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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Was There a Golden Age of Magic Shops? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MrSteve
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Hands down: Las Vegas
Mb217
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NYC also used to have quite a few nice magic shops back in the day. "Lou Tannens" was one of the best back in the 70s, an absolute Magic Mecca. Smile
*Check out my latest: MBs Morgan w/ BONUS: Destiny, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
Jim Sparx
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Quote:
On Jan 5, 2015, Wizard of Oz wrote:
I love it Dick. Go Archie on us any time.

Here's a challenge, what city - big or small - do you think had the most magic shops active at one time? I'm not talking quality, just quantity. And, let's include non-magic stores with magic counters as well just to make it more interesting. Then, what state do you think could claim the same bragging rights?


Chicago, without a doubt. There is a gentleman here on Magic Café who wrote a book, or is writing same about the magic dealers of Chicago. I know I contributed to a least 25 dealers from the early 1800s to the present, all culled addresses from Sperbers catalog. And that was a tip of the iceberg.
Dick Oslund more than anyone else would know about Chicago because not only did he do stints with Jay Marshall at his shop, he was around during early 1800 days.
Dick Oslund
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Heqq no, Jim! That was my identical twin cousin, Nick. We were the first Siamese Twins born of separate mothers. As soon as we were old enough (could change our own diapers)we did a TOBY TYLER. We ran away and joined the circus. It was a little mud show ("Markem & Gilly. They had just combined with Birnam,Dailey,& Howe. We started on a low rung of the show business ladder. We were pickled punks for Lou Dufour, He gave us separate jars but right next to each other.

It was a DING show, and everything was going OK, (We were getting 20 percent of the take.) until we played a punkin festival in Doodaville Oklahoms, a high grass town. The town had had a drought, and some hayseed marks stole the water out of our jars to water his cows. Some first 'o' May hollered a hey rube, and it got exciting for a little while. When the dust settled, we did a jack knife teardown, and hit the road.

We were now 16 and we left show biz for awhile. We would spend half a year in England, and half a year in the U.S.A. (That way we could both drive!) After a year or two of that, The sawdust in our shoes, turned our thoughts to the white tops again.

We teamed up with Johnny Eck, the half boy, who owned half the show. Nick and I each owned a quarter. It was a pit show. We had a snake den, Singalee, the fire eater, a juggler who got in a fight with gravity every day (and gravity usually won) and a magician who did a bowl of fire production. Eck was in the blow off. The top had been waterproofed in the classic manner. Paraffin was melted in hot gasoline and brushed on the canvas.. Our second week which was a red one, the magician's fire bowl lit the top and we were out of show business again, until we joined on a rag bag carnival.

Johnny Eck got a spot as tail gunner in a bucket joint, and Nick and I signed on as shills. Thousand Faces Foxy was the joint agent, and he knew flat stores. That lasted for about three spots, and we formed a partnership with Foxy, and planned to spend the rest of our lives operating a jam auction. (Unfortunately, a couple of marks beefed to the fuzz, and we were sloughed, the second week).

If you can still swing with the soft, I can use you on a ticket box next season. I just won a tap dancing alligator in a poker game with a short con grifter, He shoulda stuck with tossing the broad! I plan to truck mount it the (alligator) and just pitch a top with no sidewalls. It will be a Single-O grind operation. The marks could walk up and peek through the windows, like they usta do with the girl in the fishbowl. If interested, I'll mail you a map to quarters, with the best hitchhiking route, marked. See ya down the road!

The Itinerant Mountebanc
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Hey Jim, Ya got me off the topic there. I'll try to come back soon with a few stories about the old EdMar shop in Norfolk. I spent almost four years there, while I was in the Navy.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Jim Sparx
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Your losing it, Chicago, Oslund, Chicago. Not Norfolk, even though I did visit there when I was stationed at Ft. Eustis in the 50s.
Jim Sparx
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Here is a list of dealers from Gordon Meyer, a member here. (he didn't mention my name)

http://g2meyer.com/chicagomagicstudio.com/map/shops.html
garywest
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I'm sure everyone has a different idea of the "golden age" of magic shops... But here is mine... Living in central New Jersey gave me access to a great variety of shops that I could and did choose to frequent. First off, there was Mecca Magic in East Orange, NJ... Ted Collins was about the first exposure I had to magic... That was probably late 60's or early 70's... Then I started to hang out at Flossos in NY as well as Tannens Magic... Both have their own amazing stories, characters met and experiences. I also had a lot of dealings with Abracadabra Magic... First in Clark, NJ when it was a small basement shop and through the growth of that business when it became the biggest magic shop around in Edison, NJ. I also discovered Channins Magic shop in Philly and got to know Jack Channin who was one of the wildest characters in the business. I spent some times at Lee Gray's magic shop and he was smart and very classy and taught me about the subtlety of performing a silent act. To me, those were the golden days and gave me exposure to some of the biggest and best in the business... Those memories stick with me to this day!
It's better to have a bottle in front of you... than to have a frontal lobotomy!
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