Friday, December 23, 2011

Doug Henning vanished his elephant 35 years ago today

It was 35 years today ago on December 23, 1976, that NBC aired Doug Henning's second live World of Magic television special. Having scored a major sensation with his performance of Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell on his first special the year before, Henning returned with yet another legendary Houdini feat -- the Vanishing Elephant!

Henning actually made the elephant vanish at the very beginning of the show. This was somewhat of a surprise as the elephant vanish was touted as the big event of the evening (as you can see in the original TV Guide ad right) and it was odd that it would not be saved for the finale.

However, that was all by design, as Henning ended his special by making the elephant reappear. Once again he took a Houdini classic and gave it a fresh new spin.

Henning would perform Houdini's Walking Through A Brick Wall illusion for his third special in 1977...but we'll save that one for next year.

You can watch a later version of Henning's Elephant Vanish in this 1981 clip from his Broadway show, The Magic Show. For the full story of the great Doug Henning, check out Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning by John Harrison.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that special fondly. His little touch of standing on top of the elephant just a second before it vanished was great. Doug was such a unique talent.