Having already covered his 1982 "Strawberry Ice" and 1985 "The True Gift Of Christmas" television specials on the blog, I really thought it was time that I revisited the Toller Cranston's much acclaimed series television specials and the lesser remembered gem "The Magic Planet".
Broadcast in both Canada and the U.S. on CTV and ABC in March of 1983, "The Magic Planet" was a futuristic ice odyssey like no other. It was narrated by none other than William Shatner himself and directed by David S. Acomba. Skating acts were fused with performances by dancers from the Alvin Ailey company of New York and the George Faison Dancers. Although music was provided by the London Symphony and recorded in England, it was scored and conducted by Canadian Paul Hoffert. Like in Toller's other specials, costuming was designed by Olympic Silver Medallist and two time World Champion Frances Dafoe. The cast included Cranston and actor/musicians Ann Jillian and Deniece Williams and skaters Brian Pockar, Sandra and Val Bezic and Wendy Burge.
"The Magic Planet" was classic Cranston at his best... great music, costuming, theatrics and skating melded together to create a unique storybook that (though at times a little kitschy) captures your imagination like a book you just can't put down. I still think that's what made Toller the enigma he was. You just couldn't look away.
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