Archive for November, 2012

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 by hocuspoc
Santa's elves have infiltrated the place.

Santa’s elves have infiltrated the place.

Betty and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the kids at my mother-in-law’s house. We cooked not one, but TWO turkeys and enough food to feed a small militia. The food was utterly delicious and we all had a good time. We sent everyone home with plenty of leftovers for the week. I trust your Thanksgiving was as pleasant as ours.

Decorating is Serious Business

As has become our family custom, over the weekend we decorated the house inside and out. Betty and I were in charge of the indoor decorations and the exterior was handled by my sons, their friends, my son-in-law Jonathan and Tim. By the time all was said and done it was — wait for it — MAGICAL! But, seriously, it did look great.

Rudolf and the Abominable Snowman light up the shipping area.

Rudolf and Abominable Snowman light up the shipping area

Meanwhile back at the shop, the girls in the shipping department got into action decorating for the Christmas season. The place now looks more like Santa’s workshop than a magic warehouse.  Between the radio dialed to a “Christmas-Music-Only” station and the holiday décor, it really helps everyone get more into the spirit of the season.

Holiday Kickoff

Thanks to you, our fine customers, the Black Friday weekend proved good to us. There were some very good deals to be had and you took advantage of them.

After the holiday weekend concluded, we were back at it early Monday morning, preparing and shipping packages to all points on the globe. Frank Thurston was in town having performed a show the evening before and gave us a hand getting the many packages out the door to waiting customers.

Frank Thurston helped us get packages out.

Frank Thurston helped us get packages out.

It was most gratifying to see that so many of you participated in our DoorBusters, Holiday Kickoff and Holiday Helper events…again, our thanks.

It’s Nice to be Appreciated

It must be Christmastime; Chris Kenworthy's annual goodies have arrived!

Chris Kenworthy’s goodies arrive each year!

We got a nice surprise in the mail from Chris Kenworthy, it’s becoming a annual tradition each year that he sends us several boxes of caramel-covered marshmallows and several tins of See’s butterscotch lollipops.

Abbott's Gigantic Garden of Flowers

Abbott’s Gigantic Garden of Flowers

Chris wrote the nicest note thanking us for all we do and for bringing magic to the people 365 days a year.  Chris you’re making Hocus Pocus a VERY popular stop with our delivery providers. We wholeheartedly thank you Chris for the treats!

They Come & They Go

Just this week we got in several vintage Abbott pieces, a Gigantic Garden of Flowers and a circa 1960’s Abbott’s Where Do the Ducks Go?

Of course, period props such as these always take me back to my boyhood dreams of becoming the next GREAT American stage magician like my idols Mark Wilson and Harry Blackstone, Jr….I guess my dreams of a stage career and of having these two great props are just going to have to wait.

There Goes the "Where to the Ducks Go?" and Gigantic Garden of Flowers

There goes the “Where to the Ducks Go?”

I must admit, I really wanted to keep these props around just for my own enjoyment, but in less than 24 hours we were packing them up to be shipped out to their new owner. I know they will be aptly appreciated as their new home will be with one of our loyal customers. But, that’s the way things go around here. If you see something you like, better nab it before some other lucky guy gets it.

Besides, there’s always next week’s mail. Who knows what will show up? Stay tuned as we’re always getting new items in.

Until next time my friends,

Paul

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21, 2012 by hocuspoc

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!

This blog entry is going out early as tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday follows closely behind.

We had a busy week preparing for what is considered to be THE busiest shopping day of the year — BLACK FRIDAY. If by chance you’ve got a wish list, now would be a good time to take advantage of some of the great deals that can be had THIS Friday. If you’re one of our members, you’ll begin saving right away. If you’re not, NOW is the time to join, you’ll be glad you did!

Our Holiday Kickoff Event is 35% on ALL discountable items, but you’ll need to know the coupon code. The coupon code is KICKOFF. Also, beginning TODAY, we will have a special category called “Friday Door Busters” that will feature 70% discounts on selected items. Be sure to check them out. But, you need to HURRY, because BOTH of these offers END on Friday at midnight!

This is THE hottest new effect of the year – bar NONE!

2012’s Best Killer Effect

I’ve got let you know about the best new effect Mark Mason has brought to the market, X-Act by Mike Kirby. We will accept delivery THIS Friday, and they will be ready to ship immediately! If you haven’t heard, X-Act is A-card-at-ANY-number effect with a super clean handling.

In my humble opinion, barring none, this is THE hottest new trick for 2012.  You’ve got to watch the online video to see what a powerful effect this really is and what a sensation it’s bound to create with audiences. This art piece struck at the FISM like a bomb. On the second day, Mark Mason was completely sold out!

Trust me, if you can count, you can perform this trick! It’s really THAT simple!

Of course, one of the best things about Thanksgiving, next to spending time with family and friends, is the phenomenal and delicious different foods we get to enjoy.

Just for fun, take our Thanksgiving Side-Dish poll:

Our Wish for You

Tomorrow Betty and I will be spending the day with my mother-in-law as we do each year. There will be plenty of food and her Armenian specialties. I’m truly thankful for all my family, friends and the many blessings we’ve received this year.

Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to personally say how thankful we are to you for your continued support throughout the years. Everyone here at Hocus Pocus joins me in sincerely wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks, until next time,

Paul

Almost Turkey Time

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 by hocuspoc

It hard to believe that we’re on the eve of Thanksgiving. Where has the year gone?

You can definitely feel that the holidays are in the air. We’ve been preparing for the onslaught of the Christmas shopping rush, and of course Black Friday.

Petrie-Lewis Rosebush

Petrie-Lewis Blooming Rosebush, Circa 1963

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”Abraham Lincoln

You never know what’ll come through the door. Yesterday a very RARE P&L Rosebush came in, and one thing is for sure, you will be rejoicing if you’re the LUCKY new owner of this Petrie-Lewis Rosebush!

Manufactured circa 1963, this is one of the most desirable pieces of magic apparatus in existence. The Petrie-Lewis Blooming Rosebush is a mechanical marvel.  The effect is enchanting to witness, and could be the highlight of any show, or the perfect piece to have on display in your home or office just waiting for someone to amaze.

This is believed to be one of the last rosebushes manufactured by the legendary Petrie-Lewis Company and was purchased from Joe Berg in the last days of his magic shop in Hollywood, California. The fellow who was its proud owner actually worked at Joe Berg’s Magic Shop as a young man and purchased it directly from him. So it’s coming from its ONE-and-ONLY original owner.

I cannot accurately describe to you how magical this rosebush appears to be as it slowly and silently blooms 10 roses.  And it’s completely mechanical, no humming motors, no remotes to fail.  The illusion of blooming flowers is perfect.  You can substitute REAL roses for the faux flowers, and toss them to the ladies in the audience for an added astonishment.

She’s BACK, but NOT for long!

Marketed at the time as “IMPROVED” due to additional foliage that made the bush appear to be real even from a short distance.  Without question, one of the NICEST ones we’ve EVER seen.

She’s BACK!

When we heard she was making a brief comeback, we knew we had to have her back here at Hocus Pocus. In fact, we like here so much we bought the remaining stock that our distributor had on hand. What am I talking about? Why, Mona Lisa 2 by Alpha Magic!

After a lengthy absence from production, Mona Lisa 2 by Alpha Magic is BACK! Through an EXCLUSIVE arrangement with the manufacturer, we have purchased all the remaining inventory of this incredible effect and are offering our customers a last chance to obtain one at an incredible 30% OFF!

This is the LAST CALL on this item. There will be NO MORE made after this run! Check out the video:

Mona Lisa 2 now offers TWO performance options for repeat performances!  Due to its simplicity and straightforward premise, this effect is quickly becoming an instant classic in the world of magic!

3 Wise Men on Tour

John Fowlston, Len Cohen, Barry Sokolsky and me.

This week Len Cohen, Barry Sokolsky and John Fowlston took a road trip to visit our showroom to see some of the new collectible items we’ve gotten in, and that continue coming in weekly.

John had never been here before, so he was somewhat awestruck and delighted, as most are when they first lay eyes on this place.

We all had a good time and it was fun talking shop with them and hearing about some of their adventures in magic over the years.

Until next time,

Paul

Truckload of Tricks

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2012 by hocuspoc

Alice (Isaac ) Thru the Looking Glass

Around here, you just never know what the day will bring.

Early Monday morning one of our regular customers arrived to unload a large quantity of illusions and tricks that he was ready to find new homes for.  It took us over an hour to unload everything from his sizable car carrier.  Included in this haul were: Audience Dis-Member, a Neon Light Suspension, Yogano Pole Suspension , Pack-and-Go Zig Zag, Alice Thru the Looking-Glass, ”, Thayer Handkerchief Box, and a one-of-a-kind, custom-made “Cat-in-the-Hat Square Circle among many other things.

Audience Dis-Member by Bill Smith’s Magic Ventures

Our newest employee, Isaac, has been here over a month now, and she’s discovering things in her evolving job description that may NOT have been covered in her initial job interview. In the last week we’ve floated her, pushed her through a GIANT glass mirror, and sawn her in half. She started to cringe when we wheeled in the Zig Zag cabinet.

Of course, Isaac is a trooper, so she seems to go along with whatever is requested of her. Besides, it’s fun and makes life far more interesting. I mean, how many people can say, “They cut me in half again today at work!”

Flashes from the Past

As we were opening and sorting through more boxes of collectibles that came in this week, we found a vintage set of Peter Diamond Comedy Passe Passe Bottles.

Peter Diamond’s Passe Passe Bottles

It reminded me of the set I used to use in my shows and how much mileage I got out of a single trick. It always went over great.

I was telling Tim about my favorite comedians, Abbott & Costello and their antics in one of my all-time favorite movies, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. I personally own this movie and could watch it over and over again.

And speaking off this classic bottle trick….here’s a clip from their television show peforming the bottle trick:

They’re so funny and it brings back so many old memories.

A Light Dims in Bakersfield

I must regretfully mention that my friend and all-around great guy, Grant Schofield recently passed away.

Born in Las Vegas, Grant Schofield led a most interesting life. He served his country as an Airborne Ranger during the Korean War and his professional career was in the Juvenile Justice System, originally as a juvenile hall worker, then probation officer, supervising probation officer, and finally 23 years on the bench as a Juvenile Court Referee for the Superior Court, similar to a judge.

After his retirement, he had the opportunity to pursue his artistic talents through creating custom jewelry, metal sculpting, and stained glass. He loved automobiles and magic. He was a cofounder of the Bakersfield PT Cruiser Car Club.

My friend Grant Schofield, the ChickenMan!

Performing as the Great Granzini, the Traveling ChickenMan, he would don a half-man-half-chicken suit and have audiences in stitches performing his own unique brand of comedy magic.

Grant continued to develop his magic, particularly for children and the theme of his act was based on “chickens” – rubber chickens, live chickens, chicken jokes, whatever, hence the name – the Chickenman.

Grant was a member the Bakersfield Magic Circle often serving as president, a member of the Society of American Magicians, International Brotherhood of Magicians, Pacific Coast Association of Magicians (served as president) and the Magic Castle.

Grant was just a REALLY great man that would give you the shirt off his back and most definitely, a kid at heart. Grant you will be sorely missed, my friend!

As the holidays will be here before you know it, please do keep us in mind as you begin preparing your holiday shopping lists.

FYI: Be sure to have your packages sent by these dates to ensure holiday delivery:

Dec 3: Priority Mail International

Dec 11: Express Mail International

Dec 17: Global Express Guaranteed

Dec 21: Priority Mail Domestic

Dec 22: Express Mail Domestic

Start making those wish lists soon…

Until next time,

Paul

The Holidays are Here!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 2, 2012 by hocuspoc

Zachary the Pirate with his mom and dad.

Assuming that you celebrate it, I hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

This was my grandson Zachary’s first official Halloween and he dressed up as a pirate. It’s funny how quickly they come to understand the concept of “dress-up-and-get-candy-for-free.”

I bought a little Purple People-Eater that danced to the “Purple People-Eater” tune every time you pushed a button. Zachary got the biggest kick out of it and would laugh and laugh every time the People-Eater would dance. I’m sure my daughter was thinking of me into the night as Zachary was probably still pushing that button hours later.

Having recently transplanted here from L.A., Tim didn’t expect to be doing any Halloween shows this season. But luckily, at the last moment he got a call, so he ended up performing four back-to-back shows.

Tim between his 3rd & 4th Halloween show!

Fortunately, they were at the same venue. Tim said the crowds were very receptive to his comedy and that everyone had a great time.

The Tricks of His Trade…

We got some excellent coverage from the local ABC affiliate here in Fresno, Channel 30, as part of a trick-or-treat theme, when they came out to do a profile on our business. It’s amazing how much ground they covered in just a few short minutes. We really owe Mariana Jacobs and her team a debt of gratitude for making us look so good.

It was fun having them here and seeing how enthusiastic even non-magicians get when they visit our showroom. If you’d like, check out the video by clicking on the link below:

http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/video?id=8865957

2013 Tenyo Products Released

Tenyo’s new standout 2013 product!

In keeping with the holiday spirit, Tenyo releases four new products at about this time  each year. As of this writing, they have been shipped and they’re on their way to our doorstep.

This year’s offering includes Card Surgery, which we believe is the standout for 2013. It’s definitely worth your consideration.

I should mention that pre-orders come with free shipping worldwide! Take a look by clicking on the image to the left.

Holidays Upon Us

Can you believe how quickly the holidays are approaching? Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and then Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s. Better get my shopping list ready.

Betty and I are taking off a bit early this afternoon to go to the Fresno Fall Home Improvement Show with friends.

Until next time,

Paul