John Gaughan: Part Four

What was your reaction to when he gave up performing?

John Gaughan: Well, he was always stopping performing…He only wanted to work for a couple weeks on the road and then come back and rest for four weeks…Doug didn’t care too much about money and then the transcendental meditation kind of overtook it. Then he would have to go be with them. So, he had a lot of stuff pulling at him. The magic just became less and less important.

Jon Stetson: As you say, he didn’t like being on the road, he didn’t like being in Las Vegas…What else is there?

Tim Felix: It’s what most people aspire to do.

Jon Stetson: He just learned this was an experience that he didn’t like.

John Gaughan: Out in Van Nuys, he had this wonderful office and stage set up out there and kept coming in later and later…It’s kind of sad really because he had the world.

What do you make of the rumors that he would have returned to magic at some point?

John Gaughan: He could have, but he was just so wrapped up in TM that whatever the Maja told him he would do. So, I don’t know where his head was.

Jon Stetson: When he was sick he sure came back to magic. He was buying everything in all the magazines and all the catalogues. I remember he had people going over to his house showing him magic…

John Gaughan: Yes, but that had a lot to do with “Veda Land,” (Doug’s never realized theme park). In “Veda Land,” we were designing a lot of floating houses and a magical type Frontierland.

Do you think he would have ever built the park?

John Gaughan: No. They bought the land in Orlando. They had that for a while. It wouldn’t have happened because of the coordination and the money…

What do you think was Doug’s lasting contribution to magic?

John Gaughan: His passion and love for magic always came across onstage when he was performing…He turned on a lot of guys (to the art form).

Jon Stetson: Rainbows and sequins! (Laughs) There was a huge generation of kids that were around at that point…and he was on television and brought magic into people’s homes. People hadn’t seen this, it wouldn’t have been on their radar, they wouldn’t have thought about it…With “The Magic Show,” it brought people to a magic show that wouldn’t have gone in a million years to a magic show.

Tim Felix: Magic was always in waves. But, Doug’s wave was big. It was really big.

Jon Stetson: For people between the ages of 47-62 that really does anything in this field Henning had something to do with it. He was an inspiration…As the Beatles were totally attuned to their time, so was Doug Henning.

What better way to sign off on our interview with John Gaughan, John Stetson, and Tim Felix than with Doug Henning and The Beatles?

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