Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Best laid plans

When I was a television news reporter in Seattle (believe it or not I ended up working at an unheard of four of the five television stations in the area!) - this time at the CBS affiliate - I had a great idea for a feature story.

An 83 year-young magician was closing his shop full of magician tricks and stuff for those who practice abracadabra. He also provided advice to his customers.

He had been in business for more than 50 years. The fact that he was still doing magic at his age, had been helping other up and coming magicians for all those years and told me he'd perform a couple of tricks for us would make for a sure-fire informative, entertaining segment for our audience, as well as give him props for his long-earned achievement.

The shop itself was pretty dark because it was so overloaded with sleight-of-hand products.

Every trick imaginable to a kid or pro magician was hanging somewhere.

I wondered how on earth he could possibly go out of business with all that stuff hanging everywhere.

OK, he did the "making a rabbit appear in an empty box" trick. Although he wouldn't share the secret of the trick in our interview? He performed it juuuuuust slowly enough to for us see to see how it worked for ourselves.

He did some other minor tricks for us, which I don't recall offhand, but I remember being intrigued and appreciating how passionate he was about his craft.

For my closing, I suggested that *I* perform a magic trick as well.

Great idea, huh?

Here's what happened:

I said, "You know, all this magic business is fun and entertaining, but being a journalist, I can't believe it's real. I--"

At this point I picked up a small vial with writing on it.

"Drink .. me .." I read aloud.

And drank the "liquid" (water), as instructed.

POOF! A puff of smoke, and I disappeared! Like magic!

My microphone remained dangling in midair as you heard me say (voice over).

"Yep. See? Can't believe everything you hear about magic. Colleen Patrick, Eyewitness News."

The piece got kudos from my peers, other station folks who got a peek at it before it aired and the boss! Cuuute! The magician is terrific - what a character!

OK. So it airs and we're all pleased that viewers will get another CP feature. Thank you, thank you. Ordinarily I did hard hitting stories, including some investigations.

But wait! There's more!

The *moment* the story finished airing, the station's dozen or so phone lines lit up in the reception area and our newsroom lines flickered as brightly!

Parents were FURIOUS at me!


Seems the moment I went "poof" and did not reappear, children all over the viewing area SCREAMED! They were terrified I really disappeared and wanted to know if I was all right. Where is she? What happened to her? Is she OK? Will she be back?

One caller was an irate dad: "What is wrong with you? Don't you know how many kids think they know you and care about you? My kid's going nuts!"

I had *no* idea viewers remembered who I was - I mean, seriously, how many TV reporters' names do you remember as an adult or a kid, unless they're a big network anchor or have their own show.

I spoke to his son, but that wasn't going to solve the problem.

They rushed me onto the set, interrupting the newscast, assuring kids who were concerned that I was just fine. I told them I "pulled myself together," and was back on the job. Not to worry. We also closed the newscast with me onhand as well, making sure to catch any viewers we may have missed.

If you were one of those kids?

Sorry I scared you. And thanks for caring.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home