Respect for Doug Henning

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Postby P.T.Widdle » 12/16/09 10:33 AM

I was not able to find a thread discussing the new book, Spellbound, so I'm sorry if I'm treading on old ground.

I just finished the book last night and I was kind of shocked and disappointed to see a quote about Henning by Richard Kaufman at the very end. He really dissed Henning in a mean spirited sort of way. I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the quote just seemed to be overly nasty. Even after Jamie Ian Swiss admitted that he was not a Henning fan, he wrote a thoughtful review of the book and showed due respect to him. I would hope that after reading Spellbound, Kaufman would recognize the enormous achievements of Doug Henning and maybe soften his criticism.

Anyway, the book is a wonderful read. I saw Henning in Merlin when I was 12 or 13 and it was fascinating reading about all those illusions years later.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/16/09 10:52 AM

Some of us were non-plussed that Doug Henning got spirited away by good intentions and impracticalities.

Funny how some thirty years later there's a succesful young Merlin show with a prince, a queen...
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Postby Roger M. » 12/16/09 11:47 AM

This is hardly the book that Doug deserved.

Very far removed from a Steinmeyer approach to documenting magicians who have left indelible marks on the craft........if wishes were horses, but I had wished Steinmeyer was to be the author of the definitive work on Doug's life and career.

Too many voices are missing from this work, and there's too many overtones resembling judgements being made about decisions Doug made in his own pursuit of his lifes happiness.

The ongoing disrespect in too many circles towards Doug is, rather than deserving of a snide comment from me, simply beyond my ability to understand what is gained from such words.

He was a kind man with a good heart who single handedly re-defined magic and magicians (at a time when there was zero public respect for either).........worthy of much more (even today) than he's often given.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/16/09 12:03 PM

The "ongoing disprespect in too many circles"... is a good example of presuppositons, begged questions and disrespect for the reader.

Roger M. wrote:This is hardly the book that Doug deserved....The ongoing disrespect in too many circles towards Doug is, rather than deserving of a snide comment from me...


Worthy of taking the trouble to get the book you feel he deserves written and published perhaps? He made lots of audiences happy - seemed quite sincere and may have helped draw a new generation into magic at the time.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/16/09 02:32 PM

I was not a fan of Henning and his work. His performing personality rubbed me entirely the wrong way. This has nothing to do with whether he was a nice guy or how much he elevated magic in the public's mind during his heyday. However, I would not have written the quoted material in that way today and, had the editor of MAGIC done his job properly, he would have edited it from my piece at the time.
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Postby P.T.Widdle » 12/16/09 03:22 PM

Fair enough, Richard.
The placement of the quote right at the end of the book probably did not help matters. After the whole "journey" with Doug, and a pretty emotional and sad ending, your quote was kind of a shock to read.

"This has nothing to do with whether he was a nice guy or how much he elevated magic in the public's mind during his heyday."

You didn't mention Henning's legacy among magicians. Do you not feel he moved magic forward or remains an influence/inspiration for today's magicians?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/16/09 04:39 PM

The author of the book used my quote to greatest effect for his own ends, making it seem as if many in the magic community felt the way I did.

I don't know what legacy Henning left for other magicians. Very few magicians move magic forward, whatever that means. Henning's dress and attitude were a product of the late 1960s, none of which is applicable today. People still wear tuxedoes as formal wear, so a magician wearing a tux doesn't look like something no one else sees on planet earth. But the type of tie-dyed clothing with sparkles on it that Henning wore is just gone.

Far more influential to a larger number of magicians is David Blaine's manner of dress and style of performance. I think that will stick around much longer as well.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 12/16/09 05:34 PM

I respect Richards admission that he would not have written those words today. I also understand that while Henning just wore a differrent style of "costume" it was still a costume. Blaine, took the "cosutme" off of the magician. Whis will probably stick around for a while.
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Postby P.T.Widdle » 12/16/09 05:49 PM

At the time Henning started out, he was also considered to have taken off the "costume." It was just what some people wore at that time.

Richard's point is taken that perhaps Henning's dress and manner were best suited for the late 60s and early 70s. However, you can't possibly believe that any old hippie magician would have stepped in to revive magic the way Henning did, can you? His Magic Show broadway run alone constituted a major breakthrough for, as you put it, the elevation of magic in the public's mind. You have to acknowledge that there was something more there for the public to connect with than just a long-haired tie-dyed dressed magician. Henning's ascension as the most famous magician during his time is hugely remarkable, certainly worthy of magicians' respect, and I believe not purely attributable to just his clothing, hair, and some catch phrases.

Maybe his influence now is more with children's magicians, who can pull off the "wonder" thing to a non-jaded young audience. That's too bad.
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Postby Ted M » 12/16/09 06:57 PM

I find power analysis of interest.

Old school: Powerful, Older, White Establishment Man demonstrates his Skill/Power/Prowess to the Audience.

Examples: Alexander, Kellar, Thurston, Blackstone, Dante. Basically, the Patriarchy with aristocratic structures, passing the mantle of authority down the chain to each other, etc. The audience is expected to admire the magician; he is the central focus. He oozes Power.

Henning: Young white counterculture man (ie, one who lacks political power) joins the audience in jointly experiencing wonder and illusion. The wonder and illusion are themselves the central focus; Henning is a facilitator, not the source of Power. I find this decentering of the Magician remarkable, though wholly in step with the times, when old power structures were being dismantled.

Copperfield was young, but otherwise projected Establishment Power. He had an air of authority and an appearance signalling wealth. Power once again resided wholly within the Magician.

Blaine: Young counterculture man of color (ie, lacking political power in multiple categories) puts his audience at the center -- his Street Magic special was primarily about watching audiences experiencing magic. He did not make strong claims of power for himself, but mostly let his audience assert on his behalf that Power resides in him -- it was a very indirect way to establish that he did, in fact, hold Power. His later specials approach Power in other ways, but that debut was, from this perspective, intensely radical.
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Postby Terry » 12/16/09 06:58 PM

Doug came along during a time when the U.S. was getting out of Vietnam, the economy was stagnant as well as other issues. He offered a form of escapism from the daily grind.

He made magic interesting to real people, i.e. non-magicians, who had tired of seeing the same hat & tails magician. It is similar to what Robert Houdin did by wearing evening dress versus the robes & conical hats of his time.

Doug's style of dress fit the late 60's/70's style if you can refer to that period's form of clothing as a "style". It is difficult to understand if one did not live during that time and only have recollections & pictures to form an opinion.
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Postby mrgoat » 12/16/09 07:05 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Far more influential to a larger number of magicians is David Blaine's manner of dress and style of performance. I think that will stick around much longer as well.


I couldn't disagree more strongly. Henning was a star of the 70s and dressed accordingly. Blaine was a star of the 90s and dressed accordingly. Ditto Angel.

Blaine will look as outdated as Henning does now in 20 years. Fact.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/16/09 07:15 PM

Fashion comes and goes. Style has longevity. I believe that for many years to come the vast majority of professional magicians who make their living working for adults will perform while wearing a suit; as they have been for many decades now.

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Postby Harry Lorayne » 12/16/09 08:12 PM

Before Doug Henning many magicians - that I knew of - were following the animal acts. I don't think that what Doug wore or didn't wear - or even the magic he did - is "vital" to this discussion. I think that what's important is that Doug's work raised the "level" for magic - many, not all, no longer followed the animal acts after Doug. It was Doug who started the "rise" (no matter how high a rise) of magic.

Little to do with above: I received a call from someone who said that Doug had suggested I be called, and asked to invest in a planned Broadway show to be called The Magic Show, starring Doug. This great brain said, "Are you serious? A magic show on Broadway? It'd never work. So, I didn't invest. It ran for - was it six years!? HL.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/16/09 08:21 PM

Brandon Hall wrote:... Blaine, took the "cosutme" off of the magician. Whis will probably stick around for a while.


Costume and character are what they are. Urban is just another style of uniform. A lack of awareness of marketing strategy, just another form of ignorance, does continue to haunt us. What you put in front of an audience is a show.

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Postby MichaelPicard » 12/28/09 01:21 AM

When it comes to Doug and his style of dress and appearance, this was soley defined by his beleif in New Age and folowing The Maharishi.
No one can doubt he did participate in the resugance of magic but I also beleive that shows like The MIke Douglas Show, Merv Griffin and The Tonight Show and others did as much to bring into our homes the magic that millions would not have seen if they did not go to Vegas or Paris etc. Acts like Mr. Electric, Norm Neilson and Harry balckstone Jr. who was a regular on the Mike Douglas Show.
Where as, I only want to mention that his performance as quoted by a my friend , the late Leon Mandrake, " he acted like a kid showing of his first trick and looks like a poodle."
All I know is that I really enjoyed watching his and David Coppefield specials growing up and helped myself and others to put on a better show.

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Postby Roger M. » 12/28/09 03:40 AM

You don't have a clue what you're talking about, Doug dressed and spoke like he did long before he had TM in his life.

What else in your post is either totally uninformed, or an outright lie?

Perhaps your "boycott Hocus-Pocus" signature line, when taken with a post full of thinly veiled insults towards Doug indicates that subtlety isn't your strong suit, which can't bode well for your own performance of magic.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/28/09 12:56 PM

I saw Doug Henning perform a full illusion show - live in Chicago. To me - the show was just OK. It had a lot of dull spots. And he did quite a few things he did on his television specials. To me that was a problem because the audience had seen a lot of his show.

The patter seemed to be over written and over produced. Caned.

He did as I remember three different floating levitations in the same show. The water levitation (The best of the three) the floating toy car and the aga combined with an asra. Way to much.

The best part of the show was the opening 4 minutes where he did flash illusions - one after another. This was where he was the best.

At the time I saw this a Friday night the audience was less than half full.

When I saw Copperfield it was at the Chicago Theater and it was sold out. There were a few new things in the Copperfield show and his show moved. Of course there were some things that I did not like - but it did not matter - the show did not drag - it moved and the audience liked it.

Working TV is a lot different than performing in a Theater.

As for Henning Reviving magic - well if that is your opinion - no problem. But I feel that there were a lot of magicians doing magic in those days. On TV and doing talk shows. My Dad was one of them. And then there were magicians like Jay Marshall, Jack Pyle, Tony Marks, Jack Kodell, Don Alan, Harry Lorayne and many others.

By the way Jay Marshall told me one time that he was offered the part of the Bad Magician in The Magic Show (Henning) and turned it down.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Roger M. » 12/28/09 01:55 PM

If anybody doubts the ongoing disrespect shown to Doug Henning by the magic community, all they have to do is read this thread.

It's actually disgusting.

All this stuff about "other magicians" being equally well known and contributing just as much to the craft as Doug did is straight-up bull [censored].

Doug had multiple NBC prime-time TV specials, he had two different shows on Broadway....ON BROADWAY!, he was on the cover of Magic, Genii, and a bunch of "regular" magazines multiple times.

He headlined in Las Vegas, and toured a massive road show.

He defined magic in the popular mindset for years, and was the only magician besides Houdini that the average person at the time could even name.

And now the Glenn Bishops of the world post implying that Doug was just "OK", and that "their Dad" was somehow of equal importance because he was "doing magic in those days".

Are you totally insane?

Considering magic was (at the time) in the dump as far as the general public was concerned, no magician matched Doug in his prime for what he accomplished in his restoration of public respect for the craft, NO magician.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/28/09 02:04 PM

Roger, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. You may not agree with it, but frankly none of us care that you don't agree.

While it's true that Glenn seems to have no understanding of how Doug Henning revitalized magic in the United States, he's certainly entitled to not like Hennings style, performance, or the show he saw.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/28/09 02:46 PM

Roger M. wrote:If anybody doubts the ongoing disrespect shown to Doug Henning by the magic community, all they have to do is read this thread.

It's actually disgusting.

All this stuff about "other magicians" being equally well known and contributing just as much to the craft as Doug did is straight-up bull [censored].

Here Roger are a few "other magicians" being equally well known "in there day" and contributing just as much to the craft as Doug did in my opinion.

Before Doug Henning did his first special there was Mark Wilson. And Bev Bergeron who starred on the first and only "network" Magic Television series called The Magical land Of Akalazam. This was the only "network" magic television series that I know of. However Mark also starred and was featured in may of his own television specials "The Magic Circus" and on top of that was a featured star on other television shows. Including talk shows - situation comedies like the Odd Couple and cable television magic specials.

Before Doug Henning my Dad pioneered an early television show called Billy Bounce. (1956) This was on the first color television station in Milwaukee WI. The show featured magic and puppetoons (remember them?)

Before Doug Henning there was Don Alan that Pioneered his Magic Ranch television series for I think it was ABC. Taped in Chicago.

And then there were the showman hosts like Ed Sullivan and Garry Moore that featured magicians like Virgil and Julie doing their spirit cabinet, Roy Benson and Mr. Electric on a one hour all magic show. Merv Griffin also had Vernon, Mark Wilson and others on all magic Merv Griffin shows. And of course Ed Sullivan had the best of magic for it's day on his show that ran for I think many years.

[/quote]

Roger M. wrote:
He defined magic in the popular mindset for years, and was the only magician besides Houdini that the average person at the time could even name.

And now the Glenn Bishops of the world post implying that Doug was just "OK", and that "their Dad" was somehow of equal importance because he was "doing magic in those days".

Are you totally insane?

No Roger I am not insane. I just a person that understands the business of magic and the business of the ever changing show business world. I also saw Doug work a full evening show at the top of his fame and gave my honest opinion.

Roger M. wrote:Considering magic was (at the time) in the dump as far as the general public was concerned, no magician matched Doug in his prime for what he accomplished in his restoration of public respect for the craft, NO magician.


Sorry Roger - magic was not "in the dumps" at that or any other time. What was happening was show business was changing. It was a time like many years earlier when most night clubs stopped doing floor shows - some said magic was in the dumps - however it was in my opinion - the world of show business changed.

At the times when some say magic is in the dumps there are a lot of magicians still working. And if I might add that I hope the as Roger said "THE GLENN BISHOP'S OF THE WORLD... Keep on "WORKING".

Just my opinion.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/28/09 02:54 PM

If you want to show some respect for magic and Doug Henning - instead of making absurd claims of dubious knowledge here - how about bringing that sense of sincere joy and wonder to your audiences?
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Postby Roger M. » 12/28/09 02:58 PM

You're delusional.

Here's a tip for you though, no matter how many times you try and equate yourself, your father, and some other local Chicago and regional magicians with Doug Henning by mentioning them (or youeself) in the same sentence, you really have to realize that you can't memorialize yourself........others have to respect you enough to do that for you.

In other words, no matter how many times you try to imply that you, your Dad, and some other buddies are in the same league as Doug Henning, you (and they) remain local magicians who do children's parties and Lodge functions..........nothing wrong with that, but please stay within your appropriate pay-grade.

And Jon, you never make any sense anyway, but that doesn't matter because I certainly don't bother to read any of your posts with an eye to getting anything from them.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/28/09 03:04 PM

Roger M. wrote:You're delusional.

Name calling????

Here is a tip for you Roger. Try reading a book on show business that is not written by a magician. Something like Hey kids what time is it? Or How about Always on Sunday. Or the great book that was done about the Garry Moore show.

Learn a little bit about the "history" of show busines. It might give you a different point of view of the "history of magic".

Just my opinion
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/28/09 03:10 PM

How many comics/sitcoms etc have used impersonations of Doug Henning? And how many of other magicians of this century?
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Postby Roger M. » 12/28/09 03:10 PM

Glenn, if you knew what I did for a living, and have been doing for a living for the last 35 years, you'd realize just how stupid your suggestion actually is......history of show business indeed.
I could likely take you on a lengthy lecture trip down "show biz lane" Glenn, and most certainly know far more about the topic than you think you do.

But this is about Doug Henning, not Glenn Bishop, so I'll have to let you go.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/28/09 03:12 PM

Roger M. wrote:You're delusional.

Here's a tip for you though, no matter how many times you try and equate yourself, your father, and some other local Chicago and regional magicians with Doug Henning by mentioning them (or youeself) in the same sentence, you really have to realize that you can't memorialize yourself........others have to respect you enough to do that for you.

In other words, no matter how many times you try to imply that you, your Dad, and some other buddies are in the same league as Doug Henning, you (and they) remain local magicians who do children's parties and Lodge functions..........nothing wrong with that, but please stay within your appropriate pay-grade.


So is what your saying Roger is that my Dad - and his friends like Jay Marshall who both performed on the Ed Sullivan show - and many other television shows - and night clubs like Billy Roses Diamond Horseshoe - were not in the same league as Doug Henning?

And that Im delusional?
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Postby flynn » 12/28/09 03:42 PM

From a lay public's perspective, Roger's opinion is right on.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/28/09 03:53 PM

It's pretty clear that NO ONE in the past 50 years has had the impact on magic as far as LAYMEN are concerned that Doug Henning had until Copperfield and then Blaine. To mention anyone else in the same breath is ... well, I wouldn't call it "delusional," but there are more tactful words for it like uninformed.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 12/28/09 04:21 PM

In the UK, laymen (of a certain age) will name David Nixon, Paul Daniels and Derren Brown (in that order of "age"); although the latter is more about mentalism. UK laymen will sometimes mention US names like Doug Henning, David Copperfield and David Blaine.

But...

It's amazing how often I hear laymen talk about Robert Harbin and Chan Canasta. And MANY recall Hans Morretti; because he seemed to be on every other Paul Daniels show.

My fav US TV magician was Doug Henning. I have got a whole stack on some very old betamax tapes. I must get them transfered to DVD. It'd be nice to relive them...

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Postby MichaelPicard » 12/28/09 04:36 PM

Hi Roger,
I think my post was a little misunderstood
He was interested in new age beliefs while at University in Burlington/Hamilton Ontario. I grew up in Kitchener an hour away and know/knew alot of people who were friends with him such as the late Jack Hereen who was president of the Toronto IBM ring. Jack and I discussed magic and magicians.He told me alot about Doug who would often go to his home to work on magic effects and get his opinion.
Doug was influenced to direct his style of performance toward this new age style, it was good timing as the 70's were leaning that way in general and that is why he was succesful with the Magic Show on broadway. Old effects + new presentation = new show and a whole new audience. His performance was a style like the musicals Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.

and I am not sure why you insist on calling me a "Liar"
the boycott line was in no way reflecting an opinion on Doug as I said I really enjoyed his shows but mentioned the new age as his line of refrence toward the direction he took in his performances. You make it sound like a bad thing. I totally forgot that was there as that was from an issue I had with them 6 months ago, which is still not resolved.
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Postby Diego » 12/28/09 04:55 PM

"Do you want to be an act, or a star?" (Peter Marcelli)

As long as you focus on lay audiences, (which matter) Doug Henning ROSE above everyone else of his time and cut out his own niche.
Reality is there were many good ACTS on Sullivan, Douglas and others, but if you stopped people on the street and asked who they were, you would get a blank stare. Even magicians rolled their eyes and said, "Sullivan had another Chavez act on last night."

Prior to Henning, the best known mystery workers to the public, were Kreskin, Blackstone and Wilson. There were and are others performing, making a good living that the public has no clue about.

As Jim Steinmeyer noted, "Doug really was that guy, that was him." Audiences loved joining with Henning, as a shared experience...he dissolved the 4th wall and the "I'm clever, you're not" audiences had been accustomed to.

I remember standing in line to see a show at The Magic Castle and in front of me were several ladies in their 20's/30's looking at the posters on the wall, as the line moved and they looked at different posters, they saw Doug Henning and said, "I remember him, I liked him, he was really fun and cool."
They then saw a Copperfield poster and another said, "I've seen him, he's kind of scary." (Since that time, my perception is that Copperfield has allowed his audiences to like him more.) Now this is hardly a scientific survey, but it reflected in contrast how audiences warmed to Henning.
(This was not a knock on Coppperfield)

It has been noted the only people you read knocking Henning, are other magicians. The fact is, audiences LOVED Doug Henning.
I can still remember a performance at The Pantages Theater in Hollywood, as he did his "Metamorphis"(sp?) sub trunk, finishing to great applause...but something happened I've never seen before: As the applause began dying down, ANOTHER wave of applause began and built to an ovation, as if saying to Doug, "This is really great, we are really enjoying this, this is for YOU, (not the trick), thank you." It stopped the show, Doug couldn't continue and stood in wonderment, acknowledging his audience's appreciation and affection, before it died down and he could continue.

I remember in Las Vegas,(before Doug's name was that well known) I was talking to a person, and the subject of magic came up and he said, "Did you see that great show that guy did at the UNLV theater last year? My family really enjoyed it! He didn't just do the tricks ....." That guy was Henning and it shows he was reaching his audience with his personality and persona, before he was a star. (I always remember that line, "He didn't just do the tricks ")

I also remember overhearing a conversation where a person, (not into magic) said he was taking his girlfriend to see Doug Henning, and he added, "When he does this trick called the Metamorphis, it is so cool." He KNEW the NAME of Doug's sub trunk effect! It was like noting when a singer does their hit songs, they know the names.

The public liked and loved Doug Henning. (His magic too!)
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Postby Bill Duncan » 12/28/09 06:20 PM

Glenn Bishop wrote:So is what [you're] saying Roger is that my Dad - and his friends like Jay Marshall who both performed on the Ed Sullivan show - and many other television shows - and night clubs like Billy Roses Diamond Horseshoe - were not in the same league as Doug Henning?

I don't know if that's what Roger is saying... but it sounds about right.

I came to magic in my twenties... having grown up when all those folks were on Sullivan. The ONLY name I heard that meant magic to me was Henning. Houdini was a word, not a name... like Babe Ruth. I knew Ruth was a baseball player, and I knew Houdini was an escape artist. Other than that... nothing, and didn't care to know.

I saw Kaps on Sullivan (I must have... we watched the Beatles), and I'm told... The Magic Land of Alakazam and Milky the Magic Clown and all that stuff as a kid. They made ZERO impression on me as a young person.

Henning was a magician. I had no idea who those other guys were.

Eventually I learned their names, as I developed an interest in magic. To think they hold the same position in American history (vs. magicial history) is just wrong.

Laymen who are under 30 know who Doug Henning was. People my age, who saw the Beatles on Sullivan don't even remember there was a magician on that night.

No matter what your personal opinion of Henning's act or his costumes... he was something special, likable, and memorable.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/28/09 09:33 PM

Paul Gordon wrote:
My fav US TV magician was Doug Henning. I have got a whole stack on some very old betamax tapes. I must get them transfered to DVD. It'd be nice to relive them...

Paul Gordon


Doug Henning was NOT a US magician. He was NOT from the United States of America.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/28/09 09:37 PM

He was a ... let me guess ... Scandanavian?

No. An ... Australian?

Gotta be closer to North America. Mexican?
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Postby Terry » 12/28/09 09:37 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:
Paul Gordon wrote:
My fav US TV magician was Doug Henning. I have got a whole stack on some very old betamax tapes. I must get them transfered to DVD. It'd be nice to relive them...

Paul Gordon


Doug Henning was NOT a US magician. He was NOT from the United States of America.


Mark - Paul wrote "fav US TV magician". He didn't state Henning was a US citizen.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/28/09 09:50 PM

I didn't say he said that Henning was a US citizen. And indeed he may well have been for all I know. I merely said that he was not a US magician since he didn't come from the US.
Last edited by Mark.Lewis on 12/28/09 10:44 PM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Edited to remove tackiness
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/28/09 11:22 PM

In the final chapter of the Taschen book, Mike Caveneywho is certainly in a position to comment on whether or not Doug Henning had an effect on magic via experiences with his own career as a magical entertainer and his study of magics historywrites:

[I]n 1974, Canadian-born Doug Henning hoisted the sleeping giant onto his slender back and carried magic back onto a New York City stage in the form of a Broadway musical, a runaway hit called The Magic Show. Thus began magics next golden age, which continues to resonate today.

I think thats a pretty astute observation on both the state of magic at the time (calling it a sleeping giant) and Hennings influence on it (it continues to resonate today) from a man whose credentials cannot be denied by anyone here.

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Postby David Alexander » 12/28/09 11:52 PM

It should be noted that "The Magic Show" wasn't a "magic show" but an original musical about a magic show...in one act. It ran for four and a half years on Broadway...1920 performances and almost certainly brought a nice return to the investors. Doug supplied the magic and performed/acted in the show, but it wasn't a "magic show" per se.

There were a number of touring companies as I recall. I saw the show in LA with Peter De Paula in Doug's role.

I think the show did benefit magic and magicians and was "something different" at the time...and it was entertaining, which was the key to it's success.
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Postby mai-ling » 12/29/09 12:03 AM

Harry Lorayne wrote:
Little to do with above: I received a call from someone who said that Doug had suggested I be called, and asked to invest in a planned Broadway show to be called The Magic Show, starring Doug. This great brain said, "Are you serious? A magic show on Broadway? It'd never work. So, I didn't invest. It ran for - was it six years!? HL.



Before it was The Magic Show it was called Spellbound it
ran in Toronto to so-so reviews and decent sales.

I have a letter written to my parents that the ads they
were running about 2 weeks prior to the opening of the show
they were selling out.

Before it was brought to NY it was re--written and re-organized.
Many of the illusions were cut and others were brought in.

When my parents were working Upper NY, Doug sent them tickets
(I was there, in a sense -- my mom was expecting).

In return, Doug went to visit them to see them perform.
He was very respectful to magicians who helped in out
when it came to his first musical ('spellbound')

I am sure if it wasn't re-organized it wouldn't have landed
the success nor the new level Doug achieved.

He might be remembered as a goofy/hippy dressed magician,
but he made magic fun and knocked down the walls that made
magic seem like it was only for those within a society.
(not all professional magicians belong to IBM/SAM clubs).

As far as he dresses, it might not go with the times,
compared to David Blaine. But he doesn't stick out
in his attire because everyone dresses like that pretty much.
you will remember my name
http://www.mai-ling.net
world's youngest illusionista

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