MAGIC WITH THE STARS

January 17, 1982

by Ham

Magic With The Stars was one of a seemingly endless amount of variety shows that aired throughout the 1970s and 80s and featured the popular television and movie stars of the day. Battle Of The Network Stars and Circus Of The Stars also come to mind as other shows in this category. I would imagine that the thought behind these programs was to show the audience their favorite stars being wacky, "real" people instead of just acting in a role. Now, of course, in the internet age we can see most of our favorite stars being "real" people all the time. So there isn't much of a demand for these absurd variety shows any more. The most absurd show featuring celebrities these days would probably be Dancing With The Stars. But, I'll leave that for someone to discuss in 2043 on whatever the internet has turned into at that point.

Anyway, Magic With The Stars opens with your typical song and dance number, featuring the clever lyrics "The Wonderful Magic Of Magic With The Stars". If I were to write a song celebrating this song it would be called, "The Wonderful Magic Of The Wonderful Magic Of Magic With The Stars". I think it would be a smash. I want Dolly and Kenny to sing it together.

Anyway, Magic With The Stars featured four hosts (Orson Welles, Jaclyn Smith, Loni Anderson, and Robert Guillaume) and a ridiculous amount of celebrities. The list of celebrities took so long to announce during the opening segment that I went to the kitchen and made a shepard's pie, ate the pie, went outside to jog off all of the calories I just ate, went back inside to shower off the stink of the jog, put on new clothes, cleaned up the mess I made in the kitchen and sat back down in front of the television to find that they were only up to "Bowser" on their list of celebrity guests. The hours-long introduction finally ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

Wow. We had better fireworks at our KISS Kids Backyard Lip Sync Show from 1986.

Now, on to the show. Our first host, Orson Welles, apparently couldn't be bothered to get out of his dining room to film his segments of the show.

It is a lovely dining room though, I will give him that. I enjoy the giant red moon in the background being bookended by a bunch of candles. The plants are a nice touch as well. What I don't enjoy is Orson's crooked beard. That bothers my OCD greatly. Out of all of the magicians appearing on this show, not one of them could straighten out that beard? Damn!

The first magic segment on the show features Erik Estrada being skewered by the "Table Of Death".

I have a feeling Larry Wilcox (yes, Jon to Erik's Ponch on CHiPs) was at home watching and hoping that this trick would go horribly wrong. I hope you all appreciate the fact that I looked up Jon's real name, and also looked up the correct capitalization of the television show title CHiPs. Oh, and in case you were wondering... I think Ponch makes it out of this one unharmed. After all, if he didn't make it through this trick, who would star in the fabulous Surreal Life in 2003 with Vanilla Ice and Tammy Faye? Now I have a feeling Larry Wilcox is at home raising his hand. Wow, that guy's bitter.

Our next host, Robert Guillaume, borrowed Orson's candles and Andre The Giant's bow tie for his segments. Yes, Andre wore bow ties. You didn't know that?

Robert introduces David Copperfield, Cindy Williams and Linda Evans, who are going to recreate the famous shower scene from Psycho. Apparently playing the role of the director of this skit, Cindy makes David dress up as Norman Bates. Or, more specifically, she makes David dress up as Norman Bates dressing up as his mother. She also gives him a scrub brush to use as a weapon.

Forget that whole Statue Of Liberty thing, I think this is David Copperfield's most proud moment. Cindy then makes Linda Evans stand behind a curtain and pretend it is a shower. Cindy then leaves the stage. David/Norman/Norman's mother gets up out of his/her rocking chair to kill Linda with the scrub brush. When he pulls back the curtain... surprise! Linda is no longer there. Then, when David/Norman/Norman's mother pulls off his/her mask... surprise!

Cindy is now the one in the Norman Bates' mother's outfit! Holy crap, magic is absurd.

Next up we have the Musical Magic Of Norm Nielson.

I found this guy really creepy. He has a creepy haircut, and creepy eyes and creepy boney hands. Oh, and that creepy smile never left his face...

...unless he had cards coming out of his mouth.

"Fantasy Factory" is up next. A guy in a large mask, that reminded me of Tony The Tiger for some reason, plays the role of a snake charmer and makes a skeleton come out of a basket.

If you're like me, right about now you'd be thinking... "This is called Magic With The Stars, jerkys! Let's get back to some stars!". Well, we will.

Right after this commercial message.

The dialogue on some of those commercials is just superb. The young girl states that Secret deodorant, "...feels nice on my underarms".

Ok, back to the show. Introduced next is Norman Fell and Scott Baio.

Oh boy! A sitcom crossover! I love sitcom crossovers! I'm imagining Chachi and Joanie go to California and move into Mr. Roper's apartment building. All sorts of wacky hijinks will ensue! Am I right? No? They just do another lame card trick? Damn.

Loni Anderson then introduces the next star.

I'm not sure I understand Loni's hair. Those little hair hoops near her ears make me think that they're earrings, but I don't think that's their intention.

Anyway, Loni and her hair introduce Vincent Price, who ends up talking to a character named Spidora.

Yes, you are looking at a picture of Vincent Price talking to a giant spider with Bowser's head. If I had a nickel for every time I wrote that sentence I'd have $4.42.

The next guest on Magic With The Stars is "Dominick The Great", which is Dom Deluise in a stupid outfit telling stupid jokes.

Seriously, these jokes are really stupid. I don't know anyone that would be simple enough to laugh at these jokes.

Wow. I didn't even know the President and Mrs. Reagan were in the audience. So, I guess they found Dominick funny. Anybody else?

Well, color me surprised. I guess George and Tip find Dominick funny as well. I wonder why Ronald and Tip get front row seats while George has to sit in the balcony. Maybe they were afraid he would run on stage and try to save Erik Estrada from the "Table Of Death" or something. You know, these pictures would make good memes (as the kids say). I would just have to think of something clever to write on them. They would also make for good emoticons. Instead of a posting a smilie face to show you're joking, just post the Reagan laughing face. Now, don't anybody steal my ideas before I get a chance to use them! I'll send Dom Deluise to your house to tell some jokes!

Next on the show we have the returning duo of Norman Fell and Scott Baio. Awesome! So, now they're going to kick off their sitcom crossover? No? They're going to do a series of whimsical tricks that end in Norman holding Scott's leopard print underpants? You're kidding me.

Ugh. Now, there's no way anyone found Scott's underpants funny.

Damn you, Reagan!

David Copperfield is up again, and he performs a skit that is possibly more absurd than the Psycho skit he did earlier. I'll try to describe this as briefly as possible. First, we see David sitting at a table with his fiancée. They both seem very upset.

She gives him back his ring, and leaves the table. David then notices that his white napkin starts moving on its own. So, he starts dancing with it, and then gives it a kiss. No, I'm not kidding.

David's fiancée returns and decides to take David back. They then put their arms around each other and we see the woman's pink napkin embrace David's napkin.

Now, I realize this skit is supposed to be about the magic. You're supposed to think, "Oh wow! Look at how he made dem dere napkins move by themselves!". But, that back story just makes no damn sense. First of all, why would David fall in love with a napkin only seconds after losing his fiancée? Also, when the woman returned, why would she not get upset (or horrified) at seeing David kiss a napkin? Then, why would the napkin so easily forgive David when he went back to his fiancée so quickly after the kiss? I guess finding the lovely pink napkin made it forget all about David? Ugh. So many questions! I can only hope David will answer these lingering questions in the next segment.

No, no such luck. The final segment features Orson Welles actually getting out of his chair and performing some magic using a "space age contraption from the 21st century".

I don't know why he needs men in astronaut suits to perform this trick. I also don't know why Orson is immune to whatever horrible airborne illness is on set that requires them to wear such a uniform. Perhaps they just didn't want to smell Orson's cigar. Oh, and the trick? Yes, it's basically the Erik Estrada "Table Of Death" trick, just vertical instead of horizontal.

We'll be right back after a word from our sponsors, including people raising their hands if they're Sure, Minnie Pearl for Spic N Span, and a woman with an a-hole husband who has a ghostly image of herself remind her to use Downy fabric softener.

Don't you hate it when a show ends right after a commercial?

(Posted 2/2013)

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