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Hollywood’s Magic Castle…

Posted by on August 25, 2016
magic

Craig Stone is the first professional magician I ever met. He’s one of the best. And when he points to his hat, all eyes are on him.

MY FRIEND CRAIG STONE. Craig Stone is a professional magician, one of the best. He looks the part. He’s a former client and a dear old friend. Together over the past thirty years we’ve laughed together on dozens of occasions. He’s worked for me and I’ve worked for him. He’s entertained my guests at birthday parties and office parties. I’ve referred him to others and he’s reciprocated. Now, I’ve represented more than a few magicians during my career. Each was fascinating. Some of their cases were more challenging than others, but without exception the magicians themselves were interesting, quick-witted and kindhearted. I like to cook and make people happy. Magicians perform tricks for a living, but their motivation is also to make people happy. To entertain them. So when Craig and I were recently chatting, our conversation became part of my Great American Adventure and I was reminded of a 1910-era Gothic Renaissance Chateau in the Hollywood Hills. It’s called the Magic Castle and Craig was my host during my first visit to this wonderful place. Today I’m going to entertain you with some information about this old house. I’m going to take you inside for a look around. And if you’re ever invited to visit, accept that invitation and get ready to hold your hat. Because the hat just might contain a rabbit. You’ll never forget your visit to the Magic Castle, whether it be to Franklin Avenue or right here on my blog. So here goes, let’s walk through the library and step inside the parlor.

THE MAGIC CASTLE IS AN OLD HOUSE. It’s the clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts. A private club, which allows entrance only to members and their guests. A typical evening, if there even is such a thing, features magic shows ranging from miracles under your nose to full-stage illusions that stun an entire room. The Castle is full of rare memorabilia and magnificent posters, so there’s a lot to see. There’s also a critically acclaimed, full-service dining room featuring a truly magical view of Hollywood,. There are lots of nooks and crannies inside the place, making  it easy to find the perfect spot to celebrate your mood. Don’t be surprised to look over your shoulder and find somebody performing a minor miracle. You’ll soon understand why your visit will be one of the most amazing evenings you’ve ever experienced.

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The Castle by night.

 

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The Castle by day.

 

DRESS CODE? YOU MUST BE KIDDING. When’s the last time you really gave much thought to “dressing for dinner?’ Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about getting “dressed up” just to out for a meal in the evening, right? I agree, but I’m still happy to report that if you’ve been lucky enough to score an invitation to the Castle, you will need to adhere to a dress code when you arrive on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood for your special evening. And I’m happy to report this because it’s nice, just once in awhile to dignify with dress the sometimes formal reception you’ll receive at this magical club. So without belaboring it, here’s what you need to know. Gentlemen, think “dressy casual.” That means coat and tie. Women, think cocktail dress or similar. If you have questions, call in advance. Don’t be disappointed by arriving for your special night and being politely told that your dress doesn’t allow for your admission.

WHAT TO EXPECT. The “magic menu” changes frequently, so all I can provide is a generalized answer to that question, based on my impressions from several dozen visits to the Castle. But it’s safe to predict that you’ll be treated to some “close-up gallery” tricks, a visit to the Parlour of Prestidigitation and the Gallery of Mystery. Time permitting, you will want to get a seat in the Peller Theatre, as well. Your evening may include a stop at the W. C. Fields bar as well.

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The W. C. Fields Bar at the Magic Castle.

AND WHAT ABOUT DINNER.  You will want to dine in the Castle’s dining room, which is a good thing, because that’s part of the price of admission and you’re going to be charged for dinner whether you like it or not. But that’s why you adhered to the “dinner night out dress-code” in the first place, isn’t it. And you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a “typical dinner selection:” Artichoke and Spinach Gratin, Curry Crab Bisque, Local Arugula Salad, Academy Beef Wellington with a couple of sides, coffee and desert. Very good choice, if I do say so myself. Florence and I weren’t expecting anything quite as good. I enjoyed my dinner and I believe she did as well.

 

 

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The dining room is nicely appointed and the food is quite good.

 

 

ANYTHING ELSE?  ANYTHING ELSE?  Absolutely. I’m tempted to suggest that what I’m about to tell you is the best thing about the Castle. But I’ll leave that conclusion for you to draw. Here’s how I’ve enjoyed this magical experience in the past. First of course I’ve snagged Craig Stone or another one of my magician friends and arranged to be hosted. Next, I’ve spent a long evening and night at the Castle. Third, I’ve stayed at a nearby hotel, so close that cab fare at the end of the night is only about $10 including tip. And then driving home to San Diego the next morning, enthused about my experienced and determined to “show my friends,” I’ve contacted one of the magicians and booked him to entertain my guests at a private party. It works. One year, as a matter of fact on the occasion of my fortieth birthday, I had a beach party for several hundred friends at a beach house I rented at South Mission Beach. I had engaged a magician from the Castle to entertain and on this occasion it was a pickpocket who also was good with card tricks. As the casually dressed guests arrived at the beach they soon found themselves talking to the one guy at the party wearing a tuxedo. My friend Judge Ned Huntington was talking to my hired help, and as asked by the tuxedo-clothed young man, “What time is it, Judge?” And when Ned looked at his watch he had around his wrist an inexpensive wristwatch, not the pricey Rolex he’d donned as he dressed for my party. You can play it out for yourselves. Very funny and very magical!

 

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Pickpocket magicians for hire from the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

 

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Craig Stone.

JOIN ME AGAIN, WON’T YOU?  I hope you enjoyed the tour. Just remember, when you arrive and want to enter the foyer, look for the owl with the red eyes sitting on the book case in the library. Say “Hello.” The bookcase will open and you’ll be inside. It’s that simple. Unless of course you’ve already been tricked and the “entrance’ has been relocated. So you’ve now enjoyed a magical experience, here and perhaps in the future at the Castle itself. My magical experiences there were many. But the miracle in my life was on March 18th, in the year 2016. Read about it here on my blog. And please remember to pay it forward. To enjoy the day and be good to yourself and strangers. Because although you’re sure you already know what the new day will bring, you don’t. My story is evidence to the contrary. And my story is still being told, right here, week after week. Come back soon. Oh, by the way have you already been tricked at the Castle? Do you plan to go there, based upon my tour? Have you met my friend Craig Stone? Get a hold of him for your next party or for an invitation to the Castle. @CraigStoneMagic.

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The Theatre at Magic Castle.

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One Response to Hollywood’s Magic Castle…

  1. Greg Alford

    Contact me for names of other magicians in your area. If you can’t get to the Magic Castle, I don’t want you to be left out in the cold!

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