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The Magician

Season 1 Episode 11

The Illusion of the Curious Counterfeit (1)

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Jan 14, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Illusion of the Curious Counterfeit (1)
Tony Blake has taken up residency at The Castle, an exclusive club for magicians, when his old girlfriend Janet Keegan comes to visit--not to get back together with him, but because she is being pursued by two men and doesn't know why. Her father, Charles, who used to be involved in bootlegging and other shady activities, may be involved. Despite Tony's efforts to protect her, the men catch Janet and hold her hostage to keep her father from interfering with a planned robbery, and Tony must rescue her from the prison in which they are holding her.moreless

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  • Best one yet. Better story, more magic, better writing, and a stellar performance from an all time great actor...Lloyd Nolan.

    This is a good one. It was still fun in 2007, so I imagine it must have been excellent for its time. This time the damsel in distress is an old girlfriend and her father. This makes the story more interesting, it has built in back stories and Tony's motivations for helping are more believable and involving.

    This one features more magic, including three routines from Mark Wilson, and appearances by Mark's son Greg as well as famous magician Dai Vernon. We also get to see Tony in a performing situation rather than just impromptu. I don't get the needless exposures they are doing...that seems out of character.

    We get the usual excellent action, stunts, and location footage. Again we get a helicopter. Also we get the usual creative climax location. I won't spoil it for you.

    Tony is presented as a lady's man. He's got a beautiful girl on the arm (that he ignores), a girl on the phone inviting him to the budiour (that he spurns), and an old ex-girlfriend who did him wrong with a troublesome father (who agrees to go back to his place, and for whom he risks his life in return). Man...that's action. The guy's got game.

    We get a lot of sparkling dialog. The writing's good. The plot is also not convoluted like before and you don't get that tedious exposition. This one is tight, witty, and has some zing.

    Ok...now on to the best part. You get a scene stealing performance from Lloyd Nolan....a superstar from back in the 1930s. He doesn't dazzle the screen so much as he obliterates the loudspeakers. His quirky rhythm, accents, selective enunciation, and vocal inflections are so much fun that I was laughing out loud with each and every line he delivered. I kept playing him over and over until my wife threatened to eat her dinner in the bathroom unless I let the movie play on. Coupled with some great dialog (see the "Johnny on the spot" line on the episode main page), his performance turns this episode into a classic.moreless
John Colicos

John Colicos

Paul Gunther

Guest Star

Carol Lynley

Carol Lynley

Janet Keegan

Guest Star

L.Q. Jones

L.Q. Jones


Guest Star

Joseph Sirola

Joseph Sirola


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Connie, Tony Blake's assistant in "Lightning on a Dry Day," and "Man On Fire" is called "Kathy" by Tony in this and future episodes.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Tony: Just let Gunther have his way, and then he'll let her go? You believe that? Why??? Honor among thieves?!?

    • Charles Keegan: I asked you to look after her, didn't I? To help her, to keep her safe. That's what you like, isn't it? Helpin' people?' That's the way you like to play it, isn't it? 'Johnny on the spot.' Well you blew it!!!

    • Tony's pursuer: This joint's got more wrinkles than a house of mirrors.

    • Janet Keegan: It used to be that I couldn't stand the idea of you helping people in trouble. Now I'm the one in trouble.

    • Tony Blake: When I was in India, I met a very wise old man who told me that the smartest thing he ever met was an ancient owl who learned all the wisdom of the ages. But this owl was very hard to catch, and the only way to catch it was with a lot of bright colors. So he started to produce these beautiful scarves. Like this ... and like this. And he just kept producing more and more scarves. And if you pile together enough bright scarves and reach underneath, what do you find? (Produces a live owl)

  • NOTES (3)

    • This is the first episode after the show was re-tooled. Tony no longer flew around the country in his customized 707, instead becoming based in the Magic Castle for the remainder of the series.

    • Series magic consultant Mark Wilson has a brief cameo appearance, performing a thimble routine.

    • Magic performed in this episode:
      - Instant rope release (Kellar Rope Tie)
      - Production of a live owl from scarves (whole effect not seen)
      - Transformation of one girl into another (reveals how the trick is done)
      - Bare-handed bill production