Thursday, 27 December 2018

Ace Of Wands

Now here's frustrating.

While I was researching yesterday's piece - or trying to - I came across this link, via one set of search terms or another, I forget what.

Just because I thought I might as well, I put chess into its search box, and flicked through to one of the references. And this is what I found.
Ace of Wands concerned Tarot, who was a master magician and telepathic super sleuth, who would use his gifts in order to fought evil criminals, such as Madam Midnight and Mr. Stabs...

...a diamond gives its name to the final second season story, "The Eye of Ra". It is a diamond reputed to have magical powers, one of which is the ability to turn people into chalk statuettes. A wheelchair bound chess-master Ceribraun (Oscar Quitak) wants to obtain the diamond. He tries to force Tarot to steal it for him by kidnapping Mr. Sweet and making it appear he has been turned to chalk. His statuette is then knocked over and smashed by accident causing Tarot to think Mr. Sweet has been killed. Lulli, as well as Mr. Sweet, finds herself a prisoner of Ceribraun and his servant, Fredericks, and in trying to rescue her, Tarot finds himself on Ceribraun's giant robotic chess board being crushed by two huge chesspieces.
This sounds fantastic, you are saying. Show us some pictures, you are saying.

Alas, there are none to show.

They were wiped. Well, the first two series of the show were wiped, and our episode was the final segment of the second series. "This story no longer exists."

Even that's not quite true: three parts of it can be found on YouTube, but in audio form only. (I've not listened to them.) But no footage, apparently, nor any publicity shots, photos taken on set, nothing to show us our wheelchair-bound chess master, or our hero under threat from gigantic robotic chess pieces.

I'd never heard of Ace of Wands. I was a touch young for it, being six when these shows were broadcast, though I do remember a little of The Tomorrow People, which seems in some senses to have replaced it. (If any comparison can be made with Doctor Who, I saw my first episodes of that show in January 1972, just a few months later.)

Too late, too late. There's a few web pages available about the show, but they all say essentially the same thing, that while the third series is available, the first two are (almost entirely) lost to us forever.

Oscar Quitak is still with us: for all I know, he might have some old photos, but as he's in his nineties and lives on Ibiza, I don't think I'll be troubling him to ask. His other credits, coincidentally, include the 1983 ITV series Chessgame.

I don't reckon there's any chess in it.

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