John Cox: Part Two

How important do you feel “The Magic Show” was to the audience’s appreciation of magic?

Doug Henning brought magic back to Broadway and back to legitimate theater…So, it really was “The Magic Show” that re-introduced the world to grand illusion…I wish I would have seen it…When you read about it, it was a good mix of breathtaking magic and quaint, small theater…It struck a perfect tone.

If you listen to the soundtrack it was of its time. I sometimes wonder was it a little bit of a parody? Yes and no. On the one hand, it’s hokey, he’s doing magic. But, the magic is amazing and this guy is genuine. It seemed to have found a perfect little niche. Pure Doug, all him!

You had mentioned to me that you saw Doug perform live. What are your memories of that experience?

I saw him at the Pantages here in Hollywood in I believe 1980…and it was amazing. I wish I had better recollections of it. It was the first time I ever had been to the Pantages which is an incredible theater. I remember there he was, there was Doug Henning walking out…and everything he did I had seen previously in specials…I’m sure he did “Things that Go Bump in the Night.” He started with his close-up, so it was very much these are his greatest hits…

However, the thing I remember the most was something that I had never seen which was the vanishing and reappearing motorcycle. That was a mind-blower. The motorcycle raises up and disappears…but what I didn’t expect was that it reappears in a box behind the audience…which I hadn’t even noticed that there was a box there until it broke open and there’s Doug who, I think, rode the motorcycle down onto the stage…I don’t think I had seen an illusion of that scale before…That was the thing that has stayed with me the most.

There’s nothing like a Part Three is there? In that case, come back tomorrow for, you guessed it, Part Three of our talk with John!

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