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By Wikipedia

The Magician was a U.S. television series that ran during the 1973-1974 season. It starred Bill Bixby as stage illusionist Anthony "Tony" Blake, a playboy philanthropist who used his skills to solve difficult crimes as needed. In the series pilot, the character was instead named Anthony Dorian. No explanation for the name change was ever offered.

Tony Blake was a professional stage magician who used his skills to solve crimes and help the helpless. Years earlier, Tony had been unjustly confined in a prison in an unnamed country in South America. He discovered a way to escape, which began his interest in escapology. This in turn led to a career in stage magic which made Tony rich and famous. He never forgot his imprisonment, and it motivated him to seek justice for others.

Initially, Tony was based out of his privately owned Boeing 737, which was outfitted as a mobile residence. Midway through the program's run, the idea of the airplane was dropped and he began to live in a posh apartment at The Magic Castle, a real club devoted to magic acts. At the same time, the supporting cast of the show was replaced with a new supporting cast. No explanation for the changes was given in the series.

The show is noteworthy in that Bixby insisted on doing all of the magic himself, without any trick photography. In addition to escapes, Bixby performed feats of sleight of hand, mentalism, and large illusions.

Though it ran only a single season, The Magician was an influence on later series. The show was a favorite of The X-Files creator Chris Carter, who worked it into Special Agent Fox Mulder's "origin" story: a teenaged Mulder was watching The Magician when his sister Samantha was abducted by mysterious forces.

The series, although unsuccessful, featured Bixby (who was an amateur magician himself) perform many of his own illusions. This led to a series of magical specials on NBC, hosted by Bixby himself.

Anthony Blake is one in a surprisingly long line of magicians who double as detectives. Others include:

  • The Great Merlini, created by author Clayton Rawson.
  • Norgil, created by Walter B. Gibson.
  • Chandu, a character in radio mysteries who was played on screen by Bela Lugosi.
  • Mandrake the Magician, a comic strip hero created by Lee Falk. Unlike most crime-solving magicians, Mandrake is sometimes presented as having actual magical powers.
  • Harry Blacke, the hero of the 1986 television series Blacke's Magic. Blacke was played by actor Hal Linden.


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Was a great show and enjoyed it. I did like the ideal that Bill got to have a 747 plane to live. Was sad that the show didn't last longer. Today they could do a lot with a story line as this.


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Aired: October 2, 1973 - May 20, 1974

Cast: Bill Bixby, Keene Curtis, Todd Crespi, Jim Watkins, Joseph Sirola

Network: ABC

Genre: Adventure

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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