Sam Kesler wrote: Ive been interested in magic since I was twelve-years-old. One of the joys of arriving in Los Angeles from the Midwest in 1967 was visiting Joe Bergs second-floor magic shop on Hollywood Boulevard. . . I joined the IBM and the Hollywood Caryl Fleming Ring #21 in November . . .
Well, just gotta say:
Hey, SAM, do I KNOW YOU ? We ought to talk...
I RE-Joined Ring 21 about the same time you Joined it ! ... after my taking about a 30 year absence from it... Long Story, there... did you know ? Ring 21 USED to meet at Joe's Shop ? Back 40 years ago when I first joined it.
When I RE-joined it, I KNEW it had moved around a lot... Joe had died LONG ago, and his son Ronny had 'run the business into the ground' after Joe retired and passed it on to him... really a sad thing that Joe lived long enough to see THAT happen... but, I digress.
I did a websearch and lo, I EXPECTED the meetings to still be somewhere around the Hollywood Area... but NOT in North Hollywood ! Well, guess what ? Where it WAS meeting, at J.B. Monlux Elementary School ? I had been a student THERE when they built that auditorium that they were meeting in !
WOW, funny coincidences ! On top of that, in fact, then when I looked up the SAM... found out that they had been meeting in Alhambra and NOT in Hollywood,too (like they also used to), for a dozen or so years...but what is REALLY a weird coincidence about THAT, though, is how I had also been living in Alhambra, by then about 20 years, myself !
Seemed like I was kind of "Destined" to rejoin each of them, by virtue of the Odd Coincidences, you know ??? !!!
Anyway.... NOW that the Ring meets at the Bob Baker Theatre in Los Angeles, it is a heck of a lot easier for me to attend it... although, THIS PAST EVENING they met, and I had to miss it... are you STILL active in it ?
Like I said, I just HAD to ask, for I JUST joined this Forum TONIGHT (after missing the Ring Meeting) and I JUST saw THIS TOPIC !
Funny coincidences, again ?
Joe's Shop was a Really Special Experience, in so many ways, as was Joe, himself... but, then, so too was his son Ronnie... in an entirely DIFFERENT way, however.
Oh,well, those daze are long gone, now... we will NEVER see another Joe Berg, I feel certain, and what a loss that is !
Did you ever get a good look at all those Black And White Photos that were plastered all over his walls ?
If so, then you would have realized that each was a REALLY famous magician... including such notables as Kellar, Thurston, and Houdini... and EACH was PERSONALLY signed by them, with a message that typically was THANKING Joe for having HELPED THEM OUT So Much !!!
Those pix would be worth a literal fortune, today... wonder what ever happened to them ?
Then too... did you know ? Back then the Ring had an Annual Cavalcade of Magic, a weekend long CONVENTION ?
Happens that was where the FIRST "American" showing of the Zig-Zag occurred... a RIP-OFF version of it, which caused a nasty 'Letter From The Editor' in Genii... given that this particular Cavalcade sought publicity in Genii, and was held 'down the street' from the Castle, with everyone expected to go THERE during and after it... and it ALSO brought out Senator Crandall for his FIRST TIME to visit the West Coast (which directly led to him becoming a Host of the Castle)... well, Rightfully so, Bill Larson Jr. was so pissed off that 'we' hired that 'Rip Off of Harbin' that Genii refused to run ANY publicity for this particular Cavalcade, and TRIED to convince 'everyone else' to also BOYCOTT it !
That was 1968, by-the-way, same year that I became a member of the Castle... I had to wait until I turned 21 to join... back then, dues were JUST $15 a year, too ! Can you BELIEVE that ? (And, note, another coincidence, it was JUST after you had come out here to live ! Did YOU happen to attend that convention ???)
More, so much more, that I could share about all that, and so on... Joe and Les Smith of Owen Magic Supreme were my two sponsors on my Castle Application, by-the-way... plenty of MORE story there, too... Les wanted ME to 'boycott' the Castle, in fact... a LOT of stories to tell !