Wednesday, September 8, 2010


My brother and I often ended up in magic shops. They're like antique shops really, lots of little things that no one would ever purchase. Quiet and dusty. Squeaky wooden floors. Light bulbs humming. And always a fossil of a store clerk - clearly an old magician just waiting for the door to open. Customers make great audiences - captive audiences.

They would flip through tired old card tricks, tell some stories, and then leave you alone to wander around the store. We'd always end up at the gag gifts. Fake barf, garlic gum sticks, cigarette loads, and a bunch of other pranks that you'd buy with family members in mind as your targets.

We discovered prosthetic noses and ears there. And spirit gum to hold them on. Fake burns in powder form. Tubes and bottles of fake blood. And professional scar stuff.

I don't know if there are many magic shops around anymore. I really don't know how they even paid the rent back then. But I guess it's one of those labor-of-love things. The cool things usually are.

Image by zannajune.


NoahFentz said...

I LOVE magic shops. Especially the pranks and gags. I use to order alot of them from the Johnson Smith's catalog. In eigth grade I had dressed up as a practical joker for Halloween. Had the snake in a can, snapping gum, joy buzzer...the works!! I had to explain to everybody what I was and the teachers hated me but I was on cloud nine.

I was able to visit the magic shop here in NYC on 42nd Street in the 80's but it is long gone now. I think the big one here now is Abracadabra on 21st?

Rev. Dr. Potato. said...

Hot Halloween related, but love it. When I was little my dad would take me to a place called Mister E's (it took a while before I "got it"), and he was more than happy to show us some tricks. Of course, he would woo us with the magic and never show us how it was done until we bought it. Needless to say we bought a lot of it. Figuratively and literally.

MorbidMariah said...

Ya know, there's actually a magic shop right around the corner from my house. And I often wonder how they manage to stay open. But I am so glad they do. The day they finally give up the ghost is going to be a sad day.

Doug said...

There's a shop near me that is strictly a Halloween store, but across the street is a shop that sells every different kind of mask you could imagine and tons of gag gifts and trinkets of trickery like you described. It's owned by the same guy, so it has a Halloween theme to it even if it is full of Christmas decorations in December, but it is a "magic" shop of sorts. Certainly magic in my eyes.