It was 1967 and I was 13 years old. A hand painted sign (pictured above) had found its place positioned above the front door of the House of Magic. For the next 38 years it was destined to witness the comings, goings, and business dealings of magicians from near and far alike.
Despite what corner of the earth these magicians came from, they all found their way to the House of Magic with one sole purpose in mind: to talk magic with Buma. For some, these chats led to the local bookings of their acts, as Buma had those connections. For others, it resulted in the borrowing of props, at no charge of course, as they had run into a string of what they described as” bad luck,” more often than not, the result of booze, a divorce, a jail sentence or, at times, a combination of all three. Finally, there were the regular cash customers who desired nothing more than to personally meet and buy props from Buma himself. Some of these customers had been in correspondence with Buma dating back to the 1950’s as a result of his advertised offerings of used magic props via post.
For many of these visiting performers their active careers were well behind them, whether from being advanced in years or for their having lived a life of magic performances that had run out of bookings, in some cases decades before, never having been replaced with a different career. On the other hand there were others who were actively benefiting from well established careers in magic. Occasionally there was even the performer whose career was in a rapid ascendancy to eventual international stardom.
This repository of magical knowledge, bestowed upon me by all the magicians who visited the House of Magic is unprecedented in my life for the insight it has given me into our world of magic and its caretakers.
As the sign stated the world’s greatest magicians did indeed pass through the portals of the House of Magic between the years of 1967 to 2005. This I know for certain, as I met them there.
I’ll introduce you to one of them in my next blog. There”ll be others later. I’ll begin with Emile Clifton, a close friend of Buma’s and a most accomplished performer.