This is how Paul Gross wants people to remember his long-time friend, Tony Blanco: poised, funny and magical. "It was Tony's personality. He was kind of a cross between Willy Wonka and Professor Magorium. He had the big top and big goatee," said Gross.
Gross owns Fresno's magic supply store, Hocus Pocus. He met Blanco 20 years ago and hired the local magician to help him with the business and the two become fast friends. Gross said, "Tony was a great guy. Tony was a ball of energy. If you described him he was always on the go. He could do everything. He was a juggler, a magician, a mime and a puppeteer.
During his career Blanco even appeared as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He also performed on the Las Vegas casino circuit. When those gigs dried up, he returned to the Valley to conjure up another audience.
Blanco loved performing for children and held shows for children at Fresno County Library's Summer Reading Program. Kari Johnson with the library said, "I think they just loved his personality. He was a master magician. He had a great sense of humor he loved entertaining the kids and brought smiles to everyone's' faces."