6 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY February 29-march 6, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com 831 A wise man once told Will Roberts that if he wanted to become an amazing magician, he first needed to learn how to act. At that time, more than 40 years ago, Roberts was a “misguided youth,” he says, but had found a passion in magic at Zucchini’s Tricks N’ Things, then located in the Edgewater Packing Company on Cannery Row in Monterey. Roberts had bought every trick there was at the shop, and was such a regular that owner Bryan Whitehead offered him a job. The sage advice stuck with him. He went on to perform in dozens of theatrical productions in Monterey, and his now 45-year acting career has seen him in countless films, television shows and commercials. He most recently portrayed General George C. Marshall in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Through it all, magic has also been a constant for Roberts. Going by the stage name Honest Huckster, Roberts is a member of prestigious magician societies such as Magic Castle and Magic Circle, and as a professional cowboy, holds the Guinness World Record for Gun Spinning and Most People Inside a Spinning Lasso. With a career that features numerous accolades and credits, he recently returned to where it all began. Roberts is the owner of Zucchini’s Tricks N’ Things, the oldest brick-andmortar magic shop in California, which in recent weeks underwent a transformation and moved across the street from the Monterey Canning Company to 660 Cannery Row, Suite 119. Now called The Magic Wand at Zucchini’s Magic Shop, the shop features custom magic wands created from wood salvaged from Monterey Bay shipwrecks and driftwood. Seance Cannery Row is now located inside the shop, led by Chris Herren on stage with regular shows. Roberts says he keeps in contact regularly with Whitehead, who suggested Roberts take over Zucchini’s. At the time, Roberts, who currently resides in the Los Angeles area, wasn’t entirely sold on the prospect, living seven hours away. But the actors’ strike of 2023 caused him to rethink the proposal. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘you know, I think I might take over Zucchini’s,’” he says. Then located at 711 Cannery Row, Suite H, Roberts set about gutting the place, painting it red and black to make it more mysterious. The renovation left a large empty spot inside the shop, and Roberts, with his background in theater, sensed an opportunity. He joined forces with fellow magician Herren, who suggested bringing his one-man seance show to Cannery Row. Roberts thought it was a perfect fit. “I wanted it to not be a ‘pick a card’ show,” he says. “I didn’t want it to be cheesy with the ruffled shirt and bow tie. I wanted it to be something where it actually took on a little bit of life of Cannery Row.” As such, Seance Cannery Row touches on the historical people of Cannery Row, and before the show, Roberts leads a ghost tour of the area to give audience members a taste of the past. And he is quick to point out that the “seance” doesn’t involve what might come to some people’s minds after hearing the word. “I promise you there’s no sacrificing of goats,” Roberts says. Although the shop was housed there for more than 20 years, the location had its limitations. Mainly, it was tucked away deep in the Monterey Canning Company building and not immediately visible to passersby, Roberts says, prompting the move. The shop’s involvement with customers doesn’t end after they purchase a magic trick and walk out the door. “I want you to walk out and really feel as though you understand how it works,” he says. “Magic is probably one of the funnest, easiest things to do, and yet it can be extremely difficult. If you need someone to help you along, we’re your virtual wizards.” The Magic Wand at Zucchini’s Magic Shop is located at 660 Cannery Row, Suite 119 in Monterey. For information, visit zucchinismagicshop.com. Will Roberts performs 6pm Monday, March 4 at Oscar’s Playground, 685 Cannery Row, third floor. Tickets are $20. 241.6616, oscarsplayground.com. Cannery Conjuring California’s oldest brick-and-mortar magic shop adds wands and ghost tours to its repertoire. By Erik Chalhoub The newly rebranded The Magic Wand at Zucchini’s Magic Shop on Cannery Row features custom magic wands made from shipwrecks and holds regular ghost tours and seances to teach customers about the history of the area. “I promise there’s no sacrificing of goats.” TaLeS FrOm The area cODe DANIEL DREIFUSS