Archive for October, 2013

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2013 by hocuspoc

Tonight We Trick-or-Treat!

My grandson Zachary is going trick-or-treating tonight and Betty and I will be the chaperones. Frankly, I can’t’ wait!

Zachary is going as an engineer since he is CRAZY about Thomas the Train. Here’s a picture of him in his train engineer garb ready to take on the ghosts and goblins that may get in the way of his quest for candy.

I have a feeling the kid’s going to do well tonight. After all, who can resist a miniature engineer.

The little engineer that could!

The little engineer that could!

Comedy, Magic & Hypnotism In Bakersfield Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night our very own Tim Mannix will be appearing at the Stars Dinner Theater in Bakersfield warming up for “Gus Flamingo’s Comedy Magic & Hypnoteaser Show” in a night of magic and hypnotism.

Get "tricked and "treated" in the same place! "Gus Flamingo's Comedy Magic & Hypnoteaser Show", at the Stars Dinner Theater

Get “tricked and “treated” in the same place! “Gus Flamingo’s Comedy Magic & Hypnoteaser Show”, at the Stars Dinner Theater

My good friend Mark Price (aka Gus Flamingo) is the headliner and Tim and magician Terry Godfrey will warm up the audience with great magic and comedy. With this cast of characters, the show will undoubtedly be full of laughs, good fun and general mayhem. Call (661) 325-6100 for reservations or go to www.bmtstars.com for show tickets and information.

Just to put you in the Halloween spirit here’s a little excerpt from my absolute favorite Halloween-type movie starring Abbott & Costello.

A Friend Needs Our Help

Sometimes it takes tragedy to put things in perspective and realize what is truly important. We’d like to ask you to consider making a donation to our fellow brother in magic, Paul Green.

Magician Paul Green

Magician Paul Green

Paul was recently diagnosed with leukemia and needs our help. Although he has health insurance, he is not able to work so he has no income to live on. With the upcoming season being the busiest for a working performer, you can imagine the stress this is creating for him. He has given all  of his shows to fellow magicians, but needs our help to survive pending expenses.

In addition, to his recent diagnosis, Paul suffered two heart attacks being in late September thus complicating matters.

So, we’re reaching out to the magic community collecting donations for Paul and his family starting at $10.00. If you would like to donate more, simply contact us directly or add as many ten-dollar donations to your shopping card as desired.

To donate click HERE.

Paul  is a great man, a great magician, and he has given to us all in one way or another through his magic, through his friendship, through his kindness, through his encouragement, and through his example as being a truly wonderful human being. We ask that you reflect upon this time of giving and give your support to the Greens.

Thank you all in advance for your support, big or small, it is most appreciated.

Have a happy and safe Halloween and a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

Advertisements

A Great Week & Hot New Effects!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2013 by hocuspoc

This week as it been nice to see a number of props find new homes. Sometimes the larger more pricey props can linger, but this week a number of them shipped out. Buying patterns seem to come in waves sometimes.

Last week I talked about going to Los Angeles for the Magic Castle for the swap meet and to celebrate Max’s 21st birthday, but I forgot to add this picture, so I’m doing it this week. It’s nice to see everyone so dressed up – a handsome group don’t you think?

Max's 21st Birthday Dinner Party @ the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Max’s 21st Birthday Dinner Party @ the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Haunted House Finds New Zip Code

Frank Thurston is the proud new owner of the Haunted House Pinball Machine by Gottlieb & Company, that lived here for a short spell. Frank saw it online and had to have it.

Frank Thurston admiring his newest acquisition.

Frank Thurston admiring his newest acquisition.

Frank came down this week to pick it up, but quickly discovered that his van wouldn’t accommodate the size of the machine, so he enlisted the assistance of his brother-in-law and nephew to help. It now resides in beautiful Bakersfield, in what appears to be Frank’s Magi Den.

Just in time for Halloween! Enjoy it Frank!

Home at last!

Home at last!

KidAbra Comes to the West Coast

Early this next year we will be attending the KAX Conference in Ventura California.  What is KAX? Well, according to the website KIDabra International in Collaboration with Axtell Expressions Invite You to Be A Part of The Historic, First Ever KIDabra Midyear on the West Coast! They’re calling it KAX.

KidAbra_International2KAX is a KIDabra Midyear, it is a slightly shorter event as it supports the mother Conference in August.  It will be hosted by Steve Axtell on Axtell Expressions and will include tours of his facilty.

The Signature KIDshow Auction, Optional Biz Builders and Breakouts are part of the August experience. Now that said, fear not, as KAX will more than hold its own. Surprises ahead making it one of the 2 must attend KIDabra events annually. Many Folks are already telling us that they are coming in early in the week for visiting and sightseeing as well.

MetalWriting from Sweden Arrives!

We are thrilled to have gotten the following four effects from Sweden as Hocus Pocus exclusives. This is magic at its best. Very impressive and completely improbable outcomes that are sure to baffle the most discerning audiences.

Eye of Odin

Inspired by Al Korans classic routine but with a new method that makes it possible to show and feel the inscription on the back of the amulet. No double-talk, forces, pre-work, stooges or hidden assistants. Comes complete with everything you need to perform this amazing routine.

Gamblers Poker Chip

As with all of the MetalWriting products the engravings are made on the spot and in front of the spectators. There are no restrictions of what the engraving on the back of the chip can be. It isn’t bound to a specific card. It could reveal a place, a name or anything that fits your presentation.

The Trophy

The winning volunteer lifts the trophy (that has been in full view the entire routine) and reads the badge at the top. It matches the earlier selected sport. When the applause subsides, the performer calls attention to the base of the cup. Engraved into the metal plaque reads, “The winner of the contest is Lisa Larsen”, the name of the competition winner.

The Gun of Anckarström

The Gun of Anckarström comes with three different routines depending on your audience. The effect itself has three climaxes. The performer shows a padlocked wooden box and claims that it contains the flintlock gun that was used in the assassination of the king. Five bullets are shown, four regular ones, and one made out of gold. Five spectators secretly pick one of the bullets from a velvet bag. The spectator with the gold bullet is the murderer.

The performer can tell who the killer is and the spectator is invited to the stage. He explains that the murderer was bound to the weapon, but he wasn´t the only one. The assassination was planned by a group of people known as the Skulls and bones. Their signature is a skull.

The performer opens the box and inside there is a flint stock pistol. He turns the pistol over and shows a metal skull in the stock of the pistol. He then pays attention to a tattoo on the spectators arm – A matching skull.

He then claims that the owner of the gun had engraved his name in the pistol. And of course – it is so.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

Monster Mash

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2013 by hocuspoc

After arriving in Hollywood and having a customary lunch at the famous Musso & Frank Grill, we headed out for some sightseeing with Tim as our tour guide visiting one of my favorites stores, Wacko in East Hollywood and the Farmer’s Market on Third Street. The weather was excellent and Max picked up a moustache at a Ozzie Dots Costume Shop for his Ron Burgundy character (Anchorman) to complete his Halloween costume.

Ozzie Dots on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

Ozzie Dots on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with Musso & Frank, let me just take a moment to tell you that the Musso & Frank Grill is Hollywood’s oldest eatery (since 1919) and during Hollywood’s boom years it was a prime destination for Hollywood’s movers and shakers, including, directors, movie stars, producers and noted writers. F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway drank here during their screenwriting days along with Orson Welles who regularly held court.

Famous watering hole since 1919.

Famous watering hole since 1919.

The waiters can point out their favorite booths and tell stories about which books were partially written here. Legend has it that Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, and Douglas Fairbanks raced each other down Hollywood Boulevard on horseback, the loser having to pick up the dinner tab at Musso & Frank’s.

Some of the waitstaff at Musso & Frank Grill

Some of the waitstaff at Musso & Frank Grill

The bar at Musso & Frank's

The bar at Musso & Frank’s

Max’s Birthday Dinner

After our sightseeing tour, it was back to the hotel to get ready for Max’s 21st birthday dinner. Joining Betty and I were Nani & Mark Wilson, Greg Wilson and his wife, Max and his girlfriend Lindsay (who’s recently turned 21 as well), and Tim Mannix. womenmagicIt was Women in Magic Week at the Castle so we caught the Palace of Mystery show starring are Luna Shimada (daughter of longtime magic legend Shimada), a highly-skilled juggler and show-woman Farrah Siegel, and FISM-winner Julianna Chen all delightfully hosted by Liberty Larsen.

The Famed Houdini Séance

It wasn’t long afterwards that we headed upstairs to the Séance Room where Leo Kostka was to be our medium for the evening performing the famed Houdini Séance. Leo expertly steered us on a mysterious journey into the realm of the unknown depths of the Spirit World.

Houdini_SeanceAt the conclusion of the séance the room shook, lightening flashed and the table rose and slammed itself down with a tambourine mysteriously flinging itself out of its shadowbox among other inexplicable happenings. Poor Lindsay was so convinced and absolutely frightened that there was someone standing in the dark next to Max that she nearly crawled on top of Tim. Tim couldn’t stop laughing at Lindsay and said, “Had she been a cat, she would have crawled up me and on top of my head!”

Except for Nani, Mark and me, it was everyone else’s first Magic Castle Séance and I have to say that it was enjoyed by all. Truly a job well done — BRAVO Leo!

The Monster Mash

Last Halloween, the Magic Castle turned into the Monster Mansion. James Mulligan painted six famous Univeral movie monsters on larger-than-life size wooden boards that adorned the outside of the Magic Castle. They have been hiding in storage and were available for sale at the Swap Meet. And yes, you guessed it, I had to have them. So, they now have a new home here at Hocus Pocus, just in time for Halloween!

Halloween 2012 at the Magic Castle.

Halloween 2012 at the Magic Castle.

The monsters are terrorizing my staff!

The monsters are terrorizing my staff!

Jerry Mahoney Visits Fresno

As I rounded the corner during the swap meet I spotted something that stopped me in my tracks. It was a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist figure and it brought back a flood of childhood memories. I grabbed my wallet and gladly paid exactly what the guy was asking, no haggling!

The workmanship on this vent puppet is phenomenal!

The workmanship on this vent puppet is phenomenal!

This figure is a JERRY LAYNE (an expert craftsman selected by Winchell himself) replica of Paul Winchell’s famous figure “Jerry Mahoney”©. Layne’s replicas are molded directly from the original figure Paul Winchell himself carved many years ago and it is an exact replica of the figure Winchell used on all of his television shows.

Honestly, I hope it NEVER sells and I can put him next to Knucklehead in my office.

Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney

Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney

My absolute favorite show, next to The Magic Land of Allakazam, was Winchell-Mahoney Time starring Paul Winchell and his little buddy Jerry Mahoney. Paul Winchell made me want to become a ventriloquist, and Mark Wilson made me want to become a magician. I was mesmerized by the artistry it took to make Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead come alive. Mr. Winchell was certainly an artist of the highest order.

Here they are on the season finale for Circus Time, brought to you by Hartz Mountain, that particularly showcases the tremendous talent that Paul Winchell was:

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

Paul

Magic Castle Swap Meet Beckons!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2013 by hocuspoc

Twice yearly we go south to Los Angeles for the Magic Castle Swap Meet. One is in the Spring and the second, in the Fall, is THIS coming weekend.

Max Gross with LOTS of hair not so many years ago!

Max Gross with LOTS of hair not so many years ago!

Customarily, we always leave early enough to have dinner Friday night with Nani & Mark Wilson. Joining us this weekend is my son Max, who is now 21 and able to attend the Castle during the evenings.

Previously, we always had to leave Max in the hotel, where he was perfectly happy watching movies and enjoying as much complimentary candy as the Magic Castle Hotel could offer. Max was in HOG-HEAVEN; movies, no parents, and an endless supply of candy!

However, those days are gone, and he is looking forward to attending the Houdini Séance and Castle with girlfriend Lindsey, as a street-legal member of society.

Max is 21 now. He's on the right.

Max is 21 now. He’s on the right.

As a special treat for Max’s 21st birthday, Betty reserved the Houdini Séance. So after dinner and seeing a few shows, we will attend the Houdini Séance Experience as conducted by Leo Kostka, Resident Medium at The Magic Castle. Considering neither Betty nor I have ever attended the séance ourselves, I am really looking forward to it.

Also, joining us will be Mark’s son, Greg Wilson and wife, and Tim Mannix of course.

Betty has also indicated that she would very much like to go to the Farmer’s Market on Third street —  a very famous hotspot in Los Angeles.

In case you may not be familiar with it, the Farmers Market is an area of food stalls, sit-down eateries, prepared food vendors, and produce markets in Los Angeles, which first opened in July 1934, and is a historic Los Angeles landmark and tourist attraction.

The Farmer's Market on Third Street in Los Angeles in the 1940's.

The Farmer’s Market on Third Street in Los Angeles in the 1940’s.

Just south of CBS Television City, it has been the gathering place for many of Hollywood’s stars including James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and almost any other movie star you could possibly name. In fact, many of today’s television and movie stars go there and can be spotted taking in the scene.

Joel Ward stopped by today to pick up a few illusions for his upcoming Halloween shows here in Central California. It was a quick visit as he had to get back in town for a commercial audition and theater rehearsal.

Magician Joel Ward

Magician Joel Ward

And speaking of Halloween, we have a designated category on our site for Halloween for anyone needing themed material for upcoming Halloween shows.

Just go to Halloween Magic or to Fall-O-Ween for sale items.

More Than Temporary Holiday Help

When you call one of our cheerful staff members can assist you with your order or inquiries. Pictured below are two of our temporary holiday-staff members, Count Igor and Raven. Both are thrilled to be working and to serve you a helping hand, or a HEAD, on a platter. Ghoulish yes, but apropos!

Our cheerful staff members Raven or Count Igor.

Our cheerful staff members Raven or Count Igor.

We’ve got a van to pick up and load, so I’d better go. I’ll report back on the success of our Magic Castle Swap meet adventure in next week’s blog.

Our famous $1, $5 & $10 boxes are packed and ready!

Our famous $1, $5 & $10 boxes are packed and ready!

We never come back empty-handed, so continue watching the website for untold treasures.

Until next time,

Paul

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2013 by hocuspoc

This last weekend Betty and I went to a local antique & flea market where I purchased a Donald Duck Coin-operated kids ride like the ones found in front of grocery stores not so many years ago. Now my grandson has TWO rides; either Donald Duck or the Kangaroo to choose from — what a lucky kid to have me for a grandpa. Actually, I’m the lucky one to have such a wonderful grandson!

Zachary is going to LOVE this Donald Duck ride.

Zachary is going to LOVE this Donald Duck ride.

I suppose if there are other grandkids in the foreseeable future, Zachary will have to learn how to share, but for NOW those coin-op rides are all his. If this keeps up, Zachary will have his own personal midway of rides and attractions!

3 New Noteworthy Effects

I have to mention three great effects that have just come in and are getting a lot of attention; Inferno by Joshua Jay, Flik by Alexis De La Fuente and Familiar Cat by Jim Kleefeld

First, I want to say that rarely does an effect come about that fits in a shirt pocket and can be done ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. Inferno fits that criterion perfectly!

As a pre-release, Inferno was presented at Magic LIVE and sold out immediately. Watch the video below to see why:

Inferno is essentially a thought-of card in matchbox effect, and you should know the following points:

  1. ALL you need for each performance is the matchbox. No cards are palmed in, and you don’t have any kind of index. It’s totally self-contained inside the matchbox.
  2. There is no sleight of hand to speak of. If you follow along with the DVD once, you will be ready to perform the effect.
  3. Everything is examinable at the end. When you’re done, the spectator is holding her thought-of card, and the matchbox it came from. And, both props are totally legit.
  4. Although the demo shows a close-up performance of Inferno, in fact the effect plays just as well (if not better) in a parlor situation. There are also no angle restrictions whatsoever.

Take it from me, it’s a winner and it’s HOT for good reason!

Flik by Alexis De La Fuente is another dynamite effect.

You punch a hole in a signed card, with one FLIK the hole visually jumps from one end of the card to the other. The card is returned to the spectator leaving them with an impossible souvenir.

Really great effect, VERY visual and instantaneous….excellent! if you really could perform magic, this iw what it would look like.

Familiar Cat by Jim Kleefeld is a very impressive revisit of an old principle that’s proven itself successful through the test of time and is just in time for the Halloween Season.

I'm very impressed with this prop.

I’m very impressed with this prop.

Jim has taken a familiar principle and applied new original art and a terrific story, thus dressing up an old trick. Based on Supreme Magic’s old Farmyard Frolics effect, xxx is ideal for many performance situations.

Set in a Haunted House with a witch looking for her “familiar”, a Halloween Cat, the children assist in vanishing the cat, and ultimately making it startlingly reappear beside the witch. Of course, the familiar kid-show “Look-Don’t-See” scenario is employed to great affect.

Sturdily constructed, it’s bright, colorful and perfectly themed for Halloween shows and the professional-sized props are easy to see in the largest settings.

Big_Fresno_Fair_LgOctober Brings Fair Weather

It’s getting cold here in Fresno, the mornings are especially chilly, so it’s time to switch to long pants. October always brings about one of my personal favorite events, the annual county fair — the Big Fresno Fair we call it. Betty and I love the fair and look forward to going every year.

My good friend Mark Price, (Gus Flamingo aka “The Magic Chef”), will be performing his Red-Hot, Well-Done, Deep-Fried Comedy Magic Show at the fair. One performance only, Sunday Oct. 6th on the Yosemite Station Stage, 6pm show time. Don’t miss it if you’re in the area.

Mark Price aka Picasso the Magic Chef, Tom Jorgenson, Magician Frank Thurston & Stage Manager, Jason Stinnett.

Mark Price aka Picasso the Magic Chef, Tom Jorgenson, Magician Frank Thurston & Stage Manager, Jason Stinnett.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend Mark’s performance due to family obligations, but Mark is nothing short of hilarious and exceedingly entertaining to say the least. I’m sorry we won’t make it. Break-a-Leg Mark!

Until next time,

Paul