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Topic: Tannen's Magic Shop in New York memories
Message: Posted by: stephenbanning (Jul 20, 2004 03:54PM)
I remember being awestruck when I was at Tannen's Magic Shop in New York. I had practically memorized their catalogue. I remember meeting Frank Garcia there who was quite non-plused to meet me, an eleven-year old. He was less than friendly.
Message: Posted by: kbfnyf (Aug 23, 2004 08:13PM)
I had a similar experience at Tannen's however it was Harry Lorayne I met. In contrast Harry was extremely friendly and made a huge impression. I have loved magic ever since...

I am pleased that Tannen's has relocated to a larger spot & I look forward to a visit as soon as I get a chance...
Message: Posted by: EKG (Aug 31, 2004 01:23AM)
I was just there the other week. They were busy setting up their shop yet they were very friendly and catered to all my requests. It's a bit hard to find, you need to know the exact address to get there.
Message: Posted by: Wizardwannabe (Jun 7, 2005 10:45PM)
On 2004-07-20 16:54, stephenbanning wrote:
I remember being awestruck when I was at Tannen's Magic Shop in New York. I had practically memorized their catalogue. I remember meeting Frank Garcia there who was quite non-plused to meet me, an eleven-year old. He was less than friendly.
Aren't those Tannen catalogs from twenty or so years ago just the best? They were essentially books (I mean they looked and felt like a book) with great covers of Blackstone, Copperfield, Henning, S&R, etc. But of course the best part was the contents. The close-up section, card section, coin section and the book catalog in the back. The absolute best magic catalogs!
Message: Posted by: gulamerian (Jun 11, 2005 08:29AM)
Tannens. 120 West 42nd Street. I remember my father taking me there as a kid just starting out in magic. They took the time to spend with you no matter how busy it was.
Message: Posted by: Wizardwannabe (Jul 5, 2005 08:39PM)
The other day I was in the public library in my town and for the heck of it I got the Manhattan Yellow Pages and looked up magic shops. Incredibly, Tannens is not listed. Does anyone know why? I also could not believe it when I saw Milbourne Christopher's name listed under "Magicians"! This is the current Manhattan phone book I'm talking about.
Message: Posted by: jondark445 (Jul 23, 2005 06:31PM)

Don't know if you got an answer to this, but Tannens is now at 45 West 34th Street. It's actually right by the old digs of Flossor Hornman.

Sadly though, my experiences recently with them were not so good. Just before they moved I got an out and out bait and switch pulled on me. Went in, asked for flash cotton, the salesman told me he'd check and showed me where the sale items were that they were looking to sell before they moved. Told me to browse while he checked. I browsed, came out with nothing, asked if he'd checked, he said he didn't think he had flash cotton, but, again, said he'd check. Then, seeing nothing in my hands for purchase--and not bothering to check for the cotton--said they didn't have what I wanted.

There are other, better dealers out there. Dealers which give the experiences that we had when we were younger. I remember going into Tannens and LOVING it. I want that experience, I now turn to Denny & Lee.

Message: Posted by: Watchmaker (Jul 27, 2005 08:31AM)
Tannen's seems to have changed over the years. I would never miss stopping by any time I was in the city.

20 years ago they made strangers feel like friends. Mr Garcia was always nice to us, although Mr. Banning may have caught him on a bad day. In fact, Mr. Garcia signed my sponsership to the I.B.M. and he didn't just pencil-whip it either, he spent some time talking with me about magic.

It makes me feel bad to say things there seem to have changed.

It's probably just nostalgia but one of the nicest memories is of "the elevator door opening". If you've been there you know what I mean!
Message: Posted by: four elements (Jul 27, 2005 09:14PM)
Tannens was a magical place when I first went there years ago. But it seems to have gone down hill since they moved from the location with the elevator doors.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 15, 2005 08:25PM)
Tony, Jack, Lou, and Irv were always friendly and encouraging to me whenever I visited their shop as a youth (which was frequently), back in the early to mid 70's.

Soon after its initial launch onto the market, I remember Tony performing his ingenious Astrosphere routine right there for me in the shop. I was about 15 years old at the time and buying it was, for me, a costly purchase... but buy I did… and I didn't regret it.

Years later, I popped into the store and asked Tony for his advise on a small comedy illusion that would pack small and play big. One that would fit my particular style of silent-comedy. Without hesitation, Tony recommended the buzz saw thru-neck –for my particular show.

This effect has been a featured hit of my show, ever since, over many years.

Just prior to Tony's retirement, what seems like a few years ago (?), I would call him a few times a year to asks his opinion on the business side of magic, as well as his advise on purchasing certain effects.

He was always attentive and helpful, going out of his way to source and mail out difficult to find props, advising on why one prop was better than another for a certain effect, and much more.

I certainly feel sad that none of the "old" gang (as far as I know) are with the store any more.

Any idea on what Tony is doing these days? Perhaps he still works in the capacity of consultant to the magic/tv community.

With fond memories...


PS: If you’re reading this Tony…many thanks for all you’ve done to inspire and support youths growing into magic, well into their adult years.
Message: Posted by: TrickyRicky (Nov 8, 2005 07:50AM)
I remembered the day I was in Tannen's when Muhammed Ali walked in with some 12 body guards.
He created so much excitement--as you all know how he could talk.
Richard Lyn
Message: Posted by: nucinud (Nov 22, 2005 12:09PM)
I have been in every Tannens location. (they moved around).

Met Paul Harris, David Roth, Doug Edwards, Ken Kranzel, just to name a few.

Also used to go the Flosso Hornmans. Ah the good old days.
Message: Posted by: jsilk7 (Aug 13, 2006 03:46PM)
I have not been to the new Tannens will have to make the trip
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Oct 10, 2006 03:55PM)
I visited Tannen's a couple of times when they were on 32nd and a number of times when they were on 25th. I remember stopping by at the Dunkin Donuts on 31st and 5th for a jelly donut. I been to the new location a couple of times and the last time I was there they ignored me. If I am in New York I will stop by Fantasma. My primary shop is Martinka (Flosso Hornmann)in Midland Park, N.J. Ted is a great guy to talk too.

Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Oct 15, 2006 10:32AM)
Kind of makes me sad.... Irving Tannen and Tony Spina sponsored me into SAM- I went there for the first time, when they were on Broadway, right after having seen Harry Blackstone on broadway- I was probably about 12.

I recall a nice guy who was super helpful to me as a kid... didn't relaize until I got home are read a magazine that that guy was.... Harry Lorraine.

Aside from Espizito's magic shop on Long Island, Tannen's was the only place I ever had good In Person experiences. The mood in many shops is often a bit put off-ish, until they know you a bit.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Nov 18, 2006 03:07AM)
If Tannen's is under new management or ownership, they may not have the desire to see anyone as nothing more than a walking money machine. Usually, they don't have the same love or sentiment for the magical arts that caused the store to be such a success in the first place. More's the pity. :(
Message: Posted by: Rocketeer (Nov 23, 2006 09:04PM)
I go way back with Tannen's. The first time I went there was when one of my older brothers took me there in the mid sixties. I was about 12 or so. This was when it was on West 42nd. I thought it was soooo cool that you entered an office building and took the elevator up a few floors. There was no hint to the wonders that awaited you behind the office door that could have lead to an ordinary company. You opened that door and you were in a real live magic shop!!!

By the ninth grade my two magic-addled friends and I would take our Christmas and Hannakuh money and make a pilgrimage on the #1 train to Times Square to blow it all. Tony Spina treated us kids with the same respect and attention he treated the grownups and loved to demonstrate for us. I think we all bought Glorpys. I also remember buying a book entitled Fire Magic and actually making torches of straightened coat hangers, cotton and unleaded gasoline! In those days only Amoco sold unleaded so that's where we got it. Needless to day, don't try this at home kids. It was a different era.

I didn't think the location on Broadway was quite as "magical" for some reason. I don't know why. The last time I was at Tannens was probably 1992 or so. I don't recall if that was the location in the 20s or 30s. It definitely had lost something. The only highlight was meeting Harry Lorayne and having him autograph Close-up Card Magic for me. He joked that he had signed so many of them that the ones without his autograph were actually worth more.

I never did make it to Flosso-Hornmann or Martinka's. I wish I had.
Message: Posted by: Billy Harper (Nov 24, 2006 02:01PM)
My grandfather was a retired New York City policeman and took me to Tannen's for the first time in 1956. I was a kid of eleven from Charlotte, North Carolina and had never been inside a magic store. Although now I perform close-up and sleight-of-hand, I will always feel an electric thrill whenever I walk into a magic shop and see all those wonderful, shiny, brightly painted apparatus tricks - Hippity-Hop Rabbits, Arm Choppers, Cups and Balls, beautiful silks, Chinese characters written on bizarre items, linking rings - you name it. Tannen's had those fantastic framed photos of famous magicians tastefully hanging on the the walls. That day, Lou Tannen himself used my arm for a demonstration of an arm chopper he was pitching. Another year, 1959, he demonstrated a vanishing key and a flawless Chop Cup routine in which he produced two tennis balls for the final load. Over the years, whenever I used Tannen's mail order service, I would always get that same electric thrill whenever a package arrived with that great Tannen's logo on it. Even the mailing wrapper seemed exotic and magical. I didn't throw it away - I folded and saved it. I don't go to New York very often, but when I do, I never miss Tannen's.
Billy Harper
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Kelly (Nov 25, 2006 01:37AM)
I went to Tannens this summer while on Holiday in NYC. It was my first time to a magic shop. I'm afraid I was less than impressed. The shop itself didn't look very magical and I was ignored for about 15 minutes before someone came to help me. Plus the store is very hard to find if you don't know where to look.
Message: Posted by: Billy Harper (Jan 21, 2007 01:09PM)
Does anyone have or know where I can purchase a Tannen's catalog from the 1950's?
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Jan 21, 2007 02:28PM)
On 2005-06-07 23:45, Wizardwannabe wrote:

Aren't those Tannen catalogs from twenty or so years ago just the best? They were essentially books (I mean they looked and felt like a book) with great covers of Blackstone, Copperfield, Henning, S&R, etc. But of course the best part was the contents. The close-up section, card section, coin section and the book catalog in the back. The absolute best magic catalogs!
I remember they also always included a bonus section in the back, usually a book that was in the public domain. I remember one time they had Annemann's "The Book Without a Name", and I think they had Erdnase once also. (I might be wrong about the Erdnase, I know Michael Mc Dougal included it in his "Card Mastery")
On 2007-01-21 14:09, Billy Harper wrote:
Does anyone have or know where I can purchase a Tannen's catalog from the 1950's?
Try Denny Haney, He has a lot of old Tannen's Catalogues in the shop.
Message: Posted by: alannasser (Feb 5, 2007 03:45PM)
I used to go to Tannen's once a week in the late 1950s. Very friendly atmosphere. The great Jim Herpick used to demonstrate incredible stuff and he was a great mentor, always ready to help me with a sleight I was working on. (By the way, if anyone has the ORIGINAL Tannen's Glass Gone and is willing to sell it, be in touch with me yesterday please. I've been looking for this for years.)

I refer to the shop now as "the late Tannen's". The tradition is dead. It's now exclusively about making money, and the staff doesn't know much. Terrible pity.
Message: Posted by: DLF (Mar 6, 2007 03:57PM)
Growing up in the midwest I was luck enough to travel a lot and we went to NYC every year. My big treat was a trip to Tannen's. We would spend hours there and I would leave with something terrific.
Message: Posted by: DLF (Mar 6, 2007 03:58PM)
And yes, those catalogs. They were essentially hardcover books that were several hundred pages each, if my memory serves em correctly.
Message: Posted by: -TW (Mar 30, 2007 09:06PM)
I too was a Tannen's regular. I used to haunt the place. Especially on Sat's -- Then, when they closed at 3:00, everyone would go down to the Governor's Caféteria -- that's where I really learned how to perform close-up. Every Sat, for years. Harry Lorayne + Daid Roth + Sol Stone + Ken Krenzel + Gene Maze, etc. etc. etc all 'held court' week after week. -- Anyone remember those days at 'The Caféteria?'
Message: Posted by: Justin Style (Apr 6, 2007 06:13PM)
It was 1986, Tannens was on 31st street. I went there to get some "easy to do" magic tricks because I had a gig as a Mime (But was NOT a Mime) and thought I needed something to help me through. It worked, they liked my "show", so I went back to Tannens because I figured what they really liked was the magic tricks I did.

On my next visit I met Flaco. He was hanging around the store and asked me what I was buying. I told him, he asked if I knew how to do them? I said no so he said to come outside and he would show me. We went out to the corner of 5th ave and Flaco started doing card productions while telling me stories of magicians. I was blown away, hooked and became a member of the "club" for life.

I kept going back every Thursday, because they stayed open late, then Flaco and I would hook up with Chappy Brazil and work the streets from midtown down to the village and Washington Square Park. We made money had a few beers and had the greatest time you could imagine. I didn't know jack squat in those days but had a great time learning the ropes from those guys. Sadly both Flaco and Chappy have passed away and I really miss them very much. I wish they could see how far I have come since then...RIP

I remember Tony Spina working the counter and at that time he was heaavy into the "Wonder Bar" I loved it and still have the one I purchased from him. He always treated me well.

So now it's 1994 and I have been working with Rocco and Roger Mayfarth. Together we came up with the D'LITE. roger actually invented it for Rocco, but it took the three of us to make the act work for Rocco's stage performance. After FISM 94' they wanted to sell one part of the act. They asked me and Mondo (another great magician) to make some up and go to Tannens' convention in the Catskills. We made 250 and I went all alone. Got a dealers booth right across from Hank Lee, Mario Gonzales ran the dealers room. I was the biggest hit in the room. Nobody had ever seen the D'LITE before, heck it wasn't even called D'LITE at that time. I had no package, no instructions no nothing! just 2 Thumb tips in a plastic baggy. Well to make a long story a little longer, I sold out and Irv Tannen and Tony Spina loved me ever since. I got to hang out with them, take pictures and even have lunch together. It really was a great feeling that these two icons acknowledged me! little 'ol me, a nobody from New Jersey at one of the most famous conventions in the country, at that time. I'll never forget it and I will never forget them. I owe almost everything I've become because of Tannen's magic! And I still even have the catalogues from those days!

In this day of internet comerce, you just don't get that kind of experience and that is sad.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Apr 6, 2007 08:26PM)
April 6, 2007 article about Tony Spina
Message: Posted by: magicians (Apr 6, 2007 08:49PM)
My experience with Tannens was unusual. 1982, I had just released 4 effects that had gotten 4 stars in Genii mag. I went to Tannens and showed the effects and 4 more. They decided to buy them all and then devoted one whole page in Tannens Topics and put an ad with all of my items in Genii mag.
They devoted a whole shelf to my line in the back room plus let me lecture at Brown's (5 years running). I did their camp a couple of years as well.
What was the greatest tho, was being included in the Catalog. That was a permanent record of my magic contibutions. I have three catalogs on my shelf with 10 pages devoted to my products. Yes, they had a few unusual business tactics which I decided to overlook since they put me on the map.
Jack and Tony introduced me to Glenn David who then made my arm boxes for me. That connection could never be duplicated. No where in the retail world could you go from concept to finished product and have an item on the market within a week.
If I sent them an item prototype, they would follow up with initial orders of several gross.
The people who were there were even better. I was priveleged to be in the back room where I could stand alongside Garcia, Bob Elliot, and others who were just hanging. In my case, I was treated as an equal, but my secret was that I had only been in the business for 5 years. I was relatively unskilled and knew very little of sleights. However, if you were in that back room area, you were assumed to know the world of magic and were shown secrets and inside moves long before they went public.
More on my experiences at http://www.magic-ian.blogspot.com
-Magic Ian
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 11, 2007 10:55AM)
On 2007-03-30 22:06, -TW wrote:...-- Anyone remember those days at 'The Caféteria?'

:) - and congrats on the PB&J trick.
Message: Posted by: snushy (Apr 17, 2007 08:31AM)
I used to frequent Tannen's at the old 1540 Broadway location. Saturdays were absolute bedlam in the shop in those days. I remember Tony Spina demonstrating the Kozak sponge ball routine and selling them like hotcakes. Same with the Needle Through Arm. Man, that one used to make the girls sick on my block!
One of my fondest memories from those days at Tannen's was meeting and befriending Senor Mardo. He was so old and tiny and frail, but his enthusiasm for magic was still white hot. I was probably about 12 years old at the time, and Mardo kind of took me under his wing. He patiently taught me sleights and moves and timing and misdirection and showmanship. I bought all of his booklets and he signed them to me. They are amongst my most prized magic possessions. I was truly fortunate that an old pro was always ready with a kind smile and an encouraging word for me.
I have always thought that Mardo has been sadly overlooked. If magicians know of him at all it's for his egg bag, but he was much more than that. His books are still available, very inexpensive, and filled with gems.
Larry Zaslow
Message: Posted by: magicgettogether (Jun 8, 2007 05:34PM)
My first trip to Tannens was in 1987, I bought an Anverdi surprise box. I remember how cool it was when the elevators opened and there was a magic shop. The dealers were friendly, but I did not recognize any of them. When I got back to my car, my parking bill was almost as much as the trick. But why would I care, I had my surprise box.
Message: Posted by: Vincent (Jun 8, 2007 07:54PM)

I Remember Senor Mardo Very Well.

I First Met Him At 1540 Broadway, I Guess I Was In My Early Twenties.
He Came Up To Me And Asked Me If I Had Ever Seen This Bandana And Safety Pin.
I Told Him That I Had Not And He Proceeded To Freak Me Out For The Next Ten Minutes By Making The Safety Pin Rip Through The Blue Bandana And Yet There Was Never Any Damage. This Of Course Seemed Impossible As I Heard The Tearing Sound And "Saw" What I Thought To Be The Damage To The Blue Bandana.

After That I Would Look For Him At Every Visit. He Was Older But What Did I Know.
I Thought Everyone Over Forty Was Ancient.

He Sold Me A Set Of Aluminum Cups Once That I Still Have. He Said That He Used That Style Of Cup Always.
They Look Like P&L Cups But Are Not Hallmarked.
I Still Have Them And Every Once And A While Take Them Out Of One Of My Trunks Just To Look At Them. Of Course Whenever I Do That All The Old Memories Of 1540 Broadway And Senor Mardo Come Flooding Back.
For Some Reason He Reminded Me Of Slydini In A Way And At One Time Thought They Must Be Related. I'm Almost Sure They Were Not.

I Remember 120 West 42nd Street Also, The Wurlitzer Building.
But I Was Very Young Then So The Memories Are Not As Vivid With The Exception Of That First Trip When My World Turned Upside Down.

But That's A Story For Another Day.

Thanks For Letting Me Rant On.


Vincent :die: :magicrabbit: :die:
Message: Posted by: Eddie Garland (Jun 17, 2007 01:49AM)
First memory of Tannen's was a trip to NYC in 74. Tony Spina strongly suggests I go see a young Doug Henning in a Stephen Schwartz musical. Doug Henning? Who is that?
I bought tickets to the Magic Show. Wow!

I also bought a balsa wood dancing cane.

In 88 I was performing in the official revival of Godspell off Broadway at the Lambs Club, actually working with Stephen Schwartz and Paul Shaffer. I performed the dancing cane every night of the show. I often thanked Tony because I believed the cane had got me the gig.

The theater maintained an account with Tannens...we destroyed a great deal of those lethal old metal appearing canes every week or two and we used hundreds of mouth coils. I got to shop for the show at Tannen's with the theaters money, great fun!

The older Tannen shops were indeed dreamy spots.
Message: Posted by: alannasser (Jul 22, 2007 03:14AM)
Just want to add a couple of things to my post from a while back on this thread. I do agree with the guy who wrote that just about the only place you can get that old Tannen's feel of guys behind the counter who really cared about magic and mentoring serious kids is Denny and Lee.

And the old trick I first saw at Tannen's that I am still looking for is not called Glass Gone, as I mistakenly wrote earlier, but rather The Crash Glass Vanish. If you know where I can get one, please let me know.
Message: Posted by: spencerpeterson (Mar 26, 2008 11:16PM)
I go to Tannen's because Doug Mckenzie goes once in a while, and he's SOOOOO dreamy.....
Message: Posted by: NicholasD (Mar 30, 2008 07:52PM)
My first and only trip to Tannen's was in 1975. What an experience! I was lucky enough to go with Harvey Rosenthal, who introduced me to those who were there, and what a line-up. I met Sol Stone, Lenny Greenfader, Bill Broderson, Darwin Ortiz and Gerald Deutch. I was fresh meat, so they showed off for me.

On the way home we visited Karl Fulves in New Jersey.

Seems like yesterday.
Message: Posted by: daver (Jun 11, 2008 10:22AM)
I too grew up going to Tannen's most weekend, and had the good fortune to meet Coperfield, Lorayne, Garcia, Henning, Roth and others. Irv and Tony were great; no one was too big or too small for them to devote some time. It was (IMHO, the 1540 Broadway location, after the fire) one of the last remaining old world feel shops.

Unfortunately, as with most other things, magic shops have become more about money than the art, and what sells best through what means (instant downloads, web sites etc) rather than that old romantic-feel hands-on, generation-to-generation magic teaching.

Some of the best memories of my youth occurred on the 17th floor of 1540 Broadway.
Message: Posted by: Lou Deeny (Feb 16, 2009 11:24AM)
I would order from Tannen's catalog when I was a young teen in the 70's in New Jersey and when I had kids of my own, my son (who was on broadway at the time in "the Sound of Music" 1998)became interested in Magic. Because we spent so much time in the city and he had free time between shows, we would spend it at Tannen's on 25th (yes, with that wonderful elevator). The first time we went we met Bob Elliott who amazed us with coins and took the time to teach my son the glide...it was awesome! He and Tony Spina suggested Tannen's camp for my son which he attended and loved.
My interest in Magic was renewed and his was cemented forever. We later got to meet many other great Magicians such as Ken Krenzel, Doug Edwards, Sol Stone and so many others. We became weekly regulars at Tannen's and Ruben's fabulous back room. Not many things have come close to those experiences since. Truly Magic.
Message: Posted by: oneon (Mar 4, 2009 07:52AM)
I was fortunate. As a boy I spent every weekend in NYC. First stop was Flosso's I'd spend the morning there sat around the shop and listen to Al for hours talk about magic, the past and entertainment in general.
Then I would walk over to 1540 Broadway and hang at Tannens. It was so special...I spent so much time there I saw them all...Copperfield...damn we hung together and became fast friends 9we are the same age). Slydini? yep... how about watching Slydini 5 feet away...AND THE BEST Dai Vernon only got to see him once but once was enough!
At around 2PM I think we would all pile into the the back of goveners Caféteria on Broadway...
what a great Childhood...I didn't know what was right in front of me...but have the greatest memories.
If anyone is looking for Tony Spina you can find him on facebook...and his web page is here he is apparently out of retirement.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan_Miller (Apr 1, 2009 09:20PM)
I'm too young to remember the old Tannen's but I started hanging out there right at the end when Tony Spina was still there but was getting ready to leave. They were on 25th Street at the time and I loved it there. Saturday mornings the place would still get packed before people would go over to Reuben's and later to Café Rustico. And Magick was working behind the counter. He is still the best demonstrator I've ever seen and I bought things I didn't want just because he did such an excellent job with it. Tannen's was always a fun time for me even on the dull days.

Today Tannen's is a depressing place to visit. I try to visit every once in awhile and buy something if for no other reason than I like Steve Brown and he used to let me hang out there. Unfortunately the staff now are for the most part unknowledgable and uninteresting. I went in a few Saturdays ago and saw some younger kid working on the most godawful pass I have ever seen. They asked if they could help me but I thought to myself "not even if you actually wanted to."

I also remember the Jubilee's and they were such fun. Its a shame they are gone now. Fantasma has definitely replaced Tannen's as the magic shop to visit in the city.
Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Apr 7, 2009 04:15PM)
Yes, thanks for all the cool memories. I recently visited Tannen's and was extremely disappointed, little did I know that Fantasma existed. But I do remember meeting Henning and Roth and Ballantine and of course Tony Spina and Frank Garcia and even a few balloon men. But I guess we grow older (who me? I hear you all lament) and the memories of old are often not what they are today. Who ever said that change is a good thing?
Message: Posted by: chrusa (Apr 7, 2009 10:22PM)
I see this thread is titles memories and I was wondering if they are still there cause I would like to go and seee the shop
Message: Posted by: optimystik (Apr 30, 2009 10:09PM)
On 2004-07-20 16:54, stephenbanning wrote:
I remember meeting Frank Garcia there who was quite non-plused to meet me, an eleven-year old. He was less than friendly.

WOW! this is not the Frank Garcia I met when visiting Tannen's in 1978.

Going to Tannen's was really a special treat. In those days someone like Frank Garcia was a real celebrity to me.

When I met him he was friendly and fun ...demonstrated some stuff. I gave him my mailing address and was I surprised/shocked when a few days later I received a big package in the mail with THREE different 8 X 10 photos personally autographed to ME.

I never dreamed a busy pro would follow up in such a way on a meeting with "just a kid"....truly inspiring.

Also met Bob McAllister there...a real dream come true ( I was a HUGE wonderama fan).

I used to carry around the Tannens catalogue 24/7 like a Bible. My Tannens catalogue is autographed by Hank Aaron....why?....I happened to run into him and that is all I was carrying at the time..I know...CRAZY.

Once, late 70's, on my way to Tannens (across the street on Broadway) a limousine pulls up to the curb next to me and out comes Larry Flynt in wheelchair with several secret service type body guards ( he had recently survived a murder attempt which left him paralyzed.)

I visited the 34th st store several years ago...but did not have the real magic of those good ol days......perhaps its just that I'm getting old...but the times I visite Tannens back in the 70's it was true magic.

Stephen Christopher
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 24, 2009 07:45PM)
When I visited Tannens several times in the early seventies it was great. I met Garcia, and Peter Pan - Shari Lewis' dad, and Slydini had just moved out there again from gthe West Coast - as always he was amazing and at Tannens I some veryy skilled teenagers like David Roth and Geof Latta.
Message: Posted by: Jamie_H (Jun 13, 2009 03:24PM)
These are great stories!
Message: Posted by: jondark445 (Aug 9, 2009 11:10AM)
I was traveling from Philly to Massachusetts and visited an old friend (he's 72) who recalled going to Tannen's when he was a boy. He lived in Brooklyn and his father would take him there.

I was passing through Manhattan and hadn't been to Tannens in some time. A few years ago when my son was born we bought him a Charlie McCarthy vent figure from an online dealer. I thought I'd swing by Tannens and see if they had one.

Sadly, as I'm sure many of you know, it's not what it used to be. When I walked in the two sales people there couldn't have cared that I was even there...even though I was the only one in the store. Finally one of them asked if I was looking for something or just browsing. I wanted to browse but did ask directly for the Charlie McCarthy vent figure.

"Nobody even knows who Charlie McCarthy is. Even if they still made it we wouldn't carry it."

A sad state of affairs.

Message: Posted by: jondark445 (Aug 9, 2009 11:12AM)
OMG I don't believe it...this is the same thread where I complained about Tannens four years ago...the last time I was there.....ugh.

Message: Posted by: Mark F (Dec 1, 2009 12:37PM)
Not sure if these eBay auctions belong to someone here but there are two listings with nice photos of the interior of Tannen's:


Message: Posted by: Stmarkus (Dec 10, 2009 12:02PM)
What can I say about Tannens.....The one I first visited was at 1540 Bway....But I spent most of my "hanging out days" at the location on 25th street...Tony Spina's place....Watching Magick, and Polaris demonstrate their wares.....Meeting Jeff Sheridan....Bobby Baxter....Earl "Presto" Johnson...Doug Edwards....Herb Zarrow... Great memories....!!
Message: Posted by: Mal3 (Sep 5, 2011 01:39AM)
Will be visiting for the first time in December when I go to the US.
Message: Posted by: panlives (Nov 28, 2011 07:07AM)
It was somewhere around the early '80s, I think...couldn't have been much past ‘82 or '83...but that is sketchy.

I was a really geeky older teen freak. When the fellow manning the shop heard I was from a small town in Quebec, he brought me to see the view from his back office, which looked down on or near Times Square.

I think back now and realize how I actually "missed" the deeper experience.

How could I have known it was all so ephemeral, soon to fade away into the annals of history?

Without advance buzz, Muhammad Ali walked in and the place went dead silent. He was like human electricity. I have been in the presence of a few personalities. No one came close to the charisma of Ali. In the realm of Forteana, we use a term called "The OZ effect." Ali made you glow; you felt both real and unreal, as if you were simultaneously inside a movie and watching that same movie unfold.

Then, he looked at me! The champ looked at me and he smiled!

I was born in '64, the year Ali won the Heavyweight Championship of the World. In the '70s, that strange decade of eclectic Superstars (Bruce Lee, the new/ "old" Elvis, Evel Knievel, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, etc., etc.), Ali transcended them all. He was a God.

I practically floated down to the street after he left...I was in the presence of a Supernova.

Ali...magical charisma.

My Tannen’s memory...thanks for the self-indulgence.
Message: Posted by: panlives (Nov 28, 2011 07:20AM)
Fast forward to 2010.

My wife fulfills her promise to take her 16 year old son to “Da Big Apple.”

I take him to Tannen’s. The new location, of course. He does not do any magic but loves to watch. He boldly asks the fellow behind the counter if he does “New York” Three Card Monte. “But no gimmicks,” is the challenge.

The demo guy takes a deck of Bees out, casually flips out the Beehive Ace of Spades (“Money gets you honey”) and the two red Queens, all the while mumbling, “I dunno…it’s been a while since I even thought about this…you really don’t see it on the streets anymore…”

Ok, I probably telegraphed this one: he goes into a flawless exhibition of the swindle. Every move was smooth and invisible. It was just plain, terrific handling. The small group that gathered close to watch gave Mr. Demo guy a sincere round of applause.

My Wife’s son had a grin from ear to ear. He had a classic New York City experience that he still talks about when we relive the trip.
Message: Posted by: BatsMagic (Feb 26, 2012 03:20PM)
I was at Tannen's last summer. David Roth, who probably makes minimum wage working there, insulted me to no end. While I had a good amount of money in my pocket that I was willing to spend, I walked out with NOTHING. I'll be hard pressed to go back. On an aside, my IBM Ring President had previously tried to get Roth to lecture at my club for our standard fee. He would have had to travel less than 25 miles. He refused, basically stating that he wouldn't do anything for that kind of money. And let's get something straight- I have to work 3 full 8 hour days to make that money on my real job! When I went to Tannen's and told Roth that I was a member of that Ring, he asked me to tell our President that he would do the lecture. My President laughed and basically said "screw him!".
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (May 22, 2012 12:54PM)
I went to Tannen's on Broadway every Saturday during the 70s. I met Frank Garcia and thought he was a sales clerk. (Yes, I asked him to ring me up! :no:)

I haven't been to the new location yet. (When I've been in NYC, it's been trips to Comic-con) But I'm really not feeling good about it.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (May 24, 2012 04:54AM)
I also remember seeing "The Amazing Randi" there. Ironically, I had just watched his "Happy Days" performance about an hour earlier. When I mentioned this he said; "Oh good. I should get a royalty check for about 47 cents in the mail any day now."

He also pointed out where Houdini's name was on his poster and told the story of the one man who MIGHT have claimed the Randi prize if he hadn't been so honest. (There was a music teacher who had played classical records so often, he could tell what they were by the patterns in the surface of the record! Randi said if he'd claimed to be channeling the spirits of the composers who were giving him the titles, Randi would have had no way to dispute it!)
Message: Posted by: EVILDAN (Nov 3, 2014 09:52AM)
[quote]On Feb 26, 2012, BatsMagic wrote:
I was at Tannen's last summer. David Roth, [/quote]

I thought David Roth worked at Fantasma.
Message: Posted by: mooimimi (Dec 13, 2014 11:59AM)
Too bad they don't have that secret-telling room anymore. I still go through the pages of my #17 catalog every once-in-a-while.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 18, 2015 11:40AM)
Tannen's has moved a few times over the past 40+ or so years…But it was my first magic shop experience as a kid growing up in NYC…Me and my good buddy "Doc" (A top card shark now, to those that know) ;) used to save our money all month just to go downtown there early on a Saturday morning to buy some cheap tricks back in the '70s. Couldn't buy much, but remember getting things like, Lou Tannen's "Gamble Amble" card trick, the old Copper-Silver coin effect, Wild Card, Spooky Spots, and Cubio. :D Best part was coming up out of the little elevator right down the hall, or I seem to remember right up into the shop even. Man, it was so exciting and magical each and every time we went down there, (mid 40s Broadway area, back then). :D

Can still remember old man, Tannen and Tony Spina then demonstrating tricks from behind the counter of the glass showcases. The tricks looked like jewels in those brightly lit cases, especially the coin stuff. :) And all the many magicians that used to drop by regularly, like Frank Garcia, David Roth, Jonathan Townsend, Dr. Mike Rubinstein, Geoff Latta and so many others…Man, it was like heaven! :)
Message: Posted by: Eddie Garland (Feb 20, 2015 07:20PM)
Tannen's website has been down for days.
Makes me nervous.
Message: Posted by: Tony45 (Apr 15, 2015 04:56AM)
Mb, excuse me but I would like to answer if you remember Mike Tannen and died around 75 or 76 and he used to run the magic store at 51 st at 7th or Broadway, forget which main street. But his store was in the game like Playland and he had a pool room under his store. Just remembering if anyone remembering what year he died and he was a nice guy.
I used to go to Mikes store and the store at 1540 Broadway, and the store on 34th street and met Al Flosso a few times, got lucky to know him then.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jul 18, 2015 03:49PM)
A few years ago, I got into a conversation at Tannen's with an elderly (maybe three years older than me, hence "elderly" :) ) gent who asked me about myself. We were the only people in the store, besides the guy behind the counter. I talked about being a teacher, and we had a very interesting half-hour conversation about education. He had a lot of intelligent things to say. He never once brought up magic. When he left the store, the guy behind the counter, turned to me, amused, and said, "That was Ken Krenzel."
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Dec 25, 2015 08:14PM)
Hello everybody and Merry Christmas !

Is Tannnens Magic Shop still located at the 45W 34th Street #608 in New York for the moment ?


Message: Posted by: TheRealMagicMike (Dec 28, 2015 06:34PM)
[quote]On Dec 25, 2015, Oliver Ross wrote:
Hello everybody and Merry Christmas !

Is Tannnens Magic Shop still located at the 45W 34th Street #608 in New York for the moment ?


Oliver. [/quote]

Yes it is... was just there about a week ago. It's on the 6th floor of an office building. There is a "Sleepy's" sign (the mattress company) on the sign outside of the building. If you go there, be sure to meet Magick Balay. He's an excellent magician in his own right and a great demonstrator; very helpful and open. Ask him to do "The Key" for you... he has a great, original handling.
Message: Posted by: TheRealMagicMike (Dec 28, 2015 06:36PM)
Also, Fantasma magic shop is close by as well. Not nearly as good IMO but they have a great Houdini room and some wonderful collectibles on display... certainly worth the trip if you're going to be in the area.
Message: Posted by: M. Tesla (Jun 3, 2016 12:49AM)
Oh, lord, do I miss Tannen's as it was, in the sixties and seventies...1540 Broadway...Irv and Lou...hanging out on Saturday afternoons until they closed at 3:00PM, then to the Governor Café, down the street, with the famous, and the unknowns, all hanging out together...you wouldn't believe the people I saw in the store, or met, hanging out at the Café...my earliest catalog is #5, from 1965...sigh...
Message: Posted by: ramoss (Aug 23, 2016 08:06PM)
I remember Tannen's well from when I was a kid in the early 1960's living an hour outside New York. With all the colorful props and books and constant demonstrations or conversations going on Irv and Lou and always one or two others behind the counter. For a teenager interested in magic it was a wonderland, what seemed like the Mecca of Magic. I'd always ask what was the latest close-up trick. I bought Bro Hammonds Final Ace Routine for $2.00 after being blown away by a performance of it. Years later after seeing Doug Henning's first TV special I told myself I've just got to do that newspaper tear. I walked into Tannen's and said I wanted that newspaper trick on the special and Irv replied matter of factly, "Oh you want the Anderson Newspaper Tear" without further comment. Amazing secrets were sold every day to ordinary people like me. Just imagine, for $2.00 (again) I could astound people, and did, just like Henning. Tannen's was the Hogwart's of its day. A place where the cognoscenti could purchase power.

My wife of 44 years occasionally reminds me that on the day after our wedding in New York overlooking Central Park, I left her in the room and quickly made my way to midtown to visit Tannen's to ask once again, "What's new?".
Message: Posted by: GlennLawrence (Nov 10, 2017 11:58PM)
First time I went to Tannen's was when they were on west 32nd St about 30 years back. I'll never forget the surprise of those elevator doors opening and Whoah, I'm right in the middle of the place! Been back a couple of times since then but not since they moved to their present space, I'll have to try to check it out some time.

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 8, 2018 04:14PM)
Tannen's was my first introduction to the world of magic. Or more specifically, my first introduction to how much MONEY I was destined to spend! I remember as an Airman in S.Dakota getting my hands on a Lou Tannen catalog, opening up the cover, and just being swept away!! I was caught up in a world of wonder and magical possibilities. The world of magic was now my oyster. ANYTHING was possible! My life would never be the same.

So I purchased a zombie, an "Evaporated Milk" effect, complete with "Oom." Also an effect where a section of a newspaper was tossed in the air to suddenly become a bouquet of flowers. Oh! And a "Moon Rock." Effect! After all, I was an airman living in the barracks and my board and food was all provided, so I had a weekly serviceman's paycheck to profligate as I my heart desired.

Long about then the Elf started selling. I was among his first customers. Shoot, I think I singelehandedly made the guy rich.

And here I am decades later, and you know what? Despite the expense, I still wouldn't trade it for the world.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 6, 2018 01:17PM)
Currently at the NY Historical Society Museum (next to Natural History) there is a display on the first floor of magic memorabilia from the Copperfield collection. There is a recreation of the Lou Tannen's NYC magic studio with actual display case and large mural of Lou Tannen and demonstrators in the background.
Message: Posted by: Moxahalla (Aug 20, 2018 08:43PM)
Those "demonstrators" that surround Lou Tannen are the Manager, Shipping Clerk, and Secretary...Jim Herpick, Mario Gonzalez, and Lila Abraham.
Message: Posted by: nyborn (Feb 14, 2020 01:39PM)
Got my first copy of Royal Road to Card Magic there along with a deck of Bicycles.