Welcome Society of American Magicians!

(Update: December 2014)

Thanks to my article about Johnny in this month's MUM we are delighted to welcome many new readers. Please use the INDEX button below to navigate your visit. Our appreciation to Michael and Lisa Close of MUM for choosing to pay tribute to Johnny's memory and legacy in the SAM's official monthly publication. Johnny was a proud member of SAM from 1927 until his death.

This is an interim update. It is hoped a more detailed update will appear sometime during Summer 2015. So please bookmark this site and return whenever you can!


DH Thanks JG

Photos of Doug receiving the first SCM "John Giordmaine Award" are HERE.

When Doug retired he wrote a letter printed in the March 1989 GENII. I have retyped it below for visual clarity.

Doug Henning, the contemporary face of magic in the 70s and 80s, thanked Johnny first in his official goodbye. We can only imagine Johnny's positive impact on Doug, who in turn influenced a new generation of magis worldwide.




March 15, 1989



Dear Magical Friends,

I, along with my wife Debby, would like to send you all our love and best wishes from India. I am very happy to be able to share with you all the direction that our lives have taken since leaving America two years ago.

Ever since I was very young, I have been searching for the real magic within, the magic of man's infinite consciousness, the field of all possibilities. To further this quest I suspended my performing career a few years ago to go to India to gain enlightenment through transcendental meditation and the T. M. Sidhi Program, and to help Maharishi design and build a magical theme park about enlightenment.

Now that Debby and I have been in India for some time our search is being realized, and we are happier and more fulfilled than ever before. We soon hope to share our new enlightened wonder with the world, in the magical rides and exhibits in our Maharishi Vedaland Theme Parks, which promise to create heaven on earth.

Because we are planning to stay in India, indefinitely, I am happy to release to the magical community some of my most exclusive and spectacular illusions; by selling the actual illusion props that I have lovingly used over the years. Each one of the illusions . . . is very precious to me, and I am happy to pass it on so that the world can continue to enjoy it.

I had such an enjoyable career as a performing magician and feel very grateful to all who have aided me. I would like to thank all of the creative magicians who have helped me so much over the years, especially: the late John Giordmaine, Dai Vernon, Slydini, Jay Marshall, Charles Reynolds, John Gaughan and Jim Steinmeyer; and every other magician in the world for helping to rejuvenate the art of magic and continuing to spread the wonder.

Wishing each one of you all of life's wonders,

Doug Henning



(Letter reprinted by kind permission of Richard Kaufman/GENII.)


Doug's sense of wonder conveyed through his magic was very likely a big part of Johnny's influence on him. Our thanks to Jeff Pinsky at the Browser's Den of Magic, Toronto, one of the world's finest brick and mortars, for rediscovering this letter.

To have thanked Johnny first and foremost (before even Dai Vernon) must have meant that he had had a profound and lasting impact on Doug. To date, the specifics of their friendship seem to be undocumented but in so many ways I can see Doug and Johnny as true kindred spirits. I plan to investigate their unique connection further. I hope to have much more to tell about Johnny's inspirational influence on Doug in future updates. Meanwhile, if you can shed any light on the topic, I urge you to get in touch. My email address is on PAGE ELEVEN.


Next year, 2015, marks our 7th anniversary online. It is very encouraging to know that hundreds of you visit us every month and remember Johnny or discover his unique "real magic within" for the first time. May his generosity of spirit and joy for living inspire you in your own magical adventures ahead! - j. p.



NEW! (MAY 2015)

Thoughts & Speculation about Johnny's Influence on Doug

* Toronto magician Tom Bachelor (in conversation with its owner while visiting the Browser's Den of Magic) has suggested that Doug's speedy performances (relative to his fellow performers of the day) may have been influenced by Johnny's own rapid style of performing.

* Toronto magic store owner Jeff Pinsky, who first "rediscovered" the Henning letter, and your curator (while in conversation at The Browser's Den of Magic) have both suggested that Doug's sense of wonder at life as conveyed by/in his performances may have been influenced by Johnny's similar sense of joy and wonder at the world as he performed. So Doug could well have been (in a significant way) Johnny's spiritual twin.

* Jeff Pinsky has also suggested that there might have been a tremendous emotional impact on Doug when Johnny died shortly after seeing "Spellbound". It must have truly been a spiritual "passing of the wand" moment from one generation to the next.