Bill Bixby's "The Magician" on DVD

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Guest » 03/19/07 08:21 PM

Has anyone heard if Bill Bixby's "The Magician" TV series will ever be released on DVD.
I have seen some bootleg copies on EBAY in the past. I believe that it would sell well to Magicians and non-Magicians alike.

To those of who are too young to remember the show, Bill Bixby played a World Famous, globe trotting Magician who was also a part time crime solver. Many famous Magicians appeared in cameos on the show (eg: Dai Vernon) and there were "inside" jokes and references to the Magic Castle. The technical advisor and magic teacher to Bill Bixby was Master Magician Mark Wilson. There were many large illusions and great close up magic featured in the show's two season run.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/19/07 10:04 PM

Hi Terry,

There is no word from Paramount that I know of yet. It seems to me that theres a site that monitors such announcements, but cant seem to find it.

There was a grassroots petition effort a few years ago. You can read about it by clicking here.

Also, I penned an in depth piece, including a synopsis of each episode, on the show in the November 2004 issue of Genii. Of course, if you were a current subscriber to Genii, youd know that! :D

You can still purchase back issues of that magazine by clicking here.

Dustin
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Postby Guest » 03/20/07 05:11 AM

I have to admit to buying a bootleg set off of ebay, and would jump at the chance of having a better copy.
Ive got to say though, it's very cheesy viewing these days.Still important to magic though, with some of the biggest effects of the day making an apearance.
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Postby Guest » 03/23/07 11:10 AM

I really enjoyed that article. A great snapshot of an important show...

Matthew
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Postby Guest » 04/02/07 10:46 PM

I remember being able to thank Bill Bixby for being the inspiration that got me into magic, at the Magic Castle awards banquet years ago. He sure played an important role in my childhood with "My Favorite Martian", "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "The Magician".
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Postby Guest » 04/03/07 03:08 AM

Greg, your a lucky man to be able to thank your heroes. Unfortunatly most of mine passed away before i had the chance to meet them, and those that are still around get me all silly when i meet them, and i just cant think of a thing to say. I just stare and look like i should be in a home for special people :)
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Postby JKeppel » 04/15/07 08:45 AM

Maybe there is a chance to get "The Magician" on DVD yet. TV Guide Magazine is starting to but out some lesser known and "One season" TV shows out on DVD. One of their first 3 releases next month is "Banacek" which I have longed for for quite a while. George Peppard played an insurance investigator who solved imnpossible disappearences to save the company from paying out. It was a part of the second mystery wheel on Wednesday nights after the success of the first mystery wheel on sundays nights with Columbo, McMillan and Wife, and McCloud. It only lasted 16 episodes and the LAST one was about a vanishing magician. TV guide is putting this out through a company called Hart Sharp Video. I suggest writing them and inquiring about "The Magician"
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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 10:42 AM

I just looked up Hart Sharp Video and the contacts for marketing are:

matt.peacock@hartsharpvideo.com

marylou.bono@hartsharpvideo.com

I sent off a short polite request explaining the series, with a link to it on IMDB.com, and asked that they consider releasing it again.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/15/07 12:36 PM

I remember George Peppard in Banacek--he had a weird hairdo. Loved those rotating Mystery Movies when I was a kid.
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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 02:45 PM

I loved all those old shows. Was Banacek part of the rotating Columbo, McCloud, McMillan and Wife series of Sunday night mystery movies? They were all so well done.

I always liked the Columbo episode with Jack Cassidy as The Great Santini, although the music and some of the magic seems a little cheesy today, (maybe even then)? Anyone remember a young Patrick Culliton as Danny Green?

Is it just me, or is quality stuff like those old shows just gone from TV now days? There sure seems to be a creativity void with network TV and movies.
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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 03:24 PM

Bill was a nice man. When I was doing my bio on Gene Roddenberry I dropped Bill a note as he and Gene had been friends. One afternoon the phone rang, it was Bill responding to my note.

We talked for almost half an hour. He gave me some details of his friendship with Gene, I mentioned my magic connection and how much I enjoyed both The Magician and all of his work and then broached the delicate subject of his health. (It was well-known that he was fighting cancer.)

He responded candidly that he was trying something experimental and that he was feeling OK at the time and about to go on vacation with his family. He was in no rush to end the converation, was quite casual and informative and very approachable. I thanked him for the call and asked if he wouldn't mind if I contacted him if I had any other questions. He said it would be fine.

A month later he was dead, a fine talent who was well thought of in the business, gone too soon.
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Postby NCMarsh » 04/15/07 05:16 PM

Is it just me, or is quality stuff like those old shows just gone from TV now days? There sure seems to be a creativity void with network TV and movies.
I love classic TV (I am a huge fan of Ernie Kovacs), but I think that every generation has its share of crap...in the moment, surrounded by it, the crap is what's most visible...Decades later, surrounded by new crap, the things that come to mind from 20-30 years earlier are the few things that are still worth watching and remembering...

I am sure that years from now I'll be lamenting the era of "smart" TV that produced Law and Order, The Daily Show, Frontline The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Sex and The City...having (hopefully!) long forgotten about Nancy Grace, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, the Howie Mandel briefcase thing, Ugly Betty...etc., etc.

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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 05:56 PM

Is it just me, or is quality stuff like those old shows just gone from TV now days? There sure seems to be a creativity void with network TV and movies.
In some cases I would say "Don't talk too soon."
I have fond memories of shows from my youth. "Mork & Mindy", "Buck Rogers", "The A-Team" and most of all "Battlestar Galatica."
Of course I have had ample opportunity to see these beloved shows of my youth thanks to the abundance of "Retro" TV channels and it hurts to realise that these shows were, well, bad. Really, really bad. So bad it hurts.
Thankfully some shows, dare I say "Knight Rider" and "WKRP" hold up thanks to low expectations (Knight Rider) and just plain old quality (WKRP, the old WKRP with the real music.).
A while ago a friend and I were reminiscing about a show we both enjoyed called "Quark." Of course a sadness came over us when we realized that the show probably sucked.
Ah, the innocence of youth.

Gord
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/15/07 07:10 PM

So much of our fondness for old TV shows is derived from our nostalgia for them and the time in which we watched them.
In New York, WPIX played reruns of the Honeymooners and The Twilight Zone every night for most of my life. When you realize that they kept running the same 36 episodes of the Honeymooners over and over again, it's remarkable. I can't tell you how many times I've watched them. Even today, they still hold up.
On the other hand, I watched Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and Wild Wild West when they first came out. Enjoyed them--delights of boyhood. Today, the only one that holds up as an adult is Wild Wild West. Lost in Space is unbearable because of that old fool Dr. Smith, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is cheap and repetitive.
I never thought "The Magician" was a good show, but lots of guys who watched it when they were pre-teens or early teens have fond memories of it.
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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 07:22 PM

Good points Nathan,Gord and Richard (I loved WWWest).

I was speaking mainly of the specific shows like the old Columbos, McCloud, Banacek and The Magician shows that really made an impression on me. And Columbo in particular still holds up extremely well even today. Good acting, writing, and story lines that are believable, and make you think. There is not a single network (ABC,NBC,CBS) show that I regularly tune into anymore, too may other interests (and channels) these days. Although multiplying the number of channels has also multiplied the amount of crap. Its sad when I can scan through 100 odd stations and say - there is nothing on TV! Im glad I have a nice magic library; I just read more these days.

I guess its analogous to music; there is nothing today that can compare to the music of our youth. Just a sign of getting older I guess. Whats the old line, you know your getting old when you dont like your kids music?

Sorry for straying off topic a bit.

Mark
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Postby JKeppel » 04/15/07 07:51 PM

Richard, I agree with you that watching a lot of these old shows they have not held up. BUT, I have been watching the release of Moonlighting and they seem as fresh today as they were 20 years ago. Im here in PA and I too watched the old BANG, zoom, every night on channel 11. I still love 'em.
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Postby Guest » 04/16/07 11:32 AM

For me The Magician is fun because of the retro look at the early 1970's. When car phones and LED watches were cutting edge, chic, and cool. Plus the high quality of the film allows everything to look brand new. It's really a sort of retro time machine, and thus fascinating.
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Postby Guest » 04/19/07 01:18 PM

Gord - You give me hope! I thought I was the only person who remembered Quark.

Earlier in the thread Dale said Greg was lucky to have gotten to thank his hero. I absolutely agree. A personal hero of mine published his memoir a couple years ago. In it he mentioned how he ended up working with the very stage actor who had inspired him to become an actor years before. He never took the opportunity to tell the hero his influence. That story got to me and so I penned a letter to the author, my hero. About a month later I received a personalized signed photo from the actor - something he is known to rarely do. With the photo I got a letter thanking me for my note and asking me not to publicize the fact he sent me the photo. (Hence my vague nature about who the actor is.)

Take the time to thank your heroes and mentors while they are still here. They don't have to be actors - they might relatives, clergy or anyone who helped you become who you are. Even if they never acknowledge it, you've told them and will never regret not taking the opportunity.
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Postby Guest » 04/19/07 01:46 PM

BTW, the website for the place that monitors which TV shows are appearing on DVD, and when, is the terrific TV Shows on DVD . These guys are great, and are often the first to find scoops.

--Josh
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/19/07 03:44 PM

That's the one I was talking about! Thanks Josh!
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Postby Jim Martin » 04/19/07 07:16 PM

Among other things from "The Magician", I can still vividly recall a KILLER trumpet fanfare on the opening theme music - talk about magic!

Just found this link - take a step back in time!

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=125769
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Postby Guest » 04/19/07 07:51 PM

Here's a nice bit of "Anthony Blake" magic and a tiny bit of Larry Anderson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chHhlNxw ... ed&search=
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Postby Guest » 04/19/07 09:45 PM

Josh
Thanks for the link. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on it and saw that "Voyagers", one of my all time favourite shows is finally being released.
Huzzah!!!!

Gord
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Postby Guest » 04/20/07 05:15 AM

Nathan Coe Marsh wrote:
I love classic TV (I am a huge fan of Ernie Kovacs),
Nathan.....Way back when, I was an Official EEFMS member. <grin>

Adrian
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Postby Robert Toomer » 04/20/07 02:55 PM

Don't know if this belongs here, but talking about old tv shows, does anyone remenber the epasode of the $6,000000 dollar man that had to do with magic. I beleive Linda Blair was the guest star. Anyway at the start of said show Lee Majors was learning some magic from someone. They did I belive the hunted deck producing the four aces. Dose any know the name of the Magician that was shown. At the time I thought it was Mark Wilson, but then maybe Harry Lorayne. Just a little trivera I've been thinking about. Harry-was that you? Robert, :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/20/07 03:53 PM

From TV Guide: Six Million Dollar Man: Hocus Pocus
Steve poses as a magician to recover a stolen code book. Mark Wharton: Pernell Roberts. Steve: Lee Majors. Audrey: Robbie Lee. Will Collins: Jack Colvin. Oscar Goldman: Richard Anderson.

From VideoVista:
Hocus-Pocus gets our bionic man into showbiz, when he poses as a conjuror for a stage magic show, with psychic college student Audrey (Robbie Lee), whose mind reading act helps Steve locate and retrieve a stolen book of security codes.

From IMDb:
Revealing mistakes: When Steve is doing a card trick for Oscar, a visible wire moves the cards.

There is no mention of a magic consultant on any site. I can tell you that Mark Wilson does not include this show on his rsum of shows for which he consulted.

Dustin
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Postby Guest » 04/20/07 04:36 PM

Here's a link to The Magician TV series and summary of each episode. It also lists what magic was featured in each episode.

http://www.tv.com/the-magician/show/542 ... sodes;more
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Postby Guest » 04/20/07 08:59 PM

Damn! That film clip almost made me cry with nostalgia. And the music! Superb.
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