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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Doug Henning (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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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
Rui Fernandes
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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.
We are all about as successful as we choose to be.



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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.
Todsky's Magic Shop: over 15,000 tricks, books, DVD s and Card decks. www.magicstore.ca
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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Scott Wells
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Tim Drake sent out an e-mail request for all magicians to take note and take action. Doug Henning is being considered for the Canadian Walk of Fame and you don't have to be Canadian to nominate him. After all, they are wanting tourists from all over the world to come to the Walk of Fame. Here is a link to learn what is going on:
http://www.ibmring49.homestead.com/henningwalkoffame.html

You can cast your ballot by going to this URL:
http://www.canadaswalkoffame.com/inductees/nominations.xml

He may not have won in his bid for the parliment, but you can vote for to see his star on the Walk of Fame.

yours,
Scott Wells
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

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Antony Gerard
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I only had the opportunity to meet Doug three times. Those three time, though, are among my most treasured magical moments.

Did you know that Doug’s first stage name was Hendo the magician. Doug took the “Hen” from Henning and the “do” from Doug and came up with Hendo.

A side note to Pete Biro's story: It is said that Doug’s escaped Tiger also chased Arthur Godfrey into the men’s bathroom. I believe that this incident is also the reason that all subsequent Henning shows were taped.

Did you know that the person who fronted the $40,000 for the Spellbound show did so because he wanted to lose the investment money as a tax write off.

The first venue for Spellbound apparently was also a bit of an accident. A large show that was scheduled for the Royal Alexandra Theatre was cancelled. Even though Spellbound did not have a track record (no reviews) it was booked. Mostly because over half of the tickets had already been sold.

During Doug’s stage debut he fell into the orchestra pit because he was blinded by the stage lights. His fall was broken by the drums which possibly saved his life.

I have a few more Henning stories but it is past midnight and my coach just turned into a pumpkin. I will try to post the other stories later this week.

Take care and take cards
Antony Gerard
mxray
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Guys, I never met Doug Henning or got to attend one of his shows in person, but thanks for a great thread on someone that totally left me in awe as a child.
It sounds like not only did his magic inspire a lot of magicians, but that he was simply an inspiration in life to those around him just with his presence and great attitude. That is one of he most important contributions anyone can make to life in general.
MXRay
silverking
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Does anybody have any information on why a bio of Doug hasn't been undertaken?
Rather than let this resource diminish with time, I wonder if anybody is considering an unauthorized biography.
It's always preferable to have the family involved, especially when the major assistant of the career is his wife.

I know many people may not feel that Doug's yogic inclinations later in life would bode well in his overall history, but I think that for those who bother to research Doug in detail, his Natural Law and theme park pursuits make Doug even more interesting and worthy of a fine book on his life.

Doug re-wrote the book on magic and magicians, I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to know how that happened. Most who study Doug in depth know about the Canada Council grant, and his spending the money on the trip to sit at the feet of Dai Vernon, but there's so much more to the story that this simple anecdote.

How exciting would it be if Jim Steinmeyer were to undertake this tome, his writing is some of the best on magic anywhere, and he knew Doug very well.

One can only hope!
Cheers,
doublelift
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If it is of interest to you The Magic Show is on DVD. I got mine a couple of years ago at Amazon.Its worth having if you are a fan of his work.
CARNEGIE
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Wow. Thanks to everyone who posted Doug Henning stories. I never met Doug but did get a letter from him when I was a teen. I also saw his show everytime he came to the area. I still fondly remember seeing him do the Rising/Floating Card on stage, so cool. And I remember seeing Doug do the first Origami Box routine. Doug didn't do routine silent to music and with swords like everyone seems to do today. His was a talking routine and it knocked me for a loop. That show also had Walking Thru a Mirror and the Pole Levitation. I also vaguely recall a routine with giant puppets which I think was later sold to Melinda.

A few years ago I rented all the Doug Henning specials through the SAM Film and Tape Library. It brought back a lot of memories and was so great watching Doug perform. I was so excited when I heard he might be coming back to magic and so devastated when he passed on. Yes, he is missed.
silverking
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I'm afraid that the 2006 list of inductees to the Canadian Walk of Fame didn't include Doug Henning.

It's tempting to call the selection committee a bunch of Toronto hacks who don't know what they're doing, but I won't do that.......oops, I just did.
I will say that they clearly don't understand the impact Doug Henning had on magic (or Dai Vernon for that matter).

That Doug Henning and Dai Vernon aren't on the walk is probably enough to gall most magicians, but pretty typical of a tourist focused undertaking like the walk of fame, who would rather select Alex Trebek in place of Doug.

All in all, a pretty crappy outcome for those who supported Doug Henning.

The only inductee with a conection to Doug was Paul Shaffer from the David Letterman show, who played piano in the orchestra pit at the Cort Theatre, for.....Doug Henning in "The Magic Show".

The announcement featuring the lovely Pam Anderson, but no Doug Henning:
http://www.canadaswalkoffame.com/
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2005-01-24 02:00, Pete Biro wrote:
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...


Nobody was hurt! Phew!


not entirely true. Smile
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
Rennie
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Quote:
On 2006-03-23 10:52, magicalaurie wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-01-24 02:00, Pete Biro wrote:
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...


Nobody was hurt! Phew!


not entirely true. Smile

magicalaurie,
Could you elaborate on that, sounds like it may be an interesting story.
Rennie
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
magicalaurie
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I would elaborate but I don't think the Café has any duck smilies. Smile
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
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