THE WAIF AND THE WIZARD (1901)
Article 4302 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Walter R. Booth
What it is: Trick short with a twist
A waif goes on stage to help a magician with a trick. He is so amazed by the magician’s prowess that he asks him to come home and solve his family’s problems.
So many of these early shorts cover the same ground that after a while you appreciate whenever something new is added to the mix. In the case of this short, It combines the trick film with the mellerdrammer; the opening scene is standard magician trick film fare, but once we move on to the family problems, the change of scenery adds some novelty. The family’s problems are the stuff of tear-jerking melodrama; there’s no father, the daughter is ailing, and they’re about to be evicted. The solutions to the problems are terse, but sometimes amusing; I like how the magician deals with the landlord. Special effects-wise, there’s nothing really special going on here, but the novelty of throwing in a story to follow does add a little to the proceedings.