Farewell Illusion Sale Price List

The above item comes from Michael Whitecar, and is the price list that was given to all interested buyers from Doug’s farewell auction in 1989. It’s interesting to note how the general common misconception is that Doug gave away his illusions for very little to nothing. My apologies for the small print in the document,…

Farewell Auction: Letter/Item Breakdown

The following advertisement appeared in “Genii” in March of 1989. In a lot of ways, this letter and item breakdown signaled what was the true end to Doug Henning as a magician and performer. As is widely known, Doug’s devotion to Transcendental Meditation had overtaken his interest in magic as a whole. In keeping with…

Vanishing Elephant Illusion

While I had hoped to find a clip of the original “Vanishing Elephant” illusion from Doug’s second special, everything on You Tube is an inferior and grainy copy. Fortunately for us, Doug recreated the illusion for the 1981 filmed version of “The Magic Show” which is the origin of this higher quality clip.  The elephant…

Metamorphosis!

The above clip comes from the filmed and retooled version of “The Magic Show.” Shot in 1981, this version for television changed songs and even took some out. But, it is the only filmed version of the musical, and the only way to experience it today.  The illusion in question needs no introduction! Doug’s version…

Original Merlin Playbill

Today’s entry comes courtesy of Nancy Henning, and is the original “Playbill” for “Merlin.” A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to post the more elaborate commemorative program for the show, and it’s interesting to compare and contrast the two. However, in addition to being signed by Doug himself, this “Playbill” also is a…

Las Vegas Hilton Table Cards

In his career, Doug didn’t really like playing Vegas for moral and ethical reasons and eventually stopped altogether. So, that fact alone makes these Las Vegas Hilton promotional table cards all the more rarer. From their design to their color palette, you can’t argue with the fact that they are a snapshot into the glitter…

Nancy Henning Interview: Part Four

Hasn’t this been great? Before we start the last part of our interview I just wanted to once again thank Nancy Henning for taking the time to talk to me. I think we can all agree that her insights and observations only serve to make us appreciate Doug’s artistry even more. How do you think…

Nancy Henning Interview: Part Three

Can you talk a bit about the $5000 Doug was awarded by the Canadian Arts Council to study magic? Did he discuss that with you at the time? You know, I don’t really remember hearing anything about that until he got it. He was quite proud of it, because at the time, there had never…

A Lost Doug Illusion?

This request recently found its way to me from Doug fan Michael Ketchum regarding a potentially “lost” Doug illusion that needs identifying. If you have any information please contact Michael directly at the email address below.   I AM THE CURRENT OWNER OF AN ILLUSION NAMED “THE MONKEY BOX ILLUSION” – WHICH WAS SOLD TO ME WITH…

Things that Go Bump in the Night!

“Things that Go Bump in the Night” became, over the years, one of Doug’s big crowd pleasers. Previously performed by magician Servais LeRoy as “The Three Graces,” Doug performed this over multiple TV specials and even in the film version of “The Magic Show.” This is a perfect example of Doug taking an older illusion…

Erix Logan, Doug Henning, and Mousetrap!

The following email was sent to me recently by renowned magician Erix Logan. It’s a fascinating read that gives us an insight into a famed Doug illusion that took on another life of its own, long after he retired.  I have always been a huge fan of Doug and the way he thought about magic….

Crystal Gale Special 1979

  Well, aren’t we on a television special roll this week? I particularly enjoyed this clip from a 1979 Crystal Gale television special because it sort of serves as a best of Doug Henning all wrapped up into one.  Granted, a lot of these illusions had been seen on Doug’s previous specials, but the lighting…

Close Encounters of the Doug Kind

One of the great parts of running this website are the stories I have been sent via e-mail or Facebook from people that knew Doug. These first hand accounts really open him up in a way that magazine articles, You Tube clips, or books can not.  So, for part of the week I’d like to…

Vault Treasures: Part Two

Welcome back for a just as exciting Part 2 as we continue to look at Steve Zigmont’s collection featuring many items from Doug’s famed NBC specials. Enjoy!

Vault Treasures: Part One

Not long ago retired magician and current effects specialist Steve Zigmont was generous enough to share with me pictures from his extensive collection of “Henning-ana!” Is that a word? Well, it is now. So, if you’ve ever wondered where some of Doug most priceless costumes, props, and posters ended up you are in for a…

Merlin Mania!

What you are about to see are two very rough, but very cool commercials for the original production of  “Merlin! As mentioned before, Merlin was Doug’s 1982 follow-up to “The Magic Show.” Directed by his old college mate Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Twins), the show boasted huge production values and illusions. Starring in the title role, Doug led…

The Magic of Minolta!

While not a television appearance in the traditional sense, this 1978 Minolta commercial highlights Doug in a different light: A commercial pitchman!  Aside from its obvious kitsch value, the commercial shows how much of a name Doug was at that time. Think about it. Have you ever really seen a magician before or since be a…

Doug and Dai

This particular clip, taken from the CBC Archives, seems to be one of the few filmed examples of Dai Vernon teaching Doug. The two had become close friends when Doug traveled from Canada to train with Vernon after being awarded his legendary $5000 performing arts government grant. Their lessons, which took place at “The Magic Castle,”…

John Cox: Part Four

What was your reaction at the time to his retirement from magic and his surprising death in 2000? I don’t remember it being an announced thing. It was just Doug Henning seemed to have drifted away, and David Copperfield had kind of replaced him as far as the annual television shows…But, at some point it…

John Cox: Part Two

How important do you feel “The Magic Show” was to the audience’s appreciation of magic? Doug Henning brought magic back to Broadway and back to legitimate theater…So, it really was “The Magic Show” that re-introduced the world to grand illusion…I wish I would have seen it…When you read about it, it was a good mix…

John Gaughan: Part Four

What was your reaction to when he gave up performing? John Gaughan: Well, he was always stopping performing…He only wanted to work for a couple weeks on the road and then come back and rest for four weeks…Doug didn’t care too much about money and then the transcendental meditation kind of overtook it. Then he…

John Gaughan: Part 3

Is there an illusion that you designed for him that is a highlight? John Gaughan: Well, they were all kind of wonderful things to play with. The big Japanese warrior that came to life (in Merlin) was a lot of fun, and I remember bringing that thing in because that was one of the last…

John Gaughan: Part Two

Why do you think “Merlin” isn’t looked up on as being as successful as “The Magic Show” was? John Gaughan: I think in reality it was more successful. The problem was you had a bigger theater and the cost at that time was close $275,000 per week. Then Doug didn’t have a lot of stamina…

John Gaughan: Part One

This week we have another treat in store for you with one of the art form’s most prominent and respected designers: John Gaughan. For over fifty years, John has been delighting audiences with his work for such artists as Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, David Blaine, Criss Angel, Mark Wilson, and Ricky Jay. However, most…

Friday with Doug

What better way to spend your Friday than with some totally random, but spectacular pictures of Doug doing what he did best? Join us next week for our extended round table interview with legendary magic designer John Gaughan and friends.  See you then!

Jim Steinmeyer: Part One

For many in the world of magic the name Jim Steinmeyer conjures up  fantastical visions of some of the greatest illusions of all time. As one of the industry’s premier designers, he is the man behind David Copperfield’s Statue of Liberty disappearance, Disney Theatrical’s “Mary Poppins” and “Aladdin,” and countless other iconic illusions for top magicians throughout…