Visiting the Magic Castle
Today, April 28th, I am writing this column from the beautiful California town of Irvine. Actually, I’m not really sure Irvine is technically any more exotic than its neighboring towns in Southern California, however to me it is! Tonight I am lecturing for IBM Ring 313– the John Fedko Ring. I am also enjoying spending a couple of days staying with my daughter Kat who lives and teaches in Irvine.
Tomorrow I will drive to the Highland Gardens Hotel on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, put on a tie and jacket, and spend the evening at the World Famous Magic Castle. My old friend and former partner Piet Paulo will be joining me for the visit. Piet is a master illusionist, magical philosopher and a wonderful raconteur. I know we will have a wonderful evening catching up with our friends at the Castle.
It is very, very nice to be able to so freely say that it is the Magic Castle that I will be visiting. As every member and many non-members know, the “Academy of Magical Arts” and the “Magic Castle” have been having something of a feud during recently times. The problems now seem to have been resolved, which in my opinion is a reason for celebration for magicians everywhere. As a proud member since 1974 I am delighted, as an AMA member, to be officially visiting my clubhouse the Magic Castle tomorrow night. I extend my thanks for sorting everything out to all of those who were involved in doing so. They seem to have done a great job resolving the key issues.
When you have such a unique, eccentric and successful entity as the Magic Castle, you certainly hope to see it continuing into its second half century in much the same way that it managed to become a runaway success by the end of its first 50 years. There is truly nowhere else like the Magic Castle in the entire world; Bill and Milt Larsen took a pipedream of an idea from their father and converted it into reality for us all to enjoy.
My favorite analogy for the Castle has always been the bumblebee, a curious little critter than by any laws of aerodynamics shouldn’t be able to fly, yet somehow still manages to flitter around in mid-air in a highly nimble manner. Having been a part of the Castle for over 40 years it has been a blast seeing it happily move from triumph to disaster to triumph while always remaining true to it’s own curious code. This place is far too special to risk messing around with its structure, DNA or fine print.
Much of the pressure on the grand old AMA/Castle structure has probably indirectly resulted from the enormous commercial advances that the Castle has enjoyed under the superb management of Joe Furlow. The Castle is literally bustling with success from the moment you walk through the bookcase. I have been a member long enough to remember when we had more serious problems than too many people wanting to show up and spend money at our club.
Under the stewardship of the current team of board members, owners and creators we seem to have reached an agreement that takes the Castle way into the future and doesn’t leave us having to clumsily refer to the Castle as the AMA clubhouse! To me any serious attempt to re-brand anywhere as unique as the Magic Castle never made an iota of sense. Let’s say it loud and proud, we have an amazing club in an even more amazing clubhouse.
Tomorrow night I will be sitting in the Owl Bar, hopefully gossiping with my dear friend Milt, chatting with the Castle’s hidden weapon Jack Goldfinger, waving at board members and giving Irene and Erika a hug! What could be more satisfactory than to witness legitimate disagreements resolved and our magical home away from home reunited in such a relatively seamlessly manner. My first tequila and beer will be toasting our club and the people who keep it the most happening place in Hollywood