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The Magic Show (1983)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 3 March 1983 (Canada)
A young magician with an unorthodox look and style's first big break is threatened by a villainous rival.



(book), (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doug Henning ... Doug
... Cal
Jon Finlayson ... Van Zyskin
... Shumway
... Donna
... Dina
... Charmin
Paul Soles ... Manny
Paul Dorsey ... Barney
Paul Gordon ... Steve
Barnie Wood ... Mike
Aaron Ferguson ... 9 Year Old Boy
Eric Richard ... 8 Year Old Boy
Les Rubie ... Stage Doorman
Hadley Kay ... Boy in Audience


At the nightclub Chez Manny, a new young magician, Doug, and his assistant, Cal, are hired as the headline act. Unlike the washed up no talent, Van Zyskin with his cliché style, Doug is an young ingénue with long hair and casual clothes, but with amazing talent. With the rumor of an important producer coming to see the show, the jealous Van Zyskin is determined not be overshadowed by the young upstart. He plans to steal Doug's secrets and undermine his young rival's confidence despite what unappreciated protection that Cal can provide. Can Doug keep true to himself and his art and appreciate his gifts despite what the villain plans? The result are certain to be magical. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated




Release Date:

3 March 1983 (Canada)  »


Box Office


CAD 4,000,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?


Jon Finlayson as Van Zyskind was a last minute replacement for Ron Moody. See more »

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User Reviews

Painful to watch dated piece

I caught this on TV a few days ago, and as a long time magic fan, had to watch. Unfortunately, I found it painfully dated and uninteresting. Though apparently this "plot" was applied to a successful stage show Mr. Henning had done as well, it was exceedingly annoying and tiresome. And it was a musical, something that rarely works well, and certainly didn't here. And magic acts just don't work in film format.

What is spectacular and interesting in person (or arguably, live TV) feels like just another movie effect when placed in a film, which is unfortunate, because really the only reason to WATCH this is all the signature tricks performed in it. It takes all the mystery out of it.

It's sad that this is the only example of Mr. Henning's work available, because it sucks a lot of the life out of it. Doug's personality does shine, but I cannot imagine his bare-faced wonder and colourfulness would interest modern audiences. Even wanting to like and enjoy this movie, I just couldn't watch most of it.

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