Talk:The Magic Castle

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Request for member comments to assist NPOV[edit]

I have added a few paragraphs based on my visits to the Castle. My sense of enjoyment comes through, but perhaps a bit too much. It would be good to include observations from members or regular visitors so this doesn't read like an advertising brochure. My practice was always to bring lay friends with me, because my enjoyment was amplified by their amazement. Also, magicians generally perform better for a lay audience, which can be much better for learning. Obviously, technical discussion must be conducted separately. KSmrq 2005 June 29 00:56 (UTC)

New Section[edit]

I propose a new section of the list of "secrets" that the Castle is famous for. Just a suggestion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kingurth (talkcontribs) 13:49, August 29, 2006


the most famous magic club in the world

Not only is this NPOV, it isn't even remotely true. Has no-one heard of [The Magic Circle?]

  • Also, "fame" is not empirically provable. Claiming something is "the most famous" anything is purely ridiculous and clichéd hype. BorisAnthony (talk) 22:47, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The building is an authentic Victorian mansion built in 1908

Queen Victoria died in 1901. The mansion is Edwardian.

Nuttyskin 04:33, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Although the mansion was constructed near the end of the Edwardian period, it is not Edwardian. Americans typically do not designate time in terms of the reign of foreign monarchs. Nor is it Edwardian in terms of design or construction methods, since it is closely based on the 1897 Kimberly Crest mansion; a Chateau-style structure commissioned by Cornelia A. Hill. Magic Castle promotional materials most frequently refer to the building as Victorian. While that term might not precisely describe the architecture, it reflects the notion of an ornate and elegante, late 19th century setting. It is readily understood by the general public, and therefore seems acceptable. Rollin's Ghost (talk) 20:55, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Since the mansion was built during the Edwardian era, but is a near replica of another mansion designed and built during the Victorian era, describing it with either of those terms is misleading. Since the page is now correct is designating the building as Chateau-style and gives the actual year of construction, and since the Chateau-style was brought to the United States from France by Richard Morris Hunt, independent of any British or Victorian influence, there is no point in calling it Victorian or Edwardian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:52, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

I have just removed a good faith attempt to associate the Magic Castle (the Rollin Lane mansion) with actress Janet Gaynor. The myth that is propagated by several Hollywood tour guides, badly researched books on the history of Hollywood and a few sloppy websites, is that Janet Gaynor once owned, rented or otherwise had lived at the mansion, probably in the 1930's.

Actually, there was never any connection between Gaynor and the Lane mansion. Readily available public records confirm the true ownership of the property: The land was purchased by Rollin Lane's mother in 1903. Rollin built the mansion in late 1909, acting as his own general contractor. Ownership transferred to Rollin and his wife Katherine when Rollin's mother died in 1922. Upon Katherine's death in 1945, ownership transferred to the Lanes' son, Rollin Jr., who owned the property until 1955. The Lanes were philanthropists and dozens of articles in the Los Angeles Times confirm their continued and exclusive presence and activities at the mansion during the years that Gaynor is often claimed to have lived there. Rollin's Ghost (talk) 06:19, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Penn and Teller?[edit]

P&T claim (eg: in this clip that their version of the cups and balls trick with clear plastic cups got them thrown out of the Magic Castle. Worth mentioning? TheHYPO 05:35, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd say no, unless there's an independent source that verifies that (a) it really happened, and (b) it was notable. --Elonka 05:41, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
It's a fair point, considering Penn & Teller are some of the biggest names in magicl —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:16, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
"Giving away the trick" would have very little impact on the appreciation of the performance of a really fine sleight-of-hand illusionist. Some of these guys are so good that even if you "know the trick", they can dumbfound you. A guy that spends 10 hours a day for a month making a silver dollar disappear is not going to feel threatened by clear plastic cups being used in a trick that "everybody knows".

Dubious statements for discussion[edit]

As a member of the AMA, I thought I'd see what Wikipedia had to say about the Castle. I was brought up short by the first of two statements marked "dubious - discuss". So I thought I'd offer my thoughts...

"It hosts nightly performances by the world's finest magicians and it is considered an honor to perform there" -- There are two parts to this statement. I would argue that it is true that the "world's finest magician's" do perform there (by whatever measure you care to decide what "world's finest" is. At the same time, I would concede that not everyone who performs there can be classified as being among "the world's finest".

As for whether it is an honor, I would argue that it is. It's not as if anyone with a deck of cards can make the claim to have performed there (at least not honestly). It's certainly not the highest honor one might achieve, by any means but it is something that one might put on their resume or CV (or advertising). Now, that said, I'm not sure that this part of the statement adds that much to the article. So if this part is considered to be a dubious statement, perhaps it would be enough to say "It hosts nightly performances by the world's finest magicians" and leave it at that.

"The atmosphere is reminiscent of classic night club days" -- I have to agree that this is dubious. I've spent many an evening there but I would not say that brings to mind a classic night club.

Anyway, that's my tuppence -- Jdthayer (talk) 06:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Jdthayer - Thanks for your input. I agree with you, regarding both the club and the statements on the main page.

Despite the enthusiasm of the contributors, or perhaps because of it, the main page is a hodgepodge of miscellaneous information and opinions, with Junior Program snippets scattered freely about. I've considered doing a major re-wrie but I'm not entirely sure what the optimum presentation should be, and I suspect that the same enthusiasm, especially youthful enthusiasm, would soon undo most of the effort.

My thoughts are as follows: First, all of the Junior Program information should be gathered into its own section. Second, the distinction between the AMA and Magic Castle should be better defined. Third, much of temporary or personal information should probably be stricken. I have as much respect for Robert Lamoureux as anyone, but an encyclopedia is not the place to list this year's directors or last years junior award winners. Much beter examples of proper format can be found in the Wikipedia pages for the Jonathan Club, Friars Club, House of Blues, etc. Finally, the clearly subjective statements should be reworded or stricken altogether

Part of the problem comes from the Magic Castle itself. If it wants detailed information disseminated, it should do it from its own website. The same is true for the Juniors program. There is nothing I know of that stops them from getting any coverage they need posted to the Magic Castle website.

Having said that, there are still some problems. Most of what we might want to include about the Magic Castle is unpublished. Even the mention of Robert Lamoureux is sometimes considered dubious because we can't cite or link to an authoritative source confirming that he is the current president of the BoD. I'm not sure how best to resolve that sort of problem.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 06:25, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, having just voted for him, I can confirm that he is indeed the current President. As for it being an honor to perform there, why would it not be? Not all magicians even get the opportunity to perform there, so, in this case, I don't believe the statement to be dubious. MatchesMalone (talk) 16:50, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

I just removed the 3 JUN edit of the opening sentence. While I'm sympathetic to the opinion that the MC is indeed famous, fame is a relative and elusive quality and the statement does not reflect a NPOV. Most of the world's population has never heard of the place, never will, and probably wouldn't care if they did. The existing wording, quoting a verifiable source, is better suited to the encyclopedic nature of this site. Rollin's Ghost (talk) 02:34, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Urban legend that this was once the home of Janet Gaynor[edit]

I think it is fascinating that for years, there has been an urban legend that this was once the home of Janet Gaynor. In good faith, I added that to this article from what I thought was a reliable Hollywood Tour reference book, and I also referenced another online site. I stand corrected, and I thank Rollin's Ghost for the information.

Can this urban legend be addressed in this Wikipedia article so that this can finally be debunked? I am proposing something similar to the section of the Wikipedia article about The Wizard of Oz (1939) and its urban legends: The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)#Controversy_and_urban_legends.

I would like to make Wikipedia become a place where people can settle disputes over whether or not something is an urban legend.

Thanks! JGKlein (talk) 06:21, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

JGKlein, That's a very good question. I'm not sure that I have an absolute answer, especially since I've been tempted to do it myself now and then.
I tend to be against the idea of putting it on the main page because 1) I don't feel that the myth is so common that most readers will be looking for it, 2) listing all the things that aren't true or didn't happen tends to increase the size of a page while shifting the focus away from the main subject, and 3) it refers to the pre-Magic Castle years.
In fact, there are all sorts of myths about the mansion and it's original owners: That Rollin B. Lane owned much or most of Hollywood (actually it was just 15 acres out of thousands), that he socialized with famous actors (nope, not a single one) or that he financed one or more of the early groundbreaking Hollywood movies (sorry, all his investments were in real estate, most of it in places other than Hollywood.)
While there is a small core of serious devotees who are interested in the detailed history of the Lane mansion, et al, I don't think the information is as relevent to the main subject as are the many myths directly related to the Wizard of Oz.
Maybe it's sufficient that you've brought the issue to light and we've discussed it here?
Additional comments are invited.
Rollin's Ghost (talk) 16:41, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for responding. Wow, I am impressed at how well thought out your reply is. You are quite an analytical thinker. Great job.
How about this? Instead of making a separate "Urban Legend" section for the Magic Castle, as there is for The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)#Controversy_and_urban_legends, just inserting a brief statement in the History section, "Contrary to longstanding Hollywood lore that has been printed in Hollywood tour books, there is no evidence that the mansion was ever the home of Janet Gaynor." I worded it "no evidence that ..." since it is possible that Janet Gaynor may have stayed there for a short time, such as renting a room while her own home was being redecorated, or something of that nature. Something as simple as that could be the logical explanation for the longstanding erroneous information that she once owned the mansion.
I propose this because I know so many people who look to Wikipedia for the facts when they are in doubt about what they have read or heard. (I certainly do.) I think the brief sentence I proposed would suffice, and would not get too far off the subject or take up too much space.
Comments from other readers are invited. Thanks! JGKlein (talk) 17:29, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Longstanding? I haven't seen any mention earlier than 1993. The more likely explanation is that some PR person created the rumor to drum up business. And no, she didn't rent a room. The Lanes were wealthy by any objective standard, were in their 70's and Rollin, who wasn't particularly social anyway, was in ill health. They didn't rent out rooms or take in guests, and they had no connections with actors or the movie industry. (The building did eventually become a hotel of sorts but that wasn't until the late 1940's, long after the Lanes had died.) Meanwhile, Gaynor was in her late 20's, had already won an Oscar, and wouldn't have been caught dead staying in the old mansion. She and her husband already had a home in Hollywood, plus one in Palm Springs, one in Hawaii, and one, I believe, in Hermosa Beach. But if you believe that it will improve the page, go ahead. It's already pretty confusing, what with the loose mixture of Magic Castle vs. AMA information, peppered with random soundbytes about the juniors program. So I guess it doesn't really hurt anything.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 03:55, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm working on trying to get this page closer to NPOV. I'm trying as much as I can to keep the pertinent information that others have contributed, but when something is nothing more than a peacock term, I'm eliminating it.

Siamang (talk) 17:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Removed Peacock Template[edit]

Okay, this last edit removed the last of the Peacock terms as I see it. So I removed the Peacock template from the discussion page. That should put the most aggriegious problems to bed. If anyone sees anything else that can assist in NPOV, please edit accordingly.

I also want to just put out there that although I am a member of the Magic Castle, I'm a wikipedian first when editing here. I don't want this to be a promotional page for the Castle. I just don't want the page to be embarrassingly written. Siamang (talk) 18:02, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Rephrased and reformatted page generally to conform better with wikipedia entry style. Clarified the brief header entry. Removed Brian Tolman's name from mention as a board member. I can think of no reason why he is listed and not the rest of the board, including more well-known figures like Gay Blackstone. Folks interested in the entire Board of Directors can get it from the Magic Castle's website. Neil Patrick Harris, however, is a celebrity so his inclusion is warranted by it being an item of general interest. Siamang (talk) 21:48, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Merge page on Academy of Magical Arts[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was merge into The Magic Castle#Academy of Magical Arts. -- DarkCrowCaw 19:37, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

I propose merging the page on the AMA to this page, since the AMA and the Magic Castle are the same organization, and the Magic Castle is the name that is more familiar. Siamang (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC).


First of all, thank you for your contributions to the page. You've made many of the changes that I had long intended to make, and you've done it better.

From a legal standpoint, the Magic Castle (a night club) and the AMA (a fraternal organization that runs certain aspects of that night club) are two very separate operations. But the relationship is so tight and complex, and that which is the AMA is so thoroughly identied with the night club, that I believe they can be reasonably treated here as one entity. About half of the content on this MC page is already AMA information.

I did not create these pages and have no particular authority but for what it's worth, I agree with and support your proposal. Rollin's Ghost (talk) 03:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Rollins. I'm a magician member of the club, and I found this page pretty embarrassing, so i wanted to start to work it out better. I know the AMA and the Castle have a slight legal difference, but it's so insignificant that it doesn't warrant a seperate entry on wikipedia. That would be like a different page for Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola International or some such thing.

Anyway, I don't plan to do the merge next. I want to clean up the entire page before merging, although I would appreciate any information, clarification of points I don't get right and (especially) citations that aren't entirely on the Magic Castle website.

Also, please contribute to NPOV anywhere you see I've missed. I want to remove the Peacock Terms flag as soon as I cut all that stuff out. Siamang (talk) 06:01, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Nice work. The page is looking better than ever. Some items I would submit for your consideration:

1) Including the street address in the opening sentence would provide useful information and match the format used for many other clubs and "landmarks."

2) The Juniors Group information probably belongs in its own section since it doesn't fit well under any of the existing sections. Regrettably, the MC website isn't specific as to whether they're a group, program or society. Take your pick.

3) I think Brian Tolman has as much right to be listed as does Robert. However it can be argued that the directors and trustees, given their brief terms in office, shouldn't be in an encyclopedia at all. Noting that you have included NPH as a celebrity magician, maybe the sentence listing directors should be stricken.

4) Finally, I wonder if more should be said about Milt and Bill, as founders. It need not be extensive as it could include a link to Milt's Wikipedia page. Again, thanks for your contributions. I'll stop now and meet up with you in the Magic Castle forums.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 22:02, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

All those ideas sound great. Feel free to make those edits. As to the reason why Robert and not Brian, it's not about who has any right to be listed... Someone previous to me entered the factual information that Robert was the president, and I honored that by not removing it. I can rationalize why a president would be listed and not a board member. But I cannot justify why one general board member should be listed when all others aren't, absent general interest such as the fame of NPH.

I'd argue to keep NPH listed as a board member because that denotes a level of involvement in the Castle beyond the celebrity performers like Carey Grant, and I'd argue that as a general interest item, that has reader value. His service on the Board is listed on his wikipedia page, which to me denotes it is an item of general interest beyond the mere fact that he is a magician.

Go ahead and make some edits as you see fit. The page is taking a big step forward. Lets get more facts in here! (talk) 00:34, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Designation as Illusionist Magic[edit]

There has been a sudden burst of interest, and some disagreement, about adding links that will more specifically establish the "illusionist" nature of the magic performed at the Magic Castle.

I think that the links are probably unnecessary since the general public already infers "illusion" when speaking of magicians. And the description of the Magic Castle as a popular Hollywood nightclub with restaurant, bars, and magic "performances" in three "theaters" further promotes an accurate interpretation.

Still, the link to illusionist magic is informative and is probably beneficial to the overall article so I'm inclined to go along with it.

But adding the adjective "illusionist" three times in one article seems a bit excessive. And the link to the Magic disambiguation page is not so beneficial. It's confusing and tells the reader nothing about the Magic Castle. Remember, the article is about a nightclub, not about magic in its various forms.

So feel free to remove the links or keep them. I don't care. But let's limit it to one or two and stay focused on the Magic Castle itself.

Differing opinions are invited.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 16:52, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I think that's a good enough solution, RG. Though I don't particularly like the term "illusionist" magic as it's an ambiguous term with a meaning within the craft that means stage magic with big props. However, I don't go with Robert Neale's use of the term "conjuring" magic as a differentiating term to clarify tricks from ritual magic. Because, of course, the word "conjuring" has its use in ritual magic as well, whereas "illusion" makes it clear you are tricking the senses.

I don't like the possible false connotation that stage illusion is the primary version of the artform at the Castle, which isn't the case.

Of course, nobody likes the word "trick". So we're kind of stuck.

How about "... the performance of magic"?

Siamang (talk) 19:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't know. Upon reading the article again, I think it's unnecessary.

Here's the phrase: " nightclub for illusionist magicians". Here's my question: is the word "magician" in general usage, ever really referring to anyone but a performing artist? especially in the context of the word "nightclub"?

It's been awhile since i was hanging out at the Psychic Eye bookstore, but I pretty much think that the word "magician" covers it. Are there any believing, practicing ritualistic Shamans or Wiccans or whoever who refer to themselves as "magicians" rather than a "magus"?

I say just use the word magician and link it to the page on performance magic.

Siamang (talk) 19:35, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Siamang (Bruce?),

Sorry for the late response - Busy week.

IMHO, those are all good points.

My openness to having "something" added is based on the notion that while WE automatically understand the performance context, someone unfamiliar with the MC or from a different culture might not. And in fact, I know of at least one Wiccan who is a regular AMA member.

At the same time, the more I study the text, the more I dislike seeing the word "illusionist." It just doesn't read well.

So I'm going to follow your last suggestion.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 03:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)


Restored the word "authentic" in History section since the building was in fact designed and built in the Chateau or Chateauesque style, as opposed to being a modern structure to which the design was later or superficially added. Not a big deal but the word is appropriate. Does not require being built in France many centuries ago. It's just an architectural style. Rollin's Ghost (talk) 08:53, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Neil Patrick Harris[edit]

Why no mention of Neil Patrick Harris being the President or any of the board members of the Magic Castle? TacfuJecan (talk) 08:59, 3 June 2012 (UTC)