M agic is as old as history. Paintings on Egyptian pyramids show a man performing the old shell game with cups much the same way it is done by magicians today. The interest never waned, and each new generation gazes with fascination as doves appear from a hat or a person is "sawed in half . "
George Voorhis, a professional magician for more than 50 years and a past president of the Hollywood Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, points out that magic is a great way to meet people and that it can bring introverts out of their shells.
The shops and clubs listed here can help introduce young and old to the world of grand and small illusions:
Best Magic--625 S. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, (714) 827-6442. Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. There is a large selection of close-up magic supplies, such as coins and cards, and beginning kits for young people. Beginners of all ages are welcome, and many books are available, as well as videocassettes for more advanced magicians. Prices for tricks range from $2 to $80.
Hollywood Magic Inc.--6614 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (213) 464-5610. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. This "mecca for magicians" has been a fixture on the boulevard for many years. There is a huge stock of tricks and illusions, plus books and videocassettes covering just about anything you ever wanted to know about magic. Prices range from a few dollars to thousands for professional illusions.
Hollywood Magic Inc.--298 D East 17th St., Costa Mesa, (714) 646-4374. Hours: Monday- Wednesday 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Along with the large supply of tricks and illusions, there are items for clowns and jugglers. The catalogue is $3. Salespeople teach beginning tricks.
Magic Emporium--19641 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. Telephone (800) 4-MAGIC-7, or call (818) 344-2525. Hours: Monday- Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Salespeople will help children and adults with every aspect of magic, from beginner to professional effects, and a professional magician is on staff. Magic birthday parties are held at the store, and a newsletter is available. The store has 5,000 rental costumes, and will extend hours tonight until 9 p.m.
Presto Magic--5701 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, (213) 428-3882. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Costumes, masks, wigs and makeup are for rent year-round, with a wide variety offered, including many items that interest magicians. The store will be open later than usual tonight for costuming sales and rentals for Halloween and open Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for costume returns. Regular hours will be observed Friday and Saturday. Owner Fredric Broder is a magician and will demonstrate tricks. He'll buy used books and tricks and also take them in trade. About 5,000 effects are in stock.
Would You Believe?--1118 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, (818) 799-3828. Hours: Tuesday- Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The store will be open until 9 p.m. tonight, 7 p.m. Friday, regular hours on Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. The store is a haven for beginners, but there is also material for the more advanced. Capes, top hats, costumes and other theatrical items are for rent.
International Brotherhood of Magicians--Ring 21, Hollywood. Contact Bill Barvin, (213) 462-5205. A social club for those interested in magic. You need not be a performer nor an expert. The group, which meets at 8 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Beverly Christian Church Hall, 1717 N. Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, puts on shows. Junior members are 18-21. Interested people must join the international group first (dues $25 the first year). Local dues are $15. Ring 96 is in Long Beach. Contact Ronny Cortes, (714) 996-2182. Rules are the same as Ring 21, but local dues are $10. Meetings take place the third Saturday of the month at Lakewood Library, 5020 N. Clark Ave., Lakewood, at 8 p.m.
Long Beach Mystics--Contact Gary Peterson, (213) 925-4650. This is the best-known club for magicians ages 8 to 21. Meetings start at 7:30 p.m. twice monthly on Tuesdays at Emerson Elementary School in Long Beach. There are no dues. This is primarily a performing group. Interested young people are welcome. A newsletter is available.
Orange County Mystics--Contact Sherry Hayes, (714) 751-4838. This group is for magic hobbyists, with emphasis on the fun of performing for each other. There is an annual banquet and a public show. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 12301 Magnolia St., Garden Grove. Dues, which include a newsletter, are $25 the first year, $20 thereafter.
Society of American Magicians--Contact John Engman, (818) 814-7652. This group was founded in 1902, and Harry Houdini was its president for a decade. Meetings are at 8 p.m. the third Monday of the month in the Variety Arts Center, 940 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. You need a genuine interest in magic to be accepted into this group. Membership can begin at 14. You must join the national group (dues $25), which includes receiving the monthly magazine M-U-M, and local dues are $15, which includes L.A. Wand, the monthly newsletter.