As many of you may have seen, magician Greg Gleason recently and accidentally came to own Doug’s original “Things that go Bump in the Night” box. How that came to be is a fascinating story. It’s a story so fascinating that I’m going to let Greg tell it himself.
How did you obtain the box?
Several months ago I was in Houston purchasing Doug Henning’s “Walking through the Mirror” illusion from Kirby van Birch. I asked Kirby if he had any other illusions he would be interested in selling. He showed me a couple that I wasn’t interested in.
Then I saw the “Things that Go Bump in the Night” box that had an Asian decor on it. I said that looks like a nice prop and who built it. Kirby said that he didn’t know…Two months later, I was thinking I will probably never use a bump box, but would like one in my collection. So I gave Kirby a call, and we made a deal on it.
What was your initial reaction when you found out what it was?
When I saw (it) at Kirby’s warehouse, it was wrapped in bubble wrap, so I did not get a good close look at it…Then I noticed some of the red paint was rubbed off, and underneath it was a blue paint.
Right then I started thinking this might have been Doug’s. The refurbish job was excellent on it, and I could tell it was done by Bill Smith. So, I sent Bill Smith a picture of it, and asked him if he had done the Asian refurbish job on it. He said yes, and that it was actually Doug’s, and they had painted right over his original artwork. At that point I knew I was going to have to restore it back to the original Doug Henning look.
Can you take me through the process of restoring it?
Luckily I had video of Doug performing a Bump Box on all three of his TV specials, as well as the Canadian version of the “Magic Show.” I also had programs that had good color pictures of the prop.
The first process of restoring it was to remove all of the metal trim and extra decor added to it. It was then sanded do and two coats of primer applied. I then matched the blue as close as I could to the original blue, and painted the entire box a base coat.
I then hired an excellent artist name Lisa who wanted to restore it back to its original look as much as me. She spent three nights working on it and she nailed it.
Were there any difficulties in restoring it?
There was not really any difficulty in restoring it. I did have to have the new box frame legs built for it, since the refurbish changed the look of the legs.
Did you find out anything about the box that you didn’t know before?
I found out more about the concealment of the trap, and also there was a reel in the base to attach the tiger collar to.
How important is it for you to have this in your collection?
There is a book called the “Master Illusionists” by Mark Walker, and he reviewed Doug Henning’s touring show in 1981. I could now perform every illusion and small piece of magic that Doug performed in that show. The Bump Box was his finale in almost all of his touring shows (and) in Vegas.
What do you intend to do with it?
At the moment it is next to several of Doug’s other illusions. I believe I will use it in future tours, and television appearances
How important do you feel was this illusion to Doug’s career?
I think it was very important in Doug’s touring career. I also had lunch with Charles Reynolds one afternoon in New York City, and Charles said he was the most proud of this contribution to Doug’s show.