Season One: Episode 19
Directed by: John Harrison
Written by: David Gerrold
Based on a story by: Joseph Payne Brennan
Kharma: Joe Turkel
Frank: Brad Cowgill
Flora: Cynthia Frost
Ernie: Anthony Thompkins
The Carny: John Marzilli
Kharma's decision to not perform his famous levitatin causes a hardcore magic fan to heckle him until he changes his mind.
ACT I Edit
On the way to see the magician Kharma, magic fan Frank is trying to assure his friend Ernie that Kharma is the best magician in the world. Frank tells Ernie that other than Houdini, Kharma is the only magician that has ever been able to succeed at wireless levitatin. Ernie, however, has his doubts, mostly due to the carnival Kharma is performing at, which he thinks is a dump. Frank tries to remain positive, suggesting that since the name 'Kharma' means fate that maybe there is a reason or destiny awaiting Kharma at the carnival. When Frank leads Ernie to the suggestion that Kharma might be looking to pass he secrets on to someone, Ernie assumes that Frank is referring to himself. Ernie tries to leave, but Frank insists that they should stay and that Kharma's magic is real.
A carny promises the visitors that inside the tent they will not only get to see Kharma, but also a lady without a skirt on. Frank and Ernie go in and see some typical carnival fare as they walk through the tent. They get a front seat as one of Kharma's assistants introduce him as a great magician, emphasizing his mastery over the forces of magic.
Frank is extremely excited as Kharma is introduced and comes out to perform. However, nothing Kharma does is remotely better than amateur magic tricks that children learn.Kharma begins by producing a bouquet of flowers from under his cape. Ernie sarcastically remarks "The Great Kharma" to Frank, but Frank is positive that the show will get better. The tricks, however, do not get any better as Kharma makes the individual flowers on the bouquet disappear and then reappear. The crowd claps politely but it is obvious due to the looks on their faces that they are disappointed. Kharma then peforms the "cut and restored string" trick. Even his assistant is yawning at this point.
It appears at one point that Kharma is about to do a more impressive trick, only to reveal a guilltine trick. Frank is chagrined that Kharma is only performing "kids stuff." Ernie is finally impressed by a trick, and the rest of the audience is somewhat impressed as well. Frank, however, is very disappointed.
Ernie refers to the whole experience as a waste and Frank is shocked. Frank gets up and walks out, determined to find out why the show was so weak.
Ernie is stil teasing Frank about Kharma's perfrmance while Frank laments over the fact that Kharma did not do any of the tricks he was known for. Every trick performed was what Frank refers to as cheap kids store stuff. Ernie wants to go look at the freak tent, but Frank is despondent and leaves to find out from Kharma as to why the show was so weak.
Frank and Ernie get behing the scenes of the carnival. Ernie thinks it won't prove anything, but when Kharma's assistant shows up, Frank approaches her. Frank tries to convince her to let him see Kharma, but she insists that no one sees Kharma and Frank should leave them alone on their dinner break. Frank gets by her and when he approaches Kharma, he is instructed by both Kharma and the assistant Flora to go away.
When Frank asks why Kharma did not do the wireless levitation act, Kharma informs Frank the secret of the wireless levitation act died with Houdini. Frank, however, knows better and tells Kharma that he knows Kharma knows how to do the trick. Kharma insists that Houdini never passed on any of his secrets, but Frank believes what he has read in the newspaper which contradicts Kharma. Kharma insists that there is no such thing as real magic. When Ernie picks something up on his truck, Kharma hurriedly takes it from him. Frank makes one more plea, telling Kharma they drove 75 miles to come and see him and he wants to see real magic. Kharma appears first to be ready to tell Frank the secret, but he simply repeats that tthere is no secret and Houdini never spoke with him from beyond the grave.
When Frank refuses to give up and tells Kharma that he knows Kharma did the wireless levitation four times, this is the first time that his words have an effect on Kharma. Kharma seems upset and corrects Frank that he did the levitation three times. When he is about to talk about the fourth time, he loses strength and falls into his chair.
Flora has finally had enough and tells Frank and Ernie that they have to leave. Kharma, however, immediately changes his entire story. He tells Frank that wireless levitation is too dangerous because it uses too much energy. He says it is something that no one should ever do or should have ever done.
Frank tells Kharma that he wants to learn, but Kharma dismisses this and tells him to go to school. Angry, Frank tells Kharma that he thought Kharma was going to be something special and all that he is now is nothing. As Frank goes away, calling Kharma a liar and a fraud, Flora follows them and insists that Kharma is a great man. Kharma picks up the picture that Ernie had been looking at earlier and it is the picture of a young blonde woman. Flora explains that Kharma cannot doe the wireless leviation anymore because the last time he did it, he did it to his daughter. She emotionally tells Ernie and Frank to leave them alone and she leaves. While Flora tends to a despondent Kharma, Frank has a look on his face that suggests he has figured something out.
Rather than leave the carnival, Frank and Ernie remain to watch Kharma's next show. Flora again introduces Kharma and he comes out to a spattering of applause. Kharma performs the same tricks as before, only with this time Frank is heckling him and explaining the tricks to others in the audience. Both Kharma and Flora appear annoyed at his heckling, but they are able to ignore it for a short while. Ernie asks Frank why he is acting the way that he is.
When Frank heckles Kharma for doing the Chinese linking rings trick, Kharma has finally had enough of the heckling. Rather than performing the trick, he hands the rings over to Flora and he asks Frank if Frank is enjoying himself. Frank once again demands the wireless levitation. Although Flora warns Kharma not to do it, Kharma finally decides to do it. He invites Frank to get up to have the trick performed on him. With disappointment evident in her eyes, flora goes to set up the trick. Frank gets up and Ernie warns him that something does not seem right and Frank should not get involved with the trick.
Frank gets up on stage and approaches Kharma. When Kharma tells Frank that any consequeces that any consquences are on Frank's head, Frank seems to lose his courage. He however insists to go on with the trick.
Kharma grabs Frank's eyes and tries to put him into a trance where he can imagine weightless, drifting and floating. Kharma lays a very stiff and entranced Frank onto two chairs, telling Frank that he will obey Kharma. Kharma addresses the crowd and tells them that the trick has not been attempted by anyone on stage in over 25 years. Ernie begins to look very worried.
With one last plea from Flora, much to the surprise of the audience, Kharma knocks the chairs down and reveals Frank levitating. Kharma commands Frank to rise and Frank begins to do so. The trick seems to be sapping Kharma of all his strength. As Frank continues to rise Kharms appears to go into cardiac arrest as the tent rips open.
With Flora attending to Kharma, Ernie yells at Frank , trying to get him to not float away. Frank floats right out of the tent. As Ernie runs onstage, he tries to get Frank to wake up but it is to no avail as Kharma can't break the spell and Frank floats away in a state of sleep into the sky.