By 1974, magic had lost its mass appeal and there was no such thing as a celebrity magician—until a skinny, bucktoothed kid from Winnipeg became an overnight star in an unlikely Broadway musical called The Magic Show. Doug Henning, with his refreshingly modern approach to the art of illusion, permanently changed the face of magic and reintroduced an entire generation of audiences to grand illusion as a theatrical art.
John Harrison traces Doug's stunning rise to fame from his humble beginnings in the Toronto coffeehouse circuit to his fantastic success as the world's first celebrity magician in fifty years. Told with exacting detail and reverence for its subject, Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning is an engaging story about the making of a master illusionist and his unrelenting search for real magic. From the highest rated magic television special in history, to three Broadway shows, to a decade of touring, John Harrison takes us on a backstage tour of Doug's performing life and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world of grand illusion. All of Doug's astounding feats, like the Elephant Vanish, Water Torture Cell, Things that Go Bump in the Night and Walking Through a Brick Wall, are featured in this engaging biography of a man who believed he would one day be able to levitate without resorting to his illusionist's bag of tricks. As amazing as his onstage life, Doug Henning's journey through the bizarre world of transcendental meditation and his brush with politics are told with equal intrigue.
Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning is as exciting as Doug Henning's miracles themselves, filled with captivating adventures, like Doug's harrowing moments while submerged upside down in Houdini's Water Torture Cell on live television, his several heart-stopping incidents with rampaging tigers, and his attempt to build an amusement park in Niagara Falls. The production of The Magic Show, Merlin and his eight television specials are told in copious detail. From his first magic trick—making a quarter disappear—to his eventual retirement from the stage at the height of his career, the fantastic life and career of Doug Henning come vividly to life in this magical biography. It's a book that truly has something for everyone.
Pages - 440 - Hardcover
"It's about time that someone paid Doug Henning his due. John Harrison does a great job of telling the story of Doug Henning's magic and the man behind that magic."
— David Copperfield
"Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning is a fascinating look at the career and amazing life of one of the most important figures in contemporary magic. From Doug's humble beginnings, to his meteoric success on Broadway, to his international fame, John Harrison takes you on an amazing ride through the public and private life of Doug Henning. This book is required reading for anyone interested in a career in magic."
— Lance Burton
"Doug Henning put a new face on magic. He was the most successful and most beloved magician of his time. This sympathetic, insightful and meticulously researched biography tells the real story from his stage appearances on Broadway, in Vegas and on the road to his specials on the screen (the first of which remains the most watched magic show in world-wide television history with an astonishing audience of over fifty million viewers!). The details of his greatest illusions and of his tragically short but equally bizarre life are all here. It contains the facts. I know because I was there."
— Charles Reynolds
"I am not a big fan of magic books, and I very rarely read any. But, once I picked up Spellbound, I couldn't put it down."
— Nathan Burton
"I actually couldn't put it down. The questions I've always wanted to ask were answered by John Harrison's information-packed bio of magic's first superstar of magic. John captures Doug's very ethereal essence while giving the reader the very true, and the oft times brutal, side of the entertainment business. Bravo!"
— Jeff Hobson
"Doug was one of my heroes! The Bravest Magician on the Planet! John Harrison provides an incredibly detailed account of the life of one of the greatest magicians that ever lived. One word describes John's ability as a writer and Doug's approach to life—PASSION!!"
— Joseph Gabriel