Monday, August 29, 2005
My how time flies, Summer is almost over and in the short time I have had so many magical moments since moving here to Fresno. Magical Moment is a term which I coined on a take of the old Kodak film slogan "Make every moment a Kodak moment." This is what you must do everytime you perform. You create a magic moment for your audiences. That picture of the birthday child helping the magician. The smile on a lady's face when you turn a napkin into a rose. The parent whose child goes on stage in Las Vegas and the magician makes their child float. These are memories that will last a life time....even if you never ever see that person again they had a Magical Moment.
Just a few updates from Hocus-Pocus, Paul is doing much better since his Kidney stone problem and quick bout with the flu. So as the big guy approaches a milestone (hopefully not another kidney stone ) he will turn 50 years old this weekend. I kind'da overheard him talking to Mike. I think Paul might be planning a surprise for all our online members of Hocus-Pocus. So if your not a online member (and why aren't you?) time to sign-up be part of his Magical Moment.
One of my jobs here at Hocus Pocus (as If I had just one...lol) is to bring more magic to the website. I just aquired from a magician in Southern California the magic collection of all times. You talk about a Magical Moment! Watching Paul act like a kid on Christmas day as we unpacked 40 boxes of MINT, and I mean MINT condition magic. Some of these items are from Abbotts Magic & Supreme from England. This is going to be the estate sale which may never end. So you better make sure you are a online member to get email notice of this sale. My personal tip don't email us, if you see what you want on a estate sale...Call! You snooze, you lose. Now if you didn't notice this last week lets try again.....
Performer's Tips Contest
The working knowledge that the collective group of Hocus-Pocus customers have could probably fill a library. Everyone here has learned something, either by trail by fire or just common sense. Now its your turn to share your tips and ideas for all of us to be better performers. So I asked Paul, for all of you, and he presented me $20.00 gift certifcates for the "Best Performer's Tip of The Week" Contest. So send in your emails with your best ideas, suggestions, routines or tips.
Next Tuesday, one of you gets $20.00 to shop free at Hocus-Pocus its that simple. Each email will be dated and time zoned. This weeks contest will end on Friday Sept 2, @ 5:00 PST.
Update: Since I think alot of you may have not seen this contest listing. I am rolling over the certifcate prize (there goes my first pay raise) to $40 to shop at Hocus-Pocus. Send your ideas, suggestions and tips before Paul takes it out of my paycheck.
This Weeks Picks
When I still worked in Las Vegas, I got to meet Alan Wong from Hong Kong. Alan is the creator of what has to be the cutest magic effect in a while. Wonder Pet is is truly a magical moment maker. Wonder Pet is by special arrangement and is in limited edition. This is a Hocus-Pocus find and is going fast off the shelf. Some folks are actually buying 2 and 3 of them. There is a video on the website so, one pic (video) is worth a thousand words. The ooh's and ahh's are just two more words about Wonder Pet.
This DVD is an all out Magical Moment maker (if not wierd moments) that will surely get you remembered. This talented young man teaches you some of the Geekest stunts that you can do to turn heads. Mind you, all are safe and at no time are you ever taking a risk with your life. Now the stomachs of your audience thats another story.
Barry is one person that knows about creating Magical Moments. From his sense of humor, colorful props to endearing story tricks with a message, Barry Mitchell is all about lasting memories. You can never go wrong with any creation by him. So I recommend just typing his name in product search and taking a journey into his fun world of magic.
Magic Anytime, Anywhere By Losander
From the creator of the Floating Table, comes a DVD that really shows what a magical moments can be. The truest form of magic is what appears to be impromptu. Magic for the moment at the moment. Losander takes you step by step into a world of impromptu magic. This is great DVD for those times when doing card tricks is not as magical as using whats around you to show your talent vs.your skill.
Tips of the Week
Years ago I learned this idea from a puppeteer. He would travel with cases(footlocker type) and when he got to the gig he would set up from the inside floor of the case a frame. This was like two letter L's upside down with a crossbar to join them in the center. The poles or pipes would be mount by floor flanges. This is the same type under most magic tables. He would then hang a curtain (velcro or slide hem) on the pole. The curtain would drape over the lid of the case. He would then hang his marionettes also from the back. He would do a puppet performance piece.Then go behind hang up that puppet and get another puppet. All the pipes broke down and straped into the lid of the footlocker. The curtain (use double knit fabric it doesn't wrinkle as much) go in the bottom and the handcrafted puppets were then protected by the curtain. Those of you who do school shows, malls or birthday parties will look that much more professional with a backdrop.
Jumbo Stage Size
I started to mention this last week but now let me go further. As a teenage magician I used to buy every packet trick in the world. Now with the advent of home computers and scanners it is not hard to custom make your own stage size version of a packet trick.
You can even use a color copier and with jumbo cards enlarge them 151% (thats almost 8 1/2 x 11) this way you can really see the trick from stage. You will need to make both a front and back (don't do two sided printing) Then using a laiminating machine (buy one or have an office copy place do it for you) you now have a professional durable stage prop.
Examples of great packet tricks for this concept are: Girls Night Out by Tony Curtis (not the actor) Joker Poker (from the book the Magic of Alan Wakeling by Jim Steinmeyer) Harry Anderson's Monarch Monte ( from Mike Caveney's Book about Harry)
Well that should keep you thinking this week. As we end this summer, the Holidays are just around the corner. This is the time to be prepared and be most magical. Think of your time when you entertain as the time that lasting memories are made. These are "Magical Moments".
As Always please read the full descriptions of these items on the website (www.Hocus-Pocus.com ) this weeks picks I recommend for you to have for your show.
I would like to hear from you so feel free to write to me at:
or snail mail me at
Hocus-Pocus Magic Att. Tony Blanco
2311 E. McKinley
Fresno, CA USA 93703
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
As I begin this week's blog, once again to all, Thank You! So many have been writing and calling to express your good wishes to me for joining the Hocus Pocus family. I have gotten to personally know many of you in a short time. I have also been chatting to our vendors, some of which are ready with new magic effects for this fall, so watch our site. We here at Hocus-Pocus know we have the best magic family in our customers. So I want to help each one of you in your growth as performers. This week I spot light real world workers props. My Picks this week maybe short but are the stuff that makes you look like a star!!
This Weeks Picks
Hey Presto Card Foutain
From the "land down under" (Australia) comes one of the smoothest, neatest built pieces of machinery. Here's a in action photo, we took of me for a PR Pic. This fountain is small enough for a Top Hat or even a cloth bag. "Workers" will be smart to use this with their favorite cardsword act. Comes with a remote with a 80 foot signal range. I was in the back of the warehouse and set it off on Paul's desk about 50 feet away. A value for the workmanship.
Pro Viper II
The Snake in the Basket is not a new idea, but Terry Lunceford has been the guy making the comedy version of this act for a long time. As a creative working comedy magician who is always appearing at the Magic Castle. Terry's act comes to you on video (along with all the props) that is his signature laugh- filled worker's routine. Simple in its ideas and the chosen card can be signed (no switching cards) and appears in the mouth of the Snake as it flies out of the Basket . A constant and faithful piece of equipment. Ever a problem, Terry stands behind each one made and will never let you down for a repair, if like that might ever happen.
Four and Half of Spades
From Chance Wolf Productions comes a Stage Size (17x 22) take on a close-up kind'da trick. One thing I have always lectured about was taking packet or close-up effects and making them Stage size. Well, Chance has done this to the MAX! Workmanship, Colorfulness & Comedy are what Chance Wolf items are all about. Having been a artist who worked on the comic books SPAWN, Chance knows all about creating a mood and theme in his products. I won't do justice telling you the act (read it on the website) but will tell you how well made and professional this prop is to hold. To me the price is way low for a prop that will make you look like a real working pro!!!
Chico The Mind Reading Chimp
For the working family show entertainer (Heck any entertainer really!) Chico the Mind Reading Chimp is a solid laughed packed routine. Bill Abbott gives you everything to present this reputation making act. You get a DVD to teach you the act, as well as CD for the music and sound effects. Chico has been the talk of many magic chat sites. Now Chico is here at Hocus Pocus & only here. Just think of inspiring continuous laughs from your audiences all in one suitcase. This is one of those packs small and plays big items you should have. If you work schools, malls, or even Vegas your crowds will fall in love with Chico and remember your name.
DVD Quick Picks
Greater Magic Series The Art of Costume Change
Killer Kitson Mircle Bob Sheets
Magic of John Ramsey Vol 1 & 2
Eccentricks Vol 1 & 2 Charlie Frye
As Always please read the full descriptions of these items on the website( www-Hocus-Pocus.com) of this weeks items I found for you to have for your show.
This weeks Tip
(right out of my lecture notes, I just saved you $15.00)
The Happy Birthday Paper Tear:
The performer tears a banner into small pieces and magically restores it as quick as a wink!
Inspired by "Fresh Fish Sold Here Today".
You need to make a banner which says, "Happy Birthday (and the person's name)." I recommend doing this on an 8 1/2" X 14" piece of paper or any size it's your choice. There is actually banner paper for the home computer available at most office supply stores. The actual size for each banner (when cut down) is about 4" X 14". You will need two banners and a bottle of rubber cement. Now the steps to make this work (follow illustrations below):
PERFORMANCE and PATTER SUGGESTION:
The Happy Birthday banner is turned around so the letter "H" is on the right-hand side (see figure 1). Fold this in half into a smaller packet (Figure 2) and in half again (Figure 3) and in half again one last time (Figure 4). Now fold the banner from left to right (Figure 5). Now fold this thin strip further into thirds. Start from the bottom to 2/3 from the top. This last piece (the top of the banner) is tucked into the bottom piece and locked together. Rubber cement this packet as is to the back of the other banner in the back of the last letter of the person's name. You're done.
Begin by showing the Birthday Banner (keeping the secret gimmick on the back from being seen, of course) and explain that today is someone's birthday, and "We need a birthday banner to add to the celebration." Ask everyone, "Whose birthday is it, anyway?" which will get a laugh as the banner shows the person's name clearly for all to see (we'll use the name John as an example). Everyone will then yell out that it's John's birthday.
"OK, since we all KNOW it's John's birthday, we don't really need his name on the banner." Tear out John's name and place it in back of the banner behind the word "birthday."
"Now, we're here to celebrate John's wedding anniversary, right?" Everyone will yell out in the negative, wherein you can respond, "Oh, we must be here to celebrate John winning the state lottery..." Use this biplay with them a couple more times and finally say, "Well, I guess we don't need the word 'birthday' on the sign." Tear off the word "birthday," and place it in back of the banner on top of the first torn piece.
"Now, all we have is the word 'Happy.' When you wish someone a birthday, do you wish them a SAD birthday? Do you wish them a ROTTEN birthday? No? Well, what do you wish them? Of course, we wish them a HAPPY birthday! Well, I guess we don't need this sign anymore..."
At this point, begin to fold over the torn pieces into a bundle exactly the size of the secret packet. Turn down the ends and tuck them into each other. Now turn over the bundle with the secret packet facing the audience and ask, "But what if someone came into the room who Didn't know it was John's birthday, wouldn't it be great if we had a sign to let them know? Well, indeed we do!" At this point, unfold the paper to show that it has magical restored itself and say, "Happy birthday, John!"
Don't let the simplicity of the effect keep you from performing it. It's great for "Welcome Home," "Sweet 16," "Happy Anniversary," or even a message for a trade show product. With your imagination and your computer, you can create endless variations.
To be used only by working pro's . Mass production by Magic Dealers strictly forbidden!! Copyrights Tony Blanco & Hocus-Pocus.com
Worker's Tips Contest
The working knowledge that the collective group of Hocus-Pocus customers have could probably fill a library. Everyone here has learned something, either by trail by fire or just common sense. Now its your turn to share your tips and ideas for all of us to be better performers. So I asked Paul, for all of you, and he presented me $20.00 gift certifcates for the "Best Workers Tip of The Week" Contest. So send in your emails with your best ideas, suggestions, routines or tips.
Next Tuesday, one of you gets $20.00 to shop free at Hocus-Pocus its that simple. Each email will be dated and time zoned. Each contest will end on Monday 5:00 PST. Lets see how many certifcates I can go to the "Godfather" to give me for all of you.
Best Magical Wishes,
Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com (preferred) or snail mail me at:
ATT. Tony Blanco
2311 E McKinley
Fresno, CA 93703 USA (to send items for review to sell on our website)
That's my email and the comment button is right there below. Let me hear from you!
Remember in life, give the magic you want in return. Be that Magic!!!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
It's a Kind'da Magic
First let me say, Thank you to all of you. I have received so many wonderful emails and phone calls to welcome me to magical land of Hocus-Pocus & about this blog. Paul is impressed with how many hits that I have gotten with this, just the first blog. This blog is for all of you of so please feel free to email or add comments with you tips and picks also. I am going to try my best to cover something for each type of magician so lets get started.
A Buyer Beware Alert
Here a at Hocus Pocus we stand by the creators of magic. Today we received a sample of a item that is a total ripoff of Wayne Roger's Appearing Ladder. Paul showed me this inferior knockoff by Mak Magic. Let it be stated here and now, that this is a Wayne Roger's creation not Mak Magic or anyone else. This product is so poorly manufactured it does not open properly and would not last a dozen performances before it cracks and breaks.
We have sold Wayne's version and stand by his creations now for over 7 years.
Please help us support the right maker.
A Day With Finn Jon
Well, first thanks to Losander for producing this DVD of one of Europe's creative minds in magic. Finn Jon shares some of his most recent creations with a new type of sponge to create a new form of magic. Finn shares some wonderful sleight of hand effects with cards, sponge magic (not your dad's sponge routine), and the best take on Card to Wallet ....EVER! Losander's interview with Finn gives you an inside to Finn's creative mind. This will inspire you!
Just in Today. Paul played with this all day and raved to all he talked to on the phone. He likes it so much so he told me something I am sworn not to repeat. Let just say I don't think anyone getting one of these will ever have a problem or want to return it. Just image standing a marker on its edge and then placing a coin on top of the marker and a glass over the whole thing. Then magically the marker turns till the coin falls off. The Amazing Marker can lay flat and spin in a circle. It has so many magical and psychic possibilities.
Close-Up Workers ALERT!!!. For the first time in history. Thru a special process a real US Dollar skrunken is now an item to make magic happen. Can be used in many close-up miracles. Your creative ideas can really happen now. One comes to mind with The Comedy Mini Wallet and a thumb tip. Let your mind work out the rest. Now in and ready for shipping. I laughed so hard on how small and real it looks.
Making Magic DVD's Vol 1 & 2
I have been a longtime fan of a working magician who likes to able to build his tricks & props. I have my own full woodworking shop (when ever I get the chance to move the rest of it from Vegas to Fresno) here . So this is why I am a fan of Martin Lewis effects. Here is a man who is second generation magic (Dad... Eric Lewis & best bud to Robert Harbin) who builds, writes and then shows his most magical secrets on these DVD's. All is explained in a "This Old House" kind'da way. So if you can't make, you can buy his tricks. If you can build get this series "Making Magic Vol I & II". Some of his best effects, even Cardiographic is explained how to make in detail. There are effects for Stage, Close-up and Family entertainers. Worse case, if you can't make them Hocus Pocus has the entire Magikraft Line to purchase. Art work is even include for your computer to print out. Its like Martin is making it for you then! There are 10 effects explained between the two DVD's, 8 of which I use in my shows is that a recommendation or what!
Not one trick but 2 entire web sections on the Hocus Pocus website. This Englishman is "The Ultimate Mastercraftmen" that Hocus Pocus buys from. From Card Frames to Hoffman wands to woodwork from from ancient ships of England. Colin and his lovely wife Sharron produce hand crafted, handturned wooden cups for cups & balls, exotic wooden magic wands, to illusions for stage and close-up. I can't say nothing more then I wish I had his talents and skills to make such wonderful crafted products. Yes, his items may cost more, but I tell you, you will use these items for the rest of your career. Like a fancy car, his items will also be collectors items also besides being "worker tricks". There is something for everyone that Colin Rose makes.
As Always please read the full descriptions of these items on the website( www.hocus-pocus.com) of this weeks items I found for you to have for your show.
My Tips for you "Workers" (TY Mike Close for the term)
I promised to tip my working knowledge. Some maybe common sense but if you not using them, maybe now you might.
Those of you do the Banandana Routine:
I performed this 3-4 times a day at Excalibur Hotel Casino (one day 9 times in one day) and learned to save clean up time. Inside any Devils Hank use a ziplock bag,double stick tape to the pocket then to the outside of the ziplock. So after the show banana comes out wipe the ziplock with paper towel and your ready for next show.
Birthday Party Shows:
One working pro I knew years ago, actually had 2 suitcases with the same setup. If he had 2 birthday parties in one day ( he booked them close) he'd leave one show and get to the other all set to go with a second case. Think about it, it saves time and you have a backup set of tricks if one ever is broken or lost. Really, most working pros actually order two items from us just for those reasons I mention, let alone if a trick ends up not being made anymore. Ask the crew at Hocus Pocus, I wear denim shirts almost everyday ( I have 7 shirts). I bet they think the rest of my clothes are still in storage in Vegas....lol. Think of that scene in the movie "Arthur" getting the same shirt 2 or 3 each in a different color. Personally, I buy in bulk to CYA. Let you figure what CYA stands for.
For you close-up kind'da guys a finale I came up with to the Ascanio Spread trick "Cannibal Kings." Let me tip my personal act. I won't explain the whole trick (that's still in print under the Ascanio Spread manuscript) but here's my ending. Before you start the routine have a red Queen one on top of the deck and one one the bottom. Now do the routine as in print to the point of the "famous flip/drop of the "regular card" and the King.
Now as you get ready for the the last missionary (as the routine calls them (which is really a number card) you do the eating act, & cut the deck ( I say "putting out the fire in the pot before the feast" at this point) spread the four Kings ala Ascanio Spread style and drop four Kings and the "last missionary" is gone. Now my finale. "You see those were not only missionaries but they had a kind'da of magic with them and where really safe with they ladies.
Spread the deck (the two cards chosen to be the missionaries say 7 hearts and 3 clubs) are were really safe and sound with there ladies. So as you spread the deck face up here is a 7 of hearts with a Queen and a 3 of Clubs with a Queen. "Its a kind'da Magic."
That's what I wish for each of you.... A Kind'da Magic in your life and spread that Magic. You wanted to be a Magician, be magical and make each person you meet feel special and touched by your Magic!
Let me know my magical knowledge is working for you.
Best Magical Wishes,
Att. Tony Blanco
2311 E McKinley
Fresno, CA 93703 USA (to send stuff for review for the website to sell )
That's my email and the comment button is right there below. Let me hear from you!
Monday, August 08, 2005
Greetings to all of you from the magic world of Hocus Pocus. I have been honored to be asked to join the staff of this the World's Largest Internet Magic Company.
For those of you reading this I am offering my 30yrs of entertainment and knowledge so to as to help each of us become better performers. As the right hand guy to Paul Gross owner of Hocus-Pocus.com, I have knowledge of the newest, hottest magic items. So I will be sharing with you what's going on, making you a "Insider" to some of the magic effects, DVD's and books that we sell.
I honestly want to help all of you with this blog. This is not going to be for anyone to rant, complain, or post put downs. That's for other blogs and chats rooms. Please leave that type of stuff there, please! I will be offering ideas and tips (some from my massive master books of ideas....TY Jeff Mc Bride for the term) so all of us can grow together.
During my 30yrs I have performed on the streets of New York Central Park to the stages of Las Vegas at Circus Circus and Excalibur. I have been lucky to also have been a graduate of Ringling Bros. Clown College. The book Creative Clowning was my first big published event writing about clown make-up, mime and puppeteer.
Remember this all started with a TV magic kit, but it wasn't enough. I learned circus skills like juggling, unicycling and stiltwalking. So again, I want to be here for all of you, be you a close-up worker, kid and family show magician or stage performer and lend a creative hand.
Speaking of puppets here is a shot of one of the many "muppet type" puppets I have created. This one was for one of my shows and used on a Las Vegas PBS station . During my career I have been able to work with some of the muppeteers as well as be in the movie "Muppets Take Manhattan".
Well, before this blog sounds like a bio (too late!), let me pass some of my picks from Hocus Pocus fast sellers. Mike (our Cindy Crawford model in all Hocus Pocus ads) does our website, putting up each day new items from many of magic's creative minds. Now I can tell you the items that are the real gems . I also want to point out some of the DVD's/videos that I get to see. This way I get to be a film critic ( I love movies) and review for you. Before you spend your hard earned cash.
Today let me highly recommend:
Bill Abbott Performs Close-up For Kids (DVD)
Anyone who has ever worked in restaurants or parties will be amazed and charmed by Bill's style and creative routines. Don't let the title fool you these effects blow the parents away too! I gained a new respect for doing restaurant work from watching him charm both kids and adults. His personality will inspire you to get those close-up chops back in shape.
How To Teach A Birthday Magic Class (DVD)
This has got to be a first in the magic business. Everyone has done some form of Birthday parties but now come a DVD with information on a lucrative way to enhance your status as a entertainer. Imagine getting paid(even more money) to both perform and teach magic. James Muntion gives you all the knowledge to create a party/show that can earn you more money for those ages of kids that think they are too cool for tricks. One effect I learned and just did this weekend was one the biggest hits of the show. Got a ziplock bag around? It can be true magic for kids.
Promotional Magic (DVD)
One thing about being a performing is to get your name out there and get repeat bookings. Bill Anderson shares some of his best "Promotional" ideas with magic business cards. If you have just a little computer knowledge (i.e. making your own biz cards) you now have your own PR firm and magic shop in your own home. Bill offers fun ways that your audiences get to walk away with your card as well as be magically entertained. A must have for everyone....I mean everyone!
Learn Magic with Lyn (DVD)
In the tradition of Mr Wizard, Shari Lewis and Bob McAllister, Lyn Dillies shows a new way to teach kids magic. This has to be the best made DVD ( professionally done) for teaching magic to kids. Add this to the "How to Teach a Birthday Magic Class" DVD and now you really have lots of new effects to make the big bucks working with kids. Lyn's production has got the look of a PBS show like Sesame Street or Zoom. Her take on the old trick "Clippo" is worth the price of the DVD. So if you work with kids a must have just to learn how to work with kids alone.
The Magic of Creative Thinking (2 DVD set)
Imagine a 3 hour lecture in your own home by one of magic's creative workers Barry Mitchell. Filmed at the Kidabra convention, Barry shares, shows and teaches his greatest magic creations. Along with the book of the same title(you will have to purchase the book separate) you will have a powerful set of tools to routine many future shows. Barry's programs always have a message as well as being entertaining. This is what today's bookers want. So learn from the guy that knows how to "Think Creative". Anyone that loves to create will be inspired by this awesome guy.
Hot Items moving off the shelf (Description and reviews next Blog)
1. Metamorphosis .....................................Close-up magic
2 Boris Wild New Marked Deck ..............Close-up magic
3 Silent Treatment ....................................Close-up/ Platform/ Stage magic
4 Boyd Mystery..........................................Close-up magic
5 Act II ........................................................Book for Close-up and Platform effects
6 Chico the Monkey ...................................Closeup/ Platform/Stage/
7 Houdini Action Figure.............. I know it's not a trick but we got them for you collectors!
Today's Magic Tip
I got a call from one our customers and he asked " What does Hocus-Pocus.com sell that has a message in the magic" I answered " All magic can have a message". Off the top of my head, I used 3 way ropes as an example. Told a quick story.. "Each person is different (showing all 3 different ropes) bringing them together and then changing them all to the same size. Now say "We are all really the same on the inside". Simple!
This gem of an idea (may not be original but I thought of it for this person) came to me. This past weekend I worked it into the show and got ahhh's from the parents.
So thats my first "Tips and Picks" blog from the magical land of Hocus-Pocus.com. If you have suggestions, something to review, samples to send for us to sell let me know. You can email me at Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com or send stuff for review to Hocus-Pocus, 2311 E McKinley, Fresno, CA 93703 USA Att. Tony
Banacheck, me, Dimmare, Criss Angel, Dexter at World Magic Convention