The headquarters of the Academy of Magical Arts since 1963, the Magic Castle is also a world famous private clubhouse, restaurant and performance venue that welcomes magicians and magic aficionados from all over the globe. It is located in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, at 7001 Franklin Avenue. Since 1989, it has been included on the list of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood.
Built in 1909 in Chateauesque architectural style by Rollin B. Lane, a renowned American philanthropist, banker and real estate mogul, this formerly private mansion opened its doors to visitors on January 2nd, 1963. Designed by American architects Oliver Dennis and Lyman Farwell, this complex construction was a near replica of an 1897 three-story Victorian mansion.
Academy of Magical Arts
The Academy of Magical Arts was founded in 1962 by William Larsen Jr. and Milt Larsen, both the sons of William Larsen, Sr. and is committed to the worldwide promotion and development of the ancient art of magic. The Academy of Magical arts originally began with a charter membership of 150, but four decades later, this world-famous fraternal organization has nearly 5,000 members as of 2006. One of the most renowned members was Dai Vernon, also known by magicians as The Professor, who lived out his last years at the Castle as the Magician-in-Residence and who passed away in 1992, at the age of 98. Other famous regular performers in this Hollywood nightclub include Jay Ose, Johnny Platt, Kuda Bux and Mark Wilson. Neil Patrick Harris, the famous American actor, director and producer is currently the President of the AMA s Board of Directors.
This genuine Chateau-style mansion remained in the Lane family until 1955; after the members of the Lane family moved out in the 1940’s, the castle was initially transformed into a multi-family home, then into a senior home and eventually into a number of small apartments. In 1955, it was entirely purchased by Thomas O. Glover, who in 1961 leased it to the Larsen brothers. Only members and their invited guests are allowed entrance in to “the most unusual private club in the world,” although the general public can also benefit from a low-cost “Open Sesame” 30-day trial membership. A dress code of formal party outfit is mandatory in this exclusive nightclub and an evening in this magical place typically includes five different magic shows presented in three theatres, historic displays and also multiple bars and a full service dining area. Guests visiting the Castle on weekends are offered assistance and guidance from the Castle Knights. The hours of operation are from 5 PM until 1 AM.
During the weekend, the Magic Castle also hosts magical performances that are open to both adults and children, as well as a brunch, during which the Junior Members (13-20 years old) perform various magic shows in the Close-Up Gallery. The Magic Castle Junior Group aims at creating the right atmosphere in which young, talented magicians can develop their own magical skills through constant exposure to famous professionals in the art of magic, performance workshops, lectures as well as through unlimited access to book and video libraries. Within the annual Future Stars Week, the Junior Group performers are showcased in evening magical performances held in the showrooms of the Castle.