It’s Magic! Book by Milt Larsen
Thanks to Carol Marie for her incredible patience and ability in putting together this book. She has gathered the hundreds of photos from every possible source. They range from top professional photographers to snapshots of the first time Brownie owners. Some time ago Steve Bryant interviewed me for his Little Egypt Gazette and later updated it. We thank him for allowing us to use it as the basis for the story about the history of the It’s Magic! shows. Thanks also Randy Pitchford for publishing this book through his Genii Magazine. When William W. Larsen Sr. started Genii in 1936 he probably never imagined that his son would be celebrating his father’s passion for magic eighty years later.
As a twenty-five year old kid I didn’t have any idea that the It’s Magic! stage shows would be the spark that ignited a flame of interest in magic on the West Coast. The popularity of our shows gave my late brother Bill and me the courage to gamble on the idea of resurrecting our father’s concept of The Academy of Magical Arts and the creation of a full time grand clubhouse for magicians, The Magic Castle®.
Word spread to the East Coast that something very special in the world of magic was happening in California. Bill booked legendary magicians from New York and Chicago to lecture and perform at the Magic Castle. Soon many liked what they found and made Hollywood their home. When “Professor” Dai Vernon , Johnny Platt, Al Goshman, Francis Carlyle and Charlie Miller joined ranks with the already established West Coast lineup magicians, the success of It’s Magic! and The Magic Castle rapidly made Hollywood “The Mecca of Magic.”
It is safe to say that It’s Magic! started something big in the international world of magic. To celebrate our sixtieth anniversary we return ot the theatre where it started and played teh first twenty years, the Wilshire Ebell in Los Angeles. Our “one night stand” has grown, thanks to my co-producer Terry Hill, to playing different editions in many of the finest performing arts centers on the West Coast. The formula has never changed; the finest stars of magic under the finest staging in the finest beautiful theaters.