Gearbox co-founder/CEO/magician Randy Pitchford has bought The Magic Castle. It’s an iconic Hollywood property that’s both home to The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), and has also been the subject of serious allegations of a “variety of abuses, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of race or gender.”
Those allegations against the Academy, first made public in a report by the LA Times in 2020, can be read here. They’ve loomed over the organisation, and the building, ever since, though as this more recent report shows, some of the magicians performing there (and the Academy itself) have been trying to implement changes.
Pitchford didn’t disclose how much he paid for the historic building—which was named a “Cultural Monument” by the city in 1989—though he is its first new owner in over 50 years, with The Magic Castle having been in the Glover family since 1961.
“The Magic Castle is like bedrock--the center point of magic. The people who think of the Castle as their home and the place itself seem to have magical properties that have created and inspired some of the world’s greatest entertainers,” Pitchford, himself a member of the AMA, said in a statement. “I’m proud to be trusted to both give back to the place that made me to become the custodian of the Magic Castle and to work with its members and the Larsen family to ensure our most incredible club house grows and thrives for decades to come.”
If you’re curious, here’s what the place looks like:
Ah, sorry. Here’s what the place looks like:
Magic duo Penn & Teller also commented (or at least wrote) on the sale:
Penn: I’ve known Randy Pitchford for years, and I know he has a day job, but in my mind he’s a magician. I believe Randy’s heart is in magic. For as long as I’ve known about the Magic Castle it’s been a bit precarious. I always worried about it. Now I don’t need to. The Magic Castle, the most important gathering place for magicians is now in safe and loving hands. I’m relieved and delighted. Randy’s professionalism, love for magic, and commitment to entertaining the world are what the Magic Castle needs to propel it forward. All of the magic community is applauding Randy and excited about the new era of the Magic Castle. And maybe now I can get in without a tie because I know Randy.
Teller: The Magic Castle is the heart of American magic. It’s both a great performing venue and a historical and a cultural landmark. But a major fire and the pandemic put its future in doubt. I’m so happy to hear that Randy Pitchford has been able to help the Castle survive, thrive, and expand. Randy’s one of the top entertainment producers in the world, with deep roots in the history and practice of magic. We all owe him a big thanks.