Monster Mash

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,



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