Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Things Going Bump in the Night

Halloween is just around the corner, then a slow slide into Christmas time are you shows ready? Later in Tony's Picks I recommend some of our Halloween magic favorites for you shows. This weekend I had a interesting day on Saturday. First the kids magic class and lots of great ideas were taught. Then off to the mall for a Grand Opening of a Ice Cream Parlor chain called MaggieMoo's. Nice setting outdoors for the show with perfect weather to actual keep my long coat on even during the juggling number of my show. I'll have some pictures to share with all of you. Then Saturday night back to the restaurant to do close up and balloons. Sunday, Lisa and I took in the Big Fresno Fair. I finally got to see this grand event for Fresno that Paul loves so much. It was great to see friends Tom Jorgenson and Terry Godfrey perform their magic shows at the fair. Lisa even got interviewed at the Fair by a local reporter about a new feature of the Fair. So how was your weekend?

Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues
Hocus Pocus upcoming news is we thought we were done with lectures for the year until we got some amazing news. Hocus Pocus dear friend and magic legend John Calvert is going to be here December 10. It seems John is being honored in Las Vegas by his peers for his years of performing. John is a living legend not only as a magician, but as an actor John worked at a time when stars like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power or Douglas Fairbanks ruled big screen. John also worked with most of these stars and did appear in over 40 movies during the Golden age of Hollywood. Along with his wife Tammy, John still performs and travels around the world. So I would mark your calendar for Decemeber 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the daoor the night of the lecture.

Tony's Picks
John Calvert's Spirit Cabinet

For the feeling of a seance in the daylight comes John Calvert's Spirit Cabinet. Imagine having the power to bring "Spirits" on stage with you to perform. The Spirits perform they magic to a spectator while inside the cabinet you the magician is tied up. The curtain is raised and all magical mayhem begins around the spectator. A act that Mr. Calvert has perfected in his 60 plus years as a traveling superstar of magic. This entire act is a true pack flat plays big. Everything is included even a video by Mr Calvert teaching you all his years of knowledge to create a very eerie act.

Gary the Goofy Ghost

Just in time for Halloween comes Mike Bent's Gary the Goofy Ghost. Gary the Goofy Ghost lives in a rickety old Haunted House illustrated on a beautiful, full color 18" silk. Hand the silk to a helper and ask if they can find Gary. They examine the silk, but find nothing. Explain that Gary lives inside the house and point to one of the windows. Reach into the window and pull out a small white silk with a goofy, grinning ghost face. Poke Gary into your fist and he vanishes. Now you tell the audience that "He flew back to the house, which room do you think he's hiding in?" They point to one of the 13 doors or windows. You reach in, and there's Gary! "Let's put him in the dungeon and see if he can escape." Poke Gary into the dungeon door and he vanishes right into the cloth. Where could Gary be? Reach inside the helper’s sleeve and discover that Gary has been hiding there all along. Finally, Gary vanishes one more time, but can't be found anywhere, until the audience finds him hanging on your helper's back! You get an 18" full color Haunted House silk, 2 Gary the Goofy Ghost silks, special gimmick, and Mike Bent's full routine complete with ghoulishly goofy gags. Like I said just in time for Halloween or for any spooky story you may want to tell during your act.

Forgetful Frankie

Any kid show magician knows Forgetful Freddie, now comes a Halloween special Forgetful Frankie. Frankenstein now becomes subject for this classic of kidshow magic. In the process of removing Frankie's bolted neck loud cranking noise can be heard as well as sparks kicking off. Replacing Frankie's head with a balloon you then proceed to vanish his head from the body, balloon pops and his head reappears on his body. Dr. Frankenstein couldn't have come up with a more entertaining act.

Haunted Illusions

From the master draftsman and illusions of Paul Osborne is the book Haunted Illusions. This book presents some classics of magic with a Haunted Halloween twist. For years, Paul has shown all of us how to build illusions. Now Paul shares some themes to create spooky easy to build illusions. If you ever wanted to do illusions here's a good start to learn from.

Dracula Bites the Dust
Talk about theming, Mike Bent has created not one but two Halloween effects. First one is based on Terry Seabrook's Chattering Teeth routine. Mike has produced a CD-Rom with all the graphics to use a Dracula theme for this laugh-filled routine. Graphics include Transylvania Today newspaper, images to make a "Dracula Deck and much more. So if you feel you can upgrade a act your currently doing this one is a winner. Mike shows that with a little thought any standard act can be made more personal to the event.

Mummy Dearest

This is the second of Mike Bent's Halloween theme effects. Dust of that old Temple Screen to produce a Egyptian theme story of conjuring up the spirit of a mummy. Have a child come on stage and then have your helper cast a spell only to produce white paper. Instead of the spirit of a mummy you transform your helper into a mummy. All is included in the CD for transforming you old Temple Screen into the walls of a Pyramid with hieroglyphics. I have already seen a couple of smart magicians placing orders for this CD and a new Temple Screen.

Tony's Tips
Special Guest Alan Wong

Alan Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong. He started magic after his father showed him a svengali deck when he was about 10 and got hooked to magic right that moment. At 16, he ate a real lightbulb for the talent show on his secondary school graduation. He went to Queen's University in Canada and there he met Antony Lindan and Robin Dawes, his first fellow magicians in Canada. He performed his way through university for private parties, schools and libraries, city hall, art museum, and was resident magician at the Sunflower restaurant in Kingston. In 1986 he met Sid Lorraine and Harry Allen at a convention in Montreal, where both in their own ways encouraged and inspired him to be determined in the magic arts. It was not until 19 years later Alan Wong and Harry Allen met again in a Singapore magic convention in 2005, where the kid who helped Harry packed his van had also become a magic dealer himself.

In 1999, Alan Wong entered the commercial magic scene with his original trick Stargazer, released through JB Magic. Since then he has created a number of magic effects such as the Wonder Pet and Dream Lock to name a few. Hocus Pocus manager Tony Blanco was the first person in USA to have seen the Wonder Pet trick when they first met in Las Vegas a few years ago. Soon after that it became a big hit from Hocus Pocus. Alan learned from the masters Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger and is always inspired by them to be more creative.

Alan Wong and Steve Marshall finally met in 2006 at the AMA convention in China after Steve wrote a column on him in the MUM magazine and they have kept in touch since then. During the past year Steve has been the test pilot magician for most of Alan Wong's newest magic toys. Together they recently released the Strawman routine, an improved version of the Okito voodo doll trick. A series of new tricks will be expected to be released by Steve and Alan before the end of this year in 2007.

Alan Wong is a magic inventor, convention dealer, co-founder of the Hong Kong Fellowship of Christian Magicians. In the working world he had been seen operating boats in Florida's EPCOT CENTER, or walking elephants, to later launched his career as airline pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways and also served in the Royal Hong Kong Auxillary Air Force. For the past 14 years he has been working in the Human Resources profession and currently Head of Human Resources for the Asia Pacific region with a multinational company. He has lived in Canada, USA, Scotland and now living in his home in Hong Kong with his wife Catherine.

Here is a quick mental trick using ordinary paper and 3 paper clips:

What you need:
3 pieces of square scribble note paper (desk top paper blocks are ideal)
3 paper clips (I use triangular shaped ones), with the short leg slightly tilt upwards in its design.
A pen

Effect: An impromptu mindreading trick where magician can sense the paper with spectator’s signature among 3 folded papers.
Secret: The subtle mark of the identified paperclip bending down in a different direction than the other two reveals the signed paper to the magician who looks for the sign.
Handling: Ask spectator to sign his name on one of the 3 papers and then fold it into quarters to make sure the signature cannot be seen. Show 3 identical normal paper clips.

Then fold the other 2 pieces of blank paper exactly the same way so they cannot be distinguished. While he is folding the 2 blank pieces you take any paper clip, or handed by the spectator, to clip the folded paper with signature inside to ensure it does not open up during the trick. Normally one would just slide the paper clip with the slightly bent up short leg onto the paper’s edge and the paper will slide along under this short leg very easily, so the short leg will remain on top of the paper and the long leg under the paper.

Instead you do it the other way so the long leg is on top and the short leg is pushed down and clipped under the paper now, with the bend in the short leg touching the paper. This is your mark. With the other two pieces of blank paper, put the paper clip on the normal way so the bend in the short leg faces outwards.

Mix the papers around and cup them in your hand. You can even do this blindfolded.
Just touch the paper clips one by one and feel it with your finger tips. The one with the bend on the short leg of the paper clip pointing into the paper is the one with your spectator’s signature. Once you identified the paper, open it up to qualify and at the same time the evidence is destroyed without a trace.
Alan, thank you so much for sharing your time today, for this clever bit of magic and for your friendship. We all look forward to your next clever magic creation along with Steve Marshall.
Next week I will share an effect that you can do for Christmas as well as Halloween once you know the principle of the effect.
Best of Magic to you,
Tony Blanco

Magic At Maggie Moo's

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