The founder of Gearbox Entertainment is making magic with a new acquisition
Frisco-based Gearbox Entertainment Group is perhaps known for its signature video game series Borderlands which prominently features queer characters in its cast. Not only that, Dallas Voice last summer featured Dan Hewitt, CCO of Gearbox, who spoke about the queer-friendly environment the company has cultivated with great credit to its founder Randy Pitchford. Pitchford and his company have also took a stand against Governor Abbott’s legislation targeting trans youth.
Today, Pitchford is in the news for totally different – and magical – reasons.
Pitchford bought magic castle where the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) calls its clubhouse. A magician himself, Pitchford is a life member of the AMA. In addition to the Magic Castle and its management of Gearbox Entertainment, Pitchford owns Genii, the leading magazine dedicated to magicians and the magical arts that Academy of Magical Arts founder William Larsen Sr. started in 1936.
“The magic castle is like bedrock – the focal point of magic. The people who call the castle home and the place itself seem to have magical properties that have created and inspired some of the world’s greatest artists,” Pitchford said in a press release. “I am proud to be trusted to give back to the place that made me the guardian of the Magic Castle and to work with its members and the Larsen family to ensure the growth and prosperity of our most important clubhouse. amazing for decades to come.”
Pitchford, is the great-nephew of the 20th century master magician, the Grand Cardini.
He bought the Magic Castle, a private club in Hollywood where guests could only be invited or accompanied by a member of the Glover family, who had owned the property since 1961. The same year, Thomas Glover rented the building to William (Bill ) Larsen Jr., Irene Larsen and Milt Larsen, who all started the Magic Castle. This sale of the Magic Castle brings together two great families of the magical community: the Larsens and the Pitchfords.
“Randy’s purchase of the Magic Castle brings heart and soul back to this institution that I have loved and dedicated my life to. I know my parents would be thrilled with this news,” Erika Larsen, daughter of Magic Castle founders Bill and Irene Larsen, said in the statement. “Randy’s business acumen, long-standing commitment to magic, and love for the Magic Castle make him the perfect owner.”
A number of magic luminaries and celebrities have performed at the Magic Castle over the years, including Orson Welles, Johnny Carson, Steve Martin and former AMA President Neil Patrick Harris.
The magical community came out today to celebrate the purchase of Pitchford.
“Randy Pitchford has done something amazing to protect our beloved Magic Castle and I couldn’t be happier with where we are now as well as the outlook for the future. Randy truly understands and appreciates my vision and the vision of the Larsen family and there is no one better to continue what we started in 1963,” said Magic Castle co-founder Milt Larsen.
Marquee magicians David Copperfield and Penn Jillette weighed in on the purchase.
“Randy’s leadership presents an incredible opportunity for The Magic Castle and its future,” Copperfield, a multiple Emmy Award-winning illusionist and member of the AMA, said in the statement. “Randy brings to the table an incredible passion for magic and a remarkable track record of leading successful businesses. I can’t think of anyone better placed to honor the history of the Magic Castle, but to ensure that it retains its relevance and positions it for growth for years to come.
“I’ve known Randy Pitchford for years, and I know he has a day job, but in my mind he’s a magician. I believe Randy’s heart is in magic. Since knowing the castle magic is a little precarious. I’ve always worried about it. Now I don’t need it anymore. The Magic Castle, the most important gathering place for magicians, is now in good hands. I am relieved and delighted. Randy’s professionalism, his love for magic, and his commitment to entertaining the world are what the Magic Castle needs to propel it forward. The entire magical community applauds Randy and is excited about the news Magic Castle era. And maybe now I can go in without a tie because I know Randy,” added Penn Jillette of Emmy-winning legends Penn & Teller.
Before becoming a full-time video game developer, Randy was a professional magician in Hollywood, performing occasionally at the famed Magic Castle between classes at UCLA. Pitchford is a veteran of the video game industry for over 25 years and the founder of Gearbox Entertainment Company, which develops and publishes award-winning and best-selling video games through its subsidiaries, Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing, and produces groundbreaking film and television content. .
– from staff reports