House of Magic has closed

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Bob Taxin
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House of Magic has closed

Postby Bob Taxin » December 28th, 2005, 9:34 am

One of the long running magic businesses in San Francisco is solid gone. Mark Burger's House of Magic has closed after many, many years. I used to buy things from Mark's father (Buma) way back when. I notice that Mark's got an impressive website (MarkBurger.com) so I presume he's still in business, though no more store. I wish him well, along with Gary and Gene, all of whom were very friendly and helpful along the way. Maybe this is the way it's going, with not enough financial incentive for guys like Mark to have a store, when they can run the biz out of a warehouse with a website. Too bad for those of us who want to actually see the stuff demo'd before we buy it. The good news for San Franciscans is that we've also got a fine magic store run by Joe Pon, called Misdirections, but Mark will still be missed.
Bob Taxin

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » December 28th, 2005, 10:14 am

Too bad for those of us who want to actually see the stuff demo'd before we buy it.
Demo? Id be fortunate to get eye contact from anyone at HoM, let alone a demo. Little did they know I was prepared to make modest purchases. Old School, nepotistic mentalities as such, allow for no sympathy on my part. Thus I get everything I need online without any 'tude. Just my experience.

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » December 29th, 2005, 12:37 am

I contacted Mark Burger, and he confirmed it is true, after 38+ years, he has closed the store.

I remember helping Buma put up the the original signs on the store front, spending (too) much of my adolesence, in his store...Saturday afternoons there, where the "S.F.I.M." gathered. (It stood for "Stupid Idiot Magicians.")
These included Bob Wasserlein,(whose daughter recently contacted me via this Forum) Woody Woodward, Emil Clifton, George Dean, Dave Kendall, Vic Kirk, Matt Corin, Pete Piro, and others.

Very few can take over a business, that was so personality driven, after the founder, Marvin "Buma" Burger, passed away. But his son Mark, did so and reinvented the focus and expansion of the store and made it work, while many magic stores, have gone by the wayside. Not all magicians welcomed the changes, but Mark had the clear sight and ability to make difficult, but needed changes.

Many of us, can only thank the Burger family for what their presence has done, for the San Francisco magic community.

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Pete Biro
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Pete Biro » December 29th, 2005, 9:15 am

A sad day indeed... the House of Magic was one of the great meeting places in the Golden Days... that great bunch of guys Diego mentioned were jewels in the crown of my life... espcially Buma himself, and Emile Clifton. "Cliff" was one of WWII heroes as one of the medal of honor winners of the Tuskeegee Airmen. He was shot down behind enemy lines in Germany and worked his way back... few in magic knew this.

And SADLY was thrown out of a convention once when someone on the committee told him "we don't allow Ni**ers."

Anyway, you can't take our memories of The HoM away from us... :(
Stay tooned.

Jim Morton
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Jim Morton » December 30th, 2005, 9:10 am

I too will miss the place. While some people complained of "'tude," I never found that to be true. If they knew you were genuiely interested in magic they were always very nice. Many years back I purchased Lewis Ganson's books of Close-Up Magic and the Dai Vernon Trilogy from Mark. "These oughta keep me busy for a year," I said. "Those will keep you busy for a lifetime," he said.

Jim

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » December 30th, 2005, 10:22 am

I spent several great afternoons at the "House of Magic". I have great memories of the place.

Yet another example of how on-line magic shops causes the real ones to vanish. Very sad.

I don't know "Audioslave"; this is not directed at him (her) personally. I have found that in spending a lot of time in magic shops, those who complain about the attitudes of the people behind the counter, should take a look in the mirror. If you walk in with an attitude, what kind of treatment should you expect?

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Pete Biro
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Pete Biro » December 30th, 2005, 10:30 am

Jon get in touch when you hit town.
Stay tooned.

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2005, 10:42 am

Pete,
How about lunch on Tuesday?

Tom Smith
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Tom Smith » December 31st, 2005, 3:27 pm

Hi!

Was in SF last year and went to a magic shop by bus that was somewhere between Fisherman's Wharf and Exploratorium. It was right on the street and no kids were allowed in without an adult. Was this HoM or Misdirections? The owner and assistant were very helpful once they knew I knew magic.

Tom

Robert Allen
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2005, 3:29 pm

What ever happened to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic down on Fishermans Wharf? It had a reasonably well supplied magic shop attached to it.

mwolfire
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby mwolfire » December 31st, 2005, 5:37 pm

I never had a problem with tude, but did have a problem with "toot". I could not stand to stay in that store longer than a few minutes because of the CD that was constantly playing. It seems to me the Chestnut St. crowd was becoming increasingly sophisticated and urbane in recent in years. Why would anyone stop in a store with that CD playing? Still, it was a destination stop for me during my trips to San Francisco. I got great deals on Prism when no one else had it in stock, and Trickery Treats for half price! Too bad it is gone.
Mark

Bill Mullins
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Bill Mullins » December 31st, 2005, 8:37 pm

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
and Emile Clifton. "Cliff" was one of WWII heroes as one of the medal of honor winners of the Tuskeegee Airmen. He was shot down behind enemy lines in Germany and worked his way back...
Not to pick nits, and not in any way to denigrate the bravery of Clifton or any other Tuskegee Airman, but I don't believe he was awarded a Medal of Honor.

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Pete Biro
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Pete Biro » January 1st, 2006, 10:50 am

It may have been a distinguished flying cross... I have a photo of him being awarded 'SOMETHING' and maybe I just don't know one medal from the other LOOKING AT IT without a caption.

Anyway... Emile was one great HERO to me and one of the major influences in my performing.

His Ring Move and MacDonald's Aces laydown are two of the best moves in magic IMHO.
Stay tooned.

Baph
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Baph » January 2nd, 2006, 3:51 am

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
What ever happened to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic down on Fishermans Wharf?
Hi, At last something I can contribute to<G>


Much of the content of the museum came from the estate of Gerald Gardner, who bequethed it to Scotty & Monique Wilson. Unfortunately this pair did not look after it, and found a way to make a quick buck, and sold to Ripley's.

Ripley's sold of most of the Witchcraft Articles to Richard and Tamara James back in 1987, some of these items have come up for sale on Ebay over time.

there have been a couple of other Witchcraft museums - one run originally by Raymond Buckland in New York in the late 70's, and this then moved a couple of years back to New Orleans, although it is now obviously in storage.

Well, that's the first pesky post out of the way.

Jon Randall
Deputy Editor Pentacle Magazine
www.pentaclemagazine.org

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 2nd, 2006, 2:05 pm

I thought I'd cut and paste this from elsewhere. I wrote it several years ago, but it seems an appropriate memory now. I could write another fifty pages without breaking a sweat, but this is the flavor of the thing...

I just found this topic. I worked for Marvin"Buma" Burger, at "The House of Magic", 2025 Chestnut St. San Francisco, CA 95403 (I wrote all that because the address is forever imbedded!), throughout the 1970's, and opened the "Palace of Magic" on Pier 39 with him in 1979. The partners in the Palace venture were originally Marvin, Doc Albo, Charles Schulz (of "Peanuts" fame), and Mario Carrandi. The Palace was the tourist shop, and the "House" was the magic shop.

I grew up in that store, and Marvin was like a second father to me. It was there that I met so many magicians that I cannot begin to count them. Saturdays were the regular hangout days there. Vic Kirk, Woody Woodward (Why do they call you Henhouse? Cause my father took one look at me and he flew the coop!), Martin Lewis (who was living there at the time and worked the Magic Cellar all the time), Harry Anderson, who worked Fishermans Wharf with his wife Leslie, Paul Svengari, Penn and Teller, who had a year-plus run at the Phoenix Theater of Magic (a club I booked acts for until they came along!), on Broadway, the stripclub strip, where it was the only family theater for blocks, Palmer Tilden, who owned Sterling Creations, Jeff Busby, Matt Corin, long gone who knows where, but a great slieght of handster, Pete Biro, Emil Clifton, Rags the Clown, Nahmen Nissen, Jack McMillen, Gene Matsuura, Steve Kramer, Stan Kramien, Paul Gross, who owns his own shop in Fresno now and has for 25 years, Rich Marotta, comic madman, the list is endless, and those are just the regulars.

I remember seeing my first Cruise ship with Billy McComb, who stopped into the shop while in port. John Gaughan came in any time he was in town, and sometimes came just to see us. Al Goshman, Charlie Miller, again whenever a Cruise he was working stopped in SF. Mike Skinner, Larry Jennings, who tipped a coin trick because I gave him a prop he needed and coudn't find anywhere else (made me mad because he fooled a whole table of magicians later with that trick, and I didn't get to feel the feeling of being fooled that badly!).

Burger specialized in "old stuff", and I know more about makers of magic than I could ever write here because of years with Marvin. P&L, Thayer, Bartyl, Conradi, Sherms, Martinka, Kanter, Ireland, Lloyd, Chambers, Martin, Davenports, Merv Taylor, and on and on. What fun we had. Practical jokes, magic like you'll never see again, one of a kind pieces, Okito props that made my heart stop. Wheeling and dealing, sessions that went on forever. Dinners, drinking until the wee small hours.

Kindnesses I will never forget, like a guy down on his luck. He couldn't come next door to Original Joes for drinks after we closed the shop, because he couldn't stand a round of drinks. Burger made him come along, then bought a round and said he had to go 'cause the wife was expecting him. Got out before the guy had to buy, just to put him at ease. Shook his hand on the way out and left me sitting with the guy. After he left, the guy (who had only met Marv 2 or 3 times) said to me, "what am I supposed to do with this?" Burger had slipped him a hundred bucks when he shook his hand goodnight. I saw that all the time! Buma was a soft touch, but man, could he drive a deal!

Soft touch, hard businessman, a good combination. I learned the history of magic, of magic tricks, I learned slieght of hand, I learned about publishing, I met wonderful people, and I had the most fun I've ever had in all my life! Everything was a show! Guy comes in and says, "I know you won't have what I'm looking for but I'll ask anyway. I need a Thayer Locking Flap Card Box, the mahogany one?" Burger goes in "THE BACK ROOM"... There's banging, swearing, more banging, more swearing, silence, banging again. Burger comes out, sweat pouring off his brow, box in hand. Opens the box, velvet cloth inside, unwraps the velvet, there it is - Thayer! "I'll take it" says the guy, no price problems here. All of that from going out back, picking the prop up off the top shelf and dabbing a bit of water on his forehead!

Marv would cut you high card for a better price. I remember Busby swearing that he cheated, that he "did the Downs thing with the spread...", one night at the Magic Cellar. I challenged Busby to do it, since it hardly ever works anyway, and besides Marv was a prop guy, could hardly shuffle a deck! Busby missed in front of 5 or 6 guys, three times in a row! That was the best looking egg I've ever seen on someones face!

Burger bought every estate he could, but always waited for the call. He HATED the "ambulance chasers", as he called them. He WOULD send flowers, or call with his condolences, but he'd rather go broke than intrude on someones' grief - I loved him for that. I could write forever about that period of my life, I worked there 6 days a week, 51 weeks a year, and I wasn't there enough. There are a million stories, characters galore. We got robbed once, and Marvin chased the guys down the street, they took his typewriter - The bullet hole may still be in the wall, I don't know!

We were trying to get out one Saint Patricks day, and a customer came in (not for magic, he was looking for a joke). The guy was drunk, and driving us crazy, wanted to see every gag in the store. He had a rum cake with him, Epplers Bakery had made it for him with a fifth of rum in it, he was proud to tell us. Marvin was going crazy with the guy, who had left the cake at one end of the counter, while he went to the other end to look at gags. I caught Marvs eye, then picked up the cakebox, turned it upside down and shook it like crazy! He about passed out laughing, and from that day on, anytime some one was bugging him, he would look to me and say "Paul, shake his cake will'ya?"

No there's nothing like a brick and mortar magic shop - the things I remember can't happen in cyberspace. And no Magic Shops are not obselete, not as long as I've got memories like these!

Best, PSC

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Pete Biro
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Pete Biro » January 2nd, 2006, 3:00 pm

What can I say now that you've said it all. Great stuff Paul...
Stay tooned.

Jim Morton
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Jim Morton » January 2nd, 2006, 5:00 pm

Originally posted by Tom Smith:
Hi!

Was in SF last year and went to a magic shop by bus that was somewhere between Fisherman's Wharf and Exploratorium. It was right on the street and no kids were allowed in without an adult. Was this HoM or Misdirections? The owner and assistant were very helpful once they knew I knew magic.

Tom
That was House of Magic. Misdirections is over near Golden Gate Park.

Jim

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2006, 8:42 pm

ONLY BUMA AND BUMA JR. can possibly know how much the house of magic means to me. Stan Kramien

Kurt Lee Flickner
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Kurt Lee Flickner » January 8th, 2006, 10:10 pm

Oh the memories, some 35 years ago,,, my friends and I would cut school (oops) and ride the train into the city, take 2 different busses to get there,,, spend hours and hours in there,,, buying all our new "toys", and then the ride home on the train, and sharing our new acquired treasures with each other,,,, magical days of youth and enthusiasm,, it can never be the same as it was then!
Kurt Lee Flickner
www.MagicEstateSale.com

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 1:11 pm

I'm sad to read this. I bought a copy of "Stars of Magic" from Buma 25 years ago and that's what got me into serious sleight-of-hand... Mark (Buma jr) was always very friendly, knew everything about props (and what he didn't, he found out for me) told me great stories about magicians he knows, let me crawl around behind the counter (I'd find things he forgot he had) A real gentleman, I wish he and his family continued success. And the best of luck to Gary & Geno.... Paul, I used to see you demonstrate stuff there, in the old days.

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 5:39 pm

Originally posted by KRAMIEN:
ONLY BUMA AND BUMA JR. can possibly know how much the house of magic means to me. Stan Kramien
Hi Stan!

Great to hear you chime in here! I remember you well from the "House of Magic". Buma thought the world of you, and of your show(s)! I remember the convention in San Diego in 1978, do you? That was the first time I ever saw a "Show on Wheels!" And I remember you coming into the shop many times, and walking next door to "Original Joe's" for a drink before dinner. I remember the missus, and the boys, and the magic, most of all, the magic... Those were the days!

Best, PSC

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Pete Biro
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Pete Biro » January 9th, 2006, 10:53 pm

"Original Joe's" yes... Buma, Clifton and I used to close the shop and go next door for a "Highball" on Christmas Eve every year... those were the days.

I still cook the "Joe's Special" I learned from eating there.
Stay tooned.

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2006, 12:09 am

Besides Original Joe's, so Buma could hopefully make some money on a Saturday, we would invite ourselves, or invited by Buma himself(!), to go down the street to Hunt's Donuts,(still there)or around the corner to Herbert's Sherbert, for a while.

I can remember the late Jim Cooper, standing at the end of the back counter, practicing dealing 5th's, 6th's and 7th's.

When Milbourne Christopher was doing a book tour, for his first Houdini book, he appeared on Jim Dunbar's morning talk show, and while callers were asking questions about Houdini, I called and asked, "When will you be at Buma's today, I would like you to autograph my copy?"
"Around 3pm", he said.
(Had a great converstation)

I still have the book.

George Olson
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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby George Olson » January 10th, 2006, 8:32 am

I spent 9 years working at "Original Joe's" in Bend Oregon years ago. Dave the Chef worked at WestLake Joe's and San Jose years ago. He and Jim the Greek moved there from the Bay and opened with "Joe's" full blessings and help. The menu and cooking style were identical. The partnership split up, closed the place and Jimmy opened up in Eugene, OR (still there, I think). Everytime I would come to town, Jimmy would run out and get a deck of cards and "force ;) " me to eentertain the crowd.

Great memories!

GO

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Re: House of Magic has closed

Postby Guest » January 29th, 2006, 10:25 pm

Sorry for the late post...I just came upon this today.

So sad to hear this. I remembering buying Stars of Magic, Close Up Card Magic, and Royal Road from Buma himself. I even remembering purchasing the original Kornwinder Car and Fred Kaps wallet during the 70's from him. As I recall, Buma didn't demo much, so when Paul Chosse came aboard, that made for a much better magic shop experience. Paul probably doesn't remember me, as I was probably one of many Chinese guys that quietly perused the shop (it was after all, across the street from Marina Jr. High...with ~ 50% Chinese student body!!) Paul showed me the Okito Box routine he was working on...first time I had ever seen an Okito box demo'd...I remember him frying me with Roth's kick/flick move (from Portable Hole).

I will miss Mark, Geno and Gary. They have always been kind to me when I visited the shop. Gary would always demo the latest items, then I would get my fill of "magic gossip" from Mark (and occasionally talk about our alma mater, Lowell High), all while Geno was on the lookout for shoplifters. I, too was one of those privileged customers, allowed to go behind the counter to peruse the latest arrivals on his book shelf...that is, once you got past the poop, the vomit and the ever present sounds of flatulence...

Best of luck to Mark and his family...and to Gary and Geno.

Kurtis


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