A major breakthrough has been made with our research on the unreleased animated film The Magic 7.
Original concept art by Ken Cope, 1991
Lost or unreleased media is such a captivating topic. Imagine a TV show, commercial or movie that you have seen before but suddenly as years go by that media has vanished without any trace of it. When it comes to lost media, we often do have bits and pieces of the lost content such as stills or clips. Previously, I explored lost media and came across the most fascinating lost film that I have ever come across. Mainly because I felt like the film had a good cause attached to it and that it was unfortunate that it never made it to the screens.
Here’s an excerpt from my first article on The Magic 7 to help those of you who really want to understand what we’re dealing with here.
The Magic 7 is an animated film written and directed by Roger Holzberg. Supposedly, the plot surrounded two children and a five-toed dragon that teamed up to battle the arch-enemies of planet Earth. The movie was clearly made for Earth Day and it was originally supposed to be released on April 22, 1997, but it was postponed several times. Google & IMDB are claiming that The Magic 7 was released on December 19, 2008, in France and 2009 in the United States, but this is unlikely. There’s no information or promotional media, such as trailers or posters, that exists where this film was released in France nor the United States. In fact, there is no media coverage at all about this film.
The production for this film began in 1990. That means that it has been a 28-year-long journey with this project. For it to not be released by now, let alone it’s original release date in 1997, is so unfortunate. With the outrageously small amount of information of this film that is available on the internet, I thought that this case was going to be a lost cause. There are some instances where the creator of something considered to be lost media purposely keeps their work from ever seeing the light of the internet due to numerous reasons. I thought this was going to be the case when I contacted the writer and director of The Magic 7, Roger Holzberg. Fortunately, this was not the case when I chatted with Holzberg via email. But more unfortunately, I learned the circumstances surrounding the film that Holzberg himself considers a “sad story” along with some new information regarding why the film has been unfinished. Here’s a little timeline of sorts:
- Developed by Roger Holzberg (writer/director) and David Joseph (producer) in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Protection Agency (UNEP).
- M7 is purchased by a film company called Earth Saver’s CLub (ESC) who green lights and funds production. The live action is filmed and edited, the voice artists are recorded (except 1). The live action is edited, animation begins, the track is edited and conformed to the storyboards. The animation company goes bankrupt after the executive at ESCadvances the entire budget to them. ESC then files Chapter 11.
- Several years later Roger Holzberg, John Kilkenny, and the original ESC investor, buy the rights and assets back from bankruptcy court in LA and legally acquire M7.
- Pulse Entertainment options the project, acquires the assets, begins production and sales. After several years Pulse never completes M7 and the rights and assets once again revert back to Holzberg/Kilkenny.
- Holzberg/Kilkenny commission Technicolor to digitize and store all of the assets so they will remain stable and secure.
- HOPE – M7 is an animated film, significantly complete, hoping for an entertainment or media company to partner with the team and finally complete it.
So it’s confirmed that The Magic 7 has not been finished nor released despite that being stated on IMDB and Google, but Roger Holzberg still has the HOPE that one day it will be completed and released in the future. This is what makes lost/unreleased media so delightful: this information you find a long the way and learning about the story behind it. With environmental issues seemingly getting worse as time goes on, I think this movie would still be relevant and something that the younger generation needs to see if released today. Holzberg also shared the original synopsis and cast of the film and even uploaded a video that contains sample video and audio tracks!
THE MAGIC 7 is a live action / animated, adventure about a boy and girl who get taken to the world of the Dreaded Deadlies. Led by a dragon named 5-Toe, they must transform the Deadlies and solve the secret of THE MAGIC 7 in order to get home.
LIVE ACTION —
SEAN (Corey Danziger) – A twelve year old boy like any other twelve year old boy. He lives for baseball, rock n’ roll … and his family.
SEAN’S DAD (Ted Danson) – Strong, supportive and very much into his antique convertible Corvette.
SEAN’S MOM (Dee Wallace) – A wise cracker who takes care of her guys as best she can.
ERICA (Jennifer Love Hewitt) – A twelve year old, very shy girl who has just moved in next door. Beautiful, caring … and a touch too sensitive for her own good.
SEAN / ERICA – Stylized versions of the actors.
5 TOE (James Earl Jones) – A 5th order dragon who eats high sulfur coal and pays the price with severe indigestion. A wise teacher, a deeply caring guide with an earth rumbling voice; if his wings were only big enough to properly support him when he flies…
SMOKESTACK SAM (John Candy) – POLLUTION – Half car, half man… all Texan. He lives for one thing only – cruising down an open stretch of highway, red-lined to the max.
MARCEL MAGGOT (Michael J. Fox) – NOT-RECYCLING – He is a 500 pound French Moroccan maggot. He sees himself as a very romantic fellow.
U-Z-ONESA (Demi Moore) – NOT RE-USING – Marlena Deitrich with a Barbie Doll body made of plastic forks, a microwave oven, blue plastic hair and an aerosol can skirt. She can’t sing a note … but doesn’t know it.
SCRATCH (Ice T.) – NOT RENEWING THE EARTH – A skeleton with fiery feet, leaving scorched earth wherever he steps. Not much of a talker, he Raps like the ‘bad-ass mother earth destroyer’ he is. He digs U-Z.
WASTRA (Madeline Kahn) – NOT CONSERVING – A small thermo-nuclear reactor, always running at a frantic, operatic tremble. She is a vampire of electrical power.
THRAXX (TBD) – NOT RESPECTING LIVING THINGS – A Tyrannosaurs Rex in an Armani suit, Gordon Gecko with claws.
There you have it! I want to thank Roger Holzberg for responding and providing so much more insight on his film. I also want to wish him and the rest of the team behind The Magic 7 good luck for the future plans behind the film, whether they want to release it or not. This lost media journey has turned out to be a really fascinating one.
I would also like to dedicate this article to Madeline Kahn, voice of Wastra, who died in 1999 & John Candy, voice of Smokestack Sam, who died in 1994. The two also starred in many other great films. Rest in peace.