Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hocus Pocus, The Santa Cruz Clown

Santa Cruz was home to the famous clown, Hocus Pocus, played by Denmark native Carl Hansen. Carl also played Santa Claus at Santa's Village park in Scotts Valley for five years before leaving for television to become the clown Hocus Pocus.

My memories of Hocus Pocus are from two separate events: the first was being in the studio audience of the Hocus Pocus show at the Group W building on Soquel Drive. Hocus Pocus asked people what they wanted to be when the grew up, and when he came to me, I said, "I want to be a captain" -- meaning a miltary officer (I guess), but he took it to mean the captain of a ship and I went along with it and nodded.

The second event was the annual Santa Cruz Halloween Parade from Branciforte Elementary school to Gault School. I was in the Branciforte Jr. High School marching band, and Hocus Pocus was one of the local Santa Cruz celebrities featured in the parade. He sat in a cool old car from the 1950s, and waved to the crowd as we marched in front of him.

Carl's wife, Florene Hansen, crafted all of his clown costumes that he used on the Hocus Pocus children's TV show, which aired on KNTV Channel 11 in Santa Cruz, from 1961 through 1971. Carl was a magician clown, with a number of magic tricks in his repertoire. He was born in 1904, and passed away in 1998 -- his obituary was published in The San Jose Mercury News.

27 comments:

  1. I have his autograph from the grand opening of Tropicana Village Shopping Center in East San Jose on Story and King Road from the 50-60's era.

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  2. I met him once. I lived on Old San Jose Road. It was the early 60s, and I was selling something on a roadside stand: lemondade or maybe rabbits. He stopped and asked if my sister and i recognized him. He was not in makeup. When he told us who he was, I immediately saw who it was. His voice was very distinctive. I was also in the marching band, but it was an orchestra! I played the cello strapped to my body. Mrs. Mueller was a nut!

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  3. I rember this show quite well it was one of my favorites growing up as a kid in the 60's. My older sister new him quite well and she took me to meet him and be on the show in 1965. Such great memories. He will surely be missed...

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  4. I was on his show twice as a kid, my dad worked for KNTV at the time. Tons of fun.

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  5. I was on his his show as a kid also...I wish I could find old TV footage of the show. He was great!

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  6. I was in the studio audience as a child and later, in the 1980's, ran into him at the Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater restaurant then in Capitola. He had a job distributing flyers promoting tourist attractions, the type you would typically find in restaurant and hotel lobbies.

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  7. I also appeared on the show half a dozen times or more as the kid who had the magic wand collapse in his hand after Hocus gave it to me; to try and perform the magic trick he just performed... I ran into him years later at the county fair. We had a great laugh over that. A great gentleman and performer of those times....

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  8. Oh my goodness, I still remember being on his show...I won a Big toy clock for having the biggest smile. He picked me up from the stage and let me pick any toy they had for the kids. I just wish I could see that clip from channel 11, San jose, ca. What great memories We all can share about Hocus Pocus. He was so nice.

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  9. My Father was the comptroller for channel 11 and so I and my sister were on the show a few times. One year channel 11 taped a special christmas show that we were on. My favorite memory was when one summer channel 11 had a company picnic. There was a large olympic size pool with a low board and a ten meter board. I was maybe 9 or 10 I suppose. This very nice old fellow started swimming with me and helped me get my courage up to jump off the 10 meter board with him. We ended up playing in the pool all day long. Afterwards my Dad asked me if I'd had fun swimming with Hocus Pocus. I didn't know what he was talking about. I hadn't seen Hocus Pocus. Then he explained that the man I'd been swimming with was the clown without his makeup. I was overwhelmed! Hocus Pocus was my friend!!

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  10. My Father delivered Farmer Bros. Coffee to Santa's Village and knew Carl. My sister and I thought it was cool my Dad actually knew a celebrity.

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  11. My brother's, sister and I were on his TV show numerous times. My brother and I also took magic lessons from Hocus for about 2 years and we performed at a few local talent shows around the Santa Cruz area. I have used the slight of hand magic that I learned from Hocus to perform many magic shows for my childrens' school's over the past twenty years!! They still love the old school magic!!! Hocus was truly an incredible man!!

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  12. Readers might find this interesting... http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOCUS-POCUS-Bay-Area-1960s-TV-Clown-Self-Portrait-Painting-Extremely-Rare-/251434235512?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a8aa5f678

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  13. http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOCUS-POCUS-Bay-Area-1960s-TV-Clown-Self-Portrait-Painting-Extremely-Rare-/251434235512?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a8aa5f678

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  14. I was on the show at least twice- once with my cub scout den. Today KNTV studio burned down- but I will always remember it happily. Thank you, SHL Saratoga, CA

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  15. Couple weeks before the old KNTV station burned down, I drove past it and recalled when I was on the Hocus Pocus show in 1960s when I was in third grade. The class went to the station and we were the audience. TV show had cartoons and then would go live with Hocus doing stuff to make the kids laugh. They gave us toy musical instruments to play (I'm sure soundman kept our part low volume as none of us were musicians). I remember the huge cameras and tons of equipment and cables from our view that you don't see on TV. A friend found this site and forwarded to me when I mentioned being on Hocus Pocus show (hey I recall that Ch 11 logo). My perception at the time was Hocus national like Bozo and just happened to host here locally for a bit, I didn't realize he was local to this area. Too bad the home VCR was not available at the time to record it (Richard Elkus at Ampex had a team working on one but it was late 1970s when Japanese made it enter consumer markets). Hey, maybe there is footage on youtube from transferred reel-to-reel!

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  16. Mike here from SJ again. A friend found these youtube videos. This of Hocus Pocus show open and close,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlvKsImrySk

    And this of vintage KNTV footage with logo similar to the NASA worm (alright, who was first?), includes comments about HP
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HqSEg3l1d4
    I remember of KNTV transmitter right on top of Loma Prieta, the tallest tower on the tallest mountain. Super coverage into forests of Santa Cruz county, but can still hear every 11 seconds, "bzzzzzt" on audio from Mt. Umhunum radar.
    Part 2, with comment from someone else on the show
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTw-EGOYMk

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  17. I remember as a child in the 70's watching the tv show and then my Mom taking me, my brother, two sisters, godbrother and godsister to be on the tv show. We were so exicted to see Hocus Pocus and be on tv.

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  18. My Dad was Mgr. of Santa's Village & Owner of the Mystery Spot. I knew "Hockie" all my life. A really wonderful guy. He would stop by our house on Linden St. in full costume after the show. Carl was also a Champion Boxer in the Marines. He and my Dad would always end up sparring on the front lawn - with all the neighborhood kids yelling, "Get him Hockie!, punch him..." What a scene! Only in Santa Cruz.

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    Replies
    1. Omgoodnees I grew up in Santa Cruz and was on the hocus pocus w/my brother Todd and cousin Ronnie thank u for bring the great past back w/all these comments even Santa's village. My 11 year old thought I was nuts making this up thank you have a blessed life u made my day ;)

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  19. How fun! Thank you for posting these great memories! My pre-school class was taken to the studio and filmed for the Hocus Pocus show . . . but I had to have been at least 3 at the time, so it must have been in 1972 or 1973. Does that make sense? My Mother seems to remember that the studio was in San Jose by then, not Santa Cruz. Does anyone else remember that? Sadly, I remember almost nothing about the filming or the show . . . in fact, I'd been telling people I had been on Romper Room! :) Memories are so strange . . . I wish the show was available on DVD! Netflix? Hello?

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  20. I was on his show when I was probably 5 or 6. My only clear memory of it was when he asked what you should do if you saw a fire. I knew the answer from previous shows, but he called on two other kids who both got it wrong. I remember I was waving my arms frantically. He finally called me and I said, call the fire department. I got to be fire chief and wear the hat, but that is about all I remember.

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  21. wasn't there an earlier clown show in the 50's? The father of a classmate at Lincoln Glen elementary--Mary Jo Morton-- had a clown show on the San Jose TV station.

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  22. I was on his show in the late 60's. I was very small and my mother got my older brother and sister on too along with a neighbor, Debbie Pennington. I don't remember much about it. At the time I didn't think much about it. Good remembering those little things in life that make you smile.

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  23. Deanna "DeeDee" Lloyd - McManusFebruary 2, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    My Mom got me on the Hocus Pocus show in 1971, I was dressed up as Raggedy Ann and my red wig fell off which made me cry, Hocus Pocus felt sorry for me and he let me wear his hat! In hide sight maybe he was just trying to stop my crying. I don't remember if kids always dressed up to be on the show or if it was Halloween. I do remember feeling so special that I was on the show! Great memory!

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  24. I remember watching the show. Once my god brother and god sister were on the show. That morning I sat in front of the tv watching, with my thumb in my mouth. My parents were always trying to get me to stop. As I watched, Hocus Pocus looked right into the camera and said "Mark, take your thumb out of your mouth" I just about choked. It wasn't until years later that I realized that my godmother had asked Hocus Pocus up to say that. I totally thought he could see me in my livingroom!

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  25. It was 1970, I was 5 and my mom took me to the show. To this day I can remember the moment I saw my image on the screen; I was terrified! That image has stuck with me my whole life. Just recently I revealed this childhood trauma to my husband after 30 years of marriage. I remember it like it was yesterday.

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  26. That's right KNTV 11 San Jose. Hocus Pocus has a studio here in Santa Cruz, in one of those shops at the corner of South Morrisey Blvd. and Soquel Ave. I guess nobody knows what a VHS tape is or may be eight tracks tape that was used to tape the show here in Santa Cruz and bring it over the hill to have it broadcast over the air! No cable is required to watch the TV show for kids back then in 1971. Just rabbit ears antenna and TV with dial knobs were used back then to watch the show in the afternoon? Yes, that was a Marching Orchestra that Miss Mohller(sp?) put together for the Halloween East side Parade. Ms. Mohller even made a special one wheel cap to put onto the pin at the base of the cello so the cello player could play and march on Soquel Ave. with all these kids dressed in hallowee customs! Hence it was also called a kiddie parade. The members wear white pants/white socks and white shoes white burette(sp?french style cap like the ones sousaphone players, Frenchmen wear)....The October parade was also referred to as the "Kiddy Parade" in the 1970s.

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