Archive for January, 2015

How Did It Begin?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2015 by hocuspoc

Tim and I were chatting this morning about how we got started in magic. I got to thinking about it after reviewing this Abbott & Costello bit from The Colgate Comedy Hour. Bud Abbott is showing Lou Costello a magic trick that he’s working on — the Passe Passe Bottles.

As you may recall from former blogs, my first real experience seeing a magic show was seeing the great Jack Gwynne live on stage at a theater in downtown Fresno with my grandparents. It was only a few short months later, The Magic Land of Allakazam starring Mark Wilson and his beautiful assistant Nani Darnell and their clown cohort Rebo the Clown played by Bev Bergeron.

According to WikiPedia, The Magic Land of Allakazam was the name of a groundbreaking series of network television shows featuring American magician Mark Wilson. It ran from 1960 to 1964 and is credited with establishing the credibility of magic as a television entertainment.

Cast photo of the children's program The Magic Land of Allakazam. From top-Rebo the Clown, Mark Wilson and Nani Darnell. Wilson and Darnell are husband and wife; he was the magician on the program and she was his assistant.

Cast photo of the children’s program The Magic Land of Allakazam. From top-Rebo the Clown, Mark Wilson and Nani Darnell. Wilson and Darnell are husband and wife; he was the magician on the program and she was his assistant.

What you may not recall is that my first interest was in the art of ventriloquism, but soon waned as my interest in magic was elevated after seeing Mark Wilson on television. Of course, you’ve heard my story quite a bit, so here’s the highlights of Tim’s story.

How Did It Begin; Your Start in Magic?

Tim said that his first exposure to our Art was a local magician, Claude Riley & Geraldine, who would come to his grade school and perform magic shows, nothing educational like today’s requirements, but just for fun. He distinctly recalls the audible “oohs and aahs” from the kids when the curtain would open revealing the stage filled with color, 6-foot picture silks acting as colorful backdrops. Riley’s average and cornball magic show included an Abbott Suspension and a Lota Bowl among other things. It wasn’t a polished act, but it was enough to forever spark an interest in magic to last a lifetime.

For years, Tim said he could never remember the name of the magician that had made such an impact on him. That is, until recently, when he returned to his childhood grade-school, Rosary Catholic School in Oklahoma City to fulfill an item on his bucket list, to perform for the kids, much like Riley the Magician did. It was only when Tim rented a rabbit named Riley, that he remembered that the magician’s name was the same.

However, what really sold Tim on magic was seeing the Rice Bowls performed by Marshall Brodien on a television commercial (seen above) advertising his TV Magic Set. Tim said, “After I saw that trick, I knew I had to learn that magic trick.” Well, that Christmas, he got the TV Magic Set and has never looked back.

Together with another boyhood magician friend, Danny Baade, Tim began his journey into magic and performing, later working at a downtown magic shop, Hecklers Novelty Shop as a demonstrator and also working as an onstage assistant to magician Gene Pronk. As a teenager, Eugene Pronk became Tim’s mentor, eventually taking him to Wichita for The Wichita Conclave, which was the precursor for the Desert Magic Seminar.

Working mostly in the 1940’s, Gene Pronk aka Marlowe the Magician, had purchased a Spook Show from John Calvert in 1947, which he toured for a time. Later, Pronk settled in Oklahoma City working under the name “Marlowe the Magician” and “Pronk the Magician”.

Tim's mentor, Gene Pronk aka Marlowo the Magician, in 1947 bought a Spook Show from John Calvert, which he toured for a time, later settling in Oklahoma City.

Tim’s mentor, Gene Pronk aka Marlowo the Magician, in 1947 bought a Spook Show from John Calvert, which he toured for a time, later settling in Oklahoma City.

 

Zaney Blaney Suspension 3001

This week we got in a Zaney Blaney Suspension 3001, which is the more affordable version of his very sought after illusion.  As compared to his ladder levitation, it’s price is about one third the cost. Here’s the back-story on this illusion.

At a Magic Collectors Association national convention in Chicago, Walter was asked to present his famous Ladder Levitation as “The Single Magic Illusion That Has Fooled Magicians Longer Than Any Other In The History Of Magic”. The very next year, Walter returned and introduced his Suspension 3001 at this same convention.

The Zaney Blaney Suspension 3001 is designed to allow far more deceptive moves and the result is very close to the original ladder levitation, but with no moving parts.

The Zaney Blaney Suspension 3001 is designed to allow far more deceptive moves and the result is very close to the original ladder levitation, but with no moving parts.

The consensus was that Blaney now has not ONLY the best suspension on the market (Ladder Levitation), he now also has the “Second Best Suspension” as well. Besides the great difference in price between Blaney’s two suspensions, each has its own merits and advantages over the other. Many knowledgeable magicians have viewed Suspension 3001 on Walter’s promo video over and over and cannot figure the secret. Some top pros have purchased this illusion for reasons other than its lower cost, including Paul Daniels of England and Sylvan of Italy.

Because the original Zaney Blaney Ladder Levitation is so difficult and expensive to build, the new “Suspension 3001” was designed to sell at about one third the cost. Yet it still approximates the powerful mystery of the Ladder Levitation. At first glance it has an appearance similar to the old Jack Gwynne Suspension or Robert Harbin Walk-Away-Suspension, where trestle supports are used under a board…

…But this suspension is designed to allow far more deceptive moves and the result is very close to the original ladder levitation, but with no moving parts. It is a one-man illusion as opposed to the necessity of using three trained assistants in the Gwynne/Harbin methods.

This Zaney Blaney Suspension 3001 customarily retails for $3,450, but you can get it for substantially LESS if you are in the market for this kind of illusion.

~~~

Until next time,

Paul

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Back from Seeing the Genie

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2015 by hocuspoc

As previously mentioned, our newfound relationship with Owen Magic is proving to be mutually beneficial. We’ve been able to move a number of props in record time for Alan Zagorsky and he’s been very happy with our efforts thus far. In fact, so much so that he invited us to come back down to Azusa for a second visit.

Alan actually handed me his catalog and said for me to pick out the items I thought we could sell. He gave me almost every single item that I indicated, and we’re nearly out-of-stock on some and we completely sold-out on others — in just a few days.

Here are some examples of the props Alan gave us to sell.

Owen Anniversary Prediction Chest by Owen Magic Supreme.

Owen Anniversary Prediction Chest by Owen Magic Supreme.

Owen Thayer Cannonball Vase by Owen Magic Supreme

Owen Thayer Cannonball Vase by Owen Magic Supreme

CUSTOM Hindu Basket Illusion by Owen Magic Supreme.

CUSTOM Hindu Basket Illusion by Owen Magic Supreme.

 

ABC Blocks by Owen Magic Supreme

ABC Blocks by Owen Magic Supreme

 

Gambling Lecture by Owen Magic Supreme

Gambling Lecture by Owen Magic Supreme

 

Duck (or Livestock) Vanish by Owen Magic Supreme

Duck (or Livestock) Vanish by Owen Magic Supreme

Rabbit Rising Cards by Owen Magic Supreme.

Rabbit Rising Cards by Owen Magic Supreme.

 

Through the Needle by Owen Magic Supreme

Through the Needle by Owen Magic Supreme

 

Coin Ladder with Custom ATA Case by Owen Magic Supreme.

Coin Ladder with Custom ATA Case by Owen Magic Supreme.

 

Comedy Ventriloquist Mask

We just started carrying a great new prop that I think is pretty terrific for entertainers.

If you are old enough to remember Wayland Flowers and Madame, you recall that there is no need to actually be a ventriloquist in order to have your audience rolling in the aisles. Plus, anytime you can incorporate a volunteer into your show, it is always THAT much more fun and involving for the audience.

Comedy Ventriloquist Mask, Cable Control

Comedy Ventriloquist Mask, Cable Control

That is precisely what you’ll be able to do when you use this cable-controlled comedy ventriloquist mask.

Take a look at these videos to see what can be achieved with this remarkable comedy prop.

 

 

As you can see, in the hands of a skilled performer, this prop rocks the audience into a frenzy.

 

New Side Show Banners

My son-in-law Jonathan came in today to hang a number of sideshow banners I got recently. The warehouse is full I decided the main showroom was an ideal location for these colorful banners.

The Congress of Curiosities

The Congress of Curiosities

 

Fun on the Farm and the Pigmy Mud Man

Fun on the Farm and the Pigmy Mud Man

 

Amazing Anomolies featuring Half Boy, 2 Faces and Pinhead.

Amazing Anomolies featuring Half Boy, 2 Faces and Pinhead.

 

Barnyard Blunders beckoning mid-way crowds to see freaky chickens and such.

Barnyard Blunders beckoning mid-way crowds to see freaky chickens and such.

I’m planning on having a great weekend. You do the same.

Until next time,

Paul

Gone to See the Genie

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2015 by hocuspoc
Hocus Pocus, an authorized dealer.

Hocus Pocus, an authorized dealer.

 

We’ve gone south to see the Genie at Owen Magic Supreme.

Actually, to be more accurate, it’s the wizard, Alan Zagorsky that we’ve gone to visit once again. Seems he has more Owen products for us to list online and we couldn’t be more excited about our newfound association.

You may know that Hocus Pocus is now the ONLY magic dealer, outside of Owen Magic Supreme, that is currently authorized to sell Owen products. WOW! Every time I think about that statement, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. It’s a dream come true!

Betty snapped a few pictures today during our visit today, so I thought I’d share them with you.

Alan Zagorsky and me posing with one of his extraordinary props.

Alan Zagorsky and me posing with one of his extraordinary props.

 

Some of the astounding goodies in the Owen showroom.

Some of the astounding goodies in the Owen showroom.

 

Guess I'd better add my two-cents worth to the basket.

Guess I’d better add my two-cents worth to the basket.

 

Alan showing me one of the workspaces at Owen.

Alan showing me one of the workspaces at Owen.

 

Another shot of the shop where some of the magic happens to create these beautiful props.

Another shot of the shop where some of the magic happens to create these beautiful props.

 

Just another day a the office here on the production line at Owen Magic Supreme.

Just another day a the office here on the production line at Owen Magic Supreme.

 

I could wander around here all day.

I could wander around here all day.

 

I've wanted one of these since I first saw it -- The Girl in the Diamond.

I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw it — The Girl in the Diamond.

Better get back to perusing this wonderful place while I still can. We’ve got more to talk about with Alan and a long drive home.

Not to worry, we’ll have a full report for you next week.

~~~

Until next time,

Paul

Books, Books, Books!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2015 by hocuspoc

Happy 2015 to everyone!

We started the new year off with a large collection and the first few days have been a bustling time with many orders to fill — thanks to you — our customers. It looks like it’s going to be another great year with lots of good magic coming your way.

Cole, Betty and me are busy filling orders as our January has been very busy -- thanks to you!

Cole, Betty and me are busy filling orders as our January has been very busy — thanks to you!

Huge Collection of Books

We have been madly putting up books online from a gigantic collection that came in recently. It will undoubtedly takes us months to complete. There are some rare titles and lots of collectible books from an array of subjects. This collector put together a vast quantity of books from every conceivable area of magic. If you are a magic history buff or are a lover of books, this collection is for you.

There are so many books that it would keep Burgess Meredith’s character from the famous Twilight Zone busy and very happy for a long time.

Finally, there's time to read!

Finally, there’s time to read!

Keep watching our website over the next few weeks especially since we have gone into overdrive in putting them up online.

A Sampling from the Collection

Here are several examples from the collection:

Salon de Magie by Ken Klosterman, Collector's Edition, 2006

Salon de Magie by Ken Klosterman, Collector’s Edition, 2006

Higher Magic, Magic for the Artist, Circa 1920

Higher Magic, Magic for the Artist, Circa 1920

The Pallbearers Review by Karl Fulves 3-Book Set, Volumes 1 to 10

The Pallbearers Review by Karl Fulves 3-Book Set, Volumes 1 to 10

 A Bibliography of Magic Classics by Stephen Forrester (ONE OF A KIND)


A Bibliography of Magic Classics by Stephen Forrester (ONE OF A KIND)

Lake Highland Prep’s Varsity Magic

Our customer, Ginger Bryant, is an 11th grade English teacher at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, who started a performing magic club in her high school instead of coaching a sport. She said they always joke about it being, “Varsity Magic.” and they are taking their skills out into the community and sharing the Art of Magic.

Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic visits pediatric wards to cheer up children undergoing cancer treatment. They also they perform in elementary school and do theater shows. It’s a unique campus group that gives students a completely different experience than almost any other student group could offer.

They make one major purchase from us each year, usually an illusion, and as you can see by the photos, they make good use of them.

The Shadow Box Illusion performed by Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic group.

The Shadow Box Illusion performed by Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic group.

The Thin Model Sawing Illusion makes its appearance in Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic for a school show.

The Thin Model Sawing Illusion makes its appearance in Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic for a school show.

Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic performs the Fire Cage.

Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic performs the Fire Cage.

Abbott's Shredder Illusion gets a workout with Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic group.

Abbott’s Shredder Illusion gets a workout with Lake Highland Preparatory School’s Project Magic group.

This year they had a tribal theme with choreographed stage combat numbers between the “birds” and “beasts.” The group staged tricks like Temple of Benares and Abbott’s Shredder to look more like battle than a typical magic trick.

They also purchased a Shadow Box and a Fire Cage from us, and the photos show that the kids are definitely making good use of them.

I have to say that this club is such a great idea! I find it personally gratifying to see the pictures of the props, that lived in our showroom for a time, now being performed live in front of audiences.

I think we need more teachers like Ginger Bryant.

Have a fantastic weekend my friends.

Until next time,

Paul