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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Tannen's Magic Shop in New York memories (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DStachowiak
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Quote:
On 2005-06-07 23:45, Wizardwannabe wrote:

Aren't those Tannen catalogs from twenty or so years ago just the best? They were essentially books (I mean they looked and felt like a book) with great covers of Blackstone, Copperfield, Henning, S&R, etc. But of course the best part was the contents. The close-up section, card section, coin section and the book catalog in the back. The absolute best magic catalogs!

I remember they also always included a bonus section in the back, usually a book that was in the public domain. I remember one time they had Annemann's "The Book Without a Name", and I think they had Erdnase once also. (I might be wrong about the Erdnase, I know Michael Mc Dougal included it in his "Card Mastery")
Quote:
On 2007-01-21 14:09, Billy Harper wrote:
Does anyone have or know where I can purchase a Tannen's catalog from the 1950's?

Try Denny Haney, He has a lot of old Tannen's Catalogues in the shop.
http://www.dennymagic.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
alannasser
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I used to go to Tannen's once a week in the late 1950s. Very friendly atmosphere. The great Jim Herpick used to demonstrate incredible stuff and he was a great mentor, always ready to help me with a sleight I was working on. (By the way, if anyone has the ORIGINAL Tannen's Glass Gone and is willing to sell it, be in touch with me yesterday please. I've been looking for this for years.)

I refer to the shop now as "the late Tannen's". The tradition is dead. It's now exclusively about making money, and the staff doesn't know much. Terrible pity.
Alan
DLF
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Growing up in the midwest I was luck enough to travel a lot and we went to NYC every year. My big treat was a trip to Tannen's. We would spend hours there and I would leave with something terrific.
Ok, I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time.
DLF
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And yes, those catalogs. They were essentially hardcover books that were several hundred pages each, if my memory serves em correctly.
Ok, I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time.
-TW
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I too was a Tannen's regular. I used to haunt the place. Especially on Sat's -- Then, when they closed at 3:00, everyone would go down to the Governor's Caféteria -- that's where I really learned how to perform close-up. Every Sat, for years. Harry Lorayne + Daid Roth + Sol Stone + Ken Krenzel + Gene Maze, etc. etc. etc all 'held court' week after week. -- Anyone remember those days at 'The Caféteria?'
Justin Style
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It was 1986, Tannens was on 31st street. I went there to get some "easy to do" magic tricks because I had a gig as a Mime (But was NOT a Mime) and thought I needed something to help me through. It worked, they liked my "show", so I went back to Tannens because I figured what they really liked was the magic tricks I did.

On my next visit I met Flaco. He was hanging around the store and asked me what I was buying. I told him, he asked if I knew how to do them? I said no so he said to come outside and he would show me. We went out to the corner of 5th ave and Flaco started doing card productions while telling me stories of magicians. I was blown away, hooked and became a member of the "club" for life.

I kept going back every Thursday, because they stayed open late, then Flaco and I would hook up with Chappy Brazil and work the streets from midtown down to the village and Washington Square Park. We made money had a few beers and had the greatest time you could imagine. I didn't know jack squat in those days but had a great time learning the ropes from those guys. Sadly both Flaco and Chappy have passed away and I really miss them very much. I wish they could see how far I have come since then...RIP

I remember Tony Spina working the counter and at that time he was heaavy into the "Wonder Bar" I loved it and still have the one I purchased from him. He always treated me well.

So now it's 1994 and I have been working with Rocco and Roger Mayfarth. Together we came up with the D'LITE. roger actually invented it for Rocco, but it took the three of us to make the act work for Rocco's stage performance. After FISM 94' they wanted to sell one part of the act. They asked me and Mondo (another great magician) to make some up and go to Tannens' convention in the Catskills. We made 250 and I went all alone. Got a dealers booth right across from Hank Lee, Mario Gonzales ran the dealers room. I was the biggest hit in the room. Nobody had ever seen the D'LITE before, heck it wasn't even called D'LITE at that time. I had no package, no instructions no nothing! just 2 Thumb tips in a plastic baggy. Well to make a long story a little longer, I sold out and Irv Tannen and Tony Spina loved me ever since. I got to hang out with them, take pictures and even have lunch together. It really was a great feeling that these two icons acknowledged me! little 'ol me, a nobody from New Jersey at one of the most famous conventions in the country, at that time. I'll never forget it and I will never forget them. I owe almost everything I've become because of Tannen's magic! And I still even have the catalogues from those days!

In this day of internet comerce, you just don't get that kind of experience and that is sad.
magicians
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April 6, 2007 article about Tony Spina
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dl......Friend=1
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
magicians
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My experience with Tannens was unusual. 1982, I had just released 4 effects that had gotten 4 stars in Genii mag. I went to Tannens and showed the effects and 4 more. They decided to buy them all and then devoted one whole page in Tannens Topics and put an ad with all of my items in Genii mag.
They devoted a whole shelf to my line in the back room plus let me lecture at Brown's (5 years running). I did their camp a couple of years as well.
What was the greatest tho, was being included in the Catalog. That was a permanent record of my magic contibutions. I have three catalogs on my shelf with 10 pages devoted to my products. Yes, they had a few unusual business tactics which I decided to overlook since they put me on the map.
Jack and Tony introduced me to Glenn David who then made my arm boxes for me. That connection could never be duplicated. No where in the retail world could you go from concept to finished product and have an item on the market within a week.
If I sent them an item prototype, they would follow up with initial orders of several gross.
The people who were there were even better. I was priveleged to be in the back room where I could stand alongside Garcia, Bob Elliot, and others who were just hanging. In my case, I was treated as an equal, but my secret was that I had only been in the business for 5 years. I was relatively unskilled and knew very little of sleights. However, if you were in that back room area, you were assumed to know the world of magic and were shown secrets and inside moves long before they went public.
More on my experiences at http://www.magic-ian.blogspot.com
-Magic Ian
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2007-03-30 22:06, -TW wrote:...-- Anyone remember those days at 'The Caféteria?'


:) - and congrats on the PB&J trick.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
snushy
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I used to frequent Tannen's at the old 1540 Broadway location. Saturdays were absolute bedlam in the shop in those days. I remember Tony Spina demonstrating the Kozak sponge ball routine and selling them like hotcakes. Same with the Needle Through Arm. Man, that one used to make the girls sick on my block!
One of my fondest memories from those days at Tannen's was meeting and befriending Senor Mardo. He was so old and tiny and frail, but his enthusiasm for magic was still white hot. I was probably about 12 years old at the time, and Mardo kind of took me under his wing. He patiently taught me sleights and moves and timing and misdirection and showmanship. I bought all of his booklets and he signed them to me. They are amongst my most prized magic possessions. I was truly fortunate that an old pro was always ready with a kind smile and an encouraging word for me.
I have always thought that Mardo has been sadly overlooked. If magicians know of him at all it's for his egg bag, but he was much more than that. His books are still available, very inexpensive, and filled with gems.
Larry Zaslow
YOU KNOW WHY YOU DON'T SEE? BECAUSE YOU DON'T WATCH! - SLYDINI
magicgettogether
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My first trip to Tannens was in 1987, I bought an Anverdi surprise box. I remember how cool it was when the elevators opened and there was a magic shop. The dealers were friendly, but I did not recognize any of them. When I got back to my car, my parking bill was almost as much as the trick. But why would I care, I had my surprise box.
80 years in the making - Magic Get Together
Visit Abbotts Magic Online - Abbott Magic
Vincent
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Snushy,

I Remember Senor Mardo Very Well.

I First Met Him At 1540 Broadway, I Guess I Was In My Early Twenties.
He Came Up To Me And Asked Me If I Had Ever Seen This Bandana And Safety Pin.
I Told Him That I Had Not And He Proceeded To Freak Me Out For The Next Ten Minutes By Making The Safety Pin Rip Through The Blue Bandana And Yet There Was Never Any Damage. This Of Course Seemed Impossible As I Heard The Tearing Sound And "Saw" What I Thought To Be The Damage To The Blue Bandana.

After That I Would Look For Him At Every Visit. He Was Older But What Did I Know.
I Thought Everyone Over Forty Was Ancient.

He Sold Me A Set Of Aluminum Cups Once That I Still Have. He Said That He Used That Style Of Cup Always.
They Look Like P&L Cups But Are Not Hallmarked.
I Still Have Them And Every Once And A While Take Them Out Of One Of My Trunks Just To Look At Them. Of Course Whenever I Do That All The Old Memories Of 1540 Broadway And Senor Mardo Come Flooding Back.
For Some Reason He Reminded Me Of Slydini In A Way And At One Time Thought They Must Be Related. I'm Almost Sure They Were Not.

I Remember 120 West 42nd Street Also, The Wurlitzer Building.
But I Was Very Young Then So The Memories Are Not As Vivid With The Exception Of That First Trip When My World Turned Upside Down.

But That's A Story For Another Day.

Thanks For Letting Me Rant On.

Best,

Vincent Smile Smile Smile
Eddie Garland
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First memory of Tannen's was a trip to NYC in 74. Tony Spina strongly suggests I go see a young Doug Henning in a Stephen Schwartz musical. Doug Henning? Who is that?
I bought tickets to the Magic Show. Wow!

I also bought a balsa wood dancing cane.

In 88 I was performing in the official revival of Godspell off Broadway at the Lambs Club, actually working with Stephen Schwartz and Paul Shaffer. I performed the dancing cane every night of the show. I often thanked Tony because I believed the cane had got me the gig.

The theater maintained an account with Tannens...we destroyed a great deal of those lethal old metal appearing canes every week or two and we used hundreds of mouth coils. I got to shop for the show at Tannen's with the theaters money, great fun!

The older Tannen shops were indeed dreamy spots.
alannasser
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Just want to add a couple of things to my post from a while back on this thread. I do agree with the guy who wrote that just about the only place you can get that old Tannen's feel of guys behind the counter who really cared about magic and mentoring serious kids is Denny and Lee.

And the old trick I first saw at Tannen's that I am still looking for is not called Glass Gone, as I mistakenly wrote earlier, but rather The Crash Glass Vanish. If you know where I can get one, please let me know.
Thanks.
Alan
spencerpeterson
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I go to Tannen's because Doug Mckenzie goes once in a while, and he's SOOOOO dreamy.....
www.cleardeception.wordpress.com

The Magic of Spencer Peterson
NicholasD
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My first and only trip to Tannen's was in 1975. What an experience! I was lucky enough to go with Harvey Rosenthal, who introduced me to those who were there, and what a line-up. I met Sol Stone, Lenny Greenfader, Bill Broderson, Darwin Ortiz and Gerald Deutch. I was fresh meat, so they showed off for me.

On the way home we visited Karl Fulves in New Jersey.

Seems like yesterday.
daver
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I too grew up going to Tannen's most weekend, and had the good fortune to meet Coperfield, Lorayne, Garcia, Henning, Roth and others. Irv and Tony were great; no one was too big or too small for them to devote some time. It was (IMHO, the 1540 Broadway location, after the fire) one of the last remaining old world feel shops.

Unfortunately, as with most other things, magic shops have become more about money than the art, and what sells best through what means (instant downloads, web sites etc) rather than that old romantic-feel hands-on, generation-to-generation magic teaching.

Some of the best memories of my youth occurred on the 17th floor of 1540 Broadway.
Dave



What's the difference between a magician and a deck of cards? A deck of cards has FOUR suits...
Lou Deeny
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I would order from Tannen's catalog when I was a young teen in the 70's in New Jersey and when I had kids of my own, my son (who was on broadway at the time in "the Sound of Music" 1998)became interested in Magic. Because we spent so much time in the city and he had free time between shows, we would spend it at Tannen's on 25th (yes, with that wonderful elevator). The first time we went we met Bob Elliott who amazed us with coins and took the time to teach my son the glide...it was awesome! He and Tony Spina suggested Tannen's camp for my son which he attended and loved.
My interest in Magic was renewed and his was cemented forever. We later got to meet many other great Magicians such as Ken Krenzel, Doug Edwards, Sol Stone and so many others. We became weekly regulars at Tannen's and Ruben's fabulous back room. Not many things have come close to those experiences since. Truly Magic.
oneon
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I was fortunate. As a boy I spent every weekend in NYC. First stop was Flosso's I'd spend the morning there sat around the shop and listen to Al for hours talk about magic, the past and entertainment in general.
Then I would walk over to 1540 Broadway and hang at Tannens. It was so special...I spent so much time there I saw them all...Copperfield...damn we hung together and became fast friends 9we are the same age). Slydini? yep... how about watching Slydini 5 feet away...AND THE BEST Dai Vernon only got to see him once but once was enough!
At around 2PM I think we would all pile into the the back of goveners Caféteria on Broadway...
what a great Childhood...I didn't know what was right in front of me...but have the greatest memories.
If anyone is looking for Tony Spina you can find him on facebook...and his web page is here he is apparently out of retirement.
http://tonyspinamagic.com/
Jonathan_Miller
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I'm too young to remember the old Tannen's but I started hanging out there right at the end when Tony Spina was still there but was getting ready to leave. They were on 25th Street at the time and I loved it there. Saturday mornings the place would still get packed before people would go over to Reuben's and later to Café Rustico. And Magick was working behind the counter. He is still the best demonstrator I've ever seen and I bought things I didn't want just because he did such an excellent job with it. Tannen's was always a fun time for me even on the dull days.

Today Tannen's is a depressing place to visit. I try to visit every once in awhile and buy something if for no other reason than I like Steve Brown and he used to let me hang out there. Unfortunately the staff now are for the most part unknowledgable and uninteresting. I went in a few Saturdays ago and saw some younger kid working on the most godawful pass I have ever seen. They asked if they could help me but I thought to myself "not even if you actually wanted to."

I also remember the Jubilee's and they were such fun. Its a shame they are gone now. Fantasma has definitely replaced Tannen's as the magic shop to visit in the city.
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