I remember when first starting out on the dealer side of magic a close friend said to me, “You’ll be surprised by all of the crap that goes on behind the scenes!” I wasn’t sure what he meant…until a few years later. Most of you wouldn’t believe the stories if I shared them all, so I won’t. I will tell you about a few select things that I have experienced over the years.
This one amused me. I was surfing other magic shops a few years back when I came across an interesting image for a Flag Staff Production. It looked familiar to me and as I looked again at the image I realized it was me…or at least my body! This dealer ‘borrowed’ one of my images and photo-shopped his head in place of mine! At the time, those were my favorite faded jeans and black T-shirt. I found it too funny to email and complain and he did a nice job. In fact, I was a bit flattered!
…my body and flag…his face!
The Magic Freak
While I will never mention his full name on any of our magic related sites, I am talking about the idiot who I will dub Hookboy that does some not very good magic on one of the cable channels.
Many years ago, before his television debut, Bob Solari, my wife Rose, and I ventured into the city to see his live show at the WWF basement in NYC. It was off-beat and ok enough to write about on one of our pages. Of course there were links to the effects he did which were pretty much standard dealer items, a nice review of his show and a link back to his site.
After a few months, he sicced his lawyer on us! I received a call from his lawyer saying to cease and desist, and to remove any and all reference of C.A. from your site immediately or else further consequences will pursue. To be honest I was kind of shocked. I didn’t get the same phone call from Copperfield’s lawyer, Tony Clark’s lawyer, Henning’s lawyer, or Blaine’s lawyer. In a niche industry you would expect a bit more class whatever the reason may be that set him off. Free advertising on a nicely constructed page…hmmm. Maybe he didn’t want his fan-base to know he was using dealer items. I obliged simply because it wasn’t worth my time.
Fast forward several years later… Four U.S. dealers and two Canadian dealers received a letter from the same lawyer threatening litigation if Icarus Effect was not removed from these dealers’ sites. C.A. was somehow claiming ownership of an effect created by Aaron Patterson some ten years earlier in Canada. Ultimately, he was proven wrong and the thing was dropped.
Green Without Envy
One of the popular green forum sites related to magic turned out to be a hit with the hobbyists. Being around for fifteen years, we were one of the first to advertise there. After a 5 month trial, we pulled the advertising because this place was simply not our crowd.
Years later I decided to try advertising there again. I called the owner and asked for ad space. I was told none was available. Hmmm. Having quite a lot of friends in the industry I know many advertisers who do not pay for their ads on this site. That’s politics, I can accept that and still not mind paying for ad space.
Me being me, decided to show the owner that there was quite a bit of additional ad space with some simple modifications. I copied the main page of his site and tightened up on the abundant white space which to me is considered valuable real estate. Without loosing the integrity of the site I created 55 additional spaces for ads, also incorporating a simple script that would rotate smaller ads in the header of the site. In essence, a minimum profit of $5500.00 per month could be had if it were managed properly. I uploaded the sample on one of my servers and PM’d the owner a link. I never heard back from him.
400lbs. of Crap
I’m not going where you think I am going with the above title!
Some years ago, Bob Solari and I made an arrangement with a very skilled machinist from PA to produce aluminum dancing canes. The machinist we used earlier had died. We were on a time frame and made this evidently clear to the new machinist. He ran behind schedule. a couple of courtesy (calls from us) and some bullshit excuses (from him) and still nothing. Soon calls and emails were ignored. After threatening legal action since he had our monies up front, I was notified our merchandise was shipped. A few days later the order arrived. OK, better late than never. I opened the first box and found just the anodized pieces of the cane. The second, third and forth box was the same. 400lbs. of scrap metal.
The machinist I am speaking of is Mike Gates. He used to own Shamrock Magic & Collectibles. He has since vanished from the magic scene along with quite a bit of our money. I mention his name only should he magically reappear, beware!
Ahh….the politics of it all!