|A two-story-high, chase-lighted marquee out front heralded the arrival of Baer's "Treasure Chest" and home of "Chicago's Magic Center." The Treasure Chest front entrance circa 1950.
In the 1960s & '70s, the Treasure Chest was a hang-out for Navy Cadets on a pass from Fort Sheridan, just north of Highland Park, about an hour's train ride away.
|Magician Marshall Brodien demonstrating at the Treasure Chest's Magic Center, the upstairs shop that catered to the pros.
|Marshall Brodien played Wizzo the Wizard on 'The Bozo Show.'
|Brodien's TV Magic Cards were first released in November of 1969. TV Magic Show was released in 1972.
|The Marshall Brodien Magic Shop in Old Chicago Shopping Mall and Amusement Park in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
When you entered the front door and walked past the counter on the right side, there were stairs leading to an upstairs shop on the right. The entrance had a velvet rope across it and a small sign saying "Abbott's Pro Shop." The rope barrier was to keep out the idly curious. You needed permission from an employee to go upstairs.
Although the upstairs Pro Shop had professional, high-quality, and expensive magic, the downstairs area had a magic area that sold some professional tricks.
Further down on the right side were the gag gifts; fake vomit, doggie poop, itching powder, plastic ice cube with a fly inside (my favorite prank), Pepper or Garlic Gum, hand buzzer shockers, and tons more cheap but fun gags.
On the left side, as you entered, were counters and shelving full of jewelry, watches, transistor radios, tape recorders, switchblade combs, and other kinds of "general merchandise." You could get your headline printed on the front page of a faux newspaper, i.e., "Dr. Smith Survives a Flood, Asteroid Strike, and Airplane Crash."
|1974 Midway Chopper helicopter coin-operated flying arcade game. It was touchy business making a toy helicopter to fly in slow circles and brush electric contacts with spring feelers before the timer ran out. My personal favorite mechanical game.
|Skee-Ball Machines... Win tickets and turn them in at the counter for a cheesy toy.
|Examples of the type of pinball games. Not a Treasure Chest photo.
By 1980, the hours were changed to 9 AM-10 PM Monday through Thursday, 9 AM-midnight on Friday & Saturday, and 12 PM-10 PM on Sunday.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.