The End of An Era? Magic Castle to Close?

The Magic Castle is at a turning point in its history and, unfortunately, it might a turning point that directs the wonderful forum and revered club into the ground.

A group of investors, Castle Partners, LLC, have apparently assembled a proposal to buy the Magic Castle from the Glover family (current owners of the property) and redevelop it into a more profitable operation. While a positive gloss has been placed on the news from the Castle Partner, LLC, the possibility of losing this historic Mecca for all Magicians and the dream of the Larsen family is almost too much to take.

Milt Larsen has poured so much of his soul, money and time into Castle and into the Academy of Magical Arts that the suggestion that he would move to a “new Magic Castle” seems almost impossible to believe. The Castle Partners, LLC issued a “Mission Statement” for the Magic Castle:

To ensure a sound, financially prosperous future for The Magic Castle and The AMA that will:

Revitalize the reputation of the Club to its former elite glory and luster; allow it to step into today; and preserve the integrity of the original dream created by Milt, Bill and Irene Larsen and their father, Bill Larsen, Sr.

Milt Larsen, on the other hand, has a different vision ? similar to the one that has kept the Magic Castle going these 40 years. He wishes to continue the Magic Castle even if it is not in the same physical place. He wrote to the members of the AMA:

I felt we were getting along very well in our negotiations until we were notified, on January 8, 2004, that the landlord had made a new partnership agreement with a group of business orientated magicians which we believe would result in them assuming control of the Castle.



The Magic Castle is at a turning point in its history and, unfortunately, it might a turning point that directs the wonderful forum and revered club into the ground.

A group of investors, Castle Partners, LLC, have apparently assembled a proposal to buy the Magic Castle from the Glover family (current owners of the property) and redevelop it into a more profitable operation. While a positive gloss has been placed on the news from the Castle Partner, LLC, the possibility of losing this historic Mecca for all Magicians and the dream of the Larsen family is almost too much to take.

Milt Larsen has poured so much of his soul, money and time into Castle and into the Academy of Magical Arts that the suggestion that he would move to a “new Magic Castle” seems almost impossible to believe. The Castle Partners, LLC issued a “Mission Statement” for the Magic Castle:

To ensure a sound, financially prosperous future for The Magic Castle and The AMA that will:

Revitalize the reputation of the Club to its former elite glory and luster; allow it to step into today; and preserve the integrity of the original dream created by Milt, Bill and Irene Larsen and their father, Bill Larsen, Sr.

Milt Larsen, on the other hand, has a different vision ? similar to the one that has kept the Magic Castle going these 40 years. He wishes to continue the Magic Castle even if it is not in the same physical place. He wrote to the members of the AMA:

I felt we were getting along very well in our negotiations until we were notified, on January 8, 2004, that the landlord had made a new partnership agreement with a group of business orientated magicians which we believe would result in them assuming control of the Castle.

This group had been dealing with the landlords without our knowledge and we still do not know much of the details of their agreements with the Glovers or what they propose to do.

Obviously I was upset with the underhanded way this was done. Under the arrangement we think may under consideration by the landlords, the entire food, beverage and entertainment operations would be turned over to this new group.

They, in effect, would own the building, run the operation and the AMA would have space for club activities. Their announced goal is to increase the quality of the food, beverage and entertainment functions.

Sadly, in my opinion, we would lose the funky old club, nutty but very loyal employees, always complaining magicians and the old world charm that we have today ? It?s much more than a physical building, the Castle is a magical place of which I am very proud.

I wish I could tell you that I have heard news that all will work out and things will be great. I haven’t. I haven’t heard or read anything that tells me there won’t be some kind of take-over by the Castle Partners, LLC working with the Glovers. The new Castle, though, may not be the home of the AMA. Mr. Larsen seems to be bracing for departure with the interiors, the wonderful tricks and gags and even Invisible Irma the ghostly piano player.

As we say in the trapeze world, “it ain’t broke until the fat lady swings.” I am hoping something will work out to allow the AMA to stay where they are and where we ? who are not from Hollywood ? want to be.

We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

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