“I Was a Consultant to Doug Henning…Sort Of” by Keith Spurgeon

I received this unique remembrance from Doug fan Keith Spurgeon this week. It’s certainly not the average story you get about people meeting Doug, but it definitely is one of a kind. 

It also ties in nicely as an epilogue to the Easter post I did a few weeks back, when Doug was the Grand Magical Marshall of the Walt Disney World Easter Parade. Take it away Keith.

“I am a former High School English/Theatre teacher, and have been doing magic as a semi-professional since the 1970’s. 

In 1985, over spring break, my wife and I took our two kids (age 5 and 2) on their first trip to Disney World.  We were just finishing our day at the Magic Kingdom.  On our way out, we passed the Magic Castle, and I noticed several large theatrical lights had been set up.  Obviously, they were preparing for a show.  The theatre person in me wanted to look at the equipment.  My family waited nearby while I walked over and “inspected” the lights. 

While I was doing that, Disney employees came by and began to rope off the area, moving visitors to the far side of the street, past the ropes.  Even though I was standing there in shorts, with a Disney map hanging out my back pocket, no one asked me to leave.  I just continued to stand by the lights, looking like a a stage hand. 

Soon, cameras were set up, and then came Doug Henning.  He stood center in front of the castle and performed a torn and restored paper.  I stood off camera about 30 feet to his right the entire time!   When he was finished he came over to me, and asked “How did that look?”  I told him it looked great!  He asked my opinion, and I gave it.  That counts as consulting doesn’t it? Well, at least I counted it as consulting. 

In a little bit, the director walked over with his wife.  Apparently, she had been a dancer on a popular TV show at the time called “Solid Gold.”  The five of us just stood there and chatted like we were old friends.  I mostly listened.  I think each thought I was a friend of the other.  Doug was friendly and treated me like a close friend.  Finally, it came time for some more filming to take place, and I made my exit.  I figured I had better leave while I was ahead…and before security discovered I was just a tourist!”

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