Beyond the Magic Door

Ken Raabe, Mark Norby, and John Szostek



In EPISODE ONE Dreidel TV’s on-camera editorial writer, Ben Bagel is feeling anxious. He’s loaded with woe about the pressures and stresses of his job and finances and wishes very much that he could just return to the days of his childhood again when things were simpler. He sings his trouble to Ms. Cindy, the librarian, who tells him that sometimes wishing can make things come true and he follows her advice. Later that night, he throws the news show into chaos by regressing back to childhood on live TV, right in the middle of the broadcast of “Yesterday’s News Today.” He redeems himself, recovering to write a fine editorial.


In EPISODE TWO a tense situation develops when developer J. P. Potter, portrayed by a disembodied hand wearing a collar and tie and holding a cigar, plans to dynamite the cliff where the lovable, furry, orange Nebbish lives in a cave in order to build a factory that produces plastic flowers. Just in the nick of time a way to stop the blasting project is found, both sides are satisfied, Nebbish’s cave home remains safe and the episode ends with no hard feelings on either side.


EPISODE THREE opens with the doorman character holding a package that has just been delivered. Alana, a real child, enters and is given the package which turns out to be a birthday present from her Uncle Mort, who is fond of mysteries and surprises. The little box contains a golden key which an enclosed note hints will unlock a treasure. Alana gets advice and help from Ms. Cindy the librarian and the bumbling private detective, Dan Farblunget and the challenging search begins. Meanwhile, Dreidel TV’s “Yesterday’s News Today” is reporting on the joyous return of the Jewish people from their Babylonian captivity after seventy years of exile and the importance of maintaining the school system, devised in captivity, now that they have returned to Jerusalem.


EPISODE FOUR addresses the consequences of pollution on the health of the community. Ms. Cindy and the doorman cough their way through the opening and wonder what’s causing the pollution in Dreidel. Dan Farblunget and ace reporter, Ben Bagel join forces to search the dark forest for the cause of the pollution. They discover drums of poisonous materials next to a fish pond in the forest and trace them back to J. P. Potter, the developer who wants to build a new factory next to the fish pond.


EPISODE FIVE begins with Marty Safer complaining that the town of Dreidel lacks the community spirit it once had and that everyone is concerned only about themselves, pursuing only their own goals. Herschel, for example, wants Dreidel to build a new town hall, primarily so that his TV station will have a larger space in which to operate. Miss Informed tells Herschel a story about the silly inhabitants of the imaginary town of Chelm who also build a town hall that the whole town doesn’t really need. Over the course of the episode the characters learn that the feeling of unity and common purpose is what makes a real community.


EPISODE SIX begins with Detective Dan Farblunget is in big trouble. He had been in charge of the candles on his Uncle Herschel’s birthday cake and managed to set the tablecloth on fire. He then put it out by dumping the whole bowl of punch onto the flames. He begins to think maybe his Uncle Herschel doesn’t want him in the family anymore and calls himself an oddball. (He may be right as he is apparently the only actual human in the family.) He is comforted by a character named Miss Informed, who, despite her name, informs him of the bonds of family and the importance of the relationships between family members. He decides to start a “family” of his own, even printing out an application form for potential members, but is reminded by Cindy, the librarian, that the community of Dreidel is “one big family.” This episode contains the character of Bookworm, whose squawky voice is made by using a sound effect device called a swozzle from the old Punch and Judy puppet show.