Home & Family

Post 52 of 64

The self-proclaimed “Dennis the Menace of Magic,” Murray Sawchuck, brought his own variety of mischievous magic for a second time to Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family show. I joined Murray as his magic consultant for his TV shoot, which took place on the backlot of Universals Studios, CA. This episode had a “western” theme, so I worked with Murray to try and develop some western themed magic tricks. One of the western themed tricks Murray performed was having Cristina Ferrare, one of the co-host, select a playing card, then the playing cards were dropped into a cowboy hat. Murray they took out a piece of rope, placed one end into the cowboy hat, and magically the selected card was “lassoed” by the rope. Murray then borrowed three peppers from the Chili Cook Off earlier on the episode, and had Mark Steines, the other co-host select and sign a playing card, and that played card vanished from the deck and reappear inside the selected pepper.

Being that the show is shot in “real time,” meaning as if it were in front of a live audience, so there are no re-takes, the magic Murray performed had to work perfectly the first time. Based on the layout of the TV set, this dictated what tricks would be most effective for the TV audience as well as the live co-hosts. Not only did Murray perform 4 tricks on the show during the three segments he was featured in, but he also did a “teach-a-trick” segment with the co-hosts, where he taught the co-hosts and the TV audience how to perform an amazing tricks with things that you can find around the house. I worked with the camera crew and director to explain “how” to shoot magic on TV, so when the actual magic moment happened, the camera to did not cut to another shot so the TV audience wouldn’t think that Murray did something off camera or used trick photography.

The Home and Family Show is an American chat and home information show that was first shown on the Family Channel on April 1, 1996. The original hosts were Cristina Ferrare and Chuck Woolery. The set was housed in a small studio designed to look like a house, which was built in an out-of-the-way corner of the Universal Studios backlot. The newest incarnation of the show, which is now on The Hallmark Channel, is co-hosted by Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare.


Douglas has worked on many shows up and down the Las Vegas strip. He has worn many different hats, from being a creative director, lighting designer, set designer, and production / technical director having worked with Wayne Newton, Frank Marino, Human Nature, and Recycled Percussion to name a few.