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Greg Owen
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623 Posts

Profile of Greg Owen
Not sure if this is the best place to post this...

...but, on April 12, 2004, Al's Magic in Washington, DC closed it doors for the last time.

The web store,, also redirects to a non-store site.

This is the shop where I cut my teeth - I bought my first tricks from Al's when the shop was located on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For those that don't know, Al sold the shop a year or so ago to Steve Brown who has made a go of it. Not a good enough go I suppose.

Al's, and Al, will be missed.

- Greg Owen
Author of The Alpha Stack ebook - the balanced memorized stack
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Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2447 Posts

Profile of rossmacrae
Nothing could ever match the old Pennsylvania Avenue location.

I was a Junior High School kid, and wandering into that dim, musty old shop was unforgettable. The strange props, the friendly-but-jeez-it's-another-darned-kid reception, the feeling that anything - dragons, zombies, the gate to Wonderland - ANYTHING AT ALL could have been hiding in the dark back of the shop.

The stuff dreams are made of...
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Regular user
Maryland, USA
114 Posts

Profile of Zorak
We will all miss Al's Magic Shop, but mostly we miss Al himself. In the 4 decades I have been in magic I have never met a better demo man or all around likable guy.
Al Cohen was no only a great magician, but a very generous and charismatic guy.
Many times Al sold me tricks that I already owned. He did them so well, I didn't recognize them. Al could sell a glass of water to a drowning man, but he wouldn't sell you any junk.
When my business,(Majart Studios) started up, Al enthusiastically marketed my products. He gave me great confidence and respect. This respect is something I shall always have for my friend, Al Cohen.
May he live as long as he wants because his legend will live on long after he leaves us. Love you Al!
Magic is in the hearts of children from 1 to 101
Please check out my Website:
MAGIC CARTOONS all drawn by Zorak
Jeffrey Cowan
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Los Angeles, CA
134 Posts

Profile of Jeffrey Cowan
Not only was Al's a GREAT store with a substantial inventory and good demonstrators (from Al on down), but the shop itself was an ideal spot to nurture and grow the next generation of magicians. Al's "Jr. Mystics of DC" was a terrific club for adolescents and teenagers, and the monthly Saturday morning meetings in the back room were a tremendous experience. Al's "mini-lecture" was usually terrific, and the guest performers he brought in were out of this world. I still remember walking out of a meeting, shaking my hand in wonder at how brutally the likes of Bob Fitch and Tim Conover had fooled me. On non-meeting Saturday mornings, lessons could be had in the back room, or small groups of "approved" guys could go back there to show each other a trick at the table.

Plus, Al regularly had terrific lectures for his "regular" patrons. Goshman and Scotty York come to mind initially. It lasted initially during the first relocation (where there was another back room), but all of that had to go when the shop moved to Vermont Avenue. Still, there was Al. Who incidentally looks TERRIFIC. I bumped into him in January at the Kennedy Center and he was vibrant and in great spirits.

The closing of the shop is the end of an era. And a great loss for Washington, DC.
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Profile of Wizardwannabe
Wasn't there a president who used to patronize Al's shop? I seem to recall reading something like that but I can't for the life of me remember which one? Truman, maybe, or was he to early?
Sean Comer
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Profile of Sean Comer
I lived in Annapolis and would get to Al's as much as possible. Al, Stan and his Ace demonstrator (Mike?). I still think one of the best purchcases I made, and still use to this day is Al's Coin Funnel. In any event, Al's was awesome. I was just in SF last month and went to The House of Magic on Chestnut St. Very cool and a lot like Al's. Tony and Mark are nice and very helpful.
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Inner circle
1770 Posts

Profile of wally
Has anyone here seen or got the large size tricky bowling pinns . what your verdict.
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Columbus, Ohio
509 Posts

Profile of JJP161
For years Al Cohen was a regular at Magi-Fest. We would spend hours in his dealer room, definitely our favorite stop every year. I still have his Coin Funnel and The Kockomany Cup, two absolutely great routines that I had the pleasure to learn right from Mr. Cohen. The Dealer rooms aren't the same without him.

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461 Posts

Profile of Douglas.M
The first card trick I ever bought, after my family moved to DC:

"Vee don't care vot you say...Dots Impossible!"

I still have a set!

Als was an institution.

Douglas M.
David Todd
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1836 Posts

Profile of David Todd
Al Cohen ran a great magic shop. (Al and his guys actually demonstrated the tricks they sold , unlike most places today where you can't get the person behind the counter to show anything except for certain "pitch" items that they have learned by rote to sell to the tourists. )

Al is writing an ongoing column in Genii magazine about his many years as a magic shop owner. Fascinating reading. Check it out .
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Profile of e-man
George Bush Sr. was the president who would visit AL @ Al's
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1476 Posts

Profile of Magic_Steve
I remember going in there many times. My first purchase from there (believe it or not, I still remember) was a TT, some silks, the Known Unknown and the Impossible (which I still use too!), Dime and Penny, and the Card Frame (red frame where pencil goes through the card). I lvoed going in there, and they were always makin me good broke too Smile! After Al left, I still went in there and Steve still kept the shop goin good to. I miss Al's...

Thanks for the great memories!
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New user
Charlottesville, Virginia
89 Posts

Profile of sparks
Was this the shop on Vermont Ave? During a trip to D.C. many years ago I tried to find a shop that was on Vermont and it turned into a nightmare. It turned out the street was in two places and they did not connect. I spent a very long time looking for the shop on the wrong half of the street (not knowing about the other non-connected part of the street). When I finally found the other half of the street (and the shop) I was pretty frazzled. The parking situation looked like a nightmare so I just drove back to my hotel… having had enough of driving in D.C. traffic. Now I wish I had gone in… at the time I thought I would just visit it another time.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney
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Inner circle
New York, New York
1617 Posts

Profile of bugjack
Yes, it used to be on Vermont, but my memories are mostly from the very long, narrow and wonderfully old shop on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Vermont Ave shop never had the same atmosphere.
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406 Posts

Profile of Kim
I cut my teeth at Al's. From the 70's till his selling of it, I was a very frequent, then infrequent visitor.
He went through many demonstrators, when I first started going it was Al'his father (Macy?) and his son Stan. That was when they were on Pennsylvania Avenue.
There was a store between that location and Vermont Avenue, but I cant remember the location now.
I remember seeing Slydini at his store.
I remember seeing Scotty York there.

Great memories, great people.
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Profile of e-man
I wonder wher Mike is now from Al's magic shop 1012 Vermont Ave
Anyone know..?
Steve Cook
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119 Posts

Profile of Steve Cook
I never had the opportunity of visiting Al's shop but, I often visited his stand
at conventions here in England. He was always attentive, courteous, a very good 'demmer' and a gentleman. His merchandise was of very good quality (you could always find something a little different) and, his prices were very reasonable. Al Cohen was up there with the best of them. I wish him well with all he does. I miss
seeing him around at conventions. Take care Al. You won't remember me... but I'll remember youi!
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Profile of blackartman
I loved this shop. it inspired my magic career when I was 11 and I'll never forget Al doing demos for me. I always will remember some kid that did rising card and he also levitated for us!
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412 Posts

Profile of Michaels
My first visit to Al's at 13th and Pennsylvania Ave was in 1963. Al, my father (Al's fraternity brother from Maryland) and I watched John F. Kennedy's funeral from the second story above the shop. An experience I'll never forget. It wasn't until five years later that I started visiting the shop every week to cultivate my interest in magic. Unfortunately, the last time I saw Al was at my father's funeral 22 years ago. Al, you're not only a great magician, you're a great man. Stay healthy and continue to have the fun that you always shared with us. If it wasn't for your shop, I may not have met one of my best friends today, Larry Davidson.
Lots of love to you and your family,
Bruce (Michaels) Starr
"Our technology is ahead of our humanity"
Albert Einstein
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Profile of ScottRSullivan
About two weeks ago (June 24), Hank Moorehouse interviewed Al Cohen on stage at Bob Little's Super Sunday. It was a great interview and Al's stories captivated the audience, myself included.

Thanks everyone for the stories so far!

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