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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kippen

Learning from the great Doug Henning

I was a theater major at California State University Northridge CSUN. Being very active, I was the events manager of the campus theater. One summer Doug Henning rented out the theater to prepare and rehearse his last world tour show.

I was informed that I would be able to work with him for nearly a month. Being an amateur magician at the time, this was a great opportunity. The loaded in on Monday and I got to meet him, his wife Debbie and manager Steve Kirshner. They were all so gracious and giving. Doug immediately saw my passion for magic and immediately took me under his arm. I spent almost a month learning many of his secrets of magic including how he would make a car vanish on stage.

I remember at one point , I saw a metamorphosis trunk in the wings. Being young and bold, I suggested to Steve that I could do that trick. Having worked in a magic shop for a couple of years as a teenager, I was familiar with the workings of the trunk. Steve said, “ Oh let’s see.” He lifted the lid, as I got in. Steve replace the lid. As I attempted to escape, I realized there was something wrong. At this point , I realized that Steve had put the lid on upside down. After about a minute , I knocked on the lid and asked if he would let me out. I sure learnt a lesson.

As part of his show, Doug did a close-up segment where he did his version of coins across. That evening I went home and found a bunch of silver dollars and brought them in with me the next day. As he rehearsed his routine, he saw me playing with my coins. He asked, “ John, do you want to learn my routine?” What a treat. In fact, almost every day at lunch, he and I would spend about 20 minutes working on my routine. He was so giving.

Only now do I realize who special that month was.. What a master of Magic.

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