Wizard Wednesday: Frank Garcia

Frank Garcia

Welcome to Wizard Wednesday! In this new weekly series, we will pick a photo from the wall that greets you at our entrance and take an in-depth look at the performer pictured. Since we're in the heart of New York City, we decided to start with a fellow New Yorker: Frank Garcia. Frank Garcia (1927-1993) was a regular fixture at the Tannen's scene in the latter half of the 20th century. Frequently seen behind the counter, he was known for his friendly and jovial (though occasionally and memorably combative) spirit, and he was a mentor to a generation of magicians at Tannen's. In his younger years, he was a boxer known as Pungy Laforge, and it was through boxing that he befriended Jimmy Grippo, a boxing manager and legendary magician. An expert in sleight of hand and gambling scams, he was dubbed "The Man with the Million Dollar Hands" as well as "The Gambling Investigator." This 1967 photograph of Garcia working the Three Shell Game was taken as a promotion for the film The Flim Flam Man. One of the most memorable stories about Frank happened in the early 1950's while he was working the register at Tannen's. He placed a dollar bill in the register, closed the drawer, and walked several feet away. As he waved his fingers toward the register, a dollar bill started to creep out. It slowly inched its way free and flew halfway across the room into his Million Dollar Hands, which caused jaws to drop in the gathered consigliere of magicians. The fact that this was decades before tricks like the floating bill or the haunted bill were invented is why this story was so memorable to all who were there.