Memoirs of a Magic Dealer

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Evan Shuster » 01/20/06 06:26 PM

Just wanted to offer a toast to Al Cohen for his column. I have such fond memories of my visit to Al's when my dad took me on a tour of Washington as a kid. Mr. Cohen personally attended to me and made me feel like I was the only customer in his shop (which was far from the case). It's such a treat to read his recollections. This was truly a great idea for a column.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/20/06 07:18 PM

Another great column by Al ... keep 'em coming. :genii:
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 01/20/06 09:22 PM

great article.

i remember fondly my first visit to a magic shop. a classmate took me to Flosso-Hornmann's shop at 34th street. it was in some maze of a building, with no advertisement of the store....but i did meet Jack Flosso. i bought 2 items while i was there. the Royal Magic Hynotic choice and the floating match stick. i didn't have enough money to get the Svengali deck.

my first encounter with a magician was at Fao Schwartz on 5th avenue. i don't remember who he was, but my friend tells me it was David Roth.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/06 03:01 PM

In Spring 1957 the government class had a trip to

Washington .I got to slip away and go to my first

magic shop. Al's 13th and Pennsylvania.Al had

hair then, so did I, but that was 50 years ago.

I worked for two resaurant food suppliers that

had warehouses in Wshington. I live in Richmond

and that was my territory. Fridays I would have

to go to sales meetings in D.C. It's a 100 mile

drive but I didn't mind because I was going to

Al's...........Mike Walsh
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Postby Guest » 01/21/06 05:49 PM

I just thought I would mention a little magic shop that is still going strong and is one of the most personable shops I have ever been to!
The Browser's Den of Magic in Toronto, Ontario Canada. If you have never been, you are missing out.
You walk in upon a small card table covered with a black velvet cloth given to the shop by a magician no longer with us. Jeff the magic shop owner greets you with unusual quirks and stock lines. A glass display counter runs the long length of the shop on your right and the left has ventriloquist items and juggling supplies.
The young guns envelope the table and the regulars often come with baked goods from a local shop.
People share tricks and a LARGE wall of books is found at the back of this humble shop. You can sit and peruse a book before buying it and often can receive a demonstration from someone in the shop of something in that book you chose! We occasionally see the local names in magic; Publishers, Working pros, authors, and on occasion celebrities such as Steve Martin! Stories of past magicians in the area are exchanged such as Dingle, Bertram, Willis Kenney, Vernon of course and on occasion a magician will come in with a little something unpublished that everyone seems so anxious to get a hold of.
Magic club meetings for those 16+ happen the first Saturday of every month and Jeff provides snacks and drinks.
Lectures happen often thanks to a couple names in the area bringing people such as Johnny Thompson, Lee Asher, Gregory Wilson, John Carney, Max Maven, and the list continues to grow.
This is my little shop I go to. And fond memories are being formed day after day!
What about your shop?
-Shane
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Postby Arnie Fuoco » 01/22/06 02:59 PM

Al Cohen's column is the first thing I look for when I receive Genii in the mail. I miss his shop, the characters that he writes about, watching Al perform and the carmaradie of all the people who visited. It was something I never took for granted because I knew I would miss it when he retired.
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Postby Guest » 03/17/07 09:26 AM

There is no experience like visiting the old brick and mortar magic shop retailers. They were a land of discovery. Every visit was a vacation carrying a lot of anticipation and excitement.

The Wizard of Oz was real! (And inside!)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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Postby Guest » 03/23/07 12:53 PM

Ah, how misty eyed we become when recalling the bricks and mortar magic shops of oldand quite rightly so.

However Ive walked out of a few in my time after nipping in quickly to pick up the latest effect or book - but finding myself at the back of a line where everyone in front wants the dealer to demo everything in stock (hey, could you do that first one again for my friend?) but who have absolutely no intention of making any purchases.

AJM
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/23/07 05:23 PM

We'll have a new column from Al in our June issue, and have several others already on the way for the rest of the year. (He got some writing done while he was on vacation!)
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Postby Guest » 03/30/07 08:39 PM

Hi guys,
Thanks for all the kind words regarding my column. It's really been lots of fun writing it.
I've been out of the shop for almost 5 years now and believe me it's getting harder and harder to remember things.
If any of you out there want to share some experience you remember about Al's Magic Shop please contact me at
alsmagic1@comcast.net (our new email address)
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Postby magicbar » 12/25/08 01:16 PM

this is a very good thread I wrote about similar thoughts in another thread about the internet and magic. - although the internet is a massive 24/7 resource nothing beats the real-life experience of visiting a good magic shop.
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