The Rudy Coby Show (BBC1, 1994)
A while ago, I reviewed The Magic Comedy Strip, an ITV show from the early-90s which was part of the last-gasp of old-school variety. Among the regulars was Joe Pasquale, this is where I remember seeing him on TV for the first time, and he went on to further success with his mix of magic and comedy. There were also some American magicians who often took part.
One of them was Rudy Coby, who had a rather unusual act. He would perform various tricks, and he would usually wear a big white coat, along with having spiky hair. I have wondered if he went on to make any more TV appearances beyond The Magic Comedy Strip, and it seems that he was on BBC1’s The Paul Daniels Show a few times in the late-80s/early-90s.
But I was rather surprised to discover that he did once have a TV show of his own, which I recently spotted on YouTube. However, this was only a one-off that was shown on BBC1 on a Bank Holiday Monday in August, which is a rather quiet time of the year, but it was still more than I expected. The description for this show was rather interesting too.
This insisted that Rudy was something of “a human cartoon”, and deep in his secret laboratory, he goes on a magical journey through a cartoon world. We were also informed that he was a science-fiction hero, and with his range of tricks and optical illusions, we wouldn’t believe our eyes. He even had his own studio band (well, there was some guy at the back with a keyboard).
And barely two minutes in, he was doing his most famous trick with his arm (well it does make sense if you see it). He also pulled a few people out of the excitable audience to take part in some of the spectacular stunts. Curiously, The Rudy Coby Show was repeated on BBC1 a year later in 1995, this time in a Saturday Night slot (although again this was in August), as this was the BBC’s entry for that year’s Montreux Festival.
This is where TV channels from across Europe and beyond submit one of their entertainment shows in the hope that they could win the coveted “Rose D’Or” at the annual festival. This wasn’t a success though, the main winner that year was Channel 4’s game show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. But it was good to know that he had one more moment of fame.