I.B.M. Member Profile

Extreme Close-up Magician

The closer you watch, the less you will see.

About Richard Mendez

How did all of this madness begin for me? Magic for me began at the tender age of nine years old in South Gate, California when my parents gave my brother and I a Royal Magic set for Christmas. Before long we were both reading the instructions and practicing such classics as the Rice Bowls, Cups & Balls, Incredible Floating Vase, ESP Outdone, Amazing Spiked Coin, Houdini Chain Escape, Defy Gravity Liquid, Viz Escape, Magic Wand, etc. The following year we discovered a brick and mortar magic shop in Downey not far from where we lived. My father drove us over on a Saturday and I can still remember walking in for the very first time and seeing all of the exquisite magic props shelved and behind glass in display cases. I have vivid memories of shiny copper and silver coins, small ornate wooden boxes, fluorescent colored silks, miniature aluminum cups, vibrantly painted wooden balls amongst a plethora of other aesthetically pleasing gems. After my brother and I finished our chores, my father would take us periodically and buy us a couple effects each. From that point on, The House of Humor became a regular spot until we moved to San Antonio in 1983. While walking through the Ingram Square shopping center on a Saturday afternoon in the winter of 1985, I remember stumbling upon The Fun & Gift Shop. I remember walking in and watching an incredibly talented magic demonstrator with long hair who reminded me of David Lee Roth from Van Halen. His meticulous skill with cards and small apparatus was overwhelmingly stunning to me. I watched as he demonstrated several other effects like the Shrinking Die, Imp Bottle, Penny to Dime, and several card packet effects. He sold me a few effects and taught me how to perform them and I returned to the shop from time to time. It was about 1992 when I discovered Mr. Burkey’s Fun & Magic Shop off Broadway and 6th. I approached the counter where a frail yet frantic older gentleman with a shrill voice was squandering with his demonstrator about his frequent smoke breaks, choice of pitch items and whereabouts of certain stocked inventory. The demonstrator was a sickly thin, mysterious, young, Hispanic male with peach fuzz for facial hair and a faint trace of acne. He presented numerous magical effects with cards, the Ball & Tube, Feel-A-Color, Crazy Cube, and Color Vision which remains amongst my favorite mentalism effects today. We purchased about half of what he pitched and returned frequently until the shop was finally closed. In 1997 I discovered JCR Magic & Fun on the fifth floor of an old building downtown. I remember riding the elevator up with an actual elevator man. Upon walking through the doors I was greeted by a friendly gentleman with a mullet and his young, teenaged son. They had about five beginner magic products on their shelves but were very enthusiastic and eager to learn more about the art and retail business of magic. Every time I returned to their shop their inventory seemed to grow. Though it has changed locations several times over the years, after over a decade and a half I still continue to visit and perform at this magic shop today. Sincerely, Richard Mendez