Magic Castle, Where Aspiring Magicians Cut Their Teeth

Before they become the next Houdini or Copperfield, illusionists audition to join this exclusive club.
3:00 | 09/18/14

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Transcript for Magic Castle, Where Aspiring Magicians Cut Their Teeth
Tonight, we're infiltrating one of the most exclusive clubs in America. Once you're inside, nothing is what it seems. Many of its members are famous, and aspiring ones fight for a coveted spot to join their ranks and get a shot at becoming the next whoa Dee knee. But just one bad hand can ruin everything. Here's ABC's David Wright. Reporter: Before you get your name up in lights on the las Vegas strip, surrounded by a bevy of showgirls, or even lions and tigers, before you can even hope to get your own network primetime special, like David Blaine. Oh! Reporter: You got to hone your craft. Unbelievable! Reporter: What better place than at magic's most exclusive venue. Open sesame, please. Reporter: That is cool. A private club in Hollywood, unlike any other in the world. Does he really say open sesame here? You should try it. Reporter: Open sesame. The academy of magical arts. Better known as the magic castle. The dumbledore of this real-lime hogwarlts is Erika Larson. The academy of magical arts was started by my grandfather in 1952, in the pages of genie magazim magazi magazine. He thought it would be great to have an organization purely about magic. Reporter: Like the friar's club, but for magicians. You could say that, actually. That's not bad. Reporter: The members include all the big name megaearning magicians in Vegas, David copperfield, David Blaine, Penn and teller. They're all members. They all come through here. There's a real love in the family of magicians. And they all appreciate the magic castle. It's been through a lot. In its 50 years, possibly the biggest magic trick of all is that we're still here. Reporter: It's partly a nightclub where magicians perform for the paying public, including plenty of Hollywood stars. And it's always a fraternity for magicians to share with each other some closely guarded trade secrets. There are masters and there are grand masters. Reporter: Which one are you? Grand master, I'm assuming. I am moral support. Reporter: There's magic in every room. From the portraits and posters looking down from the walls to the player piano in the parlor. A ghost named Erma, who is happy to take requests. It's a place to enjoy magic in all its forms. Card tricks and coin tricks at the bar. Slight of hand in the alcoves and lounges. And marquee performances in the big this heeaters. But there's only wail to become a member, with access to the ultra secret library of magical tricks and rights to perform at the castle. Ladies and gentlemen, Adam. Thank you. Reporter: An audition. Magic is a passion. A dream. Obsession. Reporter: The magic castle allowed "Nightline" to come behind the scenes to watch the audition process. Following three young members hoping to prove they can command a stage and enchant an audience. It's the underlining force behind almost everything for me. It's kind of elevator music in my mind, if you will. I'm jack. Lauren. Welcome. People are usually pretty shocked, because I'm a very nonassuming person. When I say to my friends, oh, I can't make that kickball game because I have magic class, people definitely question it and think that I'm playing April fools' jocks on them. Reporter: Some of them hoping to turn their hobby into a magical career. And initial on the tail side. And have your quarter. Open up your hand. This is yours with your nationals. I want you to write their name. Reporter: Alan is a social worker who helps out autistic children. Magic helps. All the cards should be going the same way. Reporter: 25-year-old Lauren works at match.com. A card trick can be an excellent ice breaker. How did you do it? Magic. Reporter: And 20-year-old Johna, a college student. All of them have paid their dues in one wail or another. I was bullied, so, my family thought, if you are interested in art and gymnastics and tennis instead of magic, you might have more friends. Reporter: Everybody loves magic as a child. Right. Reporter: And yet, magic has the sort of sense of, ma jixs aren't that cool. Yeah, it does, definitely. Reporter: Is that fair? I get that question all the time. Do you use magic to get girls? And I always go, no. Are you kidding me? Reporter: So, there's an awful lot riding on this audition. Jack goldfinger is on the selection committee. A small group of veterans tasked with determining if potential new members have what it takes. Wow. If magic became illegal tomorrow, is there enough evidence in their house to convict them? If there is, they're a magician. Reporter: This is a place for people who are great at magic and also for people who just appreciate magic. This is a place for people who love magic. Period. Reporter: The process is part performance, part interview. How long have you been doing magic? I was probably, I don't know, 6, 7 years old. Color-changing silk. Pretty simple. Into the tube like so. We got -- I hope we got -- ah, that's -- that's not right. See, now, remembering you do not cut the silk. I don't know know why -- it's magic. I got one of them. We'll try something else. Reporter: And it can be tough to perform in front of an audience that knows every trick. One, two, three. Reporter: Alan loses his way in the middle. It might be the movie. Either "Singing in the rain" or "Star wars." Sorry, I don't understand. But -- okay, you're right. Reporter: But the judges are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. You don't get a second chance in life but you do get a fresh start. Reporter: What these candidates lack in finesse, they make up for in passion. So, when the moment of truth finally comes. Basically, you've all passed the audition. Thank you, congratulations and welcome to the family. Reporter: They're as enchanted as harry potter. Young wizards who have just been given the keys to the magic castle. I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in Hollywood.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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