January 07, 2023



(ABC, September 8-December 22, 1973)
Filmation Associates



Rick Springfield – Himself
Lola Fisher – Miss Tickle
Howard Morris – Socks, Vinnie, Mr. Samuels
Erika Scheimer – Kim, Carol
Lane Scheimer – Harvey, Franklin


A spin-off of The Brady Kids and a precursor in concept to The Magic School Bus, Mission: Magic! was the fulfilment of producer Lou Scheimer’s desire to show how important a teacher could be to children. The series would center around a teacher with magical powers named Miss Tickle (a play on “mystical”, voiced by Lola Fisher) that had a special rapport with her small yet diverse class of kids—The Adventurers Club comprised of the quirky Socks, word-confusing Vinnie (both Howard Morris), their leader Kim, lovestruck Carol (both Erika Scheimer), nerdy Harvey and athletic Franklin (both Lane Scheimer)—and her cat, Tut-Tut, who could turn to and from a statue via a magical incantation. Her lessons would become enhanced adventures as she was able to open a portal through her blackboard, with Tut-Tut’s help and transport them all to magical worlds beyond such as a world ruled by magic, one where everyone did things in reverse, or even an underwater city. Filmation sold the idea to ABC’s Michael Eisner, however there was a catch: they wanted the series to feature Australian musician Rick Springfield.

Miss Tickle and The Adventurers Club: Harvey, Carol, Kim, Franklin, Vinnie and Socks.

After learning to play the guitar at age 13, Springfield joined various bands in England and Australia before winding up with pop rock band Zoot as a backing vocalist; eventually becoming the lead guitarist and vocalist in 1969. Zoot’s gimmick, wearing head-to-toe pink satin, earned them significant attention and numerous teenaged female fans, but cost them being taken seriously as musicians. After the band broke up in 1971, Springfield signed with Sparmac Records and his debut single, “Speak to the Sky”, peaked at number 5 on the Go-Set singles chart and at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album, Beginnings, became the first of seven of his top 40 albums on the Billboard 200. Springfield moved to the United States in 1972 and signed with Capitol Records until a scandal broke out that Capitol was paying people to buy his albums, resulting in a radio station boycott. Springfield moved to Columbia Records in 1973 where he recorded his second album, Comic Book Heroes. His looks and style had earned him the status as the next teen pop idol.

The psychedelic sounds of Rick.

ABC had entered into an arrangement to help promote Springfield and felt that the cartoon would be a good showcase for his music. It was decided that while Miss Tickle would be the children’s steward, Springfield would be their guide once they went through the portal with his owl Ptolemy (named for the Greek mathematician and astronomer and playing with Tut-Tut on the nonsensical poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear); either filling them in on the goings on or actively calling for their help through a magic gramophone in dealing with situations like thieves, despots and disasters. Springfield would go on to write and perform a song in each episode related in some way to the story, albeit in truncated form to accommodate episode runtimes, and the series’ theme. Fisher, an accomplished singer herself, was able to perform a song of her own in an episode—not written by Springfield—as well as some melodic spell casting. According to Scheimer in the book Creating the Filmation Generation, she likely would have had more opportunities had Springfield not been involved. Carol was depicted as having a crush on Rick, not unlike the legion of his young female fans.

Drawing the magic door.

Mission: Magic! debuted on ABC on September 8, 1973, airing alongside The Brady Kids. This was one of the few Filmation series to not rely heavily on stock footage, making it one of the more expensive they produced. Outside of the main characters, each new world they visited necessitated new designs for both them and their related characters. It was a way to give the series a different look, compared by Scheimer to a Peter Max painting or the designs for Yellow Submarine, and to make sure each place fit the story being told. Additionally, the musical numbers would be accompanied by their own kind of psychedelic visuals. In typical Filmation fashion, each story contained a pro-social message. Marc Richards wrote the entirety of the series as he did with The Brady Kids, and the rest of the series’ music was composed by Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott as Yvette Blais and Jeff Michael, respectively. 

The magical Land of Prestidigitation.

The series ultimately did no one any favors. It didn’t hit with audiences and only lasted a single season. It did nothing for Springfield’s career that he wouldn’t do for himself with the release of the album Working Class Dog and its hit single “Jessie’s Girl”, as well as his prominent role as Dr. Noah Drake in the soap opera General Hospital. He has since continued to perform on stage and screen, as well as dabbled in writing with his autobiography and a novel. While this and Miss Tickle ended up being Fisher’s only credit for Filmation, she was the wife and manager of Jackson Bostwick who would become the titular hero of their live-action effort Shazzam! in 1974.

Tut-Tut and the magical gramophone.

In 1974, Springfield released the album Mission: Magic! in Australia through Wizard Records. The album contained the full version of all the songs he performed of the show except for “Yes I Am”. While none of the songs have been included on any of Springfield’s official compilation albums, the album itself has been re-released in various territories under different names and lengths: Just Gotta Sing (13 tracks), Big Hits (10 tracks), Backtracks, Speak to the Sky (9 tracks plus the titular single), Catch Me If You Can (including 2 singles), Fan-Tastic Rick Springfield and Rick Springfield. The album was reissued on CD in 2004. In 2007, BCI Eclipse released the digitally remastered complete series to DVD with additional special features.



“The Land of Backwards” (9/8/73) – The Adventurers Club finds themselves in trouble when returning stolen jewels lands them in jail.
“Modran” (9/15/73) – The Adventurers Club tries to stop crooked Modran from cheating to win a tournament, but he takes some of the kids captive as insurance that he will.
“Dissonia” (9/22/73) – A device is eliminating all music in a land, and it appears to be impervious to Miss Tickle’s magic.
Song: Love is the Key
“Land of Hyde and Go Seek” (9/29/73) – A land is threatened by invaders who want the only substance that can give them a new hairstyle.
“The City Inside the Earth” (10/6/73) – Rick calls the Adventurers Club to a subterranean city where a scientist seeks to claim the underground for himself.
Song: “Yes I Am”
“2600 A.D.” (10/13/73) – The Adventurers Club heads to the future where they find Omni the robot is ruler over all humans, and he needs help to save the Earth from a meteor.
“Something Fishy” (10/20/73) – Dr. Manta uses his power to dominate an underwater city and takes Socks and Vinnie captive.
Song: Free and Easy
“Giant Steppes” (10/27/73) – Miss Tickle must rescue Rick and his friend Billy from a giant while the kids figure out how to get Billy back to his throne.
“Statue of Limitations” (11/3/73) – A statute is stolen in Paris, and the three prime suspects in its theft all have their own version of it.
Song: I Want You
“Will the Real Rick Springfield Please Stand Up?” (11/10/73) – Rick and Ptolemy are acting strangely, and it turns out both have been replaced by crooks that can change their shape.
“Doctor Astro” (11/17/73) – The Adventurers Club must stop a mad scientist who plans to bring Zodiac signs to life.
“Doctor Daguerreotype” (11/24/73) – Crooks capture the magic door in a special camera and use it to steal famous landmarks.
Song: On the Other Side
“Nephren” (12/1/73) – Miss Tickle finds herself up against an ancient Egyptian queen whose magic is just as powerful as her own.
“Modran Returns” (12/8/73) – Modran uses Rick as bait to get his hands on Tut-Tut, who turns out to be the key to the magic door.
Song: Just Gotta Sing
“Horse Feathers” (12/15/73) – The Adventurers Club must find out who stole the rodeo prize money.
Song: Welcome to the Rodeo” & “Sing Me A Song”
“A Light Mystery” (12/22/73) – The Adventurers Club heads through the door to find out which of three rulers stole a generator to help them conquer the entire land.

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