Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Magic Castle movie? Already done.

This week it was announced that Scott Free Productions and Radar Pictures have teamed with Milt Larsen to develop a movie about the Magic Castle. Reports are they are "seeking to develop properties across various platforms and simultaneously exploring TV and digital opportunities." Radar had originally set up a Magic Castle movie at 20th Century Fox, and at one point had McG attached to direct, but the rights reverted back last year.

However, hardcore Houdini buffs will recall that a movie set inside the Magic Castle was already done in 1988 with Houdini as a main character! A Night At The Magic Castle starred comedian Arte Johnson as the ghost of Houdini who brings a 7-year-old boy to the Castle for a night of magic and adventure (which is every bit as creepy as it sounds). You can view select clips in this post from 2012. The full movie is also available on YouTube.

Here's my idea. Forget all the cross platform whatnot and make a movie about the true story of the creation of The Magic Castle by Bill, Milt and Irene Larsen in the 1960s. If you read Milt's 2012 series "50 Years at the Castle" in MAGIC Magazine, you'll know there's a wonderful story there about the rebirth of magic in a dying Hollywood. For me, this would be the best way to honor and immortalize the Magic Castle and its founders.

But I'm thinking they'll give us more ghosts and grade-schoolers.

"They're bringing us back!"



  1. When I heard the news of a Magic Castle movie, I assumed it would be about The Castle and its creators. So I'm with you John, they should do the true story of the Castle!

    1. I actually don't know what the idea behind the movie is. I assume it won't be the good idea we all want, because I'm cynical about Hollywood. (Or maybe just experienced.)

      Also, this is a development deal. A looooong way from becoming a real movie. How many times has The Hollywood Report ran a splashy story about a Houdini movie that we never hear about again.

      See, cynical. :)

  2. The "Magic Castle" name has been transitioning over to being called: "The Academy of Magical Arts" for over the past year.

    Even the outdoor awning over the main entrance no longer says "The Magic Castle" (why?--well, it's all politics & corporate legal stuff)...

    So, I wonder if a film about "The Magic Castle" will have "Magic Castle" in it's title and/or in promotional materials? (I don't see how it can not)...If so, then that would defeat all of the current signage & promotional club materials.

    I guess, we'll have to wait & see.

    1. That's another reason why I think a "Magic Castle" movie will have nothing to do with the AMA, its founders, or its history. It'll be about creating a Magic Castle brand and mythology all its own. That's what tantalizes the money folk.

      But, again, my bet is this never happens. The idea already came and went at Fox.

  3. What we see as Hollywood deviating from the actual story, they see a desire for a return on their investment plus profits. If that means creating a wild story that could bring in the required money, that would be acceptable.

    Since the investments are huge, a film that deviates from the money winning formula won't get made unless it's an indie.