Archive for August, 2014

Happy Labor Day America!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 by hocuspoc

I’m sending this week’s blog out prematurely as I’m taking Friday off to begin the Labor Day weekend early, and to begin celebrating my birthday, which happens to be Monday, September 1st — I’ll be 59-years-old.

But honestly, I don’t feel a day over 57.

Happy-Labor-Day-2014

As is our custom, we are having a sale, so be sure to take advantage of it this weekend. We’re offering a FREE gift if you order $59  (my age), or more, worth of magic goods.

As part of our sales letter announcing the sale, Tim made up this little newspaper clipping. I thought it was pretty clever, so I asked him how he did it. He told me he used an online generator called a Newspaper Clipping Generator. Just click on the image below or the link to create your own. It’s fun to play with.

Did I just end that last sentence with a preposition? Oh well.

A fictitious headline and newspaper clipping made with the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

A fictitious headline and newspaper clipping made with the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

 

Get Your Hocus Pocus T-Shirt!

We’re happy to announce that we have our own t-shirts. Yes, you will be the “talk of the town” and the envy of everyone at the magic club when you walk in donning one of these new Hocus Pocus T-Shirts!

In fact, we’ve already sold out of our first run of Hocus Pocus T-Shirts, so we’re ordering more right away. Order yours soon and become a member of the Hocus Pocus T-Shirt Club. Interested? Read on…

Hocus Pocus T-Shirt Club: Be sure to send us appropriate pictures of you wearing your Hocus Pocus T-Shirt at conventions, magic shows, mountain tops, or any other great place for a chance to win some great prizes! We will periodically select top pictures as winners.

Yeah, But What Do I Get as a Winner?

Glad you asked.

As a winner you will receive exclusive limited time offers in addition to your photo being posted on our blog or website! Send us pictures via email to Cole@Hocus-Pocus.com to enter.

Finally, the official Hocus Pocus t-shirt.

Finally, the official Hocus Pocus t-shirt.

Work Continues on Massive Consignment

We continue to put up items from this very large consignment we received last week. As previously mentioned, this consignment will take us well over a year to process, catalog, photograph, write-up and post to the website. It’s THAT massive!

Here are a few examples of things we’ve recently listed.

Early Owen Square Circle

Early Owen Square Circle

Petrie-Lewis Ringing Clock Vanish, Circa 1940's RARE

Petrie-Lewis Ringing Clock Vanish, Circa 1940’s RARE

Merv Taylor Por Mor Fil Mor

Merv Taylor Por Mor Fil Mor

Supreme Magic Golden Galaxy of Roses, RARE

Supreme Magic Golden Galaxy of Roses, RARE

Abbott's Beat All Clock Vanish, Circa 1950's

Abbott’s Beat All Clock Vanish, Circa 1950’s

Stay tuned to the Antique Private Estate Collectible – Magic Tricks and Antique Private Estate Books – Collectible Books categories for daily updates.

Betty and I would like to thank the staff at Hocus Pocus that work so hard, all year long, to bring the magic to our customers. We really do appreciate all that you do.

Have a very good and enjoyable holiday weekend my friends,

Paul

 

 

 

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Magic as Far as the Eye Can See!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2014 by hocuspoc

It took a 24-foot truck, but we finally got it here safe and sound.

We are so excited to be have taken possession of a massive estate comprised of ephemera, magic collectibles, many hundreds of magic books, and of course, top-level collectible magic tricks. It seems that when it rains, it pours. Read on….

Massive Consignment Arrives

Wednesday Betty and I traveled north a few hours to pick up a massive assembly of over 12-thousand magic items. Yes — you read that correctly. Twelve-thousand items!

Cole and three friends were along to provide the manpower required to get this colossal collection loaded and transported and finally unloaded back at Hocus Pocus.

Loading the truck with literally thousands of items.

Loading the truck with literally thousands of items.

Cole spearheaded the efforts of loading and coordinating the move.

Cole spearheaded the efforts of loading and coordinating the move.

The gentleman that has entrusted his collection to us is one of the most organized we’ve ever interacted with thus far. He is an extremely prodigious librarian, painstakingly recording his entire collection in an excel spreadsheet. Of course, with such a massive collection, his efforts will save us countless hours of wading through the posters, lithographs, rare books, magic pamphlets, lecture notes, tricks, props, collectibles and assorted ephemera.

There are six fully-loaded, four-drawer file cabinets packed to the gills with ephemera and magic-related items of every conceivable kind.

filecabinets

Six four-drawer file cabinets FULL of magic-related ephemera waiting to be listed on our site.

A quick peak inside one of the file drawers.

A quick peak inside one of the file drawers.

Honestly, this collection with take us the better part of a year to go through, so you’ll want to monitor our collectibles categories, or better yet, subscribe to our daily updates to get the latest information on all that goes up live on the Hocus Pocus site.

Oh, did I mention there are over 85 boxes of collectible magic books!

All sorts of magic posters in this collection.

All sorts of magic posters in this collection.

We packed and loaded 85 banker's boxes full of magic books.

We packed and loaded 85 banker’s boxes full of magic books.

Another view of the 85 banker's boxes full of magic books.

Another view of the 85 banker’s boxes full of magic books.

Another Awesome Consignment

A day before getting the aforementioned consignment, we got a very nice collection in from Los Angeles. These vintage props were owned by a magician that had an affinity for quality equipment and clearly loved his props. Upon his retirement, all his gear was carefully stored away in boxes– get this – way back in 1967.

Imagine that. None of these props have seen the light of day for 47 years!

This is truly an incredible find!

This is one of the estates we got in this week. As you can see there are lots of goodies!

This is one of the estates we got in this week. As you can see there are lots of goodies!

But Wait, There’s More!

Included in the collection was a very rare Great Leon Miniature Haunted House from the 1950’s. In my experience as a magic dealer, I have only come across THREE of these miniature haunted houses. Most are missing many, if not all of the original props that came with the effect.

The real McCoy -- a Great Leon Miniature Haunted House from the 1950's.

The real McCoy — a Great Leon Miniature Haunted House from the 1950’s.

This outfit is the most complete I have encountered to date. We’ve enjoyed playing with it, but I know it will find a home VERY soon.

Disembodied Princess Illusion

Also arriving this week was a Disembodied Princess Illusion with a hand-painted witch adorning the front panel. The magician that performed the illusion had his assistant dressed as a witch donning a witch’s mask once onstage. If you’re familiar with this effect, you can see how the witch’s mask cleverly addresses the hurdle associated with the operation of this illusion.

The Disembodied Princess or is it...The Disembodied Witch?

The Disembodied Princess or is it…The Disembodied Witch?

In conclusion, I guess I’d have to say we’re going to be busy for a while — very happily busy.

As always, have a great weekend my friends,

Paul

Mysterious Disappearances Including Aerosmith!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2014 by hocuspoc

Well am I ever disappointed. Not so much for me, but for Betty. She wanted to see Aerosmith since it’s her all-time favorite rock band. It has been on her Bucket List as a “must do” for quite some time now. So, we headed out of town to Concord to see Aerosmith’s Let Rock Rule concert at the Concord Pavilion.

Shortly after we arrived at the hotel, we discovered that we were amongst many disappointed fans who’d made the trek to the Bay Area only to be let down by the news of the concert’s cancelation.

According to RollingStone online:

Aerosmith were forced to cancel their concert in Concord, California, Wednesday night just hours before taking the stage “due to illness,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band posted on their official website. However, TMZ is reporting that drummer Joey Kramer is suffering from heart complications that will require the band to cancel some upcoming tour dates as well, including their gig at George, Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre on Saturday night. A representative for the group did not confirm or deny the report, telling Rolling Stone, “We have no further information to report at this time.”

Aerosmith owes my wife a concert, so stay well...PLEASE!

Aerosmith owes my wife a concert, so stay well…PLEASE!

Call me a skeptic, and I could be wrong, but I’m not entirely convinced that the “due to illness” excuse was the actual reason behind the cancelation. Getting old is not for the faint of heart, and I suspect it may be a bit more grueling on rock bands. It’s certainly possible that there are conflicting reports.

Nonetheless, Aerosmith disappeared like ghosts in the night. Without as much as a single note being played. What a letdown.

We made the most of it and ended up going to a nice dinner and just enjoying a quick road trip and shopping, which gave us some time away from the shop.

Hey Aerosmith! You owe my wife a concert!

Ghostly Happenings

Recently, we discovered that two drawers in our warehouse filled with pens, markers and box-cutters mysteriously disappeared from our warehouse. They were just GONE one day.

No one here has any idea why someone and something would wander in and remove what amounts to 35-40 pens and various markers for no apparent reason. At first, we thought it was a simple prank being played on us by one of our employees.

StolenPens

My sister Jan was absolutely convinced that it was Tim who was the culprit and kept questioning him to see if he was pulling our leg. Tim vehemently denied any involvement. But, Jan persisted with several more interrogations before she was convinced, finally releasing Tim back to his workstation.

As far as we can tell, nothing else was removed other than the two drawer boxes of pens. Now, we have to purchase box-cutters, which is a very common and tool one utilizes daily in a shipping and receiving area.

Oh, and my favorite cup, always on my desk, has mysteriously disappeared as well! Something’s going on here.

Honestly, I’ve always thought there was a ghost in this building. There have been some fairly inexplicable occurrences that have manifested in this building. I’ve been here alone and heard noises, and even pounding coming from unknown sources, when I knew, for a fact, that I was the ONLY one here!

Why would THEY take our pens?

Why would THEY take our pens?

Over the last several years, we’ve had so many estates from magicians that have passed on; it may be one of them who’s meandering about the property looking for some old U.F. Grant piece they believe they’ve misplaced.

Yes, I believe ghosts may have been at work here. Or maybe it was Aerosmith?

Mike Super Performs in the Finals on AGT

And speaking of ghosts, our friend and good customer Mike Super appeared moved on into the finals on American’s Got Talent with his ghostly childhood friend, Desmond performing an eerie effect on former Spice Girl, Mel B.

Sadly, he did not receive enough votes from America to move on further in the competition, but Mike is a very fine presenter and we are proud to know him. Congratulations Mike Super on a job well done. You did our profession proud.

Take a look at the video.

Have a great weekend my friends,

Paul

P.S. I just had a thought. Maybe it was Desmond that stole the pens from the warehouse?

 

 

 

Making Room for More!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2014 by hocuspoc

Good news! We are about to take possession of a massive collection for consignment containing thousands of items, so we’ve been busily making room for it all including putting up additional shelving.

That’s why I’ve decided that it’s finally time to part with several of my coveted antique illusions that have been part of my personal magic collection. Hopefully, they’ll end up in someone’s collection that will cherish it as much as I have over the years.

Max & Nik make ready the backroom with new shelving for the thousands of items expected.

Max & Nik make ready the backroom with new shelving for the thousands of items expected.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow or is it Just an Illusion?

The illusions I’m parting with are the Jack-O-Lantern Girl Illusion by Carl Owen, Circa 1941 and Geisha Illusion, both owned by renowned Mexican magician, Paco Miller who successfully toured Central and South America for decades.

These illusions are not just any old illusions, they are magic HISTORY.

According to the accompanying provenance, in 1941 Paco Miller (Edmundo Jijon Serrano) purchased the Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion directly from Owen Magic Supreme having been personally crafted by the Owen brothers themselves, Carl and Emmet.

Paco Miller presenting the Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion in the 1940's.

Paco Miller presenting the Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion in the 1940’s.

The Jack-O-Lantern Girl Illusion made its premiere in Paco Miller’s show at the Esperanza Iris Theater in Mexico City on December 7, 1941, later known as Pearl Harbor Day.  Mr. Miller substantiates this fact recalling the sad announcement of the attack made just moments before the commencement of his show on that infamous day.

Paco Miller used the Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion up until retiring the show in 1973.

Paco Miller used the Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion up until retiring the show in 1973.

Today, the illusion continues to be manufactured by Owen Magic Supreme and is known nowadays as The Witch of the Pumpkin.

Paco Miller's vintage 1941 Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion in the showroom.

Paco Miller’s vintage 1941 Jack-O-Lantern Girl illusion in the showroom.

EFFECT:  As the scene opens, an enormous Jack-O’-Lantern Pumpkin is seen resting atop a corn stalk pedestal and enclosed within a low lattice type fence.

A small green step ladder is brought forth and the girl assistant enters the pumpkin via the top. Her face is visible through the open front of the Jack-O-Lantern. The front is closed and the lid is placed on and the pumpkin is picked up by the handles and carried downstage towards the audience.

When the top is removed, instead of the girl we find she has been transformed into an animal, the quintessential Halloween animal, the black cat!

Not often seen by contemporary audiences, the premise of this effect is simple to follow and straightforward, so the sheer impact of this phenomenally unique effect is utterly jaw-dropping.

Most certainly this is a collector’s piece, but it is indeed show-ready. The illusion includes a letter of provenance from Paco Miller’s son, Edmundo Miller, verifying its authenticity as well as several photographs on the illusionist performing it during his heyday.

Regardless of your intentions, be it performer or collector, this Jack-O-Lantern Girl Illusion, plays or displays beautifully. The illusion has its original paint intact and was very well taken care of by Paco Miller’s son over the years.

Edmund Spreer’s The Geisha Illusion, Circa 1940’s  

The other illusion that will be finding a new home is The Geisha Illusion. Constructed in the early 1940’s during World War Two for Paco Miller by brilliant and legendary illusion-builder Edmund Spreer in Mexico City.

This illusion is a one-of-a-kind original that was invented by Spreer, who was also responsible for the creation of Fu Manchu’s (David Bamberg) surprising illusions that toured Latin America during the Post-War Era.

The Geisha Illusion. Constructed in the early 1940's during World War Two for Paco Miller by brilliant and legendary illusion-builder Edmund Spreer.

The Geisha Illusion. Constructed in the early 1940’s during World War Two for Paco Miller by brilliant and legendary illusion-builder Edmund Spreer.

EFFECT:  An elaborately painted Japanese Pagoda is wheeled onstage and the four doors, on three sides of the box, are opened showing the inside of the box to be entirely empty. There are two doors in front, and a door on each side that is hinged at the back. The cabinet can be maneuvered about showing it at multiple angles to the audience.

All of the doors are closed and the cabinet is wheeled in a circle show it from all sides. When the doors are again opened, a beautiful Geisha is produced in adorned in traditional Japanese costume. The effect is perfect as it seems implausible that a girl could have been secreted anywhere inside the cabinet.

A rare one-of-a-kind illusion invented by Spreer, who was also responsible for the creation of Fu Manchu's (David Bamberg) surprising illusions.

A rare one-of-a-kind illusion invented by Spreer, who was also responsible for the creation of Fu Manchu’s (David Bamberg) surprising illusions.

It should be noted that a lengthy description along with sketches for the illusion were erroneously published in ILLUSION BUILDER TO FU MANCHU, A Tribute To Edmund Spreer by Robet E. Olson. It was assumed that The Giesha operated on a mirror principle since many of Paco Miller’s illusions very effectively utilized this technology. Subsequently, the author later discovered that the illusion actually operated on an entirely different mechanical principle.

Paco Miller's Geisha Illusion in our showroom.

Paco Miller’s Geisha Illusion in our showroom.

Both illusions were officially retired in 1973 when Paco Miller’s BIG show was mothballed concluding a celebrated multi-decade stage career.

Baby Comes, Baby Goes

More good news. I’m going to be a grandpa again! Yippee!

Cole and his wife Amanda just recently announced that they’re expecting, three months along now, and we cannot be more excited about the news.

Cole and Amanda at a Giants game.

Cole and Amanda at a Giants game.

My prediction is that it’s a GIRL, and my impeccable track record proves that I am seldom wrong on baby predictions.

Baby on the way. I think it's a girl.

Baby on the way. I think it’s a girl.

Cole just sold his new Camaro as his priorities are quickly changing being an expectant father. He’s willingly letting his muscle car go to make room for baby. Welcome to fatherhood son.

Cole's Camaro will be going to a new home. Good-bye baby.

Cole’s Camaro will be going to a new home. Good-bye baby.

Vote for Mike on AGT

Our friend and good customer magician Mike Super will be appearing once again on American’s Got Talent. Last time Mike performed the Devil’s Pitcher and was enthusiastically received and voted in to the next level. Mike will be appearing at Radio City Music Hall on next week’s show, so please tune in and vote for him.

Mike Super will be on America's Got Talent next week. Be sure to watch and vote!

Mike Super will be on America’s Got Talent next week. Be sure to watch and vote!

As always, have a great weekend my friends,

Paul

Buried Treasure Unearthed!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2014 by hocuspoc

It’s been a busy week for Cole and his intern, Nik, who’s assisting him in a full inventory of our showroom. And it’s a good thing because they’ve found a bevy of props that have NEVER been listed on our site. It’s definitely a worthwhile project because it seems as quick as we list them they disappear.

Here are a few examples of props we put up, then suddenly vanished with the click of a button, by some fortunate magic collector or magician.

GONE: Novelty Jack Table by Abbott's Magic, Circa 1960

GONE: Novelty Jack Table by Abbott’s Magic, Circa 1960

GONE: Original Jack Hughes Forgetful Joey The Clown

GONE: Original Jack Hughes Forgetful Joey The Clown

GONE: Wayne Dobson's This Is Your Knife, Custom

GONE: Wayne Dobson’s This Is Your Knife, Custom

GONE: Westgate Bowl Production by Town House Magic

GONE: Westgate Bowl Production by Town House Magic

But, not to worry if you missed out on owning one of these treasures. New items are going up daily, so stay tuned!

We’re glad they’re moving so rapidly, because we need the room due to Trade-In Days being back. If you’re ready to empty out your closets and drawers, we’re ready to trade with you. Here’s the low-down on our ever popular trade-in program.

~~~~~

Reap the Rewards of Trade in Days

Get The Magic You REALLY Want & Clean Out Your Cupboards Simultaneously!

Do you have magic that you have previously purchased that is sitting around unused collecting dust?

Here is your chance to turn that clutter into credit!

Our Trade-In Days Let You Trade Your Unwanted Magic For Store Credit

We are seeking: Tricks, Stage Props, Tables, Commemoratives, Collectibles, Puppets, Illusions, Ventriloquist Figures, Livestock Effects, Magic Paraphernalia, Ephemera, etc…We Want It All!

~~~~~

Here’s How It Works:

  1. Send an email to us at sales@hocus-pocus.com and include:
  • Your name and telephone number
  • List the items you want to Trade-in
  • The condition of each item (for example: good working order and complete with instructions)
  • Please submit by Friday, August 15th.
  1. We will review the list and we will email you within 24-48 hours (Monday-Friday) and make you an offer if we are interested in your items.
  2. If you accept the offer, you simply send the items to us, receive your in-store credit and start shopping! It’s that easy!

WE ARE MOST INTERESTED IN: Mid-to large-size apparatus, vintage, antique and older pieces; collectible, or whatever you no longer use!

PLEASE…NO DVDs, videos, packet or small pocket tricks.  When considering items for trade bear in mind that smaller, lower-value items such a pocket tricks are less desirable, but higher ticket items will garner you a greater trade credit.

Okay, let the trading begin!

Surprise Gift from Chris Kenworthy

As a follow up to last week’s short visit, Chris Kenworthy sent a very thoughtful edible gift basket for all of us to enjoy. Chris, thank you so much, everyone took advantage of your very delicious gift.

And I should mention, the pineapple was carved into the shape of magic rabbits! Nice touch Mister Kenworthy.

The chocolate-covered strawberries went quickly!

The chocolate-covered strawberries went quickly!

Magic on TV for Summer

Penn & Teller Fool Us and Masters of Illusion are now airing for our enjoyment and I, for one, am going to be tuning in to watch every episode.

Definitely worth watching!

Definitely worth watching!

Penn & Teller Fool Us, which originally aired in the U.K. beginning in 2011, began airing this week on the CW network at 8pm on Wednesdays.

The show’s premise is that aspiring magicians are invited to perform their best trick to try and fool the world-famous team of Penn & Teller. They will get to see the trick only once and have to immediately try to work it out.

There are no camera tricks, secret edits or helpful camera cuts. This is all real magic. Anyone who succeeds wins the right to perform with Penn & Teller in their celebrated show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

French card magician, Matthieu Bich ended up fooling the famous duo with his remarkable card trick. The show features outstanding magic and is very much worth watching.

Missed the first episode? No problem, you can watch the full episode of this week’s show by clicking on the link below:

EPISODE: Stab a Card, Any Card: Penn & Teller Fool Us

Masters of Illusion will premiere tonight on the CW at 8:00 pm (check your local listings for exact time) and will continue to air EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT for 13 weeks!

Airs tonight, August 1 on most CW stations.

Airs tonight, August 1 on most CW stations.

It is the first time in years that a magic series will be returning to Prime Time Television. So, do whatever you can to watch it; DVR, Tivo, or watch it LIVE. It’s great to see our Art getting the air-time it deserves.

Tune in and witness some of the World’s most famous Magicians perform some of the most amazing illusions, breathtaking escapes, and comedy magic for the entire family.

Newbies in the Aviary

San Diego hypnotist James Kellogg brought me his doves as they were in need of a new home now that he is no longer performing with them. I’ve added them to my aviary in the backyard, so they will be in good company with the other doves.

A new home for JK's doves.

A new home for JK’s doves.

 

Everyone is adjusting to the new space very well.

Everyone is adjusting to the new space very well.

Thanks James, and don’t worry, we’ll take good care of them.

As always, have a great weekend my friends,

Paul