Photo Flash: Famous Fans Gather at Magic Castle to Celebrate Milt Larsen's Book MY MAGICAL JOURNEY
"My Magical Journey" is being released just prior to the Castle's 50th Anniversary and as anticipation is mounting with regard to the pending Magic Castle movie. Although Radar Pictures and 20th Century Fox have announced that veteran director McG (Terminator, Charlie's Angeles, etc) will be taking the helm of the film, they are keeping storyline and cast information tightly under wraps. However, Mr. Larsen did remark on the numerous calls coming into his office from agents, managers and even the talent themselves trying to secure details about the project ... even from the representatives of the current Academy of Magic (AMA) president, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris. As a highly sought filming location, The Magic Castle has been the backdrop for numerous movies including Houdini, Witches of Eastwick and Bedknobs & Broomsticks as well as many television classics including Hart to Hart, Remington Steele and Murder She Wrote.
The construction of the original structure began in 1908 and in November of 2009 the historic structure once known as the Lane Mansion celebrated its centennial. On Jan 2nd, 1963 that same structure became, what is now known as, the world famous Magic Castle. In January, 2013, fans and fanatics of the mystical and mysterious world of illusion will gather to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The Magic Castle has grown over the years from its original design to include four stories of moving bookcases and paintings revealing hidden passageways, seven bars, five staircases, three dinning rooms, at least one ghost and several performance spaces including Houdini's Séance Room, The Close-Up Gallery, The Parlor of Prestidigitation and, of course, The Palace of Mystery. Practically every great magician from around the world (Lance Burton, David Cooperfield, Penn & Teller, Doug Henning, Seigfried & Roy, etc) has appeared within the Castle's walls, as well as a few noted amateur illusionists including Cary Grant, Johnny Carson, Jason Alexander, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Hugh O'Brien, and the current AMA President Neil Patrick Harris, to name a few. Many even began their careers as Jr. Magcians in training at the Castle. The Castle now boasts a membership that includes many of todays top personalities such as Johnny Depp, Jane Fonda, Florence Henderson, Carol Channing, Rose Marie, Romi Dames, Tippi Hedren, Rip Taylor, Joanne Worley, Doris Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Lily Tomlin, Stephen Hawking, and more.
The artistry of illusion and magic can trace its roots and fan base as far back as the Egyptian pharoes, through the courtrooms of kings to Vaudville and Broadway, so it was no surprise that so many were on hand for this event including Geri Jewell, Alison Arngrim, Kate Linder, Tracey Weisert, Tippi Hedren, Ruta Lee, Barbara Van Orden, Jeraldine Saunders and America's most famous little twitching witch, Erin Murphy, best known for her role of Tabitha Stevens on "Bewitched."
The Magic Castle is not only the showplace for some of the greatest magicians from around the globe, it also houses one of the largest original collections of Houdini's great tools of the trade including his personal handcuffs, straight jacket, metamorphosis trunk and famous milk can escape in the Houdini Séance Room. Houdini himself used these props to mystify thousands. The castle also houses collections from W.C. Field, Johnny Carson, Walt Disney and many more.
Photo Credit: Bill Dow
Facts of Life star and commedian finds the secret to entering The Magic Castle
Y&R star, Kate Linder, appears from hidden passage behind a bookcase.
Star of stage and screen, Ruta Lee, finds a secret passage of her own.
Donaldo Monroy and Jeraldine Saunders dress for the festivities.
Journalist, best-selling author and "The Love Boat" creator Jeraldine Saunder stands beside Johnny Carson's inspiration for Carnac.
The Magic Castle floor plan