Monday, April 10, 2023

A Visit With a Houdini Collector & Magic Historian


I had the honor of visiting my buddy Wayne Alan this past weekend. Wayne is the owner of the Old North Theater in Danville VA. He is also a semi-retired illusionist and very busy magic historian. I don't think he considers himself a collector, but man does he have some crazy cool stuff!

For example, the photo above are sections from the Old Keith's Theater in Washington DC where Houdini did a hanging straitjacket escape in 1922. Wayne also has the air grate that was in Houdini's hospital room in Detroit. 

In addition, he has documents, audio recordings and artifacts that will make your head spin. And I'm sadly, not at liberty to divulge. I got to see and touch and item that belonged to a very famous magical artist from yesteryear. Again, can't say yet who it is because Wayne plan's to do a big reveal at some point. 

If all the Houdini stuff wasn't enough, Wayne has some Doug Henning items. He owns the Lion's Bride Cage, and he owns a sawing in half that was Henning's. Apparently, some claim it's not Henning's but Wayne say's it is. I saw it. Label is clearly from Owens Magic to Doug Henning. Stencil on the side says The Magic Show. And inside is a Sawing in Half. There are two cases for it.

There must be a story that goes with this, as it's not the Sawing is featured in the promotional photos. But it is without a doubt a Sawing in Half, that Henning owned and does have 'The Magic Show' stenciled on the case. Plus, the case is appropriate for that time period.  We did not put the entire thing together, but it was cool to see.

Wayne is intending upon building a Museum of Magic next to his theater and he has a building that is perfect in which to do it. I can't wait to see the finished thing, it's going to be spectacular.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Another Doug Henning Anniversary, This time #23


February 7th, 2000, Doug Henning passed away. He was only 52 at the time. It came as a huge shock to the magic community for several reasons. For one, he was way too young to pass away. But secondly, he had started to get back into magic just prior to this. He had been spotted at several different magic shops and had some communications with old friends in the magic world. Some even speculated that maybe, just maybe, he was going to make a come back.

But that was not to be.

Magic was very different 23 years ago. Ok, maybe not VERY different, but different enough. I guess I'm thinking of when Doug was around and performing. New strides in the world of Illusion were happened, they started with Doug and then when he left, they continued with David Copperfield primarily. The man behind those innovations was Jim Steinmeyer. But he wasn't the only one, Andre Kole was creating incredible illusions, as well others.

Just this past weekend, I began to explore the world of one of the guys who worked with both Doug and David, his name is Doug Bennett. I recalled the name, but wasn't aware of this many contributions. In fact, as I type this, I have a friend working on a jumbo version of a trick Doug Bennett created called The Criss Cross Deck. Doug featured it on one of his TV specials. 

Doug Bennett is probably best known of his Bewildering Effect, that Doug Henning featured on a Tonight Show spot with Johnny Carson. And there is another effect he created called FireTrap, which again, Doug did on a TV spot. It was cool to discover that Mr. Bennett is still working in the magic world. as a consultant. HIs latest commercial item was a Floating Selfie Stick, ala. Dancing Can....brilliant. If you'e like to learn more about Mr. Bennett, check out

And please take a moment or two to remember Doug Henning and his unique brand of magic.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Selling Magic History Items on EBAY!!!


Here it is, selling off my collection! Wait, no. LOL. I'm only selling a few items that I have extras of. Fortunately, I have a lot of duplicate items and in some cases several additional of a particular thing. I'm putting up magic history books, ephemera, posters, brochures, bobbleheads, magic figurines. 

Right now there is a vintage Virgil & Julie Poster which will likely sell in two days. I have another one that I haven't posted yet. I've got a couple Raymond items I may put up. Get them while they last. 

Here is the link to my ebay page..