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Illusion77
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I'd love to hear some stories from those of you who remember seeing Doug's show live or may have worked with him or met him away from the stage.

Doug was truly a unique an important person in the magical world - I hope this turns out to be a fun and informative thread.
Chezaday
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Doug was amazing on stage ... I can still remember seeing him many times. He had a huge influence on my magic. He was first to perform many of Steinmeyer's creations ... including the Origami Box, the Pole Levitation and Walking Through a Mirror. He was always quite before and after the show .. but on stage he really shined. The way he presented magic and his attitude made it all special.

Steve
Pete Biro
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I hired Doug to do about 45 minutes to close our IBM Convention in Long Beach, some years ago.

He was a prince to work with. He and Debbie were gracious, giving and performed the best I had seen him.

Saw him do the Paul Curry cut and move the knot (I forget the real name) on stage in New York and fell out of my seat and landed on the floor.

Doug had me photograph some of his Live TV Specials... and I especially remember the night he was doing the Million Dollar Mystery (LIVE) and a Tiger got loose backstage and started to eat the rabbits and ducks he was going to produce.

Doug went on with his performance (remember live tv) as if nothing was wrong. Nobody at home knew anything had happened, but the production was slim, compared to what was planned.

Nobody was hurt! Phew!


... and... Douglas really believed there was a unicorn in his garden.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
David Charvet
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I had the great privilege of interviewing Doug for MAGIC magazine in 1999, just 6 months before he died (Feb 7, 2000.) He had called me "out of the blue" inquiring about purchasing some props ("Hospitality" and a briefcase table) for his personal appearances. One interesting thing he told me was that he wanted the props made in the color blue, not black. He said he never used any black props in his act. During our phone conversation I asked if he would be interested in doing an in-depth interview and he said "I've never done one before. Sure." WOW. Sometimes you never know what will happen when you ask.

I flew to L.A. and we met at a hotel in Beverly Hills. I had planned on about an hour interview. Doug was very comfortable with me and ended up talking for over three hours. He was exactly as he was on-stage. A real GENTLEMAN (emphasis on the word "gentle.") He really believed there was MAGIC in the world. I have most of the interview on audio and video tape. He really opened up and told about his life in magic. He told me he never had the opportunity to tell magicians his whole story and wanted to do so. He did not appear to be ill at the time, but the interview had a real "confessional" feeling to it. He told me anything I wanted to know, and held nothing back.

After the interview was published, he called to tell me how much he enjoyed it. A few days later, I received a HUGE fruit/gift basket from him in thanks. We spoke several times over the next few months. The last time was at the end of December when he confided in me that he had been in the hospital, although he said it was because he had slipped and fallen. He never mentioned that he had cancer.

After he died, I was invited to the private memorial service (at another hotel in Beverly Hills) and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had reprinted my interview with Doug as a part of the printed program for the service (really a slick, color "magazine.") The best part of the memorial was when Debbie stood up and thanked everyone for being there and said that Doug had planned the event (knowing he was dying) and said he wanted everyone to have something to eat. She said he loved corn on the cob and blueberry pie. At that point the ballroom doors opened to reveal a buffet that included (you guessed it) corn on the cob and blueberry pie!

Great memories. He is misssed.
hugmagic
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I agree with David's description of Doug. He was always very gracious. I remember when he played Akron, I interviewed him for Tops Magazine. he was very gracious and even tipped the upcoming "Elephant Vanish" for the network show so I had an exclusive.

My friend had took photos of him signed an NBC promo photo with a Houdini poster and me watching him sign it. No doubt about authencity here.

My only regret was that I never got the original 11x14 photos I shot of him doing the rings and his broom levitation signed. Great shots of a great artist.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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WRandall
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David, I recently read your interview with Doug for the first time and was blown away at how informative it was. Thank you for making that happen. There's stuff in there we might never have known about if you hadn't thought to ask him.

If any of you DH fans haven't read it, it's definitely worth picking up the back issue of MAGIC Magazine.

Will
Brent McLeod
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David-

Beautiful story-Thanks for sharing that with us!!

Pete-

Is it just coincidence there was Pandamonium backstage while you were there!!!!

How high up the backstage rafters did you jump while Fang was having a snack!!!
David Charvet
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Just remembered - the other item of food that Doug wanted at his funeral was macaroni and cheese. And yes, it was on the buffet!
jlevey
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I seem to recall that one of my high school graduation presents,or birthday presents (circa 1974), was to attend Doug's Broadway show. It was a wonderful feeling. His upbeat and highly positive energy and his glowing smile radiated out into the audience, touching many many people of all ages, including myself.

I seem to recall an elephant, possbile a tiger or leopard appearing, then changing into his assistant (or possibly into Doug himself) and lots of colors and light on the stage. But most of all, I remember Doug's radiant smile, his kind and friendly voice and the magical feeling in the air.

Did he also perform the "sands of time" that night on stage? I seem to recall colorful spirals of sand sifting downwards from his closed fists into a bowl, below, filled with blue (?) liquid water. I may be wrong. But if Doug did perform that effect that night, then it was that experience that prompted me to request my family to consider purchasing the trick form Tannen's, in order to present it to me as a holiday gift a few week following the December show.

Does anyone recall if Doug performed this Sands of Time effect in his Broadway show?

In any event, the faint memories of being present at Doug's Broadway show have remained a warm and pleasant feeling to recall.

His spirit and person is deeply missed.
Jonathan
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SHOC
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I had the pleasure of meeting Doug, in 1986, through a mutual friend. I will always rember him as being gentle and kind.
Pete Biro
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Right on the wall, over my computer monitor, one of the four posters I have is an Autographed Doug Henning's "The Magic Show."

The other three posters are: Francis Brunn, World's greatest juggler, Unus (the acrobat in the Ringling Circus that "stood on one finger" and a Playbill for the Argyle Theater, starring Frank Van Hoven, "The Dippy Mad Magician." Van Hoven was the highest paid single act in Vaudeville at the time... making more even than Houdini. Poster dted 1917 and he was making $10,000 a week.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Jonathan Townsend
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J. P. Laramee and I attended The Magic Show several times in 1976-76, catching the matinée after spending some time in Tannen's.

There were no sand tricks in the show. Yes the pretty assistant who spent half the show divided (thin model sawing) turned into a mountain lion during the end of the show... remember Dale Soul's singing about how she wants to be a loin tamer cause she got along with cats?

The lighting and stage set were interesting. The band was up above the stage and the background was screen mesh, two layers or so which made a nice moire pattern. Some of the lighting was directed against the flat back stage wall to color the background. Other lighting was setup so the stage could be lit from the sides and allow the Ralph Adams handkerchiefs to dance and also the Asrah to happen on what seemed a bare stage. Was a fun show. Did you see it when David Ogden Steirs was playing the "bad" magician?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
The Drake
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I attended the musical " Beauty and the Beast" in Toronto and during intermission I did a doubletake as I noticed Doug standing beside me. I was flabbergasted. I turned to him and offered a hello and a quick thanks for his contribution to magic. That was it...it didn't want to bother the man.

But that was not it. Each time I tried to bow out and politely leave him alone he stopped me and continued the conversation. He was very interested in what kind of magic I did and wanted to talk everything magic. Debbie on the other hand starred daggers at me the entire time. I can only guess that she was sick and tired of having an evening out ruined by some fan yaking Dougs ear off.

I was sad to hear of Dougs death about a year later.

Best,

Tim
Pete Biro
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David Ogden Steirs was in it when I saw it... he was great. I have a poster from the show that Doug signed for me hanging right in front of me on my office wall.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
DarryltheWizard
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I first met Doug at a Conklin Family Magic Show at GCI, a high school in Cambridge, Ontario , Canada. Duke Stern was the M.C. of the show. This was a few years before Doug was famous. I was in about the sixth row back sitting with my friend Paul Reuter and we were discussing different levitations. Doug tapped me ont he shoulder and said"You guys must be magicians talking about levitations." We all agreed to have a bite to eat at George's Chinese Restaurant after the show.
Doug had just graduated from McMaster University and had majored in Psychology. The thing that struck me about Doug was that he really believed that some day he would really learn to levitate with no mechanical means of support. It seemed child-like to me at the time; however, he really believed it. He struck me as very ambitious and he surrounded himself with showbusiness types, directors, musicians, etc. It certainly paid off down the line. I remember when he left the restaurant, I turned to my friend Paul and said, "You know he really believes in magic.Some day he's going to be famous!" A few years passed and then he gained fame in Toronto first, then New York with Magic Man or was it Merlin? We exchanged business cards, but I lost his;however, I will always remember that first encounter.
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The Drake
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Darryl,

You won't believe this but Paul was telling me only a few weeks ago that he was doing some cleaning and guess what he found....... yep......that original business card that Doug had given him.

Best,

Tim
Richard Sherry
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I first met Doug back in 1971/72.We attended the Society of Canadian Magicians in Don Mills Ontario.I was 12 and he was not going to be famous for another year or two.He took me under his wing and taught me so many wonderful things.I saw him climb the ladder step by step.I even saw the opening night of his first big show SPELLBOUND.The show sucked but his magic was the greatest and the show was re-worked into his big hit the MAGIC SHOW.I now live in Calgary and 2 minutes from me is a major hospital.7 years ago my twin girls were born.Unknown to me at the time one of the nurses attending was Dougs very own sister who works there.What a small world.He will be remembered for his kindness and patience and total love for magic.
We miss you.
Richard
Nighthawk
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I had the pleasure of knowing Doug in the mid-seventies....when he was part of the duo, Henning and Mars....Indeed, we both lived in Toronto at the time and he was a neighbour who became a close friend and actually got me into magic...teaching me Out of this World, a Chop Cup routine, a coin penetration (through dental dam), Coins-Through-the-Table (Hang-Peng-Ching) and how to use the TT.....He was a gentle soul who possessed an engaging modesty, and we kept in touch even after he became 'famous' he still had time for me...even though I am at best a serious hobbiest....

Of interest, I remember that at one time he used a blind carpenture to build his stage illusions....an Israeli guy.....

One ironic aspect of his career was that while Doug was known for his grand illusions....he had a personality that shone when it came to close-up in that his work has a wondeful intimacy to it...

Once when I visited Doug in New York, he took me over to meet Slydini...whom Doug admired perhaps even more than Dai Vernon.

I have to say, near the end of his life, he became somewhat odd actually thinking that he could do real magic....as he become more involved in mysticism...but then again...who am I to say he couldn't do real magic...indeed...what truly is real magic.....bottom line is that I miss the guy.....
andrew martin
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WOW!!!
What great wonderful stories. Doug was my hero.
My friend Dick Oslund told me the last time Doug was in Colon his VW van wouldn't start so they had to push him out to get it started.
I only met Doug once. I miss him very much.
Marshall Thornside
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My dad thought he was crazy for spending the money
he did for him to build the light bulb cabinet.
especially with the customs and stuff to deal with.
thought it was even more crazy when he heard it was
for a broadway show. but as crazy seems, he kept it
after he got out of magic. probably because my dad
signed all the cabinents he made. so it was a personal
workmanship for those willing to want one built.

crazy crazy. haha.
you will remember my name

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smcmaster
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I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Sheck, Doug's lead assistant before he met his wife Debbie, for my quarterly publication "The Mandala" back in the summer of 2003. She had some great stories about Doug's early years as he was making a name for himself, and what it was like traveling with Doug and the troupe as he climbed to fame.

That back issue is still available, as are many of the other back issues. You can subscribe for free by contacting me at: themandala@adelphia.net. Just let me know that you read about it here and the e-mail address that you would like to use to receive the issues, and I will sign you up.
--Shawn
Nighthawk
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The tragically cruel irony of Doug's life is that Doug was an absolute health fanatic...indeed...when I knew him he was transforming himself onto a macrobiotic diet...nothing processed..no meat.....no refined sugars....he also medicated daily and he really did treat his body as a temple...alas he died of cancer....

Doug's life was touched by tragedy when he was a boy as his father was an Air Canada pilot working out of Winipeg and died in an airplane crash sometime in the late 1960's

Nighthawk
andrew martin
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The best show I saw was at The Fisher Theatre in Detroit in 1984.
Doug Henning.
Man what a show that was!
It was big
He did Levitation/asra which was great
The misers dream that was hilarious and he got the perfect kid up
and he perform the motorcycle vanish WOW! that was incredible!
Doug had ducks ,a monkey ,tiger ect....
It was a beautiful show!
card123
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Is there a biography?
ALLEN TIPTON
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Someone must surely write a biog of Doug Henning whilst the stories, interviews etc. (especially the pics) are still in living magicians minds & possessions.
I have tried to e mail 'mandala @ adelphia' over Shawns kind offer to send back issues but the e mail address won't register. Anyone else tried? and do you have the correct address..please. Missed videoing his first special (Water Torture Cell) because VCR's were scare here in the UK when it was shown around 1980. It's never been repeated. Also we never got the one with tom Bosely and over the cage of lions illusion as that was never shown here. All the others provide wonderful memories of a very theatrical, creative and charasmatic Master of our Art.
I have the LP of The Magic Show and the video/dvd is finally available over here, from last week. So sorry he never filmed Merlin. I have the piano sheet music of the show, and, thankfully, a video clip of the opening as performed on a Tony Awards prog.
Allen Tipton
Allen Tipton began magic at 9.Joined Staffs. Magic Soc at 14. President 8 times Guild Of Magicians Nottingham UK IBM member.1980 reproduced Dante's Show & made Magician Of Month by IBM Intern.President.Currently writing Dear Magician series in Abra magazi
ruiefe
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Maybe there is a final dot (net.) that is dot Smile necessary. Try it
Rui
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Tony S
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Back in the 80's I saw Doug perform many times. He played for a week on Long Island once and I bought tickets to see several of his shows. I wrote him a letter at the theatre he was playing telling him how much I enjoyed his magic and that I woul love to meet him. I was very surprised to get a call from his secretary one morning. She told me that if I came to the stage after the show someone would meet me there and bring me backstage to meet Doug.

They brought me to a small room and a few minutes later Doug walked in. I was a bit awestruck at the time, but soon we started talking magic. At the time I was building a shadow box from a set of plans. By coincidence Doug was doing a shadow box in his show. We started talking about how I was building mine and he started to give me some tips to make it better. He took a wire hanger from a dry cleaner's, the kind that is covered in paper, and sketched some plans for me on the back. Then he signed it for me. I still have that hanger to this day. He also let me take a quick look at his shadow box before he had to go.

I was always inspired by Doug's joy for life and his wonder and amazement at the world around him. He was a true gentleman and he is sorely missed.
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todsky
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I never met Doug, but he was my favourite magician when I was a young magician. I even stayed loyal to my magical roots when Doug was running for the Natural Law Party in the Canadian federal elections, and I voted for him, that yogic hopper!

I was also very touched by the story he told David Charvet in his Magic magazine interview, the one about performing for a group of Inuit in northern Canada. As I remember it in a nutshell, and I'm only paraphrasing, David did his Zombie routine, and produced a rabbit or doves in the show, but got almost no reaction from the group of Inuit. After the show, he asked one of them what he thought of the show, and the man said, "It was okay." "Well, what about when I made the rabbit (?) appear?" "Every spring the walrus appears on the horizon." "Well, what about when the silver ball floated?" "Every day, the big yellow ball rises, and every evening it falls." And then the Inuit man continued, "Ah, I understand why you do what you do: the people where you come from have forgotten the magic of everyday life, and your job is to remind them of this."
And that is what informed Doug's magical philosophy, which in turn inspired mine. Just beautiful. Thanks for that inspiring and informative interview, David.
Magicbarry
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Quote:
Someone must surely write a biog of Doug Henning whilst the stories, interviews etc. (especially the pics) are still in living magicians minds & possessions.
I once tried to contact Doug's family to ask if they were interested in sanctioning and participating in an official biography (I'm an acquisitions editor), but I received no response. I assumed that they were uninterested, and left it at that, rather than harrassing them. I'm sure I'm not the first to make such an inquiry. I agree that there is a definite need for a Henning biography, though I would never want to publish an unauthorized bio. Hopefully someday the family will take the steps to bring about a book that will honour Doug's life and legacy.
atucci
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I first saw Henning shortly after The Magic Show opened on Broadway (with David Odgen Stiers as the bad magi). The first time, the lion peed right after Anita Morris vanished, which was at the end of the last act. During curtain calls, a noticably damp Anita Morris took her bow like a champ!
Tony Tuccillo
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