Randomly Accessed Memory: Hocus Focus

This is what Nickelodeon had to offer circa 1980. A show which was just a bunch of random short films — in this case, two films about plant care, an animated version of the Giving Tree, and a surreal trippy animation that I can’t even sum up — but the frame story was that a wizard from the middle ages, named Kryspen, had been sent forward in the future to learn about our world, and he was learning about it from a big pile of old films which he would watch, together with his talking book friend and his transforming animal companion, the Oolak.
There was a plot in each story too, in this one, the plot is that this filmmaker appears and sees Kryspen do some magic, and wants to make him a star, filming him doing impressive magical things. But this pretty much saps all Kryspen’s energy and he becomes all worn down like the Giving Tree. (Kryspen is addened by the Giving Tree story… the filmmaker thinks the kid in the Giving Tree story should have planted MORE trees so he could have taken, taken, taken more more more from the trees!)
Unlike the Giving Tree however, Kryspen responds to being used by completely losing it, flying into a rage, and threatening the filmmaker with all kinds of dramatic and fatal magics. The filmmaker grumbles about prima donna stars and beats feet out of there.
The book counsels Kryspen to rest and regain his strength and he does so while dreaming the wild psychedelic trippy animation that closes out the show.
I feel like this show had a very enlightened take on the “Giving Tree” story.
That’s a heck of a plot to concoct out of two fairly boring plant care films and a couple animations! Well done, Hocus Focus.
I have barely thought about this show in lo these 40 years, but something possessed me to go look it up, and I have to say it’s pretty creative. I didn’t remember much of it but I did SUPER DUPER remember the lines from the intro “it was called an Oolak and it had quite a knack for transforming its shape and its size.”…
Anyways. Here’s a tiny piece of my childhood.

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