Genii: “Merlin Crusade” Article by Jim Steinmeyer-Part One

As we all have a little more downtime these days, I decided it was high time to tackle this superb article from 2013. Written by Jim Steinmeyer, it details the triumph and tragedy that was “Merlin.” Many people know Jim Steinmeyer from his work as an acclaimed author and illusion designer, however this first-person article…

Rare “Magic Show” Australia Cast Film Footage

I stumbled across this gem of a clip recently and had to put it up. While it has no sound, it is footage from the 1975 Australian production of “The Magic Show.” As you can see, Doug was not a part of this production and had handed the reigns over to actor/magician Larry Anderson.  It’s…

“Magic Show” Hexaflexagon

What’s a Hexaflexagon you ask? Well, good question. A Hexaflexagon is a paper polygon with many folded faces.  It’s a novel and fascinating concept that was so novel and fascinating that Doug had them put one in the soundtrack album to “The Magic Show.” I must admit I haven’t had the time to fold this…

Original “Magic Show” Vinyl Cast Album

In 1974, Bell Records released “The Magic Show” cast album on vinyl. The album is rare in the sense that it is just as special, unique, and fun as the musical itself. The  back cover really give you a sense of what audiences at the time must have felt seeing Doug perform his illusions upfront,…

Style from “The Magic Show” Movie

For all of you stuck at home for the foreseeable future (myself included), why not sit back, relax, and enjoy the lively number “Style” from “The Magic Show.” Originally performed by David Ogden Stiers on Broadway, this version features Jon Finlayson in the role of evil magician Van Zyskin.  As mentioned before, the TV movie…

Doug and Chita Rivera-Merlin Stage Door Photo

As everyone knows right now, things have been a little crazy around the world. In times such as these, it’s important to tend to our own loved ones and personal health. However, when possible I feel it’s important to post when I can. Hopefully, Doug’s perpetual positivity can shine a little love and light onto…

From the Playbill Archives: (New) Merlin Interview

Well, it’s not often that you get some new Doug Henning news in your Google feed. However, that’s exactly what happened today when Playbill.com dug into their archives for this vintage article from the opening of “Merlin.” As you would imagine, Doug talks enthusiastically about the show and its illusions. What else would you expect?…

Solid Silver Platform Shoes-The Magic Show

Hey it’s a Saturday, and why not a little musical selection from “The Magic Show” to brighten that weekend glow? By the way, I apologize for the lack of posts this week. My freelance design job has been busy, and it’s not always easy to balance the two. But fear not, posts will keep coming…

Happy Holidays…and a NY Times Article!

Well folks, it’s that time of the year where I close up shop and reflect on the year that just passed and the one that is just upon us. As always, I wish you the happiest of holidays and sincerely thank you for all your support over the past two, almost three years. It’s everyone’s…

Derren Brown “Doug” Name Check!

Mentalist Derren Brown, whose current Broadway show “Secret” is smashing records, was recently interviewed by “Long Island Weekly.” In it, Derren discusses the show’s history, and a certain other magician is mentioned regarding their time on Broadway.  “Recently, breaking the record as the longest-running magician on Broadway, Brown made his U.S. debut with Secret, which…

Unseen Merlin Production Publicity Photos

These pictures were given to me by writer Michelle Ainsworth and really showcase the scope and scale of “Merlin” very nicely. The top color photo was taken by photographer Peter Cunningham and is a real stunner if you ask me. While there is no documentation as to who took the second photo, I suspect it…

Merv Griffin Show- Chita Rivera Performing “Merlin”

Finding existing performance clips of “Merlin” is a lot like finding Sasquatch or seeing a UFO. They tend to be very fleeting, and you have to look hard.  Well, as luck would have it I recently came across this excerpt from the “Merv Griffin Show” where Chita Rivera performs “I Can Make it Happen.” As…

Original “Magic Show” Set Design Sketch

The above piece comes from Henning admirer Glen Henry and is a real rare piece of Broadway history.  It’s not often that you find a production sketch from the original version of “The Magic Show” at a small store in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. But that, my friends, is exactly what happened. How it ended…

NY Times: World of Magic Broadway Review

Doug Henning only seems to dema terialize – and re-materialize – and levitation is a mechanical rather than a natural wonder. But it is beyond the ken of nonmagicians to understand how he performs his illusionary feats. As we know from his first two Broadway shows and his frequent television appearances, he is a genial…

NYPL Photo Archive: The Magic Show Part Three

All Photos by Ken Duncan These photos are copyrighted by the New York Public Library’s Billy Rose Theater Division. Any unauthorized usage of those for profit or personal promotion is in violation of copyright laws.

NYPL Photo Archive: The Magic Show Part Two

Let’s do it again shall we folks? I have to say I’m really loving this collection of photos. What strikes me the most about them is that their electricity and energy truly make you feel as if you’re in the Cort Theater’s front row circa 1974. As these pictures prove, the production itself was sparse and…

Doug Henning’s World of Instagram: Unseen Chita Rivera Photo

The above photo comes from the National Portrait Gallery’s Instagram account (@smitsoniannpg). It goes without saying that this photo features Chita Rivera in her role as the evil Queen in “Merlin.” Taken in a dressing room, this picture really showcases the beautiful and detailed costuming that was prevalent in the production as a whole. Even in…

Doug’s Henning’s World of Instagram: Merlin Marquee

The world wide web isn’t the only place to uncover rare Doug treasures. Instagram also has some nuggets waiting quietly to be discovered. The above picture comes from @bygonebroadway, and show’s the original “Merlin” marquee in all its glory. I personally had never seen this photo before, and was struck by how thirty-seven years its…

Original Stage Manager”Merlin” Script with Notes

The following script excerpts comes courtesy of John Harrison, author of the excellent biography “Spellbound: The Wonder-Filled Life of Doug Henning.” I’ll be posting it over the next couple of days, but rather than talk about the script myself, I’ll let John explain it further.  “It is Act I, Scene 6 (the final act prior…

Admired from Afar-The Magic Show

It’s Monday folks. So, what better way to start the week than something else with the letter “M” in it…Anita Morris! This number features Morris recreating her role of Charmin from the Broadway “Magic Show” production. As the wife of its original director Grover Dale, she truly was a powerhouse performer who always lent the…

“Right Before Your Very Eyes!” from “The Magic Show”

Let’s rub those Monday doldrums from your very eyes with this lively and well known number from “The Magic Show.” Aside from the original show’s cast album, this filmed for television version is really the only way this rollicking number can be experienced today. While it may not be a perfect representation of what audiences…

The Merlin Understudy that Never Was

The above picture is of Doug with actor Andrew Hill Newman. If history had operated accordingly, Andrew was to have been the first understudy to take over Doug’s role in “Merlin.” However, many of you don’t need this website to tell you that “Merlin” was a somewhat tumultuous production with many ups and downs. Many…

Rare Peter Cunningham “Merlin” Photo

The photograph featured below was taken by well known theater and music photographer Peter Cunningham, and features a stunning image from “Merlin” that I’ve never seen before.  As related to me by its owner Michelle Ainsworth, the photo was purchased from Cunningham himself, and was one of the first times he had photographed a Broadway…

“Merlin” Illusion Breakdown Sheet

Today’s post is a doozy, as it’s not often we get to see the actual illusion breakdown from “Merlin.” The document itself gives us a good idea of the order of the illusions themselves, and just how many there were within the show itself. Now, obviously I had to some redacting in the “How” column….

Handwritten “Merlin” Monthly Expenditure Notes

Money, money, money! It makes the world go round doesn’t it?  The notes featured below list the general costs and supplies that went into producing “Merlin” per month. While $421.74 may not seem like much now for a Broadway show, in 2019 dollars that equals to $1116.84 per month.  Unfortunately, not everything can be conjured…

1983 “Merlin” Animal Breakdown Sheet

If yesterday weren’t enough for you feast your eyes on this detailed breakdown sheet of how the animals in “Merlin” were positioned and used. It really brings you a whole new appreciation to see the level of care and preparation that goes, and still goes into, the usage of magic and animals on stage. Enjoy!…

Original “Merlin” Dressing Notes

“Spellbound” author John Harrison was kind enough to share with me some truly eye-opening items from his Henning collection. If you ever wondered how complex “Merlin” was to put on every night, just look at this “Dressers’  Notes” sheet. This document, and a few you’ll see throughout the week will give you a fascinating window…