The above ticket stubs come from two of the four filming dates of the “Magic Show” movie. As you can see the production took place in Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theater, and director Norman Campbell had five to six cameras rolling to cover the action on stage. In addition, two weeks of filming occurred without an audience for additional coverage. While John Harrison’s book “Spellbound” goes into the film’s production in greater detail, the film itself never quite reached the heights it had initially intended.
Using the movie “Hair” as its inspiration, the film itself never seemed to recreate the roughness and charm of the original Broadway production. As reviewer Tony Buchsbaum said, “Instead of the mid-1970s brilliance I had seen on the stage of the Cort Theater, this was a filmed version of the show staged in Canada in 1981.”
Personally, I find this assessment a little heavy handed, and the film continues to have a lot to offer. Mainly, while it differs in many ways from the original production, it is the only filmed version of it still available today. Anything with Doug being, well Doug, is a documentation of his enormous skills and talent. This film has that in abundance, and is worth a place in any Doug fan’s collection!