Behind the Scenes at LA’s Mysterious Magic Castle

Editor's Note"Job Goals" is our brand new weekly show on Facebook Watch that explores the .001% of the population who earn a living in ways that makes the other 99.999% remarkably jealous. People like marijuana critics, boozy adult summer camp leaders, and ice cream flavor-inventors. Catch new episodes every week right here

For every adolescent bookworm who reacts at the sight of Daniel Radcliffe, there's Harry Potter. But for every adult with a swanky suit or perfectly hemmed dress, there's a little Hollywood institution called the Magic Castle. First opened in 1963, the Magic Castle is a haven for premier magicians who ply their craft inside the house's stately, labyrinthine walls. 

The Magic Castle is an exclusive club that boasts 32 nightly shows across four showrooms, so it helps to have Joe Furlow there directing all the ethereal traffic. As the General Manager at the Academy of Magical Arts, he's literally the man behind all the glitter and stardust, adjudicating every shuffle of a deck and celebrity cameo. Furlow welcomed Thrillist to his office for the latest episode of the new "Job Goals" series on Facebook Watch, explaining how he's happy to help orchestrate the show. 

"It's about taking you back to the first time you saw a trick... and the sense of wonder," he said. "You have to come back multiple times to absorb everything the castle has to offer."

That same sense of wonder permeates everything Furlow does inside the Magic Castle. "First and foremost, I'm a fan of magic... My uncle was a professional magician, magic was in my life since I was a kid," he said. It doesn't take a hypnotist to transport Furlow back to his first memory of the castle, when he was seven-years-old. "It was a combination of walking through the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and obviously your grandmother's house. It was truly spectacular, it was mind blowing." 

It isn't easy to become a verified magician by the Magic Castle's stringent standards, although it does offer memberships to enthusiasts of all stripes. "We have people who work for the IRS that are hobbyist magicians that come in. They don't talk to you about what they do during the day, they just wanna talk about magic," Furlow said. After all, the Magic Castle maintains 5,300 members, ranging from casual dabblers to the very foremost illusionists in the game. 

"I take the greatest pleasure in seeing someone's mind blown," he said. "They forget about the problems they're having in their lives -- the mortgage, their job -- they forget about marriage problems, they forget about the kids. And it takes them back to when they were a kid, when it was simple." 

And if it isn't magic helping Furlow perform what he calls "the coolest job on the planet," we don't know what is. 

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.