Today, May 3rd, 2022, would have been Doug Henning's 75th Birthday. Frankly, it's doesn't seem all that long ago when he passed away. But to think he would be 75, wow.
I can tell you, Doug Henning was the first celebrity whose death really hit me hard. I never knew Doug, never got to meet him. But he was such a part of my magic world, that when he died, it was like that song by Don McLean, American Pie where there lyric is "the day the music died". In our case it was "the day the Magic died." That's how it felt.
Watching Doug Henning now is nostalgic, and not everything he did holds up. But there are so many lessons that modern performers could learn from....both good and bad. In the good department, his theatricality is wonderful. His showmanship is stellar. His upbeat personality and likeablity is wonderful. He never demeans magic, never speaks poorly of it. Some of the magic happens to him, some of the magic is caused by him. He is more wizard than magician, and he loves what he does.
As much as I loved his TV Specials, there was nothing better than seeing Doug Henning LIVE. The live performances were pure Doug, minus some of the cornier dialog that was found on the TV shows. And the magic, oh man, just killer. Have you seen Doug do the Floating and Rising Cards? It's as close to real magic as you can get. His Metamorphosis presentation is the one every tried to copy, until The Pendragons came along. But even then, his routine is perfect.
I could go on and on about Doug Henning. But let me stop and simply say, Happy Birthday Doug!!!