The “New Houdini” Advertisement

The above ad certainly makes a bold claim in order to sell the soundtrack record to “The Magic Show.” Doug and Houdini were drastically different in terms of presentation. However, if there were similarities between them, it’s that they totally redefined how the public saw magic in their respective time periods. But, I doubt Houdini…

Wild About Harry: Doug and Houdini Article

For those jonesing for a Houdini/Doug fix this Saturday, may I divert your attention to today’s post on John Cox’s excellent website “Wild About Harry.” It delves into the impetus for John’s lifelong love of Houdini which is…well, visit the website to find out if you haven’t guessed already.  While you’re there stay a while…

Houdini’s 100th Birthday Article

John Cox ‘s excellent website Wild About Harry recently featured a New York Daily News article from 1974 covering a Doug live event that even yours truly didn’t know occurred. In honor of Houdini’s 100th birthday, Doug and his “Magic Show” co-star Dale Soules performed one of Houdini’s signature illusions in front of the famed Plaza…

Henning on Houdini Radio Interview

This audio clip comes courtesy of John Cox’s fabulous Wild About Harry website. In this radio interview from 1980, Doug discusses the first television special and the intense preparations that went into his escape from Houdini’s Water Torture Cell.  While it’s brief, it gives the listener a peek into Doug’s rehearsal process and the mystery…

First Special Altered Poster

While I still recuperate I wanted to slowly get back into the swing of things with this first special newspaper ad from the Chicago Tribune. What’s unique about this particular piece is that the list of guest stars is updated to reflect who would actually be on the show. There are other color versions of…

The First NBC Special: Houdini’s Water Torture Cell Conclusion

As we reach the end of this legendary moment in magic history, the seconds are counting down and down. Doug, sealed in, begins the almost impossible job of escaping from a seemingly watery grave. Would he make it out alive? Or would 50 million people watch a man drown on live television? All your questions are…

The First NBC Special: Houdini’s Water Torture Cell

What you are about to see are the introduction and preparations for Doug’s Grand Finale of Houdini’s “Water Torture Cell!” After another brief introduction by Gene Kelly and a Houdini history montage, Doug is introduced to a nervous crowd. The suspense is truly over whelming, and there is definitely a “will he or won’t he” feeling throughout the…

The First NBC Special: The Best Bits!

It’s safe to say that everyone that is reading these entries remembers the first special in their own way. The program itself is so crammed with illusions and expert performances that it’s been difficult to decide what to include and what to sadly leave out. After Julie Newmar, the audience is treated to the umbrella and fire…

The First NBC Special: Julie Newmar

After some disappearing and reappearing birds and a little close-up magic with Bill Cosby, Doug gets to the nitty-gritty with this atmospheric box illusion. While shining a light inside and behind, it is revealed that absolutely nothing, I repeat nothing, is inside. Or is there? Ladies and Gentlemen, a totally random and 1970s avante-garde dance routine…

The First NBC Special: Part Two

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…

Houdini: His Legend and His Magic Part Four

For our last round of pictures I wanted to focus on the excellent chapter “Houdini in Color.” What we have here are wonderful and bold color plates that really spring to life from the page. It’s my favorite chapter, and I suspect I may not be the only one! I thought it was more than appropriate to end with…

Houdini: His Legend and His Magic Part Three

The following represents some of the best items in the book in terms candid shots of Houdini and Bess, formal portraits, and newspaper coverage of Houdini’s death in 1926. It’s also refreshing to see Bess and Harry as they really were on vacation and away from the spotlight. Upon seeing them for the first time as…

Houdini: His Legend and His Magic Part Two

The following items represent not only a personal and very touching introduction from Doug to his parents, but many rare documents and photos from Houdini’s early and formative years. As with all legends, Houdini didn’t sprout fully formed and these pictures and clippings give us a very unique insight into this time in his life. …

Correction!

Hey Everyone! Before we get to the next post, I wanted to share a correction that was sent to me regarding how Doug obtained the items featured in “Houdini: His Legend and His Magic.” The real facts, such as these, can get muddled though various sources, accounts, and years. So, I’ll leave it to expert…

Houdini: His Legend and His Magic Book

For the rest of the week I’m going to rightfully be focusing on the classic Doug Henning and Charles Reynolds book “Houdini: His Legend and his Magic.” The book, originally published in 1977, is widely considered one of the most thorough and personal books ever published on Houdini. The reason for this lies in its…

Houdini’s Magic Magazine

To round out another great week I’m going to be featuring Doug’s appearance in the August, 1977 issue of “Houdini’s Magic Magazine.” The magazine itself ran from August 1977 to March 1978, and in that time it featured many of the top magic stories and artists of the day. Doug was no exception, and the history…

John Cox: Part Three

How do you think he bridged the gap between the magicians of old and the superstar ones we have today? Well he was the true bridge. You wonder would it have happened without him?…Doug Henning understood magic and the history of magic. So, he knew what principals worked and re-introduced them. He did an amazing…