that night featuring the elegant and classical magic of James Dimmare, comedic magician Dave Cox and the incomparable Rich Bloch as the emcee. All were exceptionally professional and entertaining.

Without question, a very enjoyable evening was had by all.

Meeting, Swapping and Such

To no surprise, our $1 and $5 boxes went like hotcakes on a cold winter day. We took over 40 boxes crammed with all sorts of magic, paraphernalia and DVDs. By the time it was over all but ONE box was gone, leaving us with just a few DVDs, which we found good homes for…luckily!

Tim and I scoured the upper and lower levels of the Castle finding several items that could be sold, but mostly we went to sell our wares, and that is precisely what we did.

It’s always fun swapping, trading, conversing and searching for rare or cool tricks and meeting new and old friends alike.

Home Again, Home Again

Sunday night my son Max hosted his first party in his new home — I guess you could call it a housewarming party. I acted as the chief burger-flipper and vegetable-griller and the relatives and parents of his roommates all brought food, so there was plenty to eat for everyone.

My grandson Zachary with my son Max’s new puppy Jax

Max has a new puppy named Jax, so my grandson Zachary and Jax had some quality time together in the backyard. As you can see by the picture, that was a whole lot of cute for us to take in.

Private Estate Ever Growing

As the private estate items continue rolling in, we realize we’ve got to get more organized since Tim’s area still looks like a magic bomb was recently detonated. We’re seriously considering purchasing some new shelving to keep things in better order as this segment of our business expands ever more quickly.

My wife’s cousin will be in town this weekend and we’re having them over for a Saturday night dinner with all the kids. I’ve been steadfastly making sure the yard looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine, so it will be the perfect setting for a autumn evening dinner with family.

Betty’s birthday is on Monday, so we’ll be celebrating quietly after a very busy week.

FINALLY…fall is here and it’s cooler in Fresno.

Until next time,

Paul

One Day Early

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 by hocuspoc

Our now-famous $1 and $5 boxes at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA

Betty, Tim & I will be leaving early Friday morning to make the trip southward to the wilds of Hollywood and the world famous Magic Castle for their semi-annual swap meet, so that’s why I having to get this blog up one day early.It’s definitely not boring around here. We been frantically packing hundreds of DVDs and tricks for our famous $1 and $5 boxes. People get so excited about the “finds” in those boxes, they actually get down on their hands and knees and root through every box. Seems they can’t help themselves at these rock-bottom prices. And frankly, who can blame them?

Just for fun, we often put several pricey effects in the boxes, and when people come across them, they actually ask us in complete disbelief, “This is only $5?”, and we say, “Yes”, and they say “No way!” And we say “Yes, way!”

It’s so enjoyable to watch their reactions and the excitement it builds as they hunt for more of these incredible bargains.

Mason Lecture Delivers

What a bang up job Mark Mason did with his excellent lecture this last Monday night. This  is not the first time Hocus Pocus has hosted Mark’s lecture, nor will it be the last as he always brings his complete professionalism and a sense of commitment and true competence.  Tim and I were talking, and we both agree that Mark’s brilliance lies in the fact that he focuses on excellent presentational effects that “EVERY MAN” can do, versus flashy tricks that may take months to master.

Mark Mason “wows” them again at his lecture at Hocus Pocus

Of course, when he pulled me aside prior to the lecture and showed me his newest effect, I went bananas for it. This dynamite effect is such a knock-out that practically everyone present bought one. Since it hasn’t officially been released, I’m not at liberty to say exactly what it is, but I CAN tell you that it takes an effect that has been historically difficult to perform, and allows anyone, and I mean ANYONE, to do it.

Norm Neilsen’s remarkable Okito-ized version of the Light & Heavy Box

It’s so clever, that I’m bursting at the seams to tell you, but I promised Mark I’d keep it under wraps until its actual release date, sometime later this year. Trust me, you’ll be one of the first to know when we get our hands on it.

At a recent gathering, after witnessing the effect, BOTH David Copperfield and Chris Kenner immediately bought one.  They were so bowled over by its implausibility that they HAD to have one.  In fact, neither of them had a clue as to how it was done — it’s THAT good.

Light and Heavy Box, Neilsen Style

Norm Neilsen has done it again! A couple of weeks ago Norm called me to purchase several of our exclusive Gravity Boxes for a new project.  I told him that our Gravity Box was perfect for his project and that they are masterfully constructed by my friend Jay Leslie of House of Enchantment.

I had to have Norm’s beautiful new verson of the Light & Heavy Box

So, I shipped him a few, and as you can see by the pictures, Norm did his own exemplary “magic” on them, morphing them into a work of art with his signature Okito decaling. The paint job on them is utterly first rate and pictures don’t do them justice. They’re now available on Norm’s site.

I have to admit, when I saw the transformation and what Norm had done, I knew I had to have one for myself. I’m not surprised, just impressed one more time at Norm’s outstanding work.

Dennis Loomis Sword Box

This week Dennis Loomis brought in a Sword Box he had custom made for his show many years ago by a local craftsman. This is by far the most beautiful Sword Box I’ve ever seen. I don’t know who the guy is who built it, but he’s unquestionably a master of his craft.

I was really liking the fact that displaying it would enhance our showroom, so I wouldn’t have minded if it lingered here for a while.

Dennis Loomis’ custom-made Sword Box; what a beauty!

However, as fate would have it, after putting it online, it sold within 2 hours! That’s the way things go around here. A mere 24-hours of enjoyment of this one-of-a-kind Sword Box. Literally, here today, GONE tomorrow!

Swap Meet Here We Come

We’re spending the rest of today packing the remainder of the items were going to sell at the Castle swap meet.

We always have such a good time in Hollywood; having dinner with friends, exploring new parts of L.A., wheeling and dealing, finding awesome vintage magic, and just batting the breeze with our magic friends.

If you’ve never been to the Magic Castle Swap Meet, we hope to see you there.  If not this weekend, certainly sometime in the near future. It’s a blast.

Have a magical weekend, I know I will.

Until next time,

Paul

Not Enough Hours In The Day

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2012 by hocuspoc

More vintage magic seems to arrive daily.

I get here every day at five o’clock…and it’s truly a magician’s dream come true.

By the time Tim gets here, I’ve gone through several dozen boxes and found a multitude of items for him to write up and put live online.

As we move into our third week of going through this massive collection, we realize it’s easily going to take us into the first part of NEXT year before we finally finish putting up the last tricks online. But, work is a good thing to have, especially these days, so we continue.

Meanwhile, we got another SEVEN boxes in this week of collectible magic and vintage props from the 1970’s, including U.F. Grant and Milson Worth pieces that had never been used. I love it!

As you can see by the photo, Tim’s space is dwindling.  At this point our showroom and warehouse are almost bursting at the seams.

It’s definitely getting a bit crowded.

We actually had to put additional shelving in what was once our lunchroom. It has now been converted into the Private Estate Inventory Room.  Tim’s very organized and gotten the shelves labeled with a system that makes it easy to locate any item quickly, so we’re not wasting valuable time hunting down props.

Our Newest Exclusive

We’re excited about our newest product launch, iProject by Alan Rorrison, which is a Hocus Pocus exclusive. Think of it as an updated version of the ever popular Card-in-Window effect, but now you can do it on your CELL phone, so it’s far more portable and accessible.

Our newest Hocus Pocus exclusive.

As an incentive to pre-order iProject you’ll receive The Shrinking Card Case, as a FREE Gift!

This next Monday is the Mark Mason Lecture, and it’s our final lecture of the season. Mark is such a pro and always brings his A-game, so we are all anticipating a great evening full of very USABLE professional magic. We’re also excited to be carrying Mark’s two newest effects Bob’s Box and the Orient Express. Be sure and check them out.

The Big Fresno Fair

It’s back! Betty and I go the fair almost every year because we love it. We grew up going to the fair yearly and it brings back so many great childhood memories. We’ve gone both of the last two nights, and the fair is only into its first THREE days ago.

We had some great fun and as you can see Tim tried his hand at being the Boy-in-the-Plastic-Bubble to our great amusement.

Filled with air, the goal is to stand upright, good luck Tim!

Last night the kids came out and met us for a bite to eat before attending the concert.

Betty bought tickets to the Lynard Skynard concert, so we took the whole gang.

Actually I was pretty unsure about the concert because I’m more of a Little Anthony and the Imperials type, whereas Betty is more of the Lynard Skynard type, so I went with some reservations about just exactly how much I might enjoy it. But honestly I have to admit, Lynard Skynard put on an impressive 90-minute show to a sold-out cheering crowd. People love these guys, and now I know why. They’re definitely professional entertainers, and I may just be moving over into the Lynard Skynard camp, but please, don’t tell Betty.

I’m thankful it’s Friday. I’ve worked hard this week.

Until next time,

Paul