Banacek was a series starring George Peppard that ran for two seasons as part of the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie trilogy. The network had struck gold with its original combo of McCloud, McMillain and Wife, and Columbo and Banacek was part of its attempt to cash in a second time when they moved the original trio of shows to Sunday night.
Not that the attempt was successful. Banacek lasted only 16 episodes over two seasons while the other two shows which alternated with it were canned after one. Part of the reason for Banacek's lack of success was the smarminess of the lead character. George Peppard did a good job of portraying insurance investigator Thomas Banacek but the character was an arrogant, unlikable jerk. Not a good way to build up an audience for a detective show. The audience is supposed to like the lead detective hero. I never could completely warm up to Thomas Banacek and I suspect many others couldn't either.
That's not to say that the show didn't have its moments. Its scripts were usually pretty good and the show usually had some good guest stars. In the case of this episode, Now You See Me, Now You Don't, they had an excellent script and some excellent guest stars. This was the final episode of Banacek to air and IMO it was the best of the series.
The storyline is about a magician who disappears during one of his tricks. Banacek is brought into the case by an insurance company and manages to solve things while others whom he disdains as amateurs merely stumble and fumble around. The solution is surprising, some would even say shocking as it is revelead that one of the characters is not who he/she appears to be.
A fine list of guest stars permeates this episode. It's a very eclectic bunch. You have a game show host (Peter Marshall), a former Sunset Boulevard co-star (Nancy Olsen), a former mad emperor from The Robe (Jay Robinson), Beth Davenport from The Rockford Files (Gretchen Corbett), and Frank Nitti from The Untouchables (Bruce Gordon). If A&E or The Hallmark Channel ever decide to re-run Banacek be sure to watch Now You See Me, Now You Don't.