Monday, August 24, 2015

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Magicians

A magician -- or illusionist -- is a person who, by vocation and training performs tricks or acts of magic.  A magician often performs on stage, and in clubs. Stereotypical magician accouterments include a black top hate, a wand, and a cape.

Magicians have appeared frequently throughout cult-TV history, usually in heroic roles.

The TV series The Magician (1973-1974) starred Bill Bixby as illusionist Tony Blake, a man who would often use his skills in magic to help the unfortunate, or the wrongly-accused. 

At the start of the series, he was headquartered in a jet, and later, he moved into a magic club.  Bixby himself performed all the magic tricks on the series.

Over a decade later, Hal Linden starred in a similar series called Blacke's Magic (1986), about a magician named Alexander Black who, along with his father (Harry Morgan), solved mysteries, sometimes using magic.

Other series have featured memorable magician characters.  On Sesame Street, for instance, there's the Amazing Mumford a great -- but not always successful -- illusionist.

One of the best episodes of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories (1985 - 1987) anthology was called "The Amazing Falsworth" and involved, a magician (Gregory Hines) who, while undertaking his magic trick, determined that a serial killer was in the audience, watching his show and planning evil deeds.

And The X-Files (1993 - 2002) featured a great episode in its seventh season the subject of magic, called "The Amazing Maleeni." Here, Ricky Jay played a magician named Pinchbeck determined to perform an impossible that involved turning his head all the way around...

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