“Magic Show” MTA Subway Ad with Joe Abaldo

If you were riding New York public transportation in the late 1970s then chances are you saw this famous advertisement.

By using then Broadway actors, the MTA was hoping to entice audiences to take the subway to their favorite shows. The ad would eventually become indicative of the era, and famous in its own right. 

Featured on the lower left hand side is magician/dancer Joe Abaldo, Doug’s replacement in “The Magic Show.” Abaldo personally trained with Doug in preparation for the role, and was initially in its touring company before assuming the lead role on Broadway for two years. It was Abaldo who ultimately closed out the show in 1978.

Abaldo, it seems, never played a show on Broadway again after this. Details of his post “Magic Show” career are hard to find, and he passed away in 1992 from AIDS related causes. 

“The Magic Show” was intrinsically a show designed around Doug Henning, and when he left it it was never quite the same again. However, when money is involved no one is irreplaceable it seems. 

 

Special Thanks to Peter Mennie

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