A period of decline in the popularity of magic set in, and the expansion of the late 1940’s were contrasted by the atrophy of the business in the early 1950’s. The business was failing to get the orders it had in the past. Magicians were not buying new tricks. Some magicians were not even replacing worn out equipment. Magicians, in general, were finding it difficult to find bookings. Some professional magicians were forced into other lines of work to earn a living. One major reason for all this, as explained by Percy, was the advent of television.
When he found out that one of his employees had purchased a television set, he exclaimed, “Don’t you know that is bad for business?” In his opinion (Bordner concurred), people would simply not turn out to see a live entertainment when they could sit in the comfort of their own homes and be entertained by the “magic box”. He was correct. Working magicians became fewer and fewer. The ultimate “trick” could be purchased at the electrical appliance store. How could pulling a rabbit out of a hat compete with a magical tube that could transport the viewer into fantasy land?
NOTE: After 22 years Tops Magazine’s run would come to an end, but it would be resurrected a few years later by Neil Foster as “The New Tops”.