Archive for July, 2013

An Indelible Blackstone Memory

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2013 by hocuspoc

Just recently, an older gentleman passed away leaving the executor of his estate the obligation of finding a home for this wonderful Blackstone commemorate, an authentic signed handkerchief used by the Great Blackstone to perform the famous Dancing Hank trick. The original knot that Blackstone himself tied in the corner of the hanky has been left untouched from that very day.

Blackstone. A name that conjures up quality, showmanship and excellence in the field of magic. Few can contest the significant contribution both father and son made to the magic world.

A 67-year-old memento of the Blackstone Sr. show.

A 67-year-old memento of the Blackstone Sr. show.

Here’s how the story unfolds…

It was 67 years ago that a boy’s ultimate dream was fulfilled. He would be attending and witnessing a live performance of Harry Blackstone, Sr. the most famous stage magician and illusionist of the 20th century. Little did he know that it would get even better, creating an indelible memory for him that would last a lifetime.

Imagine not only the thrill of attending the great Blackstone’s show, but having him approach you to borrow your handkerchief to perform his signature piece, the celebrated Dancing Handkerchief Illusion! It would be a day the boy would NEVER forget.

The year was 1946, just after the end of the World War II.  Harry Blackstone, Sr. hand resumed touring and was in the middle of an extensive national tour of the lower 48 states.

On that Friday night in August, a young boy, (the handkerchief’s former owner), took his handkerchief to the Blackstone show in hopes that the great magician would by chance call upon him to borrow it for his famous Dancing Handkerchief Illusion. Well, he did.

Blackstone Sr. always drew a caricature of himself that accompanied his autograph.

Blackstone Sr. always drew a caricature of himself that accompanied his autograph.

Yes, as fate would have it, it was the boy’s lucky day since Mr. Blackstone chose him to provide the borrowed handkerchief.  With the boy’s handkerchief, Blackstone proceeded to perform his illustrious handkerchief illusion wherein he places a handkerchief into the Casadega Cabinet where it magically comes to life dancing about the stage and responding to his commands with no visible means of support. At the conclusion of the routine, the handkerchief was returned to its owner with the knot intact. After the show Mr. Blackstone autographed the knotted hanky and drew the customary caricature of himself.

What a memory. What a remarkable memento! Needless to say, the boy kept the handkerchief, later framing it in a shadow-box. I am happy to report that we are the proud stewards of that very hank. That is until it finds a new home.

This Week’s Hocus Pocus Visitors

Rick Gerber, the “Budweiser Magician” and Godfrey the Magician both stopped by this week to spend some time with us. Rick trucked several of his illusions up from Los Angeles to consign with us.

Rick Gerber's custom Mis-Made Girl Illusion

Rick Gerber’s custom Mis-Made Girl Illusion

These illusions had been used in Rick’s tradeshows for Budweiser and have been lovingly packed away, so they are in absolutely excellent condition.

The portable stage Rick used for some of his Budweiser shows.

The portable stage Rick used for some of his Budweiser shows.

Rick’s Illusions included a custom-made Mis-Made Girl, Harbin’s Barrel Penetration, Owen-Style Substitution Trunk, Portable Stage, and a never-been-used, Giant Poster-Maker (Money-Maker).

Rick Gerber's Harbin Beer Barrel Penetration is a beauty!

Rick Gerber’s Harbin Beer Barrel Penetration is a beauty!

We had fun assembling them and since they’d been packed away for several years, Rick got a chance to get reacquainted with them as well.  This Mis-Made Girl was custom-made of Rick and features a  metal framework that encases the cubes and two motorized shelves on opposing sides of the frame, which raise and lower the cubes in opposite directions thus switching their placement. Due to this unique feature the need for stacking and unstacking the cubes has been entirely eliminated.

Godfrey was en route to one of the many county fairs, this one in Oregon, where he is a regular performer. He’s always looking for unusual attention-drawing effects for promotional purposes like the driving blindfolded, but Godfrey did it with a tractor. Check out Godfrey’s video at www.blindfolddrive.com.

Canned Godfrey

Canned Godfrey

Godfrey was in particular seeking a Houdini Milk Can Escpae. “Do you by chance have one?”

“Of course we do. We’re Hocus Pocus, and we have everything!”, and shortly thereafter Godfrey was trying the Milk Can on for size.

The difficult part is GETTING into the can.

The difficult part is GETTING into the can.

Godfrey’s goal is to have a local Dairy Association help underwrite the cost of the Milk Can and fill it with milk and ultimately perform the Milk Can Escape in front of the dairy cattle building at the fair.  I really think this is a great idea!

Just Days to Departing for Magic LIVE!

As much fun as it is, preparing for Magic LIVE is a gargantuan project.

Please plan on stopping by our booth to hang out, talk shop or just to say hello.

Until next time,

Paul

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Slay Audiences with Two Killer Cobra Strikes

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2013 by hocuspoc

Betty and I are off to see a man about a collection for consignment, so I’m publishing this blog one day early. Here it is…

~~~~

It happened. And just in the nick of time too.

Every two years, as we enter into the planning stage and preparations for Magic LIVE, we thoughtfully consider exactly WHAT to take as our “Hot Seller” that will draw attendees to our booth.

Counting Down to Magic LIVE 2013

Counting Down to Magic LIVE 2013

And yes, there’s always SOMETHING to take, but I want something that’s HOT, something worthy of people’s attention. Frankly, I want people buzzing about a hot new effect that they just HAVE to get!

Of course, the difficult part is FINDING that effect. Well, we did.

So, I guess we can consider it…

Mission Accomplished!

Yes, to my utter delight, I have just finalized a deal with Cobra Magic on, not one, but TWO awesome effects. Both effects will get people excited, impressed and definitely talking.

With great enthusiasm, I am happy to announce that Hocus Pocus is the exclusive source for two Cobra tricks that are burning up the chat-boards receiving enormous attention and widespread praise.  Both are significant and powerful effects that will render audience’s speechless.

They are: Cobra’s Electric Wireless Whiteboard and Cobra Light, which are available and in stock for you to begin frying the minds of audiences everywhere.

A worker's dream; light-weight, authentic-appearing in every detail.

A worker’s dream; light-weight, authentic-appearing in every detail.

It’s always particularly exciting to find GREAT magic that gets people energized, enthused and chatting up a storm.

I have to say that I believe that stage mentalism just got even BETTER with this one simple-appearing whiteboard that presents you with a multitude of possible routines!

The Electric Wireless Whiteboard raises the bar on existing mentalism routines and offers new possibilities for new yet-to-be-imagined effects!

Essentially, the Electric Wireless Whiteboard uses state-of-the-art WIRELESS technology allowing you to ascertain quickly and precisely exactly what a spectator erases on a whiteboard. So, through simple elimination you can easily determine exactly what is left visible on the whiteboard.

Their other product, Cobra Light is a compact and exceedingly portable  close-up version of the classic Mini-Magic Switchboard that’s affordable and fits easily in a pocket.

Brings a parlor effect into the confines of more intimate settings!

Brings a parlor effect into the confines of more intimate settings!

The compact Cobra Light enables strolling artists and table-hoppers to bring a traditional parlour effect previously too cumbersome to be enjoyed in the confines of an intimate setting into the close-up realm.

Most notably is the addition of the mindreading effect added to the standard effect. It plays well and really adds the mystery of this unique and perplexing electronic effect.

Here’s Cobra Light effect the added mindreading effect.

Countdown to Magic LIVE!

We’re getting excited about Magic LIVE 2013 in Las Vegas.

Ever since we first attend this convention I’ve loved it. There’s just no comparison. In fact, because it’s so very well produced, it’s a completely unfair comparison to the other magic conventions. But, such is life.

vegas

Our staff is working diligently putting together our best collectible magic.  In fact, we will be bringing more estate and collectible magic than we have EVER brought before!

It’s not only really fun for us to assemble and bring these objects, but also to experience magician’s reactions such as “I haven’t seen on of these since I was a kid!” and similar comments. It’s that moment of recognition that registers on their faces, of something they hadn’t thought of in years that’s so gratifying and enjoyable to witness.

Early 1960's Temple of Cambodia by Owen Magic, RARE

Early 1960’s Temple of Cambodia by Owen Magic, RARE

If you are planning on attending Magic LIVE!, we would very much like to see you. Please plan on stopping by our booth to hang out, talk shop or just to say hello.

I better get back to planning. Magic LIVE will be here before we know it.

Until next time,

Paul

An Exciting Acquisition

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2013 by hocuspoc

I’ll say it again, “You just never know what’s gonna come through that door!” When we got in a Satyr Automaton by Collector’s Workshop I was astonished at its quality and how HEAVY it was. I’d seen it for years in the catalog , but never in person. And again, that Christmas morning thrill came over me.

A rare and wonderful effect with all the clockwork mechanics meticulously constructed by master craftsman Nick Ruggerio. In fact, after speaking to Nick Ruggerio on the phone the other day, I realized just HOW rare it really is as there were only FOUR ever produced!

One of FOUR ever produced!

One of FOUR ever produced!

Nick said if he had to do it all over again, he would be hard-pressed since the process was so highly detailed and time-consuming. In fact, all, and I do mean ALL, the inner clockwork mechanisms were individually and painstakingly handcrafted by Mr. Ruggerio ultimately producing this unique and uncommon automaton reminiscent of the Old World machines.

The Satyr Automaton literally launches the Tossed-Out Deck into the stratosphere; skyrocketing this classic street effect into a realm it’s never entered into before!

In 1878, Professor Hoffman described an eye-catching miracle. He spoke of a demon’s head, a “grotesque Papier-mâché head” that rolled its eyes and shot cards from its mouth and from behind its horns.

Of the few remaining Satyr heads in the world today, one resided within the Rich Block collection. Carefully removing the mask from the 125-year-old mechanical marvel, Collector’s Workshop  commissioned a foundry in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia to create a model of the mask and to cast a solid bronze replica.

The original details of the multi-colored face were reproduced in a more muted fashion through the application of a variety of patinas on the bronze. As you can see, the results were striking!

Many hours of hand-made clockworks went into the Satyr.

Many hours of hand-made clockworks went into the Satyr.

Utilizing a combination of finely wrought brass and clockwork mechanisms, Collector’s Workshop  created a modern automaton that hides within the replica of a century old devil’s face. The status of the piece as a collectors’ item is quite obvious.

It was specifically constructed to mystify in connection with this effect; a deck of cards is tossed to the audience. Four individuals peek at a card, toss the deck onward and then remain standing.

The deck of cards is placed fully inside the Satyr’s mouth. Suddenly, without warning , and without the performer having touched or even approached the Satyr head, the eyes roll, the mouth opens and spits out two cards. Next, two additional cards spring up between its horns.

Evidently as stunned as the audience, the performers says: “Those of you standing, who see your card displayed among the four before you, please be good enough to take your seat.”

All FOUR spectators immediately sit down. The impact upon any audience that’s lucky enough to witness this rare and dramatic effect is stunning!

The Satyr Automaton by Collector’s Workshop is a performer’s dream…and a family’s treasure.

Magic LIVE Is Just Around The Corner

We are really looking forward to another Magic LIVE!  This is the one convention that everyone gets excited about, including me.  In addition, to bringing some of our best collectible magic and new cutting-edge effects, we will have the pleasure of having Wayne Dobson in our booth.  Wayne is a brilliant showman, magician and entertainer.  I’ve wanted to meet Wayne in person for years. We’ve done business over the phone for years, but this will be our FIRST time meeting and interacting in person and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.

Also, we’ll have a number of other demonstrators in the booth as well, so if there’s something you want to  see, just stop by and we’ll be glad to show it to you.

If you are planning on attending Magic LIVE! Please drop us a line or be sure to stop by our booth and say hello. It’s always a pleasure meeting our customers in person.

Renee’s 30th

Betty and I will be babysitting my grandson Zachary for the next 3 days as my daughter Renee and her husband Jonathan have headed for the wilds of Las Vegas to celebrate her 30th birthday.

My lovely and wonderful daughter Renee!

My lovely and wonderful daughter Renee!

I can’t believe I have 30-year-old child, but it’s true. Seems only but a few short years ago she was still in her “Barbie” stage, collecting all things Barbie. Now, she has a child of her own and a career in a field she excels in. I’m so proud of my daughter Renee and all her accomplishments. It’s a true honor to be her father.

And it’s true. They really do grow up, SO fast. Happy Birthday Renee!

Make it a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

Happy Birthday America!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2013 by hocuspoc

Happy 237th birthday America! This week’s blog is VERY short due to the holiday.

HappyBirthdayAmerica

Betty and I traveled out to Fowler to see the fireworks show, which has become our yearly ritual. It’s was very hot, but my grandson Zachary loved the show once he got used to the noise.

Before I go I have to tell you about a phenomenal new product we just got in called ShotPut! I think this is going to be very popular due to its direct and simple premise.

ShotPutShotPut by Kyle Marlett is “fire-cracker” hot. We’ve been selling these little babies like snow cones in the desert!

Shotput is a completely bare handed shot glass production that is a killer opening effect or a great surprise in the middle of your show. Plus, it’s only $20 bucks!  Now, that’s a deal.

You got to check out this video:

Hope your Independence Day was memorable! More news later.

Until next time,

Paul