Mission: Magic! – The Complete Series (1973/Filmation/BCI Eclipse)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: B-
the original Scooby Doo, Pop/Rock
music arrived as standard in many animated TV shows to follow. Usually this was by talented but unknown
artists, but after hitting the nail on the head with Groovie Goolies (reviewed elsewhere on this site) even down to
Horror/Comedy, Filmation tried again with Mission:
Magic! in 1973. This time, they
would come up with a new Sabrina/Samantha/Jeannie type magic female named Miss
Tickle, who happened to be a teacher.
Each week, she would draw a door on her chalkboard and take her class
into another dimension and into a new adventure. And who would be on the other end each
week? Rick Springfield!!!
a decade before losing his Australian accent, becoming a soap opera star and
having hits like Love Is Alright Tonight
and Jessie’s Girl, here was the 23 year
old singer/songwriter a teen idol (with only one hit for the decade!) in his
own show. He wrote and sang the title
song, wore a white outfit with bell bottoms and a few lighting bolts on his
shirt with a small letter “r” in the center.
Yes, he was a superhero rocker, sort of and the show lasted one
season. This new Complete Series DVD set offers all 16 half-hour shows as the
Filmation style tries to imitate the counterculture (and particularly Peter
Max) style of art in what is an interesting move on the studio’s part. What I watched, I wondered back in ’73 if he
was a fictional character. Well, he was
is simpler and not bad, but not as complex as Yellow Submarine, The Beatles own TV show and the like. The writing is not bad, but you can only go
so far with the magic lady rhyme thing and though the scripts attempt to have
humanity and humor, the shows are not the most memorable part of the Rock or
Magic cycles of the time. I had
forgotten Springfield had his Aussie accent, but I had not seen as many of
these shows, so there was little to remember.
Up against Pink Panther &
Josie & the Pussycats, it had it
of interest in particular are Dissonia,
where music (especially Rock we gather) has been banned and 2600 A.D., where computers as complex as
2-XL and Atari 2600 (not yet invented at the time) have somehow taken over the
world. The robots will remind you of
R2D2, but are inspired by Huey, Dewy & Louie from Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running (1972, reviewed
elsewhere on this site) which would figure prominently at Filmation until Star Wars came along. They are the best shows and have aged in
interesting ways. The Springfield songs
are not that memorable, but can be amusing and you get one per show.
all, you get something for everyone to see.
X 1 image is unusual in that is sometimes sharp, sometimes soft and sometimes
with fringe detail. The latter shows
that maybe the prints were being made in dye-transfer three-strip Technicolor
as the misalignment tends to suggest that when the image gets soft. The color is not always top notch, but is
more often good than bad, but the show could use some work and barely makes its
letter grade. Though this is Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono, some songs sound redubbed in a simple or faux stereo
including the theme song. Compare to the
copy used as a preview trailer elsewhere on this and other BCI/Filmation DVD
releases. The combination is good if not
include interview clips with producer Lou Scheimer and his daughter/voice actor
Erika Scheimer, the great Magic of Filmation documentary, a Mission:
Magic! image galleries, nicely illustrated booklet with episode guide
and trivia and DVD-ROM accessible PDF format - scripts and model sheets.
is any participation by Springfield, who reportedly turned down
participating. OK. We know he grew up after being 23 and became a
hit act after switching from Capitol Records in the 1970s to RCA in the
1980s. Until he remade Jessie’s Girl in every configuration
possible until that wore out by 1985.
However, though the songs here are not his strongest material, you can
recognize his voice (Brits and Aussies loose their accents when singing
usually) and he has done much worse.
of pride and/or thinking he is above this show is ridiculous. After over two decades of no hits, it is not
like this show would make people forget his 80s hits or trivialize him. It might have even revived interest beyond
his recent legacy nostalgia tours. He
can go and settle for best, but Filmation did not, which is why Mission: Magic! holds up well enough. Guess some people are just ungrateful, but
don’t let that ruin the show for you. It
is a curio more than worth a look and a high quality, child safe program that
is getting harder to find these days.
- Nicholas Sheffo