In this day and age with live performances, street performances, TV, the internet, parties, etc, who hasn’t seen a magician. It wasn’t always like this. And it wasn’t that long ago, either.
At one time it was called Witchcraft. And you might be burned at the stake for practicing it. The first known performance supposedly goes back to 2700 BCE by Dedi in Egypt. This is disputed however, and is deduced from a drawing in the tomb of Baqet 11 at Beni Hansen depicting cups and balls. We won’t even talk about Moses.
In the Dark Ages magic was associated with the occult, not entertainment. In the Middle Ages street magicians appeared along with circus performers and that goes back to the 1500’s. In 1805 Jean Eugene Robert Houdin brought magic from the street to the stage and drawing rooms. In 1877 Martinka & Co. opened and is the oldest magic shop in the U.S.A., but 65 years prior to that Mayette Magie Moderne opened its doors in Paris and is still there. If you do the math its 204 years ago. Dominique Duvivier is running the place today and Martinka is still operating. It has relocated to Midland Park, N.J. not long ago.
So from roughly 200 years ago until now many magic shops have sprung up all over the world, as well as magic clubs, societies, conventions, etc. As you may well know, many have closed up since the advent of online magic shops but there are tons of those, which presents a problem in itself. Most of them have no one to speak to. You can’t ask questions or get advice. You often don’t know who you are dealing with or how long it will take to get your order, if ever! But they are out there.
So now with all the shows and sites, etc., it came as a surprise to me when I was at the Comedy Nest on a Magic night and was chatting with the people at the next table and I mentioned in the course of conversation that we had a magic shop.
A Magic shop.
You mean there’s a shop that sells magic?
People can go in and buy magic?
She was dumbfounded. She asked for a business card, which I gave her. She was thrilled.
So I got to thinking about it. In the Middle Ages there were street magicians. They are back in full force. Once there were no magic shops. A lot of them have closed up in recent recent years. Are we going backwards. Will the day come when there are no more magic shops. Who knows? The day may come when there are no more shops, period. Groceries online, clothes online, everything online. Glad I’m here now!