The $1,000,000 Illusion

As we close out the week, I wanted to showcase the “1,000,000” illusion from Doug’s penultimate special “Magic on Broadway.” The special itself, shot at the time of “Merlin,” serves as a kind of greatest hits special sprinkled with new takes on old illusions and a myriad of special guests.  Reuniting with Doug on stage…

A Moment for Harry Anderson

For the last few days the passing of Harry Anderson has been on my mind, as I’m sure it has with all of you. I had wanted to pay tribute in some way to Anderson’s tremendous influence on magic and comedy. But, I  wasn’t sure if a Doug Henning website was the proper venue for that….

Doug Henning Canadian “Beginnings” Article

This article comes by way of reader Karen Kampen. It’s very unique in the sense that it’s more oral history than a straight article. In it, Doug reflects on his childhood growing up in Canada, his sisters, and his father. It’s a great read, and while it’s a mystery to myself and Karen which paper it…

1981 TWA Airline Newspaper Ad and Commercial

This vintage newspaper ad from 1981 was produced in conjunction with a tongue in cheek TV commercial  that Doug participated in for TWA. As far as a I can tell, it’s only one of a handful of ads that Doug was featured in during his career. While we’re on that subject, here’s the actual TV…

Never Before Seen 1970s Performance Photos

Today’s incredible and previously unseen pictures come from photographer Frank Zak, and feature a mid-1970s performance in Pittsburgh. What’s stunning for me is their clarity and detail. You really do feel like you’re in the front row, or perhaps even on the stage itself.  While I never had the opportunity to see Doug perform live myself,…

Original Magic Show TV Commercial from the Michael Grandinetti Collection

This  commercial featured above was originally broadcast on October 10, 1978, and features Doug’s replacement Joe Ablado in the lead role. While Doug may not appear in the ad itself, his presence can be felt in the poster, the songs, and of course the illusions themselves.  So, enjoy this rare bit of Broadway TV magicana,…

Original 1976 Magic Show Marquee and Billboard Photos

These fabulous photos were given to me by early Doug collaborator Brian Lumley, and feature “The Magic Show” marquee and billboard during Christmas, 1976. On my recent trip to New York I had tried to visualize what the theater and its surrounding areas looked like during that period, and these certainly give me a great…

Doug Henning/Billy Crystal Lake Tahoe Ad

To while away your Wednesday afternoon I thought I’d share a unique item from the collection of Michael Whitecar. While these sorts of casino show ads were common at the time, I’ve always been drawn to their very 1970s vibe and artwork.  Think about it, who would do a hand drawn portrait of a performer…

“The Magic Show” on Amazon Prime Streaming

John Cox of Wild About Harry was kind enough to let me know that the 1981 filmed version of “The Magic Show” is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime. While this production has been available on DVD for a while, this is the first time anything by Doug has been available on a streaming platform.  Notably,…

Cort Theater Photos

And I’m back! After a busy three weeks off, “The Doug Henning Project” is up and running for service. During this time, I had the pleasure of spending a week in New York City. NYC is memorable for many reasons, not least of which is that Broadway is the home of the Cort Theater. The…

A Little Hiatus

Hey All! Due to work commitments and an upcoming trip to New York, “The Doug Henning Project” will be on a little hiatus. Fear not, I’ll return on Monday, April 9th with many cool and wondrous things to share. So, until then…stay magical! –Neil

Brian Lumley on Houdini’s Water Torture Cell

How did the First Special come about? Very early in The Magic Show’s run a very influential person came and basically fell in love with Doug’s performance. She asked him what he would do if he had a show at Christmas? Doug told her he would make people appear and disappear. He would do small…

Brian Lumley: “Magic Show” Secrets

How did Spellbound end up on Broadway? Ivan Reitman, Spellbound’s producer/director, put an ad in Variety which was published Dec. 19/73. This was the pre-production week. Joe Berhu and Edgar Lansbury saw the ad and came to take a look. By the end of the week Broadway was in the air. We set up shop…

Brian Lumley Interview : Part Two

Glenn Priest (far left), Brian Lumley (Middle), and Doug  Were you interested in magic before you met Doug? In a word no. Not Lesley, Glen, or myself had any experience with stage magic. We had each seen or performed magic on our own but that is another story. It is also why we each had…

Brian Lumley Interview: Part One

Today we have a treat in store for you in the form of a brand new interview with one of Doug’s earliest technical collaborators Brian Lumley. From “Spellbound,” to “The Magic Show,” to Doug’s first two specials Brian was there all the way. He was more than gracious enough to answer a wide range of questions,…

Vanishing Elephant Illusion

While I had hoped to find a clip of the original “Vanishing Elephant” illusion from Doug’s second special, everything on You Tube is an inferior and grainy copy. Fortunately for us, Doug recreated the illusion for the 1981 filmed version of “The Magic Show” which is the origin of this higher quality clip.  The elephant…

Society of Canadian Magicians: 1974 “Magic Show” Article

In addition to writing a great article this week, Richard Sherry has shared this issue of the “Levitator” from May/June 1974. The issue focuses on Doug’s groundbreaking success with “The Magic Show,” and even features an interview with Doug culled from “The New York Times.” Early interviews with Doug are always great to read, and…

Richard Sherry Remembers: Part Two

Growing Up with a Legend: Part Two By Richard Sherry Doug Henning was friends with a young director named Ivan Reitman who would go on to produce such blockbusters such as “Animal House,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Kindergarten Cop.”  It was said that Ivan fronted him the money to purchase the props to create his stage show…

Richard Sherry Remembers: Part One

In this two part article, magician Richard Sherry has graciously agreed to recount for “The Doug Henning Project” the times he spent with Doug as a teen growing up in Canada. It’s a fascinating window into the life of a young Doug Henning and the positive effect he had on the people around him… Growing…

David Ogden Stiers

For most people, actor David Ogden Stiers is best remembered for “MASH,” numerous Disney projects (Beauty and the Beast), and a long list of notable television and film roles. However, most magic fans will know that Stiers co-starred with Doug in the original Broadway production of “The Magic Show.” Playing the villainous and washed up…

“World of Magic V” NBC Promo

There’s something to be said about this NBC TV promo for 1980’s “World of Magic V.” What it is I don’t know, other than that they don’t make commercials like they used to. That’s for sure.  On that note, does anyone have a copy of the long lost gem “Valentine Magic on Love Island? 

Michael Grandinetti Collection: Doug and Debby Levitating Rope Illusion

  The above illusion comes from the collection of Michael Grandinetti, and showcases one of Doug’s more fanciful illusions. Doug and Debby originally performed this levitating rope illusion for a 1986 cover story in “Beverly Hills Magazine.” The cover itself is memorable for many reasons, not least of which are Doug and Debby’s pure 1980s…

Penn Jillette on Doug

The above article comes from the February 18, 2000 issue of “Entertainment Weekly.” It was their tribute to Doug at the time of his passing. While there arguably could have been more to it, it does feature a notable tribute from Penn Jillette of “Penn and Teller” fame. Penn, in his usual direct and to…

Indian Rope Trick Basket

Courtesy of Michael Whitecar’s vast collection comes another item sure to brighten up your Tuesday. It’s the basket from Doug’s Indian Rope Illusion as featured in “World of Magic VI!” Doug’s co-stars in this special were Marie Osmond, Shields and Yarnell, and (as featured above) a young Rick(y) Schroeder. Snakes not included…

Orson Welles and “World of Magic” 1982

The name Orson Welles can conjure up many things for many people: a brilliant and visionary director, stirring voice overs, Paul Masson wine pitchman, and…a lover of magic? Magic lover? Yes you heard me correctly! Other than filmmaking, Orson Welles held a passion for magic that he kept with him until the day he died….

Metamorphosis!

The above clip comes from the filmed and retooled version of “The Magic Show.” Shot in 1981, this version for television changed songs and even took some out. But, it is the only filmed version of the musical, and the only way to experience it today.  The illusion in question needs no introduction! Doug’s version…

Pantages Performance Memorabilia!

The above item comes from the collection of  John Cox (Wild About Harry), and gives us a glimpse of the promotion and ticketing of Doug’s 1981 performances at the Pantages. John himself was at one of these shows,  and as he told “The Doug Henning Project” last year: “It was amazing. I wish I had…

1981 Pantages Performance Poster

At “The Doug Henning Project,” I always love a piece of good Doug merchandise and today’s entry is no exception. What you see above is the poster from Doug’s legendary 1981 run of shows at Hollywood’s famed “Pantages Theater.” The theater, like Doug himself, is very indicative of its times. Its old Hollywood glitz and…

Muppet Show Glittered Overalls

So totally by chance I posted the above picture in the banner of yesterday’s post. It’s from the opener of Doug’s guest appearance on “The Muppet Show.” You remember how those went right? (15 seconds to curtain Mr. Henning). Anyway, yesterday’s collector Michael Whitecar  quickly sent me another item from his collection that on closer…