Respect for Doug Henning

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Glenn Bishop
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » February 22nd, 2010, 11:50 am

I saw the Blackstone Jr. Show several times. However the only comment I am going to make at this time is about the levitation of the floating lady or person. I remember Blackstone did the asra. This as I remember was the only levitation illusion (using a person) that as I remember that he did in his show.

I dont consider the floating light bulb or the dancing hank to be the same kind of trick as floating a person or the floating lady. Even when a magician might want to be in the mood of splitting hairs and say that the dancing hank and the floating light bulb are the same effect - I still dont consider floating a lady and passing the hoop three times over a floating body to be the same trick.

Henning did an aga (pass the hoop) then he did an asra (pass the hoop again) then he did a floating toy car using a kid (pass the hoop again again) (I think he was a stooge) from the audience. He also did this large mouse trap tied to a pole escape that he did on his special. Quite a big prop that did not go anywhere as I sat in the audience watching the audience react - which is how I am entertained at a magic show - by watching the audience reaction and counting heads (because magic to me is a business).

As I said above he did a great - flash magic opening and that was the kind of magic he did best.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby SteveP » February 22nd, 2010, 1:17 pm

What does the mousetrap illusion have to do with levitations, which you said was the only thing you were going to comment on?

We're going to split hairs for a second. In theory the dancing hanky isn't a levitation or suspension. It's an animation which was in the repertoire of Henning, Blackstone & Copperfield, pretty much at the same time. All different styles.

The floating light bulb, by description alone, is a levitation. Add to that fact, a hoop is used at the beginning of the routine to prove nothing is holding it up and the bulb floated through a hoop at the end.

Taking this a step further, Henning did the water levitation, which really isn't a levitation, like an Aga or Asrah. When the girl is rising and decending, she is connected to the water, giving the illusion of being suspended or balanced on the water. The one moment when the water is gone, she is suspended, not levitating. This isn't the same as an Aga. I don't recall Henning ever doing an Aga, unless you're referring to the Water illusion as an Aga, which it's not.

I've never seen Doug do an Asrah. Not doubting he did it however, I've just never seen it. I don't recall seeing anyone use a hoop with an Asrah. I have literally hundreds of Asrah performances under my belt and don't know how a hoop over an Asrah would be possible.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 22nd, 2010, 2:37 pm

Steve Pellegrino wrote:I don't recall seeing anyone use a hoop with an Asrah. I have literally hundreds of Asrah performances under my belt and don't know how a hoop over an Asrah would be possible.

Something in my (admittedly addled) brain is telling me that Servais LeRoy (who, of course, invented the illusion) did pass a hoop over the form at one point. But, I'm not home to check that, and even if so, there is no mention of how he did it. (But I too have never seen anyone do it and I've seen my share of Asrah illusions.)

Dustin

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » February 22nd, 2010, 3:06 pm

Hoop with asra - check out the movie A Haunting we will go (Stan and Ollie and Dante) and watch Dante the Great do the asra (if I remember right) with a hoop.

However I do respect Henning as a trend setter as a person that did magic in a very young and high energy style.

Just as I respect Servais LeRoy who is also in my opinion a trend setter.

And Jack Gwynne who was also in my opinion a trend setter. Gwynne started with a small show that was local - built it into a vaudeville act. Toured the vaudeville act for years as a flash act. Doing several destroy and restorations in his act - cut and restore turban - cut and restore rope - and the torn and restore magazine page were part of the Gwynne act.

However it worked for him - and I would say that the audience liked it.

After Vaudeville ended Gwynne did night clubs - and later had a full evening magic show. His levitation was a suspension and he did pass the hoop. He was also featured on the Super Circus television show in a segment called the Super Circus Sideshow. He also made appearances on other television shows in what was called Club Television.

This was sort of a night club show presented for a TV audience and the television viewer.

Yes I do respect trend setters

However when I saw Gwynne perform - this was at a school show for my grade school he did the suspension called the flying carpet.

Later that day Jack Gwynne and Anne came over to our house - and that was when I met him for the first time - I was in the 4th grade and that is another story!

Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby SteveP » February 22nd, 2010, 3:39 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:Hoop with asra - check out the movie A Haunting we will go (Stan and Ollie and Dante) and watch Dante the Great do the asra (if I remember right) with a hoop.


I'm not sure a movie represents an accurate portrayal of the illusion. I haven't seen it. One time I saw Copperfield levitate a girl out towards the audience on a TV special, taking an apparent Aga in a direction it's never gone before. He never did do it live however.

Glenn Bishop wrote:And Jack Gwynne who was also in my opinion a trend setter. Gwynne started with a small show that was local - built it into a vaudeville act. Toured the vaudeville act for years as a flash act. Doing several destroy and restorations in his act - cut and restore turban - cut and restore rope - and the torn and restore magazine page were part of the Gwynne act.

However it worked for him - and I would say that the audience liked it.


I'm not sure how Jack Gwynne crept into this conversation, but oh well. So three restoration effects in Jack's show is good, but three floating effects in Henning's show is bad.

I think it was another Chicago magician - Don Alan, who had three kicker endings - tennis balls, ball bearing, giant nut. Three kicker endings for Don is good - three floating effects for Henning is bad.

Maybe if Doug Henning were from Chicago, some magicians may have liked him better. But that's only my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 22nd, 2010, 4:19 pm

I recently interviewed a terrific performer whose act has three pick-a-card-and-reveal them tricks.

Trust me; no oneexcept for magicians and, really, who gives a crap about them?notices that all three routines are the same trick.

Jonathan Townsend reminded me that Mike Caveney has a link to The LeRoy book with a peek inside where it covers him using a hoop during the illusion (and it does cover the how):

http://www.mcmagicwords.com/books/servaisleroy.html

Thanks JT!
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » February 22nd, 2010, 4:39 pm

Because Jack Gwynne was a trend setter.

In my opinion the same as Doug Henning who was also a trend setter.

And yes I agree Don Alan was also a trend setter and many magicians I have known over the years have said that they think that Don Alan was the most copied magician there ever was. But that to me is just hearsay.

Don Alan did the chop cup - bowl routine and the nut under the hat and it worked for him. I do a chop dice cup - cups and balls - and at times a coin and anvil routine and that works for me.

However I would never do a chair suspension - and a broomstick suspension - an aga - an asra or a water levitation in the same program. I would do one and one only.

However Willard the Wizard did do an aga like levitation and an asra - however his style of booking was that he changed his show every week. So it would be something like this - the aga the first week - and the asra the second.

The asra that I liked the best was the one performed by Mark Wilson. And according to Bev Bergeron in the Willard book - the hand - bit of business and removing the ladys bracelet came out of the Willard show.

And in my opinion the water levitation/suspension was first used in the Thurston show - if I remember right it was part of his fountain final.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby SteveP » February 22nd, 2010, 5:10 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:I recently interviewed a terrific performer whose act has three pick-a-card-and-reveal them tricks.

Trust me; no oneexcept for magicians and, really, who gives a crap about them?notices that all three routines are the same trick.

Jonathan Townsend reminded me that Mike Caveney has a link to The LeRoy book with a peek inside where it covers him using a hoop during the illusion (and it does cover the how):

http://www.mcmagicwords.com/books/servaisleroy.html

Thanks JT!
Dustin


Agreed about using multiples of the same type of effect. Magicians are the only ones who think about this stuff. My primary work is now as a mentalist and half my show is a prediction type effect. As long as you're entertaining them, they don't care.

Thanks for that link. The LeRoy solution is great and I'm surprised no one has picked up on that and used it. The closest thing to a hoop or at least proving nothing is holding up the floating object was Copperfield's floating Ferrari. Half way through the presentation he and a girl would pass very long aluminum poles with long white silk streamers around the levitated car. It looked as if every possible angle was passed around by the poles.

Oh, just remembered - the other performer to use a hoop in an Asrah - Larry Wilson! http://vimeo.com/2025111 It's about 5 minutes in to the video, but no one, not even Henning or Billy Bishop would have used a hoop the way Wilson does!

Glenn Bishop wrote:And in my opinion the water levitation/suspension was first used in the Thurston show - if I remember right it was part of his fountain final.


Why are you saying "in your opinion"? It either was or wasn't. In this case, it was. It's no secret that Thurston did it long before Henning About 40 years earlier. Different prop and different mechanics. It used to be a great routine, but now there are too many people doing it and doing it the same way. (and that's NOT my opinion, it's a fact).

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Glenn Bishop » February 22nd, 2010, 9:55 pm

Well I still wouldnt do a chair suspension and a broomstick suspension in the same show. Just as I would not do a sword box and a temple and an arrow head or dagger head chest in the same program. Just as I wouldnt do an aga and an asra - even when they may be combined.

Getting back to Doug Henning one of the things that I liked about him was his close up magic. I liked his shell - chink a chink - and many of the things he did close up. And I also liked the way he staged close up on the stage.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby RobertAllen » February 22nd, 2010, 11:44 pm

I got hooked on magic in the late 60's and thus was in full adoration mode by the early 70's. Despite that I was not a fan of Doug Hennings performances: I cringed when watching the denoument of his floating ball routine where the transformed three foot ball 'levitated' up out of the box before he (or someone) popped out. You could see the ball jerking every inch or so as the motor behind the curtains struggled to levitate it. I was similarly unimpressed with his giant genii tube vanish (or maybe it was a transformation.

HOWEVER; the thing that made him interesting WAS the sense of wonder he brought. Like his buck teeth or not. It was special.

The other thing his shows taught me as a younger was, don't ever stop experimenting. Most of your experiments (like the ones mentioned above) might suck, but sooner or later you might create something new.

I also remember being impressed with his presentations of closeup magic on TV, such as his Sands of the Desert. In his hands it was magical.

The 70's were a huge magic upsurge, at least in San Francisco. I remember seeing, and still have much memorabilia from, Slydini appearing at The Magic Cellar, Harry Blackstone Jr. and and many local magicians (probably including Daryl Martinez) appearing at a 1 or 2 day, all day, event at the old opera house building (by city hall?) with now famous people like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro doing tarot readings and huge amounts of original carter posters and illusions no display. Yet at the time I had never seen or heard of Don Alan or Mark Wilson on TV, except the latter appeared in The Magician TV show. After the 70's it died down, and we just completed another upsurge about 2-3 years ago, in my opinion.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Brad Henderson » February 25th, 2010, 7:12 pm

And Mark Lewis was the one who got booted . . . go figure

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Tabman » February 26th, 2010, 12:57 pm

Doug came to Houston to run a TM weekend at a Houston hotel in the early 70s. Being that I was a long haired, hippie musician/magician I signed up and had a great time and got to know Doug. There were probably six or eight of us there and I think I was the only magician in attendence. I found it interesting that he used that Gozinta Box and a thumb tip to illustrate TM which I thought was kind of lame but there were mostly females in attendence and they loved it and Doug. R.I.P.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby JVH » March 15th, 2010, 1:11 am

Sorry for weighing in months later.

I am the author of "Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning". First, thanks to those who said nice things about my book in this thread. I have to say that the positive reviews and hundreds of e-mails I have received from those who read the book have really been overwhelmingly gratifying.

I don't know Roger M, but I find it hard to believe he actually read my book. I think he's trying to make the point that my book doesn't show a high degree of respect for Doug Henning, but nothing could be further from the truth. The second sentence of the book makes the bold statement that "[Doug Henning] is the most important magician to take the stage in 65 years." I think Doug deserves tremendous respect, and I make that point repeatedly, chapter after chapter. What I did not do was adopt the voice of a blind fan. I presented the facts (supported by hundreds of endnotes), as I discovered them and presented both sides of the story. I show that many thought Doug was out of his mind when it came to TM, and then I present the other side and actually defend him. I talk about those electrifying wonder-filled moments in his performances (like Things that Go Bump in the Night) and the things that didn't go so well (like just about everything in the fourth television special).

As for Roger's criticism that "too many voices are missing", I can't think of many. I would have liked to have interviewed Jim Steinmeyer and Willie Kennedy, but both declined to be interviewed. There were, however, 60 others that I interviewed, including the 3 hour interview I conducted with Doug in Las Vegas in 1980 for Hocus Pocus Magazine (which was never published because the magazine folded). I take the writing of the story of someone's life seriously, and until people like Jerry Goldstein (Doug's career-long business manager) and Charlie Reynolds (Doug's career-long magic consultant) told me that I got it right, I would not published it.

As for the Richard Kaufman quote that I use in the final chapter, Richard says, "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." That is not the point of using the quote at all. Dozens of people told me in their interviews that they were surprised that Doug was not remembered the way he should be in light of his contribution to magic. Richard's voice is particularly important and powerful in the world of magic, so what he says matters more than most in shaping a magician's legacy. I fully appreciate Richard's point about his publisher, but that quote is out there, "in the literature" and it will be read decades from now by future researchers who will understand that Richard was a prominent person in the world of magic and that his opinion has weight. The thesis of my book is a refutation of the point of view that Doug's legacy was not significant (or a matter to be laughed at), so Richard's quote was exactly the right point of contrast.

If Doug Henning werenot important, a thread like this would never have gotten as long as it did. In the end, I'm happy that more people are now talking about Doug and his legacy. If that's all the book achieves, I consider it a great success.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Barefoot Boy » March 15th, 2010, 3:59 pm

Well said, John! You already know my thoughts about your wonderful book!

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Churchwell » April 8th, 2010, 7:20 pm

Some magicians have asked me if I magically did a photo shoot with Doug's ghost from this and other pictures. No this is Richard Prestia, a fine magician in his own right who gets confused for Doug all the time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 3/sizes/o/

We did a photo shoot to help him start a website. I will also be photo shooting Eric DeCamps on Saturday at my art studio here in Queens Village so make sure to ask Eric to see his new images this weekend

Here is another image of Richard Prestia http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 6/sizes/o/

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Necromancer » April 9th, 2010, 10:58 am

Churchwell wrote:Some magicians have asked me if I magically did a photo shoot with Doug's ghost from this and other pictures. No this is Richard Prestia, a fine magician in his own right who gets confused for Doug all the time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 3/sizes/o/

We did a photo shoot to help him start a website. I will also be photo shooting Eric DeCamps on Saturday at my art studio here in Queens Village so make sure to ask Eric to see his new images this weekend

Here is another image of Richard Prestia http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 6/sizes/o/


Beautiful images, Thomas.

Best,
Neil
Neil Tobin, Necromancer

Churchwell
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Churchwell » April 9th, 2010, 11:34 am

Thank you

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby mai-ling » April 9th, 2010, 2:00 pm

great images.
i really like the 2nd one a lot.
you will remember my name
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Churchwell » April 9th, 2010, 2:28 pm

Thank you

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T. Murphy » April 9th, 2010, 3:54 pm

Churchwell wrote:Some magicians have asked me if I magically did a photo shoot with Doug's ghost from this and other pictures. No this is Richard Prestia, a fine magician in his own right who gets confused for Doug all the time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 3/sizes/o/

We did a photo shoot to help him start a website. I will also be photo shooting Eric DeCamps on Saturday at my art studio here in Queens Village so make sure to ask Eric to see his new images this weekend

Here is another image of Richard Prestia http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarquinchu ... 6/sizes/o/


So this what happened to Mike Levine!!! Another fine Canadian.
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will never find it. " -Roald Dahl

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Churchwell » August 9th, 2010, 7:02 pm

I actually thought it was Copperfield who stepped out from the hats and tails

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 9th, 2010, 8:24 pm

Churchwell wrote:I actually thought it was Copperfield who stepped out from the hats and tails


You missed Mark Wilson too?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Churchwell » August 9th, 2010, 8:42 pm

Yep his Saturday show with Nani Darnell. Doug was great. There was lots of magicians performing back then from Mr. Houdini on Bozo to Bill Bixbys magic castle and Blackstone. Doug wasn't going to be the same ol thing. He related to the times

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 9th, 2010, 9:04 pm

Okay - add in the Banana man. That goes back to Vaudeville.

Further back we have William Robinson who shaved his head and became Chung Ling Soo.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T.Widdle » December 21st, 2014, 8:48 pm

I just bought Joshua Jay's "Big Magic For Little Hands" for my son. Great beginner magic book. However, after reading it it occurred to me that once again another beginner magic book is published with lots of little blurbs sprinkled throughout about famous magicians of the present and past, with the notable exception of Doug Henning.

Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but I cannot think of a single beginner's magic book since Doug's death that mentions him. It's like they all go from Blackstone Jr. to Copperfield (Of course it's no surprise not to find Henning's name in Richard's wonderful Knack Magic book).

Just another sad example of Henning's faded legacy.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Gregory Schultz » December 21st, 2014, 9:28 pm

I thought Doug Henning was brilliant and I miss him terribly. I got obsessed with magic the same year that Henning was all over TV, 1973. My two favorite pieces of stage magic are Henning's Things that Go Bump in the Night and of course Blackstone Jr's Floating Light bulb both of which I was able to see live. I got to meet Henning in Akron on his Illusion versus Reality tour. Nice man.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 21st, 2014, 9:55 pm

Did I mention a parade of famous magicians in the Knack book if they weren't related to either the tricks or the posters? I can't remember. Have written at least two books since then!

How long was Doug Henning active as a big name? From the Magic Show in 1974 to the mid 1980s--only about ten years. Then he dropped out of magic entirely, and later died young at only 52. Blackstone, Jr. was active from the mid 1960s to his death in 1997, just over 30 years, and Copperfield has been active on TV and in live performance from before 1977 until today, which is almost 40 years.

Henning's type of personality does not seem to me to be something that the current crop of young magicians can relate to. He was very much a product of his time. All that's left for them to look at are the TV specials and, as we all know, magic is best seen in person, and all performers are best seen live.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T.Widdle » December 22nd, 2014, 8:59 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:How long was Doug Henning active as a big name? --only about ten years.

How long were the Beatles making records? -- only about seven years.

It's really in the hands of the magic publishing community as to how (or indeed if) Henning is remembered. I don't think being a "product of his time" has anything to do with it. How many young people today can relate to Sergeant Peppers? The fact is, Henning deserves his rightful place along the lineage of magic history, and one of the ways to preserve that legacy is through historical tidbits in children'e magic books. As far as that publishing format is concerned, it's like he never existed.

Richard Kaufman wrote: All that's left...to look at are the TV specials and, as we all know, magic is best seen in person, and all performers are best seen live.


What's left to look at of Malini or Vernon or any other of the magicians that are frequently mentioned in children's magic books? Again, it's up to the magic publishing community, and specifically writers of children's magic books, as to whether Doug Henning will be remembered. A decade on Broadway and prime-time TV seems more than enough to secure that legacy.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 22nd, 2014, 2:02 pm

The Beatles' albums are still selling.
Doug Henning's estate has nothing to sell.
You don't see a difference?
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 22nd, 2014, 2:16 pm

The Beatles were very well produced and looked after as a business.

Doug Henning offered a specific way of delivering wonder with a smile.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T.Widdle » December 22nd, 2014, 7:12 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The Beatles' albums are still selling.
Doug Henning's estate has nothing to sell.
You don't see a difference?


How many legendary magicians have died broke with nothing in their estates to sell? What difference does that make in honoring their place in magic history?

The point about the Beatles was to disavow your notion that because Henning was "active as big name" for "only about ten years," that he doesn't deserve a prominent place in magic history.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:The Beatles were very well produced and looked after as a business.


Were not Henning's specials well produced? And for years Henning's magic business in California hummed along quite nicely producing not only the yearly specials but many other side projects including the largest touring magic show in 50 years.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Doug Henning offered a specific way of delivering wonder with a smile.


Indeed, and isn't that something special that should be preserved not only for the existing magic fraternity, but also for new young magic minds? They may end up thinking Doug Henning corny and silly, but let's at least let them have an opportunity to decide, instead of making him vanish without a trace.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 22nd, 2014, 8:05 pm

In my opinion, Doug Henning's impact on magic from the mid 1970s on cannot be dismissed at any level. I am among those who believe he saved a floundering craft. And I'm fairly certain I am not alone in that belief.

In A&E's 1997 two-part documentary, The Story of Magic (produced by Bob Jaffe, Rick Davis, and Jim Steinmeyer and narrated by Ricky Jay), Mike Caveney had this to say (in Part Two) about Doug Henning:

"When I was a kid and people would say, 'What's your hobby?' And I would say, 'Well, I'm a magician,' and you'd feel like I might as well say, 'I'm a geek,' right?

And then I went to New York, and I was still pretty young ... and I saw
The Magic Show on Broadway with Doug Henning. And it was great. And he was great. And everybody said, 'Wow! Magic is great!' And I remember walking out of the Cort Theatre saying, 'I'm a magician; I am no longer a geek. And I am proud to be this and I hope to always be this'."

And, in narration, Ricky Jay followed that statement with the clearest example of Henning's impact on the craft:

"Doug Henning heralded a new tradition that would define a second Golden Age of magic. An era in which the public would finally embrace a number of new stars."

And this is immediately followed by video of Ricky Jay performing and the next segments were how Blackstone, Jr. was able to return to Broadway and how David Copperfield was "the first star to emerge from Henning's shadow."

Would it—that "second Golden Age"—still have happened without Doug Henning? We will never know; such a thing cannot be proved. But it did in fact happen directly after his appearance on the scene. That cannot be denied.

I say Doug Henning was damned important to the history of magic and deserves a high place among the greatest names regardless of how many years he was on "the scene."

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Bob Farmer » December 23rd, 2014, 7:31 am

Doug Henning and David Blaine have at least one thing in common: they put a spin on magic that was appropriate for their time and gave it new life for new audiences.

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 23rd, 2014, 9:03 am

P.T.Widdle wrote:...
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Doug Henning offered a specific way of delivering wonder with a smile.


Indeed, and isn't that something special that should be preserved...instead of making him vanish without a trace.


Things change character when preserved. As flowers lose their vitality when pressed into pages to become ephemera. The estate and sponsors can decide about how to preserve the TV specials. For the general case - open up a copy of Ponsin's Latest Tricks Revealed and think about what's in there try the flying coins, the gimlet coin or the item using a bottle... what's most important is missing. Look at Hofzinser's description of Bosco's way of handling the ball pass. Or that Shelly poem. What we don't know how to express...
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby JHostler » December 23rd, 2014, 9:38 am

Dustin Stinett wrote:In my opinion, Doug Henning's impact on magic from the mid 1970s on cannot be dismissed at any level. I am among those who believe he saved a floundering craft. And I'm fairly certain I am not alone in that belief.
...
I say Doug Henning was damned important to the history of magic and deserves a high place among the greatest names regardless of how many years he was on "the scene."


Three thumbs up. The value of his role in propelling magic forward is incalculable. How many performers and innovators who emerged in the late '70s and early '80s would have been bitten by the bug if not for Doug's TV specials? On top of that, the man absolutely radiated a sense of wonder. As idiotic as it may sound, he made magic magical again.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 23rd, 2014, 10:42 am

Folks liked him. What folks picked up and carry forward is up to them. He's gone. That boat has gone. Saving bits of the pier or building a shrine where the pier was is ... misdirection.

PS - expressing that sense of wonder and how to communicate that sense of wonder - useful. :)
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby P.T.Widdle » December 23rd, 2014, 12:07 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote: He's gone. That boat has gone. Saving bits of the pier or building a shrine where the pier was is ... misdirection.


What the hell does that mean? That we should't write about dead magicians?

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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 23rd, 2014, 12:34 pm

All of those things may be true, John, but none of them are reasons why any laymen should remember who he is at this late date.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 23rd, 2014, 12:38 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote: He's gone. That boat has gone. Saving bits of the pier or building a shrine where the pier was is ... misdirection.


What the hell does that mean? That we should't write about dead magicians?


To start - maybe focus on eliciting that sense of wonder. Writing is optional - it tends to be about the writer. See examples cited earlier.
Sometimes it makes remembering the subject more difficult by muddying the waters. I suspect folks could use the word innocent to describe Doug Henning's performing message. Getting that message right for ones audience is no mean feat.

One way to respect Doug Henning is to find what material elicits your sense of wonder and bring that to audiences. Another might be to write fiction about "dead magicians". Magic is a performing art. Writing is a different kind of craft which can elicit other sentiments in the reader. Borges wrote stories that resemble magic tricks.
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on December 23rd, 2014, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Respect for Doug Henning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 23rd, 2014, 12:51 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:All of those things may be true, John, but none of them are reasons why any laymen should remember who he is at this late date.


Richard, I was under the impression that most of magic's history is kept among magicians - brought before laymen in context of raw material for presentation.
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