|Marlo and the Magic Movie Machine was a return to the kind of show that had dominated kidsí TV in the 1950ís. Working with a shoestring budget and a huge library of archived film, executive producer Sanford Fisher turned a simple concept into a popular and much-praised hour of fun and learning.
Mustachioed and frizzy-haired Laurie Faso played Marlo Higgins, an employee of the L. Dullo Computer Company. Late at night, when the rest of the Dullo employees had all gone home, Marlo headed down to the basement, where he had made a new and secret friend: a talking computer. The Magic Movie Machine was an invaluable source of old film shorts, including everything from newsreels to slapstick comedy. Together, the two friends watched the movies and traded tips and quips.
The short films were part of the Corporation for Entertainment and Learningís enormous archive, which contained millions of feet of film, much of which hadnít been seen in years, even decades. Sanford Fisher and his team edited the shorts into clips of a few minutesí length, allowing Marlo to take the kids at home on several imaginative and historical trips during each episode.
Marlo and the Magic Movie Machineís simple charms earned it a devoted following, which made the show a hit in syndication. Part of this was due to the amiable presence of Faso, a natural host who later made a name for himself as a voice-over artist on animated series like Transformers and Monchichis.
The show itself was trimmed from a full hour to half an hour in 1978, allowing more stations across the country to fit it into their broadcast schedules. The shorter version ran through 1980, airing literally hundreds of long-lost film clips and expanding the minds of millions.