The Story of FUN
Based on the article by Gabe Fajuri,
“Gags to Riches,” which appeared in
the April 2001 issue of Magic Magazine.
Fun Inc. was founded by Jules Traub, who performed magic professionally as Stuart Jules. An occasional partner of Hardeen, the brother of Houdini, Traub worked hotels, night clubs and supper clubs around New York and New Jersey.
It was during a four-year engagement at the Terrace Room of the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan that Traub first launched a small, but successful magic and novelty shop in the hotel’s lobby. The “Stuart Jules House of Magic” gave Traub invalauble experience in the business of selling magic. It was at this time that the magician began dealing with the Brooklyn, NY-based Royal Magic Company. A company, whose name and manufacturing rights, Traub would later acquire.
In 1937, Traub moved his company to Chicago and in 1941,he incorporated the business as Fun Inc. The company marketed a broad range of magic tricks, gags, pranks and party items in novelty shops throughout the United States. Traub was the first to develop the idea of using a revolving display rack to sell merchandise through mainstream retailers – not just magic and novelty outlets. The idea proved a stroke of genius.
In the 1970s, magician Marshall Brodien contracted with Fun Inc. to manufacture the popular line of “TV Magic” tricks and sets. Soon after, Graham Putnam, a Masters program graduate from the University of Michigan Business School, purchased the company. Graham’s vision for the company included placing greater emphasis on magic and less on the novelty side of the business. Through hard work and perseverance, Graham and his wife, Kathryn, have grown Fun Inc. into the largest magic factory in America.
In the late 1990s, Fun Inc. acquired Hampton Ridge Magic Creations, an innovative company from West Virginia known for its attractively-priced and packaged range of tricks, books and videos geared to magicians with intermediate to advanced skills. While the Royal Magic line remains the firm’s core business, the acquisition of Hampton Ridge has helped Fun Inc. establish itself as a major distributor of professional quality magic.
Fun Inc. has also supplied many of the tricks for Lance Burton and Marshall Brodien magic sets, as well as for Marvin’s Magic and Paul Daniels in the United Kingdom and for touring shows, like Andre Kole’s.
In 2011, Graham & Kathryn Putnam decided to retire. Although they agreed to remain available in an advisory capacity, they sold the company to the Michals family on January 1, 2012. David, Kathy, and Andrew Michals have had a long relationship with Fun Incorporated as a supplier through their other factories. In addition, Andrew Michals, who has worked as a local magician since his early teens, credits his start in magic with receiving one of Fun Incorporated’s magic sets as a 9th birthday present.
Even though the ownership has changed, all the same office staff and factory personnel remain the same. The emphasis is to continue the same high level of quality and magic innovation while constantly improving manufacturing methods and technology.