We asked magicians on Facebook for their first magic shop memories and got more than 350 replies. Here are a few of them.
John Lenahan: In the UK, it was Martin Breese’s place in Shepherd’s Bush, London. Great shop. Lovely man.
James Fortune: Gamages, London, with Harry Baron.
Mark Lewis: I worked in that department [at Gamages]! Did you know that Chung Ling Soo’s son was an executive in the store? I think it must have been 60 years ago! It was Harry Baron who told me it was Soo’s son. I think Harry told me, “He doesn’t like magic.” I know he never came near the department even once. He just used to glare or ignore it every day.
Travis Knoll: Diamond Magic Shoppe, owned and operated by Jack Diamon. I still get nostalgic whenever I drive by the old building in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. My dad was a big supporter of my interest in magic, and took me there. He had no interest in it until I did. Great memories.
Steve Goldstein: Barry’s Magic Shop, Wheaton, Maryland. This is a later photo of the original location [See photo] when the shop was downstairs and the Psychic Ghost Theater was upstairs. Originally the store was only on the second level. I just noticed the “moving” sign in the window. This is a photo taken not long before the building was demolished to make way for an alley.
James L Cox: The old, original Magicland in downtown Dallas. Creaky floors, big oak display cabinets, puppets and hats and masks on the wall. Musty and vaguely sinister. Perfect.
Ian Adair: Tam Shepherds in Glasgow, when I was a boy magician. This was before Roy Walton became the manager.
Dave Williams: Supreme Magic HQ in Bideford, Devon.
Terry Herbert: Gamages, Hamleys, and Davenports when it was in New Oxford Street in 1949.
Eugene Ball: My first real magic shop was Thurston’s Magic Shop in Bakersfield, California, in 1978. It was run by an old man who was Thurston’s cousin. It was also a locksmith and a bicycle repair shop. What a great guy!
Andy Taylor: The first real magic shop I ever visited was Magick Enterprises in Sheffield over 40 years ago. A proper brick-and-mortar magic shop still going strong today. It’s the meeting place of Sheffield Circle of Magicians and worth visiting for the popular, regular Saturday Sessions!
Adam Stanforth: Yours.. Merchant of Magic
Craig Anthony Perkins: The first magic shop that my father took me to in the 1970s was Chuck Martinez’s Magicians’ World in San Diego. Years later in the mid to late 1980s, I wound up working at Brad Burt’s Magic Shop. Brad used to work at Magicians’ World a few years before.
Anthony Roberts: As a kid in 1982, whilst on holidays, my dad found a real magic shop called The Magic Den in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Awesome memories!
Tom Hind: Kaymar Magic. It was in Upminster, London. The owner was one Morley Budden, and the Saturday lad was Liam Montier. He now owns it. I owe the biggest debt of gratitude to Morley, Barbara Budden and Liam, for the endless amounts of advice, knowledge, enthusiasm and encouragement they gave me. I hope I always make them proud when I perform magic.
Oliver Poesse: Berlin in 1987.
Scott Foster: Hey Presto, Sydney, Australia
Hugh Turley: My dad took me to one in Cincinnati, Ohio, while we were down there on a baseball excursion. We’d ridden on a train down from Sidney, Ohio, where I grew up. He took me to my first magic shop and first big game with the Cincinnati Reds. I bought a finger chopper and Nickels to Dimes. My first tricks. And that was over 70 years ago.
Illusions By Vick: My first (and only) real magic Shop… Denny & Lee’s Magic Studio [Baltimore] when it was on Marylin Avenue. Not only was it a magic studio, but it was also where the magic lived. As a full-time working professional, when I just didn’t feel the magic coming from me, I could go to the shop at 9004 Yellow Brick Road. Going through a particularly uncreative patch, I would go there every Tuesday in the early afternoon. Most of the time, Jerry Rowan was there. Jerry was hilarious; you could give him any two unrelated things, and he could work them into a joke. And it was OK just to sit there surrounded by all the books and photos on the walls. Denny would come and sit at the table (until the damn phone rang), and we’d talk and smoke cigarettes. Much of the time, we weren’t talking about magic, but sometimes we had deep conversations about the art. That’s where the magic lived, and I could find it there.
Paul Warren: Goodliffe’s warehouse in Birmingham. I bought a Magic Inc sponge ball book with Goshman (purse frame?) routine in it.
Thom Chesser: Davenports opposite the British Museum and Alan Alan’s round the corner in Holborn – what a day!
David Hiersekorn: Hollywood Magic – the first Newport Beach store, which was on Newport Blvd. They later moved it to 17th Street. That was about 1980 or so. I was just a kid. We lived a few blocks away. I was in that store WAY too often and WAY too long.
Mike Harris: Tommy Cooper magic shop, Blackpool. Then JB magic, then Davenports.
Peter Hart: Davenports in Charing Cross tube station, and Stephen Mulhern’s dad’s shop in Minehead.
Russell Brown: The Witches Cafe, Blackpool. Cyril Critchlow really great person.
Colin Goodgroves: The Sign of Four, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, in 1963. My first purchase: A finger mouse.
Sean Boon: House of Secrets, Blackpool, when it was on the seafront. Worked out. I probably got served by a young Paul Zenon. Then I discovered Jokebox Magic and Tommy Cooper’s joke shop. And all the others I’ve visited since.
Dan Lewis: The Merchant of Magic when it was in Southwick.
Paul Forster: Magicbox, a real magic shop in Newcastle. I blame Michael Murray for me spending most of my student loan there!
Tony Miller: When I was a child, my parents took me to New Orleans to see the sites. While in the French Quarter, I said I wanted to find a magic shop and stopped a man to ask if he knew where one was. He gave us directions and went on his way. A few minutes later, we found ourselves in a “magick” shop. I was amazed by everything I saw, and my parents realised we were in the wrong place. The lady running the shop saw the humour in the situation and pointed us in the right direction. I don’t recall the name of the shop she sent us to, but I know it is where I bought my first set of linking rings, and I still have them today. I also have a healthy appreciation of tarot cards and bizarre magick because of that trip.
Al-Prendo Taylor: Magic Box on The Isle of Wight. Got me hooked. Then I followed Kaymar Magic from an art shop in Billericay to its own premises with the late Harry Baron – who had a beautiful collection in a stand in the shop. Then the shop went to Upminster with Morley, his wife and son. I love all the magic shops; something special about them.
Sean Mills: I used to visit The Tommy Cooper magic shop next to Blackpool Pleasure Beach when on holiday (320 miles from me), Davenports, Charing Cross, also a shop in Canterbury, in the back streets near the school entrance, which sold magic in the 80s (it was probably a toy shop). I often visited; sadly, all are long gone now. Canterbury was the closest to me, living in Ramsgate (and still do), and I used to visit often as a teenager. (Yes, I’m really that old!) It’s not the same all online, so Blackpool convention is great, where real people are selling real magic like in the old days! My mother had an uncle who owned a magic and fancy dress shop in Ramsgate that I sadly never got to visit, as I was too young, but when he closed, I remember receiving some joke items. It’s now a Chinese takeaway!
Steven R. Sundheim: Louis Tannen at 120 West 42nd Street, New York. Tony Spina waited on me, with my dad also there. He sold me a spooky silk and trick box that changed colour inside and could be examined by other little boys who I would be performing for. A greatest half hour of my life in retrospect. Life changing. Lou Tannen also came by and introduced himself to me as the “owner of the store and welcome to magic”. And they were a very real magic shop. The best.
Steve Majes: Davenports when opposite the British Museum. Al Woodrow was a very kind and caring demonstrator at the time; it was a pleasure to get to know him over the years. I remember the cabinets full of magic, and I dreamed of one day owning that small silver box that magically contained an endless supply of silk handkerchiefs. I so miss those days of a real magic shop.
David Taylor: Mike Danata’s Magic Studio, Palmerston Road, Boscombe. Sadly closed, but I have so many happy memories of the time spent in the studio. Mike used to get so hacked off by people coming in from the launderette next door looking for a change!
Freddie Wilkinson: Not a proper magic shop, but Chuckles on Skeggy Pier. They had the full range of Eddie Gibson, Tenyo and Chu’s magic. It was the shop that started it all for me, aged eight.
John Bartlett: Davenports, when it was near the British Museum and International Magic. We used to travel up from the Isle of Wight on a day trip (aged 16), and our first port of call was these two shops, followed by a trip around Oxford Street before we had to catch the train back.
Michael Packman: International Magic, London. Jerry Sadowitz served me and did a retention vanish. I was hooked!
Simon Taylor: A juggling shop with a magic counter called Mushy Pea Juggling Co in Manchester. It ended up being my first job after school – running the magic counter and demoing all the new effects. Great times.