I am enjoying my repeat viewing of the series and finding it a lot less clunky second time around. Nonetheless the hilarious difference between the shots of the cast on donkeys in a sandpit with a tame camel tethered in the background and the stock shots of Egypt still makes me laugh.
Another enjoyable thing about the series includes the very 60s/early 70s theme song (composed by Andrew Bown, a future member of Status Quo with lyrics by Trevor Preston) which are the absolute embodiment of meaningless 60s psychedelia.
Patterns made from words
Laughter echoes in the dark
Life hovers like a bird
This song accompanies a psychedelic animated sequence which is an equally classic period slice.
The endings of all the stories remain a bit of a let down with interesting supernatural themes being swept under the carpet by so-called ‘rational explanations’ or simply being too hastily and abruptly resolved. In P.J. Hammond’s stories one can see the embryo of many of the ideas he went on to develop much more fully and more satisfactorily in Sapphire and Steel. It is a pity that Hammond hasn’t in general had more opportunity to work in the supernatural/fantasy genre where he is able to generate unique and striking ideas conducive to further philosophical reflection. Instead most of his work has been in crime fiction with a number of outings in recent years in Midsomer Murders, a modern entry in the English country village murders genre à la Agatha Christie.
The acting is good all round in Ace of Wands and there is a warm friendly cameraderie between the three members of the main cast which makes for easy repeat viewing. And of course the fashion and the pet owl add to the ongoing aesthetic fascinations.
It has prompted me to think about doing a comparison with other series featuring stage magicians (eg Jonathan Creek and Bill Bixby’s The Magician) and I might write something about those further down the track.
My other posts on Ace of Wands
Ace of Wands (1970-72)
Links to other pages on Ace of Wands
The Ace of Wands website
Review on the Retro to go site
Mondo Esoterica Review
BFI screenonline page Includes video clips
Pages at Clivebanks.co.uk