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Review of Early TV Magic

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Review of Early TV Magic
If you want to watch magic as it appeared during the early days of television, you’ll enjoy this three-disc DVD set. The collection includes appearances by Blackstone Sr., Norman Jensen and Gerrie Larson, as well as shows that include: "The Great Merlini," "Mandrake," "Mr. Magic" and "Fun with Felix." There's some five hours of footage that has been digitally enhanced.


The best thing about this DVD set is watching Blackstone Sr. in action, who gets an entire disc to himself. You get to see Blackstone performing a variety of tricks under different conditions.

The second disc, called "Magic Matinee," features two mystery crime programs: "Mandrake the Magician," which starred Coe Norton and "The Great Merlini," which was based on Clayton Rawson's detective novels.

While the magic in these shows is rather limited, perhaps they're significant because they show how producers of the era were experimenting with the presentation of magic and the segments show how the public envisioned magic at the time.

The remaining shows are more variety magic style shows that include "Mr. Magic with Norman Jensen and J.J.," "Fun with Felix," "You Can Do It, Too" and "The Magic Clown." The J.J. rabbit puppet and "The Magic Clown" are downright creepy.

The third disc is devoted to Gerrie Larsen's "The Magic Lady." Here, Larson sings and performs magic in a fairytale setting - seven episodes in all.

This three-DVD set was created with film historian William McIlhany. For those who are interested in viewing the early footage of magic as it appeared on television, this DVD can be worth the price.

MSRP: (US) $100

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Dealers can purchase from Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.

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