The Magic of David Copperfield, 1978

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In 1978, magician illusionist David Copperfield burst onto the scene with an impressively corny-but-endearing TV special shot for CBS. The special included extended bits with Orson Welles, Bernadette Peters, Sherman Hemsley, Valerie Bertinelli, and Cindy Williams (as "The Great Cindini"). It's a wild ride, because it's a combination of good fun, great acting, and pure essence of the 70s.

The 48-minute extravaganza is rife with 70s outfits, elaborate dance routines, and canned laughs. It was part of the golden age of TV specials, the kind of thing we just don't see anymore. Watching this now, Copperfield's style appears to be the inspiration for GOB's "Final Countdown" act in Arrested Development. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch the whole awesome thing online. Grow your hair out, put on your skinny trousers, and enjoy:

Trivia note: at the time, Orson Welles was shooting his own magic routines, hoping to complete a TV magic special of his own. At around 36 minutes into this one, you see an extended bit of Welles doing his own show. It's totally amazing. The only thing better is the musical performance by Bernadette Peters that closes the show -- weird, well-executed, and completely catchy.

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January 26, 2013 - 1:13pm
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