Production of 4th Season of Abracadabra Wraps Up: Q&A with Dr. Adelman and Joey
Abracadabra – shortened to just “Abra” in the hallways of WV Public Broadcasting—is a locally produced program for children that combines magic and ventriloquism with nutrition, health, exercise and safety. The show is hosted and produced by physician/magician/ventriloquist Michael Adelman, the President of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Characters like Daisey, Salty the Pirate, Professor Science, and Duk (the magical duck) sing, dance, learn, and watch magic tricks. And of course there’s Joey, a bright well-meaning, mischievous boy puppet. Glynis Board visited set this week to talk to Adelman and Joey as the fourth season of production wraps up.
G: So tell me about this production. Has it been fun? Joey? Have you had fun?
Joey: I always have fun. It’s always lots of fun and I get to do all sorts of crazy things. And I get to see Duk! And I get to see all my other friends.
Adelman: Yeah, it’s always a lot of fun. The crew is amazing and the cast is just super.This year we have 23 children—all from southern West Virginia, Oak Hill, Charleston, Beckley, and Lewisburg.
G: This is the 4th season of Abracadabra that’s been in production. Is that correct?
Adelman: That’s correct.
Joey: Yeah, we’re so excited about that!
G: Is there something different about this season that sets it apart from some of the other seasons?
Adelman: Yes, I think so.
Joey: How about I do the talking?
Adelman: No, Joey I’ll talk right now.
Adelman: The biggest thing is that the quality keeps improving each season. And we keep stretching ourselves. We’re doing a lot more what you call greenscreen—so a lot more graphics. The episodes are a little bit more complicated. And I think that will translate to a better show. Also, we’re exploring some new areas. We're d’ing a lot with STEM, so Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—the schools have asked that we do that. We’re also doing an episode on bullying. And we think that’s really important.
Joey: Yeah, no one should EVER be faced with a bully.
G: Tell me why you are doing this show. What’s the mission of Abracadabra?
Adelman: You know West Virginia has an obesity issue. There’ve been lots of programs that have tried to help that but many of them have not been as successful as we’ve hoped. What we’re doing is focusing on kids. We figure if we can talk to them about staying healthy and healthy lifestyles, and eating nutritious foods, they would take that back and parents would appreciate that.
And that’s what we’ve seen. We’ve had parents email us and say, ‘Johnnie is eating green beans and he’s never asked for that before.’ And it stems from a ‘commercial’ that Joey did about green beans.
Joey: Oh yeah, I do lots of commercials about fresh fruits and vegetables.
Adelman: That’s right. And so we think we’re proving some success with that. That’s really why we’re doing it. We want to affect the healthier life styles of our young people.
G: Great, is there anything you’d like to add? Joey?
Adelman: Why don’t we show everybody how much math you know?
Joey: Oh yeah I could do that.
Adelman: Because we are learning about STEM.
Joey: Oh yeah, okay,
Adelman: So if you have a quarter—
Joey: I don’t have a quarter.
Adelman: Well imagine you have a quarter.
Joey: I don’t have that much imagination.
Adelman: Well then never mind. So you have a quarter.
Adelman: and you lend me fifteen cents.
Adelman: How much do you have left?
Joey: …A quarter.
Adelman: No no no you don’t get my meaning.
Joey: You don’t get my fifteen cents.
Abracadabra also goes on tour, visiting schools throughout West Virginia.