19 November 2012

The Magic Castle

This place is really awesome.  Pretty much everything about it adds to the ambiance.  You have an old building with a lot of history, people dressed up, possible celebrity sightings....oh, and the magic.  If you are ever in the Los Angeles area and you can get tickets, spend an evening at the Magic Castle.  It is a little pricey, but it is worth it. 

Entrance to the World Famous Magic Castle
Once you valet your car, you are directed to the lobby.  The lobby and the outside are the only places that cameras are allowed.  Apologies for the lack of photos.  To enter the castle, you must say "Open sesame" (or is it "Open says-a-me"?), and the faux book shelf slides open to reveal a secret passageway.  Yeah, kinda like the library at Wayne Manor...to the Bat poles!

There are a number of shows that you can see throughout the night, ranging from close-up, parlor, and stage.  Usually, there will be a member willing to give you a tour of the castle.  This is highly recommended as you will get a brief history and wonderful stories.  You may even get a quick impromptu magic performance.

Award winning magicians perform these shows.  Live magic is more fun than televised performances.  Most of the rooms seat about 20-25 people, the large theater seats about 70-80.  So, it is an intimate setting and great audience/performer interaction that you cannot get with television.

Magic Castle Drive - Why do they not sell these in the gift shop?
In one of the shows, I was volunteered by the magician to help out with his performance.  Being a fan of magic and someone who know a little of how things worked, I tried to figure out how he would do the trick.  You want to see how the trick is done, yet not expose it, Magicians' Code.  Even with my knowledge, I was stumped (mostly).  I also felt I needed...okay, I wanted to provide some comedy for the audience and magician.

Here is the trick.  Magician picks me from the audience.  He asked me if I have ever played "hot hands", the slapping game we all played in grade school.  Some of us still play.  I fake with my right and slapped with my left.  This got a good reaction with the audience. 

I would freely chose a card from the deck. Yes, freely.  Show it to the audience, it was the two of hearts.  Then, he gave me a small stack of card, about 6-8 cards and had me shuffle my card into it.  That way no one knew where the card was in the mini stack.  Actually, I knew where it was, I purposely put it second to the top.  The mini stack was placed into the rest of the deck and he shuffled the deck.  Most likely a false shuffle.

Now, here is the game.  The hot hands set up a speed game.  He would flip over a card, call it out, then place it in my hand.  At this point, my left hand was face up, with my right hand face down hovering above my left.  I was to slap down as fast as I could while he tried to reach in and grab the car.

He called out about four cards and placed it in my hand.  Each time, he would fake grab the card.  When my card was called, I let him place the card in my hand.  He did a little fake, and was about to call the next card.  Bam, I slap down.  At this point, the audience, including myself, thought I had beaten the magician.  Everyone knew what card I had.

I turned over the card, and it was not my car. Awesome!  I did and did not expect this.  I checked all five cards in my hand and none of them was the two of hearts.  The audience was amazed, I was amazed.  Again, awesome!  I was played by the magician. 

He made a joke that the card was in my wallet.  Funny thing is, I do not carry a 'wallet', just a money clip card holder thing.  He hand me do one more thing.  Take my right hand and point to my watch.  A card was folded into quarters and shoved between my wrist and watch.  I took the card out and there it was, the two of hearts.  Awesome!

From the beginning, I knew he selected me for my watch. I was thinking that we was going to steal my watch and I was prepared for that. I tried to feel him steal my watch, but he was slipping the card underneath...I was not feeling for that.

He forced the card, and I have no idea how he did it. I was paying close attention to everything he was doing and he got me. Again, I must say...it was awesome!

The Magic Castle welcome mat.
Because of the no phone, no photo policy, it offer a sense of privacy for the magician and guests.  There is a chance that a celebrity or two will show up.  I did spot one celebrity, the Amazing Jonathan.  He was walking into the private library, a library for members only.

I also spotted 'teller' in the lobby. 
Teller at The Magic Castle.  Should have snagged a 'pen' and completed the picture.

We had a great time and plan on returning sometime in the future.  I highly recommend a visit, whether you are a fan on magic or not.  

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