In watching the special with modern eyes, it’s interesting to note how fresh, energetic, and groundbreaking it all still feels.
Rather than doing an opening monologue, Doug dives into one of the things he truly excelled at… close up magic. None of the following scene has any dialogue, and that uniqueness makes it one of my favorite parts of the whole program.
Backed by a smooth jazz piano score, Doug effortlessly guides a coin through his palm and nimble fingers. With each movement the coin disappears and reappears.
All the while, it gets larger and larger until…
Well, you get the picture! After an audible gasp from from the crowd, Doug joyfully strides over to a nearby jukebox inserting the coin, opening the door, and revealing nothing inside.
While Doug’s co-host Bill Cosby would eventually be revealed, Doug, in a way, was opening another symbolic door. At that time, magic had been stuck in a rut and banished to the outskirts of the public consciousness. Here was a magician changing all of that. By being truly ahead of his time, he broke boundaries and influenced a generation by just being well…Doug Henning.
So, pull up a chair and get ready, because Doug is just getting started!
To Be Continued…