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Profile of EVILDAN
The Premier 75 Magic Studio was located on 75 Church St in New Brunswick, NJ and opened it's doors in 1975. I was 13 years old at the time. Blaine C. Harris was the proprietor of the shop. He had a great look for a guy running a magic shop. He had dark hair that, if I remember correctly was combed back, a moustache and a full beard that ended in a goatee pointe.

After it's discovery I made weekly treks, at first walking, then by taking my skateboard, then my bike, and eventually flipping over the 60 cents for a bus ride. New Brunswick in the 70's was not a friendly town and most of the stores shut down by 5pm. Sometimes Blaine kept the shop open a little later depending on the crowd.

I have fond memories of this magic shop. It's were I cut my teeth on performing in front of strangers. As I became a regular, Blaine would let me behind the counter and help demonstrate some of the tricks. No pay. But the advantage was that I got to look at all the magic to see if it really would work for me. I think I saved a lot of money because of that.

Blaine was the first person I saw perform the chop cup. When he did the final two reveals, I was floored. Now THAT was real magic. I saved my money until I could buy a Don Alan Chop Cup from the original Rings N Things. To this day, it's still one of my favorite effects.

There was some real talent that past thru those doors. I don't recall if they were all well known. One guy came in and was great with coins. I remember his showing us something, fooling us, showing us how he did it, then doing it again and fooling us once again.

There was also a local card guy that attended Rutgers College majoring in Philosophy. His name was Ed T. Hollins. Brilliant card worker. I still have some of his books such as: CardMagic Selfspoken. He also came out with the packet trick called "Flipped Out."

And then there was the time when Blaine and a few of the regulars were talking about this kid named Dave. I had my nose in some magic instructions but overheard that "...they said he's changing his name from Kotkin to Copperfield. They say he's gonna make it big." I looked up and asked, "Who are we talking about?" Blaine said, "You know when you're on that side of the shop going thru the magic and then there's this kid on the other side of the shop doing the same thing? That's the kid we're talking about." Yeah, I guess he did make it big.

Blaine didn't open the shop religiously every week. Shop hours were probably 10 - 5. He sometimes didn't get there until 12 or 1. Sometimes he didn't get there at all. But I would wait. After about 2 or 3 I would give up and trek back home. One time someone stopped in and said that there were in town last week but the shop wasn't open. Blaine explained: "The shop hours are 12 - 1. I take an hour for lunch. Any time you catch me between that, you're lucky." I thought it was a great answer. It wasn't said in a snide or condescending manner. It was said in fun and was taken that way as well.

I had my bicycle stolen in front of his shop one Saturday. Someone cut through the cable lock. He drove me around the neighborhood for 2 hours asking neighborhood kids if they happened to see someone riding around with a blue 10 speed. I never got the bike back but never forgot Blaine going out of his way to try and help me get my bike back.

Blaine was not a hard salesman either. Some magic shops will demo a trick for you, put it back in the package and leave it on the counter and ask, "What else do you want?" Blaine would demo the trick and then pack it back up and put it on the shelf. I heard a few people mention his soft sell approach and they seemed to like it. They didn't like the pressure of other shops where you felt compelled to buy everything you saw even if you think it sucked.

Blaine was also a responsible adult that didn't sell things just to make a buck. One time a kid came in and tried to purchase a pair of handcuffs. Realizing this wasn't going to be for escapes by a budding young magician, he told the kid that he had to be 18 years old to buy them. Later in the day, an older gentleman came in looking to buy a pair of handcuffs. Blaine asked if he was buying it for himself or someone else. The man confessed he was buying them for his grandson. Blaine tried to warn him not to buy it because it was only going to cause trouble. The man shrugged his shoulders and said he wanted to buy them anyway. Around closing time the old man returned holding his coat between his hands. Blaine asked if everything was alright. The man shrugged the coat off his hands revealing the shiny cuffs and asked if Blaine had a spare key.

In 1980 I left for the Navy. A few years later I returned to find the magic shop was no longer there. But as luck would have it, I stayed with my cousin at a bungalow her boyfriend had down the shore. There in an indoor flea market I found Blaine and his shop. They moved because of landlord problems with the original shop. Turns out there was only one outlet in the shop and they ran everything off of connecting power strips. There was a leak in the roof that the landlord was supposed to fix and never did. He lost some product due to water damage. That was the last time I've seen Blaine and any incarnation of the Premier 75 Magic Studio. I hear he's living out west though and putting out some magic items that he makes himself. I know he has a wrist restraint escape and a hot rod type effect with Swarovski crystals that he put out with Allen Zingg.

The Premier 75 Magic Studio was a great little magic shop. I'll forever treasure those memories of just hanging out, sharing magic, talking shop and just soaking up the magic in general. There aren't too many magic shops like that anymore. And there aren't too many proprietors like Blaine anymore either. If you have something like this in your area, support it.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. -
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies.
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