Gearbox founder and lifelong magician Randy Pitchford has reached an agreement to purchase Magic Castle in Hollywood. Magic Castle is a Franklin Avenue property loved by magicians and guests alike, a mix of clubhouse and performance venue, and Pitchford is investing money to preserve it just that way (thank you CBS (opens in new tab)).
“Basically everything I know about entertainment started at Magic Castle,” said Pitchford, whose magical specialty is sleight of hand. I feel like I owe my career to Magic Castle.”
Magic Castle is a Gothic-style Edwardian mansion built in 1908 by Rollin Lane, a Redlands financier and orange grower, and his wife, Katherine. In the 1960s it was purchased by the Glover family and leased to the founders of Magic Castle. It is home to the Academy of Magical Arts, a group of several thousand magicians and enthusiasts dedicated to the celebration and preservation of magic.
Recent times haven’t been very good, however, and the coronavirus forcing its temporary closure hasn’t helped. Last year, Magic Castle was also the subject of a LA Times investigation in which 12 guests and former staff accused academy staff and members of sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination based on race or gender.
The academy was the subject of several offers, including one from a real estate developer, and “was hastily running out of its nest egg,” Pitchford said.
The deal includes the Magic Castle Hotel, an on-site hotel, and Pitchford has yet to reveal pricing or his future plans. Other Random Magical Pitchford Facts: He is the great-nephew of 20th century master magician Richard Valentine Pitchford, known as the Great Cardini.
Famous magicians, including David Copperfield and Penn Jillete, lined up to praise Pitchfoed. “The entire magical community is cheering Randy and excited about the new era of Magic Castle,” said Jillette. “And now maybe I can go in without a tie because I know Randy.”