Buzz Blog

Debunking Psychokinesis, Old School

Friday, January 06, 2012

I love James Randi. He's better known as The Amazing Randi for his magic act, but I've never seen him doing tricks on stage. It's his commitment to debunking psychic frauds that I truly enjoy.


As I was checking out a few crackpots and fraudsters connected to stuff like cold fusion, perpetual motion machines, and zero point energy generators, I happened to stumble on this clip of Randi making a fool of psychic shyster James Hydrick.

There are several things that make this interesting viewing. The first that occurred to me while watching this clip is just how boring television could be in the old days. It's not so surprising that the panel of scientists are awfully dull, but I would have thought experienced performers like Randi, Hydrick and Bob Barker could have punched it up just a bit for the audience.

What's more surprising is that a primitive reality show like That's My Line would take time to debunk a psychic fraud. This episode was edited down from an hour and a half  to fit the half hour TV format, and then cut even further for Youtube. Although it's still about as action packed as paint drying, watching Hydrick sweat and stall kept me on the edge of my seat.

I can't imagine any modern reality shows blowing air time doing something like this, but I would love to see a show based on exposing a different scam artist each week. 

James Randi is still debunking frauds at a well-seasoned age of 89 83. Bob finally retired from game hosting TV in 2007. Hydrick eventually admitted his fraud and is now serving time in prison for molesting children.

Posted by Buzz Skyline


Buzz Skyline said...

Wow, I'm honored that one of my heroes would post a comment on my blog post.

However, I should point out that your memory is at odds with the clip of the show you were on. At 6:37 in the clip, the show's title is shown as they are about to cut to a commercial. It clearly reads "That's My Line." In addition, at 20 seconds in, Bob says, "Welcome to That's My Line." ("What's My Line", it seems, was a related show that was produced by the same people, but was hosted by John Charles Daly.)

I did add a few years to your age though. Wikipedia agrees that you are a mere 83 years old. Sorry about that.

Keep up the good work, James, to 89 and well beyond I hope.


Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Anonymous said...

First, the show wasn't "That's My Line," but a new show called "What's My Line," also by Goodson/Todman. Second, I'm 83, not 89... Yes, Hydrick eventually admitted his fraud and is now serving time in prison for child molestation, though it should be understood that he himself was an adopted child who was repeatedly molested, and it appears that children who are so attacked, tend to go that way, too, though I'm personally repelled by any such actions.

James Randi.

Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM