What was your reaction the news that he was retiring from magic?
It was a really difficult situation…We had wind of it. Doug was spending a lot of time with TM stuff…and we had no idea what would happen to the company…Doug would go “No, no, no I’m really working.” He was kind of sending us letters and cassette tapes back kind of going “No, I’m coming back. We’re going to be working. I’ve got all these offers.”
He had a guy who was kind of at that time his personal manager, and he said I have a tape from Doug from India and I have to play it for you guys. Then it was Doug saying “I am going to retire and I’m going to shut down the company.” But, having said that there was a twelve-hour time difference and the thing with TM was that you only had certain hours of the day. So, he would call his manager at 3 in the morning and he would record it and then he would come and play it for us…
Were we bothered? Of course we were bothered. There were four of us that were full time then. But, the moment he lost a little interest in magic he stopped. You know what? That’s exactly what should have happened. He found something that was more interesting to him and he stopped…I’ve now worked with a bunch of people who have gone on too long. So, Doug didn’t do it. He kind of went “I’m pursuing something else and I’m going to stop doing this.” I can’t really disagree with that…
Were you involved with the planning of his proposed TM theme park “Veda Land?”
I don’t know what to say. Yes, he had solicited ideas about things. Some of the stuff we talked about he took back there and incorporated it into it. I’ve had TM people say to me since then “Oh yeah you were involved in that theme park!” I kind of want to go “Well, I only sat in like three meetings with Doug and talked about stuff.” We were all supportive of anything he was doing.
The theme park was a little weird because it wasn’t our world. But, when he said “Here’s what I want to do, here’s what I’m looking for, what do you think of this?” We all said “What if it was like that?” So, he had a little think tank of people and we all worked on stuff.
Can you talk a bit about the rumors of his possible return to magic?
He was very excited about magic. He was buying books he hadn’t seen for years. He was buying tricks he hadn’t seen for years…He had told me that “I’m not going to do anymore shows, but every once and awhile I stand up and do something at TM fundraisers. I’m really having fun with it now. I’m having fun getting back into it. I’m excited by it…”
Would he have eventually done shows? We don’t know. Maybe in a year or two? It was possible…
In tomorrow’s fourth and final installment Jim reflects on Doug’s return to Los Angeles and the lasting impact he ultimately had on his life.