The Father Of Modern Magic!

As we enter the last three days of National Magic Week I would like to pay homage to three Great Magicians who literally changed the way audiences view our “prestidigitation” art.
I like to call them the three Horsemen of Magic – Houdin – Houdini – Henning.
It all started with Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin (the wizard the great Harry Houdini would later base his stage name on).
Robert-Houdin (1805-1871) is considered the Father of Modern Magic as he transformed magic from a gaming pastime for the lower classes to an upper scale entertainment for the wealthy and main stream masses.
He literally changed the way magic was performed and seen by audiences the world over.
He was a master magician, inventor, writer, had his own theatre in Paris – he even stopped a war using his illusionary magic.
His life is a great read on the internet and to learn more start atène_Robert-Houdin
Thank you sir for your vision, your performance and the magic you have created for future generations.


Continuing National Magic Week…
So how does SOMEONE BECOME A MAGICIAN – learn to do magic?
(SPOILER ALERT – you do not need to go to Kamar-Taj.)
It’s a unique interest one develops – either very young or as an adult – and they must follow through on.
My spark in magic began at age 8, like many other youngsters at that age (however the smart ones outgrow it).
Seriously though, my start was at our local Library with basic to do magic books.
I had seen a magician – decided that’s what I wanted to do – and the passionate journey began.
Advice from other magic enthusiasts and BOOKS were how I started.
The “Tarbell Course in Magic” that Dr Strange is reading was the bible back then – and it is still a great starting point.
But from books to VHS to DVD’s to downloads – the tools have evolved.
However, the start of the journey does remain the same. A desire to learn.
Do you seriously want to discover “prestidigitation”, the art of magical entertainment?
Here is my advice:
1 – The books in the Public Library are a great starting point to get a more informed idea if this is what you want to pursue.
2 – Yes there are videos on YouTube that can show you how “tricks” are done, there are good and bad and stupid ones. But they only can show you how it’s done – and there is much more involved in this.
3 – The best way is to contact a local magician or magic shop (the best in Toronto is and ASK what Magic Clubs are in the area and how to learn. We truly are very helpful to those that seriously want to learn.
There is also the IBM (not computers) – the International Brotherhood of Magicians – who can provide more info and directions to local clubs (or Rings as we call them).
If you are in the Hamilton Ontario Canada area, my local club, the IBM Ring 49 Hamilton Ontario – Doug Henning Magic Wand Club – is:
Please keep in mind, many different people are magicians for different reasons:
TV’s Johnny Carson – Steve Martin – Woody Allen – all started as professional magicians before they evolved.
Hollywood elite like Cary Grant (who also a very serious executive member of the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood) – Jackie Gleason – Dick Van Dyke – Fred Astaire – found it a relaxing hobby.
Even boxing elite’s Muhmmad Ali started later in life to improve his reflexes and his mind.
Plus, many, many more of today’s personalities – Neal Patrick Harris, Adrien Brody, Arsenio Hall, Jason Alexander, Prince Charles (now King Charles III) and Peter Scolari are secret magicians.
And in our local club we have professional, semi-professionals and keen amateurs that all learn and enjoy the experience “presenting and appreciating the art of magic.”
So, if you have a real interest in becoming part of the magical entertainment community, please just reach out – the magic is just waiting to be discovered!

They Walk Among You!

National Magic Week continues with… They WALK AMONG YOU!
These are celebrities and famous people who are “magicians”.
Some had started out as professional conjurors – others took it up as a passionate hobby.
In any case the list just might surprise you…
Neil Patrick Harris
Joey Fatone
Steve Martin
Willie Nelson
Adrien Brody
Arsenio Hall
Jason Alexander
Prince Charles (sorry now KING)
Peter Scolari
Don Johnson
Woody Allen
Jerry Lewis
Dick Van Dyke
Andy Griffith
Bob Barker
Muhammad Ali
Jerry Lucas
Norman Schwartzkopf
George W. Bush
Dick Cavett
Johnny Carson
Jackie Gleason
Cary Grant
Tyrone Power
Boris Karloff
Fred Astaire
Buster Keaton
Milton Berle
Jimmy Stewart
Orson Welles
Tallulah Bankhead
Barbara Stanwyck
Harold Lloyd
Fred Gwynne
Karl Malden
Bill Bixby
Dom DeLuise
John Denver
Carl Ballentine
Hugh O’Brien
Chester Morris
Lyle Talbot
Robert Lansing
Edmond O’Brien
Charles Dickens

Very Magical Women!!

Today on May 8th, International Women’s Day, I would like to play homage to two very special ladies.  On June 16, 1816, Mary Shelley invented Science Fiction when she wrote “Frankenstein”.

About 150 years later Lucille Ball championed a script nobody wanted, paid for the
pilot and fought the money people back enough for “Star Trek” to get made. (She also had a hand
in “Westinghouse Desilou Playhouse” which gaveRod Serling the big break he needed to get “The
Twilight Zone” produced.)

The mother of science fiction, and the godmotherof modern science fiction, thank you for helping create the stuff that dreams are made of!


Had the pleasure of kicking off my “REAL MAGIC – Simple Effective Solutions To Complicated Problems” VIRTUAL LECTURE for magicians Monday night.

Great audience at the International Brotherhood Of Magicians Ring 12 in Buffalo NY.

Looking forward to presenting to Ring 49 in Hamilton, Ontario next month.

PS:  My hair is not blue – it’s just the shot!


Finishing National Magic Week and celebrating Houdini & Halloween in a very magical way!
It’s been a busy week with 15 Halloween Magic Shows all over the place – virtual and in person.
So, what better way to enjoy a day off then with a visit to Jamie Allan’s “Illusionarium” with my daughter Jacqueline.
Great time exploring magic’s history in a hi-tech way.
Best of all she was chosen to mark the bullet for the famous bullet catching trick. Great souvenir.
As I said lucky catch!!
Happy Halloween everyone!

A Magical Place…

This being National Magic week I wanted to share my 3 favorite Magical Places in the World.

The first is the Hamilton Public Library Kenilworth Branch.

This is where at the young age of 8 I studied every book on magic they had – over and over and over again.

Some of my favorite’s were by Joseph Leeming.

It was such a special time for me.

Libraries are such a Magical Place!!

Humble Magical Beginnings!

Today October 25 begins National Magic Week.

It ends on October 31st, not surprising.

I started performing magic at the age of 8, yes I wasted my first 7 years 🙂 and have been going strong ever since – over 50 years.

The Art Of Magic has taken me all over the world and introduced me to people and experiences I am forever grateful for.

So buckle up friends as I post some “magical memories” over the next week.


A Magical Motivators take on the hidden, magical secrets of Ian Fleming.

“…Bond, James Bond.” That line was first spoken by actor Sean Connery in the original James Bond Movie Dr. No. The year was 1962. Since that time it has been uttered by 6 other actors, and in well over 20 featured length films. (Making it the longest running movie franchise of all time.)

In fact according to the Guiness Book Of Films it is the #1 most recognized movie quote of all time. Yes, even beating out movie classics from Casablanca and Gone With The Wind.

And apparently over half of the world’s population has heard of James Bond. Not bad at all for a fictional character first penned by author Ian Fleming in 1952.

If you have not guessed it by now, I am a James Bond fan. I have seen every movie at least once, and many more than 3 or 4 times.

In fact one of my best Christmas presents of all time was a 007 Spy Briefcase I received when I was boy. It featured all the James Bond gadgets including a special spy decoder I still treasure to this day.

I have also extended this “spy fascination” into the magic that I do. I created a character James Wand who was a “magical spy” in a number of illusion vignettes. And today one of our specialty shows is a “spy illusion show” called ESCAPE – A Behind The Scenes Look At The Magic Of A Secret Agent Training School!

But to me, there is a further “hidden magic” to 007’s appeal.

No, it’s not the fancy gadgets, the beauties or bullets. Nor is it the fast cars, glamorous locations or extravagant lifestyle. To me there is a deeper fascination.

To me James Bond’s real magic is HOW he makes his magic happen. The answer?

He thinks and acts like the ultimate magician! He understands what is needed to make the impossible, possible.

First, he knows that nothing is impossible. He understands that real magic is nothing more than coming up with simple effective solutions to complicated problems, and then taking action.

He visualizes his mission’s end result and then takes the necessary steps to achieve that result, just the way a magician creates a piece of magic, by working backwards.

Every piece of the puzzle is put together in the proper sequence until the final picture / secret mission / illusionist’s magic are achieved.

He also knows to watch what he is doing very carefully. He monitors his results and if what he is doing is not working, he will try something else. And if that doesn’t work, he will try something else. But he will stay with it until he achieves his end goal.

Next, he is a firm believer in the magician’s creed, that “every problem contains and suggests it’s own solution”.

How many times have we seen 007 in an impossible situation ö definitely no way out? And then he uses one little piece of the environment or situation to give himself the upper hand and turn the tables on the villain.

Sure in some of the later films there could be some pretty amazing gadgets involved, but more often than not it was the James Bond’s mindset that Ian Fleming created that was responsible for saving the day.

And finally, James Bond never, ever, ever gives up, and definitely strives at being the best at what he does.

He knows to learn the basic skills needed to do his job, and he has made great effort to master these skills. His has passionately mastered weapons, social skills and himself in a same way a magician masters sleight of hand, presentation skills and mindset.

And he continually feeds this passion.

So how can you apply this to what you do?

Use the same magic formula.

1. Create a vision of the end result you want to achieve, no matter how impossible it may seem. And make it as detailed as possible. Then fill in the blanks with simple actions needed to make you vision real. Study your actions, and change and tweak them as necessary to get you closer to your end result.

2. Remember that every problem contains and suggests it’s own solution. The obstacles that stand in your way truly do contain the answers to lead you in the right direction. Take a negative aspect of something that you currently see as a limiting element, and imagine it to instead be empowering. How can this element work to your benefit to achiever your goal?

3. And finally, remember to go after your dreams with passion. Take the time to learn the basics of what you need to do, and passionately master these skills. Become the best at what you do. Stay the course when things get bad and then passionately move on again toward your dream.

Apply this to your life, your vocation, your work and you too can become the James Bond of your vision. You can use Ian Fleming’s secrets to make your own Real Magic happen.

Real Magic is nothing more than coming up with simple, effective solutions to complicated problems, and then doing something about it! But Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!

PS: I cannot wait until this Friday. I am taking my wife to see No Time To Die with Daniel Craig as 007. It’s his last outing as Mr Bond, and I hear it is fantastic!


Muppet Show Metamorphosis Appearance in Full – THE DOUG HENNING PROJECT

Always try to be unique – case in point Canada’s own Doug Henning. 

A master magician for the performer and  great piece of History for the entertainment world.  Just google him.

Above is a clip of him on The Muppet Show in 1980.  It really is amazing and pure DH.

Doug was from a different, simpler time but a master at marketing, MAGIC and standing out, which holds true even to this day.

Doug was many years older than me and inspired me, a fellow Canadian (we are both McMaster Univeristy grads as were Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Ivan Reitman – who got Doug his first big break that led to The Magic Show).

And all these mentioned entertainment giants did something very special, they created memories and changed the way we feel in a positive way. 

It’s simple, “do what you love and love what you do”, who knows what MAGIC you can create!