Archive for February, 2014

New Fairchild Exclusive on Horizon

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2014 by hocuspoc

When we were kids going to the movies were such a bigger deal than today. There were fewer films, and times were different, so the family outings to the movies were, what seems to me, a completely different experience than today.

Today, by comparison, there are SO many choices of movies, it’s like a banquet. Magic is much the same way. There are a gigantic number of tricks to choose from today versus 40 years ago — some good, some not so good and others excellent.

In our line of work we get the opportunity to work with many different individuals and companies that create some very unique and clever magic products.  Our most recent association is with Joe Eddie Fairchild of Fairchild Magic.

A little back-story first.

In 1980, Fairchild Entertainment began with the express purpose of designing, producing, and touring a traveling Magic & Illusion Road show starring magician Joe Eddie Fairchild. During his peak performing years Fairchild completed twenty-eight tours in 23 years, most of which were 9-months or more in duration. Quite an accomplishment indeed.

Joe Eddie Fairchild's company, Fairchild Magic, produces some of the most durable and useable magic in the industry.

Joe Eddie Fairchild’s company, Fairchild Magic, produces some of the most durable and useable magic in the industry.

With 20+ years of “hands on” experience as a working performer and prop-builder, Fairchild had garnered some valuable rare insight and a world of experience in all aspects of show production.

After hanging up his top hat, it was only natural that Joe Eddie would gravitate into consulting, designing, and building professional-grade performance props.  Today, he produces some of the best magical apparatus for magicians, performance artists, concert musicians, and touring shows. His product line includes special effects and custom ATA road cases.

Some of the many excellent magic props Fairchild Magic produces.

Some of the many excellent magic props Fairchild Magic produces.

As a fifth-generation Fairchild family member in show business, Joe Eddie possesses a vast knowledge of show business.  His uncanny ability to design great-looking props that endure years of service is highly regarded. Plus, as a longtime entertainer, he knows all too well the value of designing props that break-down and set-up efficiently for ease of quickly getting in-and-out of a venue.

As an example of his work, take a look at how well his Comedy Card in Balloon operates and shows up onstage:

New Fairchild Prop is a Hocus Pocus Exclusive

Fairchild’s newest offering brings to the stage an effect that has historically been produced for more intimate settings. Joe Eddie shipped us a prototype, and when we saw its quality and adaptability to multiple presentations, we knew instantly it was a winner.

Our new association with Fairchild began at MagicLIVE 2013 and we are honored that Fairchild has chosen us to be his exclusive dealer. We are proud to be able to offer the Fairchild product line to our customers.

As our new Hocus Pocus exclusive, this new effect will hit the market in early May, so stay tuned for its debut.

A larger stage-sized version of a really great effect.

A larger stage-sized version of a really great effect.

This will really show up well from the LARGEST stages!

This will really show up well from the LARGEST stages!

Upcoming Appearance at Stars Dinner Theater

Just a quick update on the resurgence of my magic act. I have spent the last few weeks cobbling together the props that used to be in my magic act. Finally, I’ve located the LAST one and it will be delivered most likely next week.

Linda recounting the hundreds of times we performed the Hindu Basket.

Linda recounting the hundreds of times we performed the Hindu Basket.

Linda is such a kick in the pants -- she makes me laugh.

Linda is such a kick in the pants — she makes me laugh.

Even though Friday, September 12th seems far off, I know that I will want everything to be just right for the performance. So, now that I’ve found the props, the music and my former assistant, I’m going to have to begin looking at a realistic rehearsal schedule for Linda and me.

I’ll let you know as things progress.

Mnemonica Miracles (5-DVD Box Set) by Juan Tamariz

Now You Can Turn Ingenious Card Tricks Into Unforgettable Miracles!

Hot off the press, Mnemonica Miracles by Juan Tamariz is a (5 DVD Box Set) that is a priceless record of Juan’s personal approach to this incredibly powerful principle in magic.

Join Juan Tamariz for  personal lessons of over twenty routines complete with essential tips and valuable advice. Juan also includes a volume filled with essential tools for the mem-deck performer.

The 5 DVD Box Set represents a treasure trove of secret information. If you have ever wanted to master this principle, it’s easily worth its weight in gold.

Ingenious Card Tricks. Unforgettable Miracles.

mnemonicamiThe memorized deck has evolved into one of our most powerful principles and Mnemonica, by Juan Tamariz is recognized by many as the most important book on the subject. Shortly after its publication, Juan began a personal project to document some of his favorite effects on video. Using his own cameras he recorded live shows and spent hours revealing the methods, principles and ideas that he uses to turn ingenious card tricks into unforgettable miracles.

These homemade videos are more than just a record of Juan’s thinking on the memorized deck – they are a priceless record of his personal approach to this incredibly powerful principle in magic.

Juan explains over twenty routines complete with essential tips and valuable advice.

If you have ever wanted to master this principle, it’s easily worth its weight in gold.

Scheduled to ship Monday March 3rd, pre-order yours today and receive shipping, <u>anywhere in the world</u>, absolutely FREE!

New Blackpool Releases

As the Blackpool Convention has concluded, its newest releases are now hitting the market. Be sure and check them out on our website. Among them are:

More Blackpool Releases are being added daily, so be sure to check the website.

Until next time my friends,

Paul

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Lost Statuette Returns

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2014 by hocuspoc

Years ago, I had this really cool statuette of a old-time magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. He was a cherubic jolly sort of magician, dressed in a bright yellow tailcoat with feather flowers sticking out of one pocket and a strand of silks coming out another. It was especially treasured by me because my dad had gifted it to me on my 14th birthday.

Later, after I’d open my magic shop, I prominently displayed him in the shop never expecting to ever part with him. When people would inquire, my answer was always the same, “Sorry, he’s not for sale.”

That was until one day, when magician Stan Kramien walked into the shop.

Kramien was in town performing a series of shows at the Showstopper Theater. As most touring magicians do, he would frequent magic shops in cities where his tour took him. Since he was in Fresno, he made a special point to stop into my store.

“Sorry, he’s not for sale.”, I said when Kramien inquired. But, Stan Kramien was tenacious, persistent and unrelenting in his plight to secure that statuette. He continually kept upping his offer price, until I could no longer resist the money. So, reluctantly I agreed to sell it to him the statuette.

Later, I recall regretting selling it to him and tried for a number of years to find one, but to no avail. There were NONE be found anywhere!

Dad's gift to me on my 14th birthday. Later, I sold it -- regrettably!

Dad’s gift to me on my 14th birthday. Later, I sold it — regrettably!

My extensive search for a replacement of my “Cherubic Jolly Magician” had to be placed on a backburner as family and other business matters took center stage in my life.

Sometime later and quite by accident, to my amazement I found one on eBay. It was the exact Old-Time-Magician-Pulling-A-Rabbit-Out-Of-A-Hat that my dad had given me and that Kramien had cleverly absconded with years prior. My determination and willingness to win at all costs, won me that auction.

It was not until I received the email from Stan Kramien, that I realized it was not just LIKE the one I had, but exactly the statuette I’d owned. Kramien and I joked about it later, saying how it had come full-circle back to its rightful owner.

Today, I proudly display my dad’s thoughtful gift high on the shelf in my office. And yes, you guessed it. Should someone ask, I politely say, “Sorry, he’s absolutely positively NOT for sale.”

Steele Illusions for Sale

Steven Steele, a Southern California-based corporate magician and illusionist brought in some Illusions to consign with us, including; Harbin’s Zig Zag Girl Illusion by Owen Magic Supreme, circa 1985, Mini-Spiker Illusion by Malloy Modern Magic, Packing Crate Substitution Trunk, and a Wakeling Sawing In Half Illusion.

Owen's version of Robert Harbin's famous Zig Zag Girl illusion.

Owen’s version of Robert Harbin’s famous Zig Zag Girl illusion.

Isaac poses atop the Packing Crate Sub Trunk that came in this week.

Isaac poses atop the Packing Crate Sub Trunk that came in this week.

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Malloy Modern Magic's Mini Spiker Illusion

Malloy Modern Magic’s Mini Spiker Illusion

The Packing Crate Substitution Trunk is HUGE and really looks like an authentic packing crate. The Zig Zag Girl was snatched up within 24 hours.

The gentleman that purchased it had had a Zig Zag on his List Of Things To Buy for many years, and when he saw it, he knew he had to have it. It was a great buy for a quality Owen prop. The Mini-Spiker Illusion by Malloy Modern Magic is a modernistic prop that is great looking both close-up or on the stage.

We had a nice visit with Steven and his wife and will surely find new owners for his illusions in someone’s show.

Gus Flamingo Returns to Hocus Pocus

Thursday was a real treat as my fried of 30+ years, Mark Price (aka Gus Flamingo HypnoTeaser) and his wife Laurie stopped in again for a visit. That’s the second time in less than two weeks. And considering that Mark hasn’t been here for a visit in many, many years, I feel honored that they made the trip up from Bakersfield again. It was nice to spend some more time with Mark and have a chance to visit with them.

Mark Price performs as "Gus Flamingo" in his hilariously popular Hypnoteaser show.

Mark Price performs as “Gus Flamingo” in his hilariously popular Hypnoteaser show.

Thanks Mark & Laurie for a very fun day!

Documentary on Hollywood Magic Shop

As you may know, Louis St. Pierre came to Southern California with his father hoping to start a restaurant business after World War II. One day the St. Pierres walked into Burt Wheeler’s Magic Shop to buy some rope and cards.

When they asked where Wheeler was, Wheeler’s sisters, who were running the store, said it was for sale because Wheeler had recently died in a plane crash. Shortly thereafter, Louis St. Pierre and son bought the store for $14,000 and the rest, as they say, is Hollywood history.

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Today, we had a two-person film crew come in to interview me on Louis St. Pierre, Jr. and his Hollywood Magic Shop and my knowledge and association with Louie.

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Documentarian Omar J. Pineda is producing a documentary on Hollywood Magic, its long history and sudden and untimely demise. Omar worked at Hollywood Magic as a youth during Halloween season and was surprised, like many of us, to find that Hollywood Magic had so quickly disappeared.

Omar J. Pineda, friend Chantel and Paul

Omar J. Pineda, friend Chantel and Paul

Actually, this is Omar’s third documentary and will be entered into several film festivals and later perhaps be sold into distribution for television.

Boy, one thing is for sure. There’s never dull moment around here.

Until next time my friends,

Paul

Back in the Saddle After 25 Years! Read on…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2014 by hocuspoc

Well, it’s been a very busy week of getting my act together — literally. Yes, I’ve been roped into reviving my magic act from its retirement. But, more about that in a minute.

A week ago Friday, Tim appeared on a local television show, Central Valley Today doing some magic and talking about his magic classes that are held here at Hocus Pocus. Tim says he’s never done so much television since he’s moved to Fresno. Guess there’s real value in being in a smaller market. Big-fish-in-a-little-pond pays off.

Tim was interviewed in the first 5-minute segment, then did magic in the second segment. It looks like everyone was having fun in the clip. Good job Tim, take a look.

They Always Seem To Go In 3’s

This week we heard the news of several passings, including Shirley Temple, Sid Caesar and Aldo Columbini.

It’s always sad when people pass that gave us so much. Especially Sid Caesar, a one-of-a- kind American Comedy genius. A television pioneer. And one of the best sketch-comedy men of the 20th Century!

Sid Caesar, who pioneered TV sketch comedy during the 1950s as the star and creative force of “Your Show of Shows,” a launch pad for the likes of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen and an inspiration to generations of comedians.

Here’s a clip called The German General, where Sid Caesar and Howie Morris perform Double-talk (the lost comedic art of foreign language imitation) in a parody of a German WWII general and his valet. It’s from ‘Caesar’s Hour’, NBC-TV Sept. 26, 1954.

You may recall Howie Morris from one of his most memorable characters, Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show.

Here’s another clip of Sid Caesar form Bob Hope’s televised birthday celebration where Caesar showed his extraordinary skill performing gibberish in four different languages. What an extraordinary talent!

Finally, a clip called, “Caesar’s Writers – Magic Expert“, where Danny Simon talks about he and his brother, Neil Simon’s office on the landing, and introduces the Magic Expert sketch. Watch as Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner perform the Magic Expert.

French: 0:00 – 1:42, German: 1:42 – 2:52, Italian: 2:52 – 4:08, Japanese: 4:08 – 5:10

The Funny Magic Man Departs

Sadly, we bid a farewell to comedy magician, Aldo Columbini. His untimely death has taken the magic fraternity by surprise as he was well-loved and had been so very influential to many up-and-coming magicians. He leaves behind his wife Rachel and a throng of fans and admirers.

Aldo and Rachel Columbini

Aldo and Rachel Columbini

And Shirley Temple, the little girl that saved the studio from bankruptcy during the Great Depression passed on this week. Thanks to this little gal, thousands temporarily escaped the cruel reality of some very harsh days. Temple kept America smiling during some of its darkest days.

They’re Back — Mark Your Calendars For September!

This week Linda Davis, my old assistant from my performing days, came for a quick visit and mini rehearsal of the classic Hindu Basket we used to perform. After 25 years, we will be resurrecting our magic act for a September engagement at a dinner theater in Bakersfield.

Linda Davis, my former assistant stops in for a visit and a quick rehearsal.

Linda Davis, my former assistant stops in for a visit and a quick rehearsal.

After my friend, comedy magician and hypnotist, Mark Price invited Tim Mannix to perform in his November show, (and I saw what fun they had), I knew I wanted to do a 3-man show with them.

So, it’s happening — and I am completely committed. I’m repurchasing all the old props that used to be in the act and Betty tracked down Linda, so there’s no going back on my word. I’m going whole-hog, and will be performing the dove act and the Hindu Basket and the whole nine-yards including an audience participation piece sandwiched between two magic-to-music numbers.

Linda’s in the Building!

We heard shrills of laughter coming from the warehouse, so we knew Linda had arrived. She and my sister Jan were reminiscing about the gold ‘ole days doing the magic act. Jan used to ably assist me in my shows as well — and Linda has the pictures to prove it. That’s where all the laughter was coming from. They were howling at the pictures. Just take a look at the pictures Linda brought from here photo album.

Linda Davis, Paul the Magician, and Jan Gross, assistant and sister.

Linda Davis, Paul the Magician, and Jan Gross, assistant and sister.

Linda & Paul pose for a quick snapshot. What were we thinking?

Linda & Paul pose for a quick snapshot. What were we thinking?

Magician brother and Assistant sister. Could that skirt be an shorter?

Magician brother and Assistant sister. Could that skirt be an shorter?

The rope trick with a willing volunteer.

The rope trick with a willing volunteer.

Dove Manipulations in the living room. Notice the Dove Carousel in the background?

Dove Manipulations in the living room. Notice the Dove Carousel in the background?

Cane to Bouquet in my parents living room.

Cane to Bouquet in my parents living room.

Linda is a female version of me, so we got along famously working very well as a team. It was great telling stories and reminiscing about some of the crazy venues and situations we got ourselves into back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

By the way, Linda fit right into the Hindu Basket, and within 3 quick rehearsals, we were doing it nearly at break-neck speed. I have a feeling our act is going to up and ready in plenty of time for September’s show date.

Thanks Linda for a great visit and lots of good laughs. Now, get ready for rehearsals.

Until next time my friends,

Paul

The Facts From KAX in Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2014 by hocuspoc

Since we got back from KAX (KidAbra West), it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. It takes a lot of thought and energy to partake in one of these weekends, so we’re a bit tired.

I thought in this week’s blog, I’d show you in pictures what the weekend from the KAX convention looked like.

In short, it was great to spend time with Nani & Mark Wilson and to meet with new and old friends.

Our booth was a flurry of activity between the many lectures and interactive presentations that occurred over the weekend.

KAX_Convention9

Tim and Paul with Lance Boyce pour on the charm at the Hocus Pocus booth.

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Tim Mannix messing around with Brant Gilmer Danny DAWG Ventriloquist Figure.

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A very busy booth for KAX.

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Goofing around, Tim & Jay Leslie combed the area with Jay’s newest comedy prop.

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Tah Dah! We’re finally set-up after four hours of careful placement of the best in kid-show products.

Our booth was so good even SANTA stopped by from the North Pole.

Our booth was so good even SANTA stopped by from the North Pole.

The Saturday night show was hosted by the very talented Jay Johnson of SOAP fame, the 1970’s era groundbreaking television show. The line-up of talent was excellent and included the famous puppet-maker Rene of Los Angeles, whom had worked with Mark & Nani supplying puppets for their touring Burger King shows.

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Jay Johnson takes one of Axtell’s newest products for a test run.

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Jay’s having a ball.

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Our very talented MC for the Saturday Night Gala show.

Other performers were Ken Scott, Mike Bent, Buster Balloon, Kimmo & Rene and his marionettes.

Ken Scott performs the Egg Bag.

Ken Scott performs the Egg Bag.

Ken Scott's Fantasy Magician is always a crowd-pleaser!

Ken Scott’s Fantasy Magician is always a crowd-pleaser!

Mark & Nani were on the bill that night as well.

Mark & Nani were on the bill that night as well.

The famous Torn and Restored Napkin from the Mark Wilson Course in Magic.

The famous Torn and Restored Napkin from the Mark Wilson Course in Magic.

Kimmo a comedy ventriloquist from England was really great.

Kimmo a comedy ventriloquist from England was really great.

Kimmo with his two LIVE puppets.

Kimmo with his two LIVE puppets.

I had worked on the Walking Fred with Steve Axtell, so it was good to see the debut of not only Walking Fred, but 14 other new products from Axtell Expressions.

Walking_Fred

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Steve Axtell and Paul playing with the hit of the convention!

Walking Fred was an instant hit. A zombie ZOMBIE!

Walking Fred was an instant hit. A zombie ZOMBIE!

Here’s Steve’s routine of WALKING FRED that he presented live at the convention. Pretty darn GOOD for a non-magician!

Congratulations Steve on Walking Fred and some other really great new puppets! You’re a genius. Really.

I was lucky enough to win the auction (at the very LAST conceivable moment) of the prototype for Steve’s Walking Fred, but nearly missed the entire auction. Be sure and watch the video below.

The Wilsons went over BIG as so many of the attendees had NEVER met them. Mark’s Allakazam Egg was a hit.

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I got to introduce my ideal to the KAX audience.

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Here they are!

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Mark drives home a point while Nani looks on.

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The master performs the Allakazam Egg Trick for charmed KAX audience.

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Giving the backstory and subtleties and nuances of the Egg Trick.

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The perennially elegant and graceful Nani Darnell.

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And now for the BIG finish, with the quintessential assistant backing him up.

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Wait a minute. It’s a trick!

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I think they’re really having fun.

A Poppin' Fresh pop-off aka dualing Pops with Rene and Mark & Nani

A Poppin’ Fresh pop-off aka dualing Pops with Rene and Mark & Nani

All in all, it was a great experience enjoyed by all. And according to inside sources, it was one of the best, if not THE best KIDabra they’ve ever had due to the great contributors, lecturers, and contributions made by everyone there.

Until next time my friends,

Paul