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Magic.J.Manuel
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One of my early sources for magic. I remember going in there once and asked about the Razor Revelation card trick. He said he hasn't seen it in years, then I pointed to it at the bottom of one of his show cases. He had one of those great, not neat, shops that you could spend hours just exploring the piles of tricks. I was too young, but I heard that he had some much better tricks "In the back room". Still not sure what that ment... Smile
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
mrmysticmike
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Snyder's Magic Shop was a great place to spend a Sat. afternoon. Mr. Snyder was one of my sponsors for the I.B.M., almost 30 years ago.

I can remember picking up old,loose,issues of the Jinx for ten cents each.

As for the items in the back room, according to stories I've heard over the years......it was not for our young eyes to see. It was more for the "adult" magicians that might drop by for a visit.

I have one of his old catalogs somewhere in my files. It dates back to when the shop was near the old Greyhound bus station. I remember the shop being on the second floor of an old building right near Public Square.
hugmagic
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Actually, the razor revelation card trick was an old Scotty York idea that Harold Martin tipped in a lecture. My ex partner got permission and marketed it for a few years.

It was not a bad trick but how many people use a double bladed safety razor now days?
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Terry Holley
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I spent many a Saturday afternoon visiting with George Snyder when I was a teenager.

You had to walk up the narrow stairway (dimly lighted) to get to the shop. It always felt kind of creepy to me!

My most specific memory is of George eating his lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, and talking with him as he looked out the big second floor widow that overlooked Cleveland Public Square. He always interjected the word "See" when he talked to me!

He was a chain smoker, and I couldn't believe how many cigarettes he went through in an afternoon.

I remember having one discussion with George about illusionists. He shared some interesting ideas with me. A few years later, David Copperfield was putting those very ideas into practice!

The shop was the kind that was clutterd with everything you could think of! I bought my Fraidy Cat Rabbit there, my first Die Box, my first Cubio, my first Genii, crystal balls for my Crystal Cups and Ball routine, and the list goes on (also got a few "clunkers" during those days, as George was pretty secretive about the methods).

One time I came in with a catalogue from a larger dealer to ask him if he could get me some of the items. Before I left he asked me not to bring it in again becuase he was afraid that other customers would see it and it would cause him to lose business.

A couple of months ago his business card was auctioned off on eBay. I was away from the computer during the final bidding and missed the opportunity to get the card, as I wanted to frame it for my office. (So if anyone has one that they are willing to part with, please let me know).

Prior to my marriage, my wife and I would even go on a "date" to the shop! I always could see George's eyes light up when she came in. He not only appreciated magic, he also appreciated beauty!

When he retired, my wife and I, along with another couple, put together a retirement party for him that many of the Cleveland area magicians attended. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he saw so many turn out!

When George retired, a friend of mine bought the business and changed the name to "The Castle of Magic." I had the opportunity to demo there once a week for a couple of years. I will say this, when you heard the door open there was a certain anxiety until you realized that the person was really there to look at the magic. Being up on the second floor with a cash register full of money in a shop with little traffic right downtown was a bit scary at times!

During that time I had the opportunity to meet Ricky Jay when he visited the ship while acting in a movie that was filmed in Cleveland.

Interesting to note that a one-time well known children's performer was employed at the Castle of Magic prior to his fame as a performer and subsequent "fall."

Eventually the building was razed in order to rebuild the area surrounding the square, but the memories can never be destroyed.

Thanks for helping bring back those memories, M.J.M!

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Magic.J.Manuel
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Quote:
It was not a bad trick but how many people use a double bladed safety razor now days?


I still think it is a cute trick, and add the obsoleteness of the look of the prop only makes it thrice as funny. The certain-ethnic electric razor sight gag is such good misdirection that you could switch an elephant in for the deck. And the bloody blade just keeps everyone's attention.
It is a good alternative to raising card.
It could be updated by using one of those quad-blade disposables as long it can be removed to pop in the box.

As far as the shop, the block was razed to prepare for a new hotel/office complex that was never built. De owner makes more money as a parking lot. It was right across the street from where the IBM convention was this year.

J.Manuel
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
John Long
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I went to Synder's Magic shop as a young kid. It seemed a bit creepy to me then, dimly lit, and seemed a bit seedy, but it was very exciting when I could talk my parents into taking me there, to spend my money - looking back on those items now, it was not particularly good magic, but that's how it all started for myself.

John
jeffscott101
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Thanks for all the great stories/memories. My Dad too took me with my own earned money to the creaky floored suite overlooking the square. I started going in the mid 1970's, and Mr. Snyder always had "A new trick just for me" to see. He'd explain almost everything, enough to get me hooked! Sadly I sold off the bulk of my tricks (in 1988) when I moved to L.A., but I still have a Passe Passe Checkers and an unusual working Cut/Restored Handkerchief Box I bought from his "rare/unusual" items (I do cherish them). I just wish I had recordings of Mr. Snyder talking me through a trick if I had trouble. Snyder's was a wonderland!
Tom G
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Didn't he put out a big used magic list?
Jongatesmills
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I too recall my fascination with Snyder's Magic Shop (216 West Superior Ave.) in the early to mid 1950s, when I was a shy kid not daring to show my tricks to others. I still have Snyder's Catalog #10 from the early 1950s and two of the books I purchased at Snyder's: Jean Hugard's "Coin Magic" and "Silken Sorcery." As an old dude I have started collecting magic memorabilia in a small way.

My father never liked my visiting the seedy area of downtown where Snyder's was located. I recall that when "Papa Joe" Cremati was arrested in January 1954 for running a prostitution ring, that my father claimed Snyder's back room was part of that enterprise. Might well have been a Cleveland rumor that my father used to discourage my future visits to Snyder's. The Papa Joe arrests occurred over on Superior Avenue. Interesting old times, when kids knew almost nothing that wasn't presented to them by their parents or schools.
Jon Strum
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I spent so many wonderful Saturdays at Snyder's. I would arrive late morning, exchange gossip with "the boys", pop behind the counter to demo "the amazing regular deck of cards" to unsuspecting newbies before they settled on buying a Svengali deck, then break for lunch downstairs at a truly awful coffee shop (where the real showing off for each other would get started), and then head back to the shop for a while before calling it a day. On one Saturday, Don Alan dropped in while visiting Cleveland and took the time to teach me his card warp routine. Those Saturdays at Snyder's were truly magical.
"Do you like card tricks?" he asked.
I said no. He did five.
Robert M
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Quote:
On Sep 3, 2004, Terry Holley wrote:
I spent many a Saturday afternoon visiting with George Snyder when I was a teenager.

You had to walk up the narrow stairway (dimly lighted) to get to the shop. It always felt kind of creepy to me!

My most specific memory is of George eating his lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, and talking with him as he looked out the big second floor widow that overlooked Cleveland Public Square. He always interjected the word "See" when he talked to me!

He was a chain smoker, and I couldn't believe how many cigarettes he went through in an afternoon.

I remember having one discussion with George about illusionists. He shared some interesting ideas with me. A few years later, David Copperfield was putting those very ideas into practice!

The shop was the kind that was clutterd with everything you could think of! I bought my Fraidy Cat Rabbit there, my first Die Box, my first Cubio, my first Genii, crystal balls for my Crystal Cups and Ball routine, and the list goes on (also got a few "clunkers" during those days, as George was pretty secretive about the methods).

One time I came in with a catalogue from a larger dealer to ask him if he could get me some of the items. Before I left he asked me not to bring it in again becuase he was afraid that other customers would see it and it would cause him to lose business.

A couple of months ago his business card was auctioned off on eBay. I was away from the computer during the final bidding and missed the opportunity to get the card, as I wanted to frame it for my office. (So if anyone has one that they are willing to part with, please let me know).

Prior to my marriage, my wife and I would even go on a "date" to the shop! I always could see George's eyes light up when she came in. He not only appreciated magic, he also appreciated beauty!

When he retired, my wife and I, along with another couple, put together a retirement party for him that many of the Cleveland area magicians attended. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he saw so many turn out!

When George retired, a friend of mine bought the business and changed the name to "The Castle of Magic." I had the opportunity to demo there once a week for a couple of years. I will say this, when you heard the door open there was a certain anxiety until you realized that the person was really there to look at the magic. Being up on the second floor with a cash register full of money in a shop with little traffic right downtown was a bit scary at times!

During that time I had the opportunity to meet Ricky Jay when he visited the ship while acting in a movie that was filmed in Cleveland.

Interesting to note that a one-time well known children's performer was employed at the Castle of Magic prior to his fame as a performer and subsequent "fall."

Eventually the building was razed in order to rebuild the area surrounding the square, but the memories can never be destroyed.

Thanks for helping bring back those memories, M.J.M!

Terry


Wow. Great post Terry.

Robert
M. Tesla
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Quote:
On Sep 3, 2004, Terry Holley wrote:

...You had to walk up the narrow stairway (dimly lighted) to get to the shop. It always felt kind of creepy to me!

...My most specific memory is of George eating his lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, and talking with him as he looked out the big second floor widow that overlooked Cleveland Public Square...

...He was a chain smoker, and I couldn't believe how many cigarettes he went through in an afternoon....

...The shop was the kind that was clutterd with everything you could think of...


I was looking for info on George Snyder and his magic shop, in Cleveland, and google directed me here...I guess I can thank him for about sixty years of interest in magic, mentalism, and the performing arts...soooo...

And 60 years in magic is George Snyder's fault...

I was about 12 years old when George was hired to do a children's show at the country club my father belonged to...I was immediately hooked...and better yet, he had a magic store in downtown Cleveland...since we lived on Green Rd., the end of the Shaker Rapid Transit Line, and the other end was in the Terminal Tower, in the middle of Cleveland's Public Square...I was allowed to hop on, and found my way to his shop...I even remember the first trick I bought...it was one of those simple queen vanishes routines where a queen is cut in half and the two halves are taped together, and a blank card was inserted between the halves...show the queen top with your hand hiding the bottom which obscures the blank card, turn it face down onto the table, and reach in your pocket for some pixie dust (George sold a ton of that), leaving the half card there, and once the pixie dust was applied, the card on the table was revealed to be blank...ahhh...I bugged everyone with that trick...and during several more trips to George's store, I accumulated other magic paraphernalia, at least what my paper route income could afford...and oh, did I ever drool over the Rising Card Box and the Hippity Hop Rabbits, but sadly they were beyond my budget...the next year I was off to a military academy and the magic was confined to the summers, although, in those summers, my brother and I performed kiddy magic shows for the neighbors, charging about $5 or $10...remember, this was the early 60's, and that was a treasure for a young teen...
While the amount of water has remained static, the amount of Tequila and Triple Sec available for making Margaritas has expanded enormously. So you see, we have made progress after all. ~Anonymous
Wizard of Oz
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Was just in the mood for reminiscing about old Cleveland Magic shops tonight, and did the Google thing. Found this link to this site I visit every night. Hmmmm.

I'm 54, and remember visiting Snyder's a few times, and it was like visiting a dank, smokey, and dusty Heaven. After going through the usual introduction to magic (for me it was TV Magic Cards, TV Magic Set, then completely addicted), I begged and begged my folks to take me to Cleveland's magic shop. At the time, we lived in Highland Heights - a suburb of Cleveland. As a kid, it felt like going downtown (30 minutes by car), was like traveling to the moon. I think the shock was more about the shift from neatly spaced homes on pristine streets to an older, claustrophobic city grid that made the trip intimidating. In any case, making this journey was a big deal for me.

I can still see and smell the dark stairway leading up to the store, and even after that, seeing the room full of magic that awaited me. So many pieces of magic - big and small - that I had only seen in catalogs...in front of me...for real! It was mesmerizing.

As for the back room items, those tales were heard by my young ears as well (porn, gambling?). Never was privy to the seeing of said items, but heard about them. There was also a novelty store in one of Cleveland's famed arcades (we have some of the oldest shopping malls in the country...one of these 2 had this shop https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/236#.WHhV04UmUTk ) that was rumored to have a "back room." I went to the shop as a teen, and while they had some limited magic and gags, there was little there. I'm guessing the action was in the back room.

Great memories either way. I wouldn't trade them.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
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