Featuring the song: Catch Me If You Can

Original Air Date: 9/15/73
Written by Marc Richards - Directed by Hal Sutherland
Storyline: The magic door in the chalkboard apparently works both ways as Modran and his henchmen Bell, Booke and Kindall come through it. Modran is stealing gold so that he can be declared the world's greatest magician. Miss Tickle and the club go to the Land of Prestidigitation, where she will compete against Modran at the Festival of Magic and Rick will face a giant blue genie.

Footnote: According to a Hollywood Reporter review, this was the first aired episode.

According to US

Seeing the title for the first episode, you kind of knew what you were in for, but I had no idea what "Modran" was going to be about. Of course, we find out pretty quick that Modran is the name of the bad guy (you can tell immediately) magician. I have no idea how he knew about the magic (chalk drawn) door. That was a little odd. Two of the boys challenge each other to a race, and one of the boys was encouraged to cheat, and you just know from the start that somehow, this is going to be the lesson for the episode. Gotta love hearing Rick say really big words with that accent (prestidigitation). Tutt Tutt should be able to talk. I guess I'm missing he purpose of the cat thus far (unless Miss Tickle needs it to draw the door). Apparently Carol has a crush on Rick, no surprise, but I didn't pick up on that in the first episode (aka "Rick doesn't need magic). The song comes in the middle of the episode this time, and again goes right in with the episode. I loved Rick's "spectacular rope and 3 men tied into a knot trick" and interesting that he describes himself as a "wondering Minstrel".
The big "Huh?" moment came when Modran used magic to "steal" the gold. Why didn't he just do that for his real magic trick?
You gotta love a cartoon that has a moral and this one was about not cheating, so nice lesson for the kids. - rlh

The story opens with some odd creatures slipping through Miss Tickle's magic door. The leader of the crew is called Modran, who possesses magical powers. Modran's followers are seen toting bags over their shoulders as they all fly back through the magic door, returning to their `world.' The bags are full of gold bricks stolen from the US Mint Department. In return, the crooks left behind fake gold bricks to make it appear none were missing.

I think my favorite quote from this show is when Miss Tickle tells her students, "it's better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all." I like that a lot! 

Rick calls through on the "record player" to tell the gang that there is some trouble in another land. He says there is a lot of magic going on and not necessarily the good kind. The adventurers club and Miss Tickle fly through the door in the chalkboard and into the other land. They run across a storm in the sky. Miss Tickle tells the kids it's a magic storm. Modran's helpers are shown turning off a special effects machine which is actually what created the storm effects. An audience was watching Modran perform tricks of lightning and thunder, assuming the tricks are real. He's supposed to be the greatest magician of all times, according to what Rick has heard. 

Once on the ground, two of the kids find a magic Genie lamp and when they rub the lamp a huge Genie comes out. Rick says he will distract the Genie so he'll go back into his lamp. He yells up to him, "Hey Genie. How'd you like to play catch us if you can?" This is where the song Catch Me If You Can comes in. I like this song pretty good on it's own, even though it's another simple song without much depth, as we're so used to with Rick's songwriting. This is one of my 13 year-old daughters favorite Rick songs! The cartoon during this part pretty much fits the song if you don't think too closely about it. 

Throughout the song segment there are clips of Rick playing guitar and also the Genie becoming frustrated as he attempts to catch Rick. During the parts where it says "sweet magician's daughter" the Genie is seen wearing a girls red wig that`s fixed in two braids and ribbons! Miss Tickle ends up using her magic pocket book to create wind. She flies around and around the Genie's head until he's `sucked' back into the lamp. 

The gang finds a gold brick and Miss Tickle uses her magic to make any other gold bricks that may be lying around `disappear' and return to the US Mint. Modran's `cronies' begin following Miss Tickle around. She creates four images of herself (Hey, she can clone herself! Cool trick!) to confuse the bad guys so they won't catch her. It throws them for a loop and she gets away.

Modran is in the tent hovering around his gold bricks. Tut Tut and Ptolemy come into the tent and Modran casts a spell on them, capturing them in an endless storm. Soon after, two of the girls---Carol and Kim---enter the tent and Modran `locks' them in the tent. They figure out a way to break the spell on the animals. Ptolemy gets away and goes to warn the others of the danger they're in. Modran is upset that one of them has escaped. He tells one of his men that he doesn't want the kids to get away and that he is going to the other world to collect some REAL gold. He leaves them to watch after Carol, Kim and Tut Tut. It flashes back to Rick and the others, and Miss Tickle says she has to stop Modran before he gets away with any more crimes. Rick tells her that he and the others will rescue the girls and Tut Tut while she goes after Modran. Awww ….Rick wants to rescue the `chicks' from danger! LOL 

Modran is seen drawing the chalk door on Miss Tickles magic chalkboard and entering into their world. Miss Tickle is not far behind him. I thought it was cute when she tells Modran, "you didn't raise your hand and ask to be excused Modran." He says, "it's the magic female." And she responds with, "who were you expecting? Peter Pan?" LOL He vanishes in a puff of smoke. Of course, Miss Tickle can do magic too, so she follows him and sees where Modran does his dirty work. He is transforming fake bricks into real gold. Modran doesn't see the teacher lurking nearby, spying on him. Miss Tickle is working some magic of her own! Modran will be surprised at the magic festival.

Modran's cronies are doing a magic trick back at the tent to entertain the girls, because they said they were bored! He is trying to make an elephant appear within a large wooden box. Instead, when he opens the box, Rick and the boys appear. Rick says, "sorry about the elephant. Would you settle for a traveling minstrel?" Rick does a trick of his own with a magic rope and captures Modran's men, tying them up in the rope. They all get away. 

Later at the magic festival, Modran is performing his `gold bricks' magic trick before a large crowd. Modran has turned lead into gold much to the audience's amazement. But Miss Tickle is on top of the game. She uses her magic pencil to turn the gold to FAKE gold. The crowd begins getting upset, ranting at the great magician because it's fake. Modran is furious. He sees Miss Tickle and yells, "YOU!" He creates all sorts of tricks to scare Miss Tickle, but between her and Rick, they take down the so-called magician. 

The lesson for the show comes now as Miss Tickle tells the students that Modran lost all his chances to prove his greatness because he used trickery and was dishonest. She tells them, "if you cheat to win in life, then even you won't ever know whether or not you could've won honestly." Miss Tickle thanks Rick for his help in getting rid of Modran by using Modran's special effects machine. Rick tells her, "I had so much fun doing that, that I might take up the machine and forget my guitar." {Um…No Rick…not a good plan! } Rick tells the gang, "so long gang. I'm off to scout out some more trouble." 

The last scene it pretty comical. It shows Modran walking along by himself saying he's still the greatest. Miss Tickle had transformed him into a guy with a mask in red long pajama's!!! 

I liked this episode much more than the first one. I guess the reason is because of the lessons that Miss Tickle taught the kids about being honest and giving it your all. - Kelley Pearson