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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Martinelz (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

gatorjim
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Fayetteville, TN
57 Posts

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Did anyone on this forum ever shope with Martinelz in St. Petersburg, FL? I purchased my first magic items from Matinelz in 1976. I believe he was originally from Buffalo, NY and had been on TV there before moving to Florida. A very nice fellow, asssited by his wife. I beleive he passed away in the early 1980's.
WHile Google searching, I noticed that there are several pictures of Martinelz for sale on Ebay.
CHRousseau
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Registered Lurker from Lakewood WA
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Gatorjim:

The store address--I think it was 264 1st Avenue North, long gone now--drew me like a magnet. To a little kid the atmosphere was just like the magic shops in the H G Wells short story or the Twilight Zone episodes. I grew up across the bay in Tampa but my paternal grandparents lived in St. Petersburg and my grandpa knew there was no birthday or Christmas treat like a trip to the Mart.

Mr. Elz sold me my first trick when I was eight. When I was ten I interviewed him for a school assignment about his profession and he got me started reading Genii magazine. Soon after he began to pass along old copies of Linking Ring with the warning that 'no one must ever know' that he had given them to me; I still have the issue where I learned my first mnemonic code which revolutionized the way I mastered my schoolwork all through college and grad school.

For my twelfth birthday my mother purchased a Warren Hamilton Square Circle which I still own; it sold for fifteen dollars back then, now priceless. He invited me see some of his school performances during that time, but my fondest memory of that era was of the SAM convention at the Jack Tarr Harrison (?) Hotel in Clearwater before it went to the Scientologists. I still have my green ticket stub for the public "Willard the Wizard" show; Mr. Willard's declining health prevented his appearance at the last minute but several attendees pitched in for a full slate of performances on short notice.

Recognizing me on the aisle in the audience on his way up to the VIP seating, Mr. Elz and his wife introduced me to Ronald Haines (of House of Cards) who I think was a visiting national SAM officer at the time. He got Mr. Haines to autograph my ticket and when I got back to my seat, my father awoke me from my stupor to see that he had removed his tie clip--a royal flush in diamonds--and clipped it around the ticket as he returned it to me.

I regret that as I entered high school I had less time for magic and at the point that I renewed that interest and went looking for the Magic Mart once again, Mr. Elz had passed away and it was closed. I think one of the St. Pete area IBM Rings or SAM Assemblies is now named in his honor. He and his wife were both extremely nice to a really weird little kid many years ago and I suspect that I was not the only one.
Arthur C Clarke was mistaken--Magic has always been the most advanced form of technology.
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