The Magic Boy's Easter
This short film (25 minutes) was made in 1989 and released on video in 1991. According to the liner notes of the VHS box, it received an "Angel Award" for socially and morally uplifting media.
Fortunately, though, this isn't a heavy-handed retelling of the Easter tale of Jesus' resurrection. Though it has its dramatic moments, there's actually a goodly amount of comedy to be found.
Bernie Kopell plays Morry, the Marvelous Magician, who is performing at a children's hospital. There he meets a young patient named Josh, who is singularly unimpressed with Morry's tricks. In fact, Josh isn't too keen on much of anything right then, because he has a bone disease requiring surgery -- and if the surgery fails, his leg will need to be amputated.
So Morry introduces him to another patient, Joanna, who had recently drowned, but miraculously survived. Josh still isn't impressed, and is still dead-set against the surgery that might result in the loss of his leg. Then his medication kicks in, and he drifts off to sleep...and has a dream that takes place in the days of Christ, featuring some familiar characters....
After the show, Morry visits Josh in his room...and Josh isn't too pleased to see Morry OR any of his tricks.
Morry brings Joanna in, to talk to Josh. She tells him that her survival was a miracle, but that does nothing to dilute Josh's cynicism.
In his dream, Josh is a lame boy who's the apprentice of a street magician...whose name is Mordechai, and who bears a striking resemblance to Morry. The magician is becoming increasingly frustrated -- and rapidly going broke -- because people are flocking to see Jesus, instead of magicians such as himself.
Young Joshua is ambivalent, thinking that Jesus is a fraud...yet secretly wishing He COULD heal him. So Mordechai decides to make the boy happy AND win back his following, by performing a healing spell on him. He puts the boy in a trough of water, does a chant and a rather ridiculous dance on the edge of the trough -- and, predictably, the spell doesn't work....
Not so predictably, Mordechai falls into the trough beside Joshua, much to the amusement of a nearby man who laughs uproariously at the scene.
An innkeeper (who has unknowingly just hosted The Last Supper) complains to Mordechai about the recently-departed party. After witnessing Jesus claiming to be the Son of God, and washing His followers' feet, the innkeeper declares that Jesus must be crazy. Mordechai adds that Jesus is asking for trouble, by making such claims. Because Mordechai's money-collecting bowl has been stolen, the innkeeper gives Mordechai the bowl that Jesus used. The man says he doesn't want to use it for food anymore, after Jesus used it for washing people's feet.
When Jesus is being led to His crucifixion, Joshua uses the bowl to offer Him a drink.
After Jesus has been crucified, Joshua, Johanna, and Mordechai meet Lazarus. He tells them that Jesus will rise from the tomb, just as Jesus had brought HIM back to life.
When Josh wakes up, he tells his mother he's no longer afraid of the operation, because he saw Jesus in his dream. (I won't tell what else happened in that dream...gotta leave some surprises for you!) Morry performs one last trick, producing a bowl of fruit. To Josh's amazement, the bowl looks exactly like the one Mordechai had gotten after the Last Supper....
Above: The cover art of the VHS box. I apologize for the poor quality of these video captures. But many prerecorded tapes (especially the shorter titles aimed at a young audience) tend to be released on substandard tapes, and this one is no exception. I don't know whether it will be released on DVD, but the VHS version is still available from various sources online.