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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

07 Oct

Paul Fried, 89, Head of D. Robbins, Died 10/3/16

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK



Dear magical community,  
Paul Fried, President of and chief  jokester at D. Robbins and Co., Inc., my father, passed away on October  3, 2016.  He was a mensch through and through, and he was so loved.  He  was a  good, kind, intelligent man who listened, who gave advice when asked, with a calm energy.  He had a corny, somewhat gentle prankster sense of humor. He was traditional, humble, simple, somewhat stubborn and a very loyal man. He worked hard, and appreciated what he had (which was always  enough or more than enough). He accepted people, knew you could not really change them, and let much roll off his back.  He did not need many friends:  he had his family and his customers, whom he considered friends.  

Dad was eighty-nine, and lived a good, long life, for which he was grateful. He still wanted and intended to live, and to walk. Yet the old age health issues he already had combined with the shock to his body from  surgery, then not walking or standing but a few minutes a day at the  rehab center, lead to pneumonia and a lack of oxygen, which taxed his  heart… he went very quickly the last two days. 

Dad founded Paul Fried, Inc, in the 1950s, and manufactured magic tricks and jokes. In 1960, he and his wife, Rhea, married, and he bought D. Robbins and Co., Inc. from David Robbins, a magician, who had founded it in 1916. His children grew up going to magic conventions: magicians, as a general rule of the profession, are some of the sweetest people. They want to create wonder.  
I've heard my father called "the biggest man in the magic business", and more recently, "the  godfather of the magic business."  He imported the first rubber chickens  to America.  They looked like chickens and were hand painted.  My first  job was going in to work some Saturdays or school vacations starting  when I was nine or ten and sitting with the ladies in the back and putting  magic tricks together. Dad paid me minimum wage, and I got to visit  with Aunt Pauline. He was instilling a work ethic in his children.
My father, a child of the Depression, worked his entire life.  At first he worked by necessity and later because he  enjoyed it, and could not come up with something he thought he would like  better.  To him, his customers were also his friends.  We could not  convince him to retire. He went to work two days before he fell.  Over the course of his fifty-six years at his business, he employed his mother,  sister, aunts, nephews and children.  In this recession, he worried for his employees, and did not want them to be out of work.  
Since dad’s fall, it was decided that Elise and I would be running the business, along  with our cousin Michael, who has worked there since his youth, for  more than forty-five years.  I intended and told Dad that we were going to  ask for his advice and help, to keep him involved… but now we  cannot.  

We will do our best. We intend to continue the  business, update the website and make a few changes. Please work with  us in this difficult time as we delve together into the future. I just  created this Facebook page for Robbins at and will be adding to it in future. Something Dad would never have written to you: please ‘like' our page and review our business.

We are having a memorial on Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 12 noon at Temple Beth El of Manhattan Beach, in Brooklyn. The address is 111 West End Avenue, Brooklyn, New York  11235. Rabbi Claudio J. Kupchik will say a few words, and then there  will be time for anyone to speak. We truly hope you can come.  There will be a remembrance book, if you’d like to share your thoughts or photos.
If you plan to come to the memorial, please RSVP as soon as you can. We will be having some food catered for afterward, and need to approximate  how many are coming. If you cannot come, then please send any condolence cards or remembrances to Robbins. If you have photos, we'd  love to have a copy.
As we wrote to our family and friends: In lieu of flowers, please donate to a veteran's organization, or buy a  magic trick from your local brick and mortar old-time store, in honor of Paul Fried.  

His memory will surely be as a blessing. 
Sincerely yours,

Barbara Fried, Elise Fried, Michael Schrank, and the entire Robbins team

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