Reviews & Ratings for
"The Magician" The Illusion of the Cat's Eye (1974)

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Above average. Two jokes, a good guest star, and one great magic trick.

8/10
Author: LarryBrownHouston from Houston
30 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Synopsis: Tony is called in as a consultant when a $3,000,000 Egyptian statue disappears right under its keepers' noses.

Larry-view: Not bad. 8* is generous, but it's about right given the weakness of the average "Magician" episode. This one features many guest appearances, one good guest star, and one great magic trick. We get two jokes, both funny, and that really helps the writing on this show. I haven't seen any jokes since some of the earliest episodes.

The big guest star is the "bad girl," and she's really gorgeous and glamorous, in the style of Joan Collins. She's not a great actress, but she's *just* good enough to avoid being bad and so she's fun to watch. We get a live panther in the plot. As usual, we get good location footage and action, including night scenes. I like the sound work in this show. The sound in the scenes in the vault is inconsistent, but sometimes you get an echoey effect that helps set the vault atmosphere. I love the sound in the night forest scene with the silence, the crickets, and footsteps. That's great that they were able to get that "hushed" effect with some large noisy crew right behind the camera. As usual there is precious little magic, ahhhhh! That's so annoying. Tony introduces Mark Wilson on to the Magic Castle stage and we don't get to see Mark do anything, not even a portion of a trick. Why do they do that? Magic is the gimmick of this show, we're in the Castle, it would fold into the plot, what's the problem? More magic would have helped make this show a historical document.

The show is a burglary caper mystery, can't go wrong with that. At the climax, the girl wears a hat and tuxedo outfit that doesn't play in the plot and looks odd. She looks like a magician.

Here is the magic I remember:

Tangerine and glass vanish,

Single card production from empty hand,

Card throw,

balloons into doves,

Mark Wilson produces two card fans from empty hand, assisted by Greg Wilson,

A great dove vanish using a box made of foil paper that is then torn to show that the doves aren't hidden. This is great and despite my knowledge of magical techniques and repeated slow-mo viewing, I can't see how he does it. It's very slick and convincing no matter what. I see no monkey business while Bill is loading the doves into the box. I don't think he could be loading the doves to his assistant, Larry, while only pretending to load the doves into the box. My best guess is the doves are hidden in a bag on the back of one of the foil panels, and when Bill rips the foil he only rips the half where the doves are not held, but I think I can see both sides of the panel too clearly and I see the panel edge on and there is no telltale bulge, and the paper rips too convincingly and Bill handles the panels too naturally and roughly for there to be a hidden load. The only suspicious thing I see, at all, is that the girl assistant makes a hasty exit before the trick is completed, leading me to suspect that she's dirty.

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