Abra Kadabra (1957)
Article 5620 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Dusan Vukotic
What it is: Animated short
When a child dusting a bookshelf opts for a science fiction book to read instead of an old magic primer, a magician arises from the latter book and engages in a display of his abilities… only to find himself in competition with modern technology.
With a lowly 5.0 rating on IMDB (albeit from only six voters), this animated short doesn’t appear to have much of a reputation. I, however, was quite taken by it, at least partially because it illustrates a concept that (I think) first originated from science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who said that a truly advanced technology would seem like magic. The magician seems to be from the time of the Arabian Nights, and he is quite startled to see some of his tricks being mimicked much more effectively by modern appliances such as radios, telephones, televisions, elevators and airplanes. The cartoon does go on a bit too long, and the ending isn’t quite satisfying, but I find it charming and interesting.