He's baaaack!

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Sun, 9 Apr 1995 10:33:00 -0400

HE'S STILL AROUND!

Just when we figured we'd seen and heard the last of faded
superstar Uri Geller -- he's the one who used to bend spoons,
remember? -- David Frost, in the U.K., decided to do a TV
show featuring Matthew Manning and invited guest, Mr. Geller.
Wondrous events were promised in the press, and there was a
rumor that Geller had some new material, but it was the same
tired old act, with Uri begging people at home to examine
their discarded watches to see if they were ticking, and
doing the "levitation" stunt in which a person is lifted from
a chair using the fingers of four volunteers. That last is a
kids' party trick, but apparently folks in the U.K. don't get
to many parties, because it was presented as a feature of the
show! What a bore! Luckily, London's Evening Standard ran a
review of the Manning program, which was titled "Beyond
Belief." In part, the review read:

"Fittingly, for so fairground an approach, it was
all candyfloss and old chestnuts, right down to
Geller making broken watches start -- although in
my case, the process was working in reverse: I
looked at the clock after what must have been
several hours and it had moved on by six minutes."

"Ultimately, then, the programme's paucity of
ambition and abundance of complacency made it live
up to its title. What television company in the
world would want to alienate an audience by so
insulting its intelligence? This, above all, was
beyond belief. Or rather it was until the last
second of the broadcast. `A Carlton Programme'
announced the closing caption. Credibility was
restored."

Based upon the success of the Arthur C. Clarke series,
"Mysterious Worlds," which is done with a fair amount of
healthy skepticism, TV producers are rushing to turn out more
and more credulous, uncontrolled and poorly-researched shows.
That's where the money is, and there is a never-exhausted
audience out there just salivating for the next package of
codswollop that comes along. Where are more reporters like
Matthew Norman of the Evening Standard?

James Randi.

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