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1982 Magic With The Stars TV Special


By Richard Kaufman

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare where people who have no business performing magic are suddenly on TV performing magic they have no business doing?

Me, too. There were quite a few of those TV specials in the distant past.

But thankfully, mercifully, this particular one-hour TV special from 1982 is actually a time capsule of great magic. Appearing are David Copperfield, Harry Anderson, Norm Nielsen, Richiardi, Johnny Thompson, Carlton and Company, The Miracle Factory, all hosted by Orson Welles (who was, genuinely, a magician).

Celebrities who are non-magicians, some of whom are merely hosts (in addition to Welles) include Loni Anderson, Scott Baio, Barbi Benton, Cathy Lee Crosby, Tony Curtis, Dom Delouise, Erik Estrada, Linda Evans, Morgan Fairchild, Norman Fell, Scott Baio, Robert Guillaume, Jack Klugman, Martin Mull, Vincent Price, Jacklyn Smith, Cindy Williams, and Martin Mall. Some of these folks also do magic. The humor is forced at best.

Interesting things to note about Welles’ appearance: all of his hosting sequences appear to have been shot at a different time and location than the rest of the show. And the illusions he performs at the end of the special are actually pieces he shot and edited for a film he was working on at the time, The Magic Show (which remained uncompleted at the time of his death). 

And here it is, straight from 1982, Magic with the Stars.