Max Merlin (Barnard Hughes) is a 1600-year-old magician featured on the CBS fantasy comedy MR. MERLIN (1981-1982).
Formerly in the employ of King Arthur, Max Merlin now works as a mechanic at Mr. Merlin’s Garage, an auto repair shop located in a run-down section of San Francisco at 61 Hope Street.
His job as a mechanic is just a disguise that allows him to interact with people and help those in need. In his former life, Max advised William the Conqueror and dated Marie Antoinette (“It was more than dating”). Now he wears greasy overalls and fixes cars.
If Max has a craving for Japanese food, he doesn’t go to a restaurant around the corner, like a normal person. Instead he magically teleports himself (and guest, if need be) across the Pacific Ocean to Yokohama, Japan for a quick meal of sushi and then in a blink of an eye back to his garage.
Lately, however, Max is overworked and falling behind in his duties. After all, he’s 1600 years old. It is then he receives a message from the High Council of Magic that he must hire an apprentice magician to help him with his job or face going into retirement without immortality or his powers.
The message was delivered by Alexandria “Alex” (Elaine Joyce), a fellow magician and the only other person who shares his secret. Alexandra is the liaison between Max Merlin and his superiors in the world of magic. She pops in and out of Max’s life with a brilliant flash of light.
Luckily, Max finds Zachary Rogers (Clark Brandon), a bumbling 15-year-old who stumbles in to his garage via skateboard for a visit. Zach is chosen as Max’s new wizard in training when he effortlessly pulls a crowbar out of cement – the crowbar is revealed to be Arthur’s sword Excalibur.
“My name is not Max Merlin. It’s Merlin Serventer. Myrddin Wyllt. I was born in 381 A.D. in Wales. My father was an incubus. My mother was a Welsh Princess. I am a sorcerer. A magician. A wizard. They want me to get an apprentice. And, ah…you’re it.”
Reluctantly, Max hires Zach and sets out to train his new apprentice in the ways of magic. Zach will work part time in the garage and for 14 hours a week, he will learn about what Max does, magically that is.
At first, Zach (who accidentally smashed up Max’s garage) thinks Max is a crazy person when he says he is a wizard, but after a few short demonstration of his powers, Zach accepts the job.
Zach hopes his new found skills will make him popular with the girls, get him more money and improve his grades at school. Zach lives at 13761 Havenhurst Road.
As Zach trained to be a wizard, he encountered all sorts of problems, like casting the wrong spells, misusing potions (devising love potions), abusing powers (using teleportation to win fights) and almost revealing his new-found magical powers to normal people, among them Leo Samuels (Jonathan Prince), Zack’s best friend, who often suffered the consequences Zach’s inept attempts at magic.
Despite Zach’s many mishaps, the High Council of Magic overlooked Zach’s inexperience and selfish tendencies and allow him to remain as Max’s apprentice wizard, believing that Zach will mature into a responsible magician, so he can take over for Max Merlin when he retires.
c/o Mr. Merlin’s Garage
61 Hope Street
San Francisco, CA (High Park)