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Magic Castle

June 22, 1987 | JACK SMITH
If you stand in front of the rehabilitated Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and look north up Orange Drive to Franklin Avenue, you will see an ornate, vanilla ice cream white, Victorian era French chateau. It is pure Hollywood. This is the Magic Castle, which is Hollywood's most secret tourist attraction--or is that an oxymoron?
July 2, 1995 | Diane Haithman, Diane Haithman is a Times staff writer.
There are those who say vaudeville died in the mid-1930s; others, such as magician Harry Blackstone Jr., believe that it was murdered. The offspring of legendary magician Harry Blackstone, Harry Jr.--who carries on the family tradition of performing such illusions as the Floating Light Bulb and the Dancing Handkerchief--says vaudeville met its demise because of jokes like this one: "Did you know that my parents were in the iron and steel business? My mother did the ironing. . . ."
June 8, 2012 | By Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
First published on Dec. 25, 2011. Revised and expanded in early 2012. Pity the rubes. Those wayward tourists who dawdle in their cars and tour buses along Beachwood Drive, enraging the locals as they haltingly seek that perfect Hollywood sign photo op - they know not what they do. Maybe you're not from this neighborhood either, but you have savvier Hollywood plans. They involve horse trails, hidden hotels, a magic castle, a monastery - and that's just a start. Here are 10 Hollywood micro-itineraries suitable for visitors from across town or across the planet.
September 4, 2009 | Valerie J. Nelson
David Avadon, a professional illusionist who wrote a 2007 book on pickpocketing, which was his trademark theatrical act, has died. He was 60. Avadon, who had a recent history of heart problems, suffered a heart attack and died Aug. 22 while working out at a fitness club in Santa Monica, said his brother, Joe Hutchins. For more than 30 years, Avadon had regularly presented his pickpocket act at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He also had entertained throughout the United States, in Japan, Canada and Great Britain and served as a technical consultant on TV and film productions.
July 17, 2010 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Glenn Falkenstein, a renowned mentalist who came to fame in the early 1970s when he was a staple at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and hosted his own Los Angeles call-in radio show, has died. He was 78. Falkenstein, a former longtime Sherman Oaks resident who had struggled with Alzheimer's disease since 2006, died July 4, several days after entering a memory-care unit at an assisted-living facility in San Antonio, said his wife and performing partner, Frances Willard. "He was the consummate showman, a showman of the old school," said magician David Charvet, who hosted a memorial for Falkenstein at the Magic Castle last Sunday.
September 13, 1988
Art Director, Magic Castle Designer John H. Shrum, 61, an art director who designed the Magic Castle, Hollywood's well-known magicians' club, and the set designer for "The Tonight Show" since Johnny Carson moved to the West Coast. Shrum also turned an old theater in Santa Monica into the Mayfair Music Hall and converted an aging (1924), 7-story former women's club into the Variety Arts Center in downtown Los Angeles. In Los Angeles on Saturday of an apparent heart attack.
September 23, 1990
The "World's Greatest Magicians at the Magic Castle" on CBS was great. Every magician from the one who did card tricks to the guy with sun glasses and a goose was top notch. Why not schedule it at an earlier hour so the entire family can enjoy it? Jeni Mangus, Beverly Hills
January 2, 2003 | Susan Carpenter
Ordinary Joes without a wizardly bone in their body are perfectly capable of making coins vanish or cards move from a deck into onlookers' wallets. During the basic magic class at Hollywood's Magic Castle, students perform both of these tricks the very first night, the first of 15 acts they'll learn involving cards, coins and rope. "It gives you a very strong sense of ego being able to fool someone else," said David Thorsen, 75, the master magician who teaches the course.
June 22, 1988 | BARBARA BAIRD, Times Staff Writer
After a hard day in the operating room at Century City Hospital, Dr. Jeff Berman sometimes relaxes by putting on a tux and heading for the Magic Castle in Hollywood. There, to the delight of guests assembled at the private club devoted to the art of magic, Berman performs dazzling feats of legerdemain. He makes coins disappear, reassembles a rope cut into pieces and performs seeming impossibilities with playing cards. It's all in the hands, says the surgeon-by-day, magician-by-night.
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