Our Beloved Clubhouse began its life as a beautiful, private home built in 1908 by banker and real estate magnate Rollin B. Lane. Mr. Lane owned much of what is now Hollywood and he dreamed of turning his land into orange groves, farms, and ranches.
As it happened, a severe drought brought an end to his dreams, and orange blossoms never filled the valley. The Lane family moved away in the 1940s, and the mansion was divided into a multi-family home. It then became a home for the elderly and was finally transformed into a maze of small apartments. By 1960, the fate of the Mansion was uncertain. Then Milt Larsen met the owner, Thomas O. Glover.
Milt was a writer on the NBC-TV show Truth or Consequences. His office was on the ninth floor of a Hollywood office building that overlooked the Lane mansion. Milt’s late father, William W. Larsen Sr., was a renowned magician and had long dreamed of building an elegant private clubhouse for magicians.
The Lane mansion would become that club. In September 1961, Milt, his brother Bill (an accomplished magician, publisher of Genii Magazine and the Academy’s first President), Irene (Bill’s wife) and a crew of eternally generous friends and volunteers began the extraordinary task of returning this run-down apartment building to its glorious past. After months of scraping and sanding, the rich Victorian elegance began to resurface.
The Magic Castle opened its doors at 5 p.m. on January 2, 1963. Today, more than five decades later, the Castle remains the mecca of magic as the world-famous home to the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. and invited guests.