Respect for Doug Henning

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Perrin » December 29th, 2009, 2:00 am

uh-mmm... yeah, Richard, you're right!

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Paul Gordon » December 29th, 2009, 2:02 am

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.


I didn't say he was. I said he was a US TV magician!
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Mark.Lewis » December 29th, 2009, 8:50 am

I didn't say you said he was.

There have been a few good Canadian magicians. I suppose Doug Henning was one of them. And there was a chap called Vernon who was pretty good too.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Silly Walter » December 29th, 2009, 11:51 am

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].

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.


Bravo. I agree with everything you said. Doug was one of the greatest.



Glenn Bishop wrote: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.



LOL. Did you really compare those people to Doug Henning? I have no problem with you not liking Doug Henning. As a matter of fact, I am not that surprised since you get everything else wrong but even in your own hometown Doug Henning was more well known that anyone you mentioned. Granted the magic club geek knows all of the names of the guys you mentioned, but everyone else in the real world was talking about Doug Henning.

Doug Henning was an incredible influence on magic. No one else you mentioned made a dent, although they were probably talented entertainers.

PS - Anyone that remembers Ed Sullivan knows that the Beatles were on there. Only other magicians even know that there were magicians on that show.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » December 29th, 2009, 11:55 am

I knew it was just a matter of time.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Silly Walter » December 29th, 2009, 12:00 pm

Mark.Lewis wrote:There have been a few good Canadian magicians. I suppose Doug Henning was one of them. And there was a chap called Vernon who was pretty good too.



That's OK. You guys still have Jay Sankey.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » December 29th, 2009, 1:01 pm

on other candian magicians that are good would be
be a someone with the last name of Ross. I will remember
later and another one with a story.

one time we working in london, ont at the western fair
and there was another magician performing on one of
the other stages (we were one of the grandstand acts).
we were done performing for the day and we deicided
to come out and see him perform.

it was a raining night, and there were only a handful
of 5-6 people (that included my p's and I).

we sat right up front / center.

during a bit he ask my dad (of all people) to participate
in a invisible card shuffle.

he had no idea who my dad was at the time because he
dressed in a bright yellow stren fishing jacket. and
not as the chinaman everyone knows he is. which was fine
we wanted to be annonymous.

after my dad shuffled his invisible deck, the magician
said, 'wow that was perfect, are you a magician or something?'
my dad replied back with 'I work in the hand laundry.'
(you know the joke if you know his act)

later we went and said hello and introduced ourselves.
The first he said was... "i knew you look familiar"

i can't remember his name but i remember that moment.
maybe i'll remember both of them later.

ah whatever... just something i felt like writing on
about my fellow canukies.

heart.heart.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » December 29th, 2009, 1:27 pm

Silly Walter wrote:
LOL. Did you really compare those people to Doug Henning? I have no problem with you not liking Doug Henning. As a matter of fact, I am not that surprised since you get everything else wrong but even in your own hometown Doug Henning was more well known that anyone you mentioned. Granted the magic club geek knows all of the names of the guys you mentioned, but everyone else in the real world was talking about Doug Henning.


I could write pages on this - however sorry SW you will get no more attention from me!!!

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Silly Walter » December 29th, 2009, 2:34 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:
Silly Walter wrote:
LOL. Did you really compare those people to Doug Henning? I have no problem with you not liking Doug Henning. As a matter of fact, I am not that surprised since you get everything else wrong but even in your own hometown Doug Henning was more well known that anyone you mentioned. Granted the magic club geek knows all of the names of the guys you mentioned, but everyone else in the real world was talking about Doug Henning.


I could write pages on this - however sorry SW you will get no more attention from me!!!


You should at least wait until January 1st before making a New Years resolution you have no intention of keeping.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby El Mystico » December 29th, 2009, 4:24 pm

You've got to feel a bit sad.

Glenn pushes and pushes his work with the shuffle used in the Triumph effect. It is generally acknowledged that there are better ways to reach the end point.
The argument gets bitter - until David Ben posts his video, showing how the effect can be achieved so much more efficently.

Then some people take pains to emphasise this is nothing personal, and praise some of Glenn's other work, including his cups and balls. Which is good. Kudos to Glenn.

And then, just as we are all filled with the spirit of Christmas, Glenn says his dad was in the same league as Henning. And now warfare is breaking out again.

Glenn; I've never seen your dad work. Never seen him on TV. So can't comment on his skills. However, I'm happy to belive he was really good. Really really good. He got on TV. Which is more than most of us have done (Actually I got on once, but the least said about that occasion the better). But, I guess, the point is - I didn't see him. While I have seen Henning on TV. Several times.

My guess is that while Henning could perform great magic, the real secret of his success was his, at the time, unique personality - making magic relevant.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby El Mystico » December 29th, 2009, 4:29 pm

As for Mark, and this US TV magician thing; I can't think of a better example of someone with a large quantity of egg on his face trying, completely ineffectually, to convince that the egg is not on his face but on someone else's.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby flynn » December 29th, 2009, 5:45 pm

Then there's also someone who only ever posts when they get a chance to make himself/herself look good or to let it be known that they may have connections with some of the more notable names in the magic community.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » December 29th, 2009, 5:59 pm

El Mystico wrote:
My guess is that while Henning could perform great magic, the real secret of his success was his, at the time, unique personality - making magic relevant.



Doug also had a lot of people helping him and backing him up
on his endeavour as well.

I don't mean financially either. People who advised him,
get him his start and built illusions for his shows.

I will go back to Spellbound specifically because if it
wasn't for Spellbound, The Magic Show wouldn't have
made him even a more mainstream. Respect from the various
actors too. Not everyone can have a Broadway, nor can you
buy your way into having one.

He had an idea and that idea was the start of many many
things...especially for the persona of what we know of
as Doug Henning.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Michael Kamen » December 29th, 2009, 7:22 pm

I found the book by Harrison, appreciative of Doug and his appeal to the public, while providing important context around how his style and life choices were so challenging for many. I disagree with contentions that the work is in any way disrespectful. Doug is portrayed as an unpretentious and spiritually-motivated person. His personal life, success and arguably his caprice, should all be understood by those who draw inspiration from him.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Mark.Lewis » December 29th, 2009, 8:38 pm

El Mystico is talking a load of cobblers as usual. There is no egg on my face. I am MARK LEWIS and anything I say is gospel. If I say that Paul Gordon claimed that Doug Henning was American then naturally that is the version that should be accepted. I would have thought that was patently obvious.

And I don't know what the bloody triumph shuffle has to do with Doug Henning anyway. And I still say the slop shuffle is better than the triumph shuffle. Why ? Because it is funny - that is why.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 29th, 2009, 9:04 pm

Michael Kamen wrote:...His personal life, success and arguably his caprice, should all be understood by those who draw inspiration from him.


I respectfully disagree about folks treating the lot, both good and bad, as useful when drawing inspiration. Does enthusiasm require long hair, buck teeth, sneakers and sequins? Does sincerity require a dark side?
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » December 29th, 2009, 11:02 pm

I think Darth Vader can probably answer that Jonathan.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Paul Gordon » December 30th, 2009, 1:42 am

El Mystico wrote:As for Mark, and this US TV magician thing; I can't think of a better example of someone with a large quantity of egg on his face trying, completely ineffectually, to convince that the egg is not on his face but on someone else's.


That's very funny! PG
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Mark.Lewis » December 30th, 2009, 8:29 am

Gordon, old chap. There is funny ha-ha and funny peculiar. I shall let people judge whether you tend to the latter or the former. You stated that Doug Henning was a US TV magician. He wasn't. He was a Canadian US TV magician.

The British really don't know the difference between Canadians and Americans. I once got a letter from Visa in the UK addressed to Ontario, Canada, USA.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » December 30th, 2009, 9:41 am

So your analogy between Canadians and Americans is
the same as Chinese and Japanese?

Hank Mars always said to dad, where do you hide on
December the 7th?
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » December 30th, 2009, 9:55 am

El Mystico wrote:You've got to feel a bit sad.

Glenn pushes and pushes his work with the shuffle used in the Triumph effect. It is generally acknowledged that there are better ways to reach the end point.
The argument gets bitter - until David Ben posts his video, showing how the effect can be achieved so much more efficently.

Oh Really? Here is the way I remember it. Yes I posted video of my Triumph cull after I wrote a very large book - one of the largest and best books I ever wrote - about the Triumph shuffle. A book YOU never read El Mystico. Second reason your argument doesnt hold any water is that I use the triumph cull. What is better and best is only an opinion and the choice of each performer.

I admit that there are other ways of culling and stacking. But so far I have not seen a method that can do what I can do with my triumph shuffle. That is as I said many times culling and stacking on the fly and culling and stacking up to three hands like in my triple duke triumph.

I have met some very hard headed magicians but man oh man.

When a technique WORKS in front of an audience - and the triumph shuffle does work. Thanks for your suggestion but I would rather use and do magic the way I want to.

Third - I am not PUSHING my work on anyone. The book was never offered to members of this Forum It was only available at my web site for one month. And it was only offered to magicians on my mailing list last year and I sold the quota that I intended to sell - and now it is out of print.

I also produced 2 DVDs on the triumph shuffle that I only offered to my mailing list - and with the book they sold out the Quota I intended to sell.

I also produced a second DVD on the punch deal and finished the book on the punch deal cull and offered it only to my mailing list - there gone - never to be seen again. I dont publish my stuff to make a profit - with me publishing is a personal issue and it has to do with my Dads rope tie escape.

El Mystico wrote:You've got to feel a bit sad.

And then, just as we are all filled with the spirit of Christmas, Glenn says his dad was in the same league as Henning. And now warfare is breaking out again.

Sorry El Mystico - I never said that - Glenn says his dad was in the same league as Henning. I suggest that you get it right. However like the two other silly people I view your post as trolling for attention - or perhaps your trying to do in my opinion is to start some kind of an argument. And let this go on and on. I however have no time for this silly stuff.

You - RogerM and Silly Walter can go pound sand for all I care.

And that is Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Mark.Lewis » December 30th, 2009, 10:17 am

mai-ling wrote:So your analogy between Canadians and Americans is
the same as Chinese and Japanese?


Not really. I have always been able to tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese quite easily. It is still difficult for me to tell Americans from Canadians and I live in Canada. Canadians are a little more boring and less friendly but apart from that I can't see much difference at all. They both speak with the same funny accent.

As for this silly ongoing battle about a shuffle I have never read anything so ridiculous. Who the hell cares about a bloody shuffle anyway? How people can fall out over a damn shuffle is beyond me. A move is only a means to an end. If the move satisfies that end then it is a good one. If it doesn't then it isn't.

And it is somehow disrespectful to both men to compare Doug Henning with Billy Bishop anyway. They were both good performers in their own way and both contributed to magic. I expect both of them would be embarrassed by this topic.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 30th, 2009, 10:39 am

Let's try to get back on track, shall we?
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T.Widdle » December 30th, 2009, 8:18 pm

It would be nice to hear from people who read the book.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 30th, 2009, 10:01 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I think that the author did a fine job of chronicling the life and career of Henning as well as giving the reader an inside peek at what others believe made him tick (one must keep in mind that John Harrison could not interview his subject which I believe is a significant detail).

Doug Henning remains one of my favorite magicians ever. He made magic cool again, so it was okay for me to be into magic during a time in lifemy teenswhen being a magic geek would have been a tough deal. But because Henning made magic cool, and I could do things like perplex teachers with magic squares, bend keys, and make cards and coins do my bidding, I never saw the inside of a trashcan.

Magic was already an important part of my life by the time Doug Henning hit the scene, but I have no doubt in my mind that he made my life easier at a time when it was tough enough as it was. That might be why his death hit me as hard as it did. At the timebefore it became known he was illthere were rumors that he was planning a comeback in magic. No one was looking forward to that more than I was. I never met him, but I miss him and his infectious and genuine enthusiasm for magic. Spellbound reminded me just how much he meant to me.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » December 30th, 2009, 10:41 pm

I haven't read the book yet,
but I would like too.

When I started a thread based on the
book before it came out when I got the
initial email, I contacted the author.

He was very nice and helpful with some
of things and information I was excited
to hear. I knew that, then, the book
was going to be good because the author
was very kind in the exchange of emails.

Dustin does make a good point that John
writes this book based on what he researched,
read, saw and remembered since he couldn't
interview him.

One must possess a lot of passion in order
to write something so complete.

Dustin also makes another good point.
Doug did make magic "cool" again.

Like I said sorta earlier, he reached out to mass
audience and brought down the walls of what
magic was thought to be for.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » December 31st, 2009, 1:25 pm

I have not read the book - however I would like to make a comment on Doug Hennings first special. As I remember it was a live television program. Back in the days - before cable. I thought that his first special was the best magic special ever done on TV - that I have seen. The reason was it was a live show - magic happened - right there - live on television.

Another comment about how Doug Henning dressed - I remember from a conversation about the show was that Doug Henning brought magic to a new generation. Before magic was often thought of as an older guy on a stage doing magic in a tux.

I consider the best illusion he did over the years was the water levitation. And when he did flash illusions one illusion after another.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 31st, 2009, 2:17 pm

Henning's first four TV specials were live ... until a tiger escaped during the broadcast of the fourth (thankfully backstage) and killed several smaller animals before being subdued. After that, NBC's lawyers stated that no more specials would be live. And it's easy to imagine why, considering what happened to Roy Horn years later. The tiger could easily have gone into the audience and killed several people.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Max Maven » January 1st, 2010, 5:42 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Henning's first four TV specials were live ... until a tiger escaped during the broadcast of the fourth (thankfully backstage) and killed several smaller animals before being subdued.


Not quite. The tiger escape took place earlier in the week, during rehearsals. (And, if memory serves, it was a pair of tigers.)

That particular show had quite a few problems -- enough that they had a tape of the dress rehearsal running in synch with the live show, so that if need be they could have switched over to the tape in the event of a major mishap.

There were mishaps (although none that required switching to the rehearsal tape). Doug fell off of a bench upon which he was standing, which in turn exposed that there was a mirror set-up, as part of his body disappeared during the fall. Guest Tom Bosley screwed up the Germaine Gong Vanish (although that problem was minimized because the audience took it as a gag). And, reportedly, several small animals were mangled, caught in the gears of a device that was moving them into a production box.

Given how troubled that show was (and that was very apparent, even to those of us sitting in the audience with, at the time, limited information), I don't think the NBC lawyers were needed to get Doug to quit performing live television.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby wkitwizard » February 16th, 2010, 2:25 pm

IF you take the time to read the book, you might be interested to learn about Doug's meeting with the Inuit natives of Alert, Canada-after he performed a magic show for them. That's the "aha" moment when he came to realize magic has to produce "wonder" in an audience-as Western society had lost it's ability to see magic in the world around it. He took that sense of "wonder" with him on stage and shared it with is audiences, and reawakened their child-like sense of wonder again. That changed the course of magic history-no matter how snide and cynical your comments.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 16th, 2010, 3:15 pm

W*, I recall watching that Germain gong shrivel rather than vanish - it's a thing that can happen and does not IMHO reflect on Doug Henning or Tom Bosley.

Agreed about a culture which does not foster a healthy sense of wonder. The tough part is reminding folks in a nice way.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Ken Northridge » February 20th, 2010, 7:52 am

One thing that cannot be argued is that Doug reached the absolute top in his field.

Doug had a formula for success that and if studied many could benefit from. I believe his formula was concentrated in these areas:

1. His obvious drive and determination for success.
2. His willingness to take risks and try things in unconventional ways. (His insistence for his TV shows to be live and without commercials is evidence of this. Heck, magic on TV was pretty unconventional back then. The cloths are another example. There are many more examples of this.
3. His nice guy attitude that compelled others to want to help. (And his wisdom to accept such help and ideas)

As you know Doug was planning a comeback to magic before is untimely death. I often wonder what his drive and determination would have produced in his golden years.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Edward » February 20th, 2010, 10:40 pm

What did Doug succomb to?

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 21st, 2010, 5:33 am

Cancer.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Christopher Starr » February 21st, 2010, 8:16 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I think that the author did a fine job of chronicling the life and career of Henning as well as giving the reader an inside peek at what others believe made him tick (one must keep in mind that John Harrison could not interview his subject which I believe is a significant detail).

Doug Henning remains one of my favorite magicians ever. He made magic cool again, so it was okay for me to be into magic during a time in lifemy teenswhen being a magic geek would have been a tough deal. But because Henning made magic cool, and I could do things like perplex teachers with magic squares, bend keys, and make cards and coins do my bidding, I never saw the inside of a trashcan.

Magic was already an important part of my life by the time Doug Henning hit the scene, but I have no doubt in my mind that he made my life easier at a time when it was tough enough as it was. That might be why his death hit me as hard as it did. At the timebefore it became known he was illthere were rumors that he was planning a comeback in magic. No one was looking forward to that more than I was. I never met him, but I miss him and his infectious and genuine enthusiasm for magic. Spellbound reminded me just how much he meant to me.

Dustin


Well said Dustin. Regardless of how one feels about Doug Henning the magician/performer, he was the public face of magic for several years, paving the way for other magicians to follow.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby SteveP » February 21st, 2010, 10:07 pm

Doug was certainly a major influence for me when I was getting interested in magic and if I had my choice I would rather have worked for Doug instead of Copperfield.

I don't know the all the reasons Doug left magic for the time he did, but his popularity was certainly declining. This is one of the differences between Henning, Blackstone and Copperfield. Doug and Harry never changed. David was always changing. You could look at Doug in 1974 and Doug in 1984 and it was the same guy. The same look, the same act. Look at Copperfield in 1979 and look at him a decade later and it's a completely different image. That's not easy to do and it's one of the factors that separates performers and gives them longevity as a celebrity.

Earlier in the thread Glenn Bishop brought up several acts including his dad and Jay Marshall. While both talented acts (yes I've seen Billy Bishop perform live and he had a very good act), what these guys had was just an act. Now that's not to put anyone down, because some guys work half their life for that. Having a strong 30 - 60 minute act that can play for local/regional shows is no small feat but is certainly not at the same level as a performer who is producing material for national TV, touring and headlining in Vegas. Honestly, it's not even the same career. The dedication to sustain at the level Henning had or Copperfield does is beyond most of us because it doesn't get easier, it actually gets harder.

Echoing what someone had posted earlier about Henning is that unless you were alive then and experiencing it, it's hard to look back and understand the significance. Certainly not everyone was a fan. I remember older members of the magic club not liking him. It's similar to how Blaine and Angel have more younger fans than older ones. What Henning was doing resonated with many of us. Mark Wilson had zero impact on me. Doug was having fun. Doug was participating in the illusion. Mark Wilson just stood off to the side watching the assistants move the boxes around.

From a business stand-point, Mark Wilson did a lot to bring magic to TV in the 60's, but I don't know how much of that carried over to the mid-70's when Henning hit the screen. Mark's show seemed to be aimed at kids and Henning was family/adult entertainment, producing a magic show like no one had ever seen before. However for someone like myself who was too young to have seen Mark's show and getting into magic in the early 70's, I had no idea who he was.

I too had heard Henning was wanting to make a comeback. It's doubtful he would have regained the same star status he previously had. He would have been starting over as he had sold everything.

I was fortunate to see Henning live a dozen times in Vegas. I think it was his 5th TV special he shot in Vegas and I was at both tapings. The first time I saw him he picked me to check out his sub-trunk. While I never got to interact with him professionally, he was always gracious with his time on the several occasions I got to meet him backstage.

I haven't read the book that's out and don't know much about it or who wrote it. I'd rather read one from Steinmeyer. He was there and being with someone day after day gives you a different perspective of the person beyond the public persona.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » February 22nd, 2010, 7:38 am

Steve Pellegrino wrote:Earlier in the thread Glenn Bishop brought up several acts including his dad and Jay Marshall. While both talented acts (yes I've seen Billy Bishop perform live and he had a very good act), what these guys had was just an act. Now that's not to put anyone down, because some guys work half their life for that. Having a strong 30 - 60 minute act that can play for local/regional shows is no small feat but is certainly not at the same level as a performer who is producing material for national TV, touring and headlining in Vegas. Honestly, it's not even the same career. The dedication to sustain at the level Henning had or Copperfield does is beyond most of us because it doesn't get easier, it actually gets harder.


An act in vaudeville was about ten to twenty minutes or perhaps longer if they were a headline act. This of course was before television. My dad had two vaudeville acts that lasted ten minutes to the second.

A show often thought of to be thirty minutes or longer. The show that my dad made the most money doing was a banquet show that lasted an hour to an hour and a half.

I have seen Andre Kole's show twice and I think that it was about an hour and a half long.

A full evening show. The show I saw Blackstone Jr. do was about two and a half hours. I have seen Andre Kole, Blackstone, Doug Henning and Copperfield do their full evening shows in theaters. I could write about how my dad compared them to the full evening shows of Virgil, Blackstone Sr. And the great Raymond. And more about magicians that were working the market of television - another different market.

However I dont see the need.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 22nd, 2010, 9:12 am

Please do tell us what your father made of their acts. His reports and opinions would likely help us know them (and your father) better.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby hugmagic » February 22nd, 2010, 9:26 am

Yes Glenn, your father's prospective of the the acts would be interesting.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby SteveP » February 22nd, 2010, 10:24 am

Henning's show in Vegas was about an hour long, which was perfect. Typically he opened for Bill Cosby at The Hilton and Cosby did an hour - to an hour 15. I think Henning's contract was up at the Hilton and they picked up Copperfield to be the opening act for the headliners. Although Cosby is a classy guy and considered it co-headlining and always took the smaller dressing room.

I've been a part of Blackstone's 2 1/2 hour show and to be honest, it was 1 1/2 hours too long. As much as I love watching great magic, I can't see sitting and watching anyone for longer than an hour. To sustain that pacing, keeping the audience interested longer than 60 minutes is not an easy task for today's audiences. Concerts and plays do it all the time, but that's a different scenario.

I know that Henning used to bring in other acts to do 10 - 15 minutes. He had Johnny Lonn with him at one show I saw and there may have been a second act as well. When I was with Blackstone, we had Lance Burton open for us at one show and it was a great 90 minute show.

A comparison to the Blackstone Sr and other acts of that time period to more modern shows would be interesting. But it's also important to keep some perspective. As was mentioned previously with Henning, at the time he was relevant. Today he isn't. I worked with Blackstone 20 years ago and the show was old then. It had it's moments and 99% of those moments were because of Harry and had nothing to do with the illusions. Had Blackstone gotten rid of the illusions and just went out with the hanky, lightbulb, birdcage, committee and maybe a zig-zag, it would have been perfect.

Glenn is certainly entitled to his opinion about Henning's show. Not everyone is going to like everything. But there are several comments that I thought I would address.

Glenn Bishop wrote: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.


Most shows have dull spots. Although what may be dull to you is interesting to someone else. The idea that it has already been done on TV, so you can't do it live is a mistake. In fact it's a major mistake and Glenn should understand this because he certainly understands effects that magicians are known for and people expect to see. If you go see a concert, you expect to hear certain songs, even though you've heard them hundreds of times. Magic isn't any different.

Glenn Bishop wrote: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.


Blackstone did that. Asra, Floating Lightbulb, Dancing Hanky, although technically the hanky didn't float - and if it DID float, Harry wasn't happy about it!

That's like saying too many things disappeared or penetrated.

Glenn Bishop wrote: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.


Different styles of performing and when Copperfield was touring, Henning's popularity was already declining. Copperfield did his first tour in 1983 and it was a 90 minute show. The dates weren't steady. It wasn't until 84/85 that he really took off. You think Copperfield's show moves - you should see it when he's not in the mood to do a show - that sucker flies by!

Glenn Bishop wrote: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.


I don't know what magic was like prior to Henning. I was born in 1966, so my awareness of all of this didn't come until about 1974. I had never heard of those guys EXCEPT Harry Lorayne, who I knew as a memory expert having seen him on Wonderama in New York. Glenn's experience would have been different than mine, as an example, because he's got 10 years on me and was living in Chicago. Aside from Bob McCallister, and maybe seeing a local magician or two at my school, Doug Henning is my early awareness to magic.

The average person in 1974 wasn't going to know who Jay Marshall or Don Alan was. Maybe Mark Wilson because he was doing those magic specials for cable TV. Henning was the guy.


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