May 27, 2024

from chapter 1 -Showtime!

“For the Kiss Act, Boris used a deck of white playing cards, with one card revealing a photograph of a beautiful woman. As Boris carefully shuffled and flourished the deck to reveal plain white cards, he slowly touched three cards to the photograph. Each card then revealed a plainly visible lipstick kiss, in the shape of a woman’s lips. He then removed the kiss marks from the original three cards — and magically made them appear on others. He carefully manipulated and reshuffled the cards, revealing yet more new kiss impressions on both his cards — and, now, on his cheek as well.

            Through it all, Boris remained firmly connected with the audience through his beautiful hand movements and smile. He spoke through his physical presence, hand gestures, facial expressions and smile — which reminded me of the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Wonderland.”

From Chapter 2 – My Introduction to the Academy of Magical Arts

“The story that sticks with me most concerns “It’s a Small World.” Walt asked for a song for a UNICEF ride, designed by he and Disney imagineer Rolly Crump (who also designed the 300+ original dolls), that he was unveiling at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Walt wanted the song to celebrate world peace and unity. The Sherman Brothers began work. One day, Richard summoned Walt to their small studio. Per Richard, Walt never said he liked or loved something. He would only say, “that will do”. 

    They drove to another studio, where an orchestra played the song for the first time. It was magical. As the brothers sat in the car, waiting for Walt to finish glad-handing before driving back to the corporate office, they decided they would donate the proceeds of the song to UNICEF. Walt pulled the car over on Highway 101 and came to a screeching halt. He turned to the boys and said, “No, No, you won’t.” He added, “This song will put your kids through college, and their kids, and their kids… You can make a donation to UNICEF, but you will not give all the proceeds to the song to UNICEF.”

    “It’s A Small World” became the most publicly played song of all time — by a mile. In 2014, it was estimated that “It’s A Small World” had played over 50 million times at the different Disney parks alone. By comparison, The Beatles’ “Yesterday” has been performed an estimated 8 million times in various venues.”

from chapter 3 - History of the academy

“Finally, I mustered up the courage to ask Milt why they opened on that particular day. He described an application process to obtain a liquor license in 1962, which required applicants to pay for the full year, as prorated rates were not available at that time. Instead of opening in November or December of 1962, they held off until the New Year. Stories are that, minutes before opening the door, Castle staff was still busy with final preparations, right down to Irene sweeping the floor of the new lobby just before welcoming their first guests. The announcement promptly appeared in Genii magazine; the magic world now knew there was a new Castle in town, one built for them.”

from chapter 6 - stars of the show

“As we came out of the Harry Potter era with the release of the franchise’s final films in 2011, our fascination with comic book characters and superheroes, including those who held magical powers, skyrocketed throughout the decade. Suddenly, many of us wanted to learn more about how magic worked, our do-it-yourself mentality leading to a spike in magic merchandise sales that tracked right through the decade and into 2020. The same happened in gaming. Hasbro reported that its 6% revenue rise in 2020 was almost entirely due to the runaway popularity of its Magic: The Gathering game.

            For these and other reasons, the Magic Castle began to host record crowds in 2012, the year I took over as General Manager. This annual growth continued until 2019, when the size of our building required our crowds to plateau at capacity. I certainly do not think this was a coincidence, and although I would love to take credit, these shows did an amazing job re-introducing the art to the public.”