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Topic: Sim Sala Bim
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 12, 2009 11:54AM)
I always wondered if Dante’s story about the origin of Sim Sala Bim is correct. He said that it was a Dutch nursery rhyme. I found this which might clear things up.

"Højt på en gren en krage" (High on a branch a crow), written by Johan Ludvig Heiberg and based on an old German folk melody.

Højt på en gren en krage (high on a branch a crow),
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
højt på en gren en krage sad (high on a branch a crow sat).

Så kom en hæslig jæger (then came a horrible hunter),
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
så kom en hæslig jæger hen (then came a horrible hunter walking).

Han skød den stakkels krage (he shot the poor crow),
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
han skød den stakkels krage ned (he shot the poor crow down).

Nu er den stakkels krage (now the poor crow),
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
nu er den stakkels krage død (now the poor crow is dead).
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 12, 2009 01:48PM)
In addition to being nonsense syllables from that Danish nursery rhyme, Sim Sala Bim is the Swedish equivalent of abracadabra, and is known in other Scandinavian cultures as well. Orson Welles used Sim Sala Bim as magic words in the 1967 film “Casino Royale.” For a complete definition of over 500 magic words check out Magic Words a dictionary by Craig Conley available at http://www.redwheelweiser.com and I highly recommend it.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 12, 2009 02:38PM)
How long ago was this implemented? Was it before or after Dante?
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 12, 2009 03:25PM)
How long ago was what implemented?
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 12, 2009 03:46PM)
The Swedish equivalent of abracadabra.
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 12, 2009 05:18PM)
That's not noted in the dictionary. Are you Swedish?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 12, 2009 11:17PM)
In an article by Dante in an old issue of Genii, he claimed that he (Dante) had originated the phrase Sim Sala Bim. He specifically stated that it was not "simsaladim."

Note that the phrase "Sim Sala Bim" does not appear ANYWHERE in that nursery rhyme. The closest thing to it is "simsaladim."

Before anyone says, "Well, it's only one letter different," remember that one letter is the difference between breast and beast. It's also the difference between whether, weather and wether.

Mind you, this does not mean that Dante was telling the truth about originating the phrase.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 13, 2009 12:31PM)
Thanks Bill. The only reason this is puzzling is that you hear others outside of magic use it. If Dante truly made it up, then he surely has left his mark.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2009 06:04PM)
I know that in Germany, it is the most commonly used magic word.
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (May 13, 2009 07:10PM)
And on Jonny Quest, it is the most used magic phrase/word.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 13, 2009 07:21PM)
And Johnny Carson used to always open his Carnac the Magnificent routine with a hearty Sim Sala Bim.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 13, 2009 08:16PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:10, mormonyoyoman wrote:
And on Jonny Quest, it is the most used magic phrase/word.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
[/quote]

[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:21, mumford wrote:
And Johnny Carson used to always open his Carnac the Magnificent routine with a hearty Sim Sala Bim.
[/quote]

This is all true which made me wonder about the phrase. No matter where Dante got it from, it seems he is the originator of it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2009 11:06PM)
That's the puzzling thing. He said he was the originator of it; however, the evidence in the old magic books indicates that he may not be.

I did some further searching and found the above line as "Sim sala bim bamba sala do saladim" in a song called "die Eier von Satan." This can mean "The Devil's Eggs." However, in German slang, as in Mexican slang "eggs" can refer to "the family jewels."

Notice that in this version Sim Sala Bim does appear at the beginning of the line. If these are the original lyrics, then Dante had nothing to do with the phrase.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2009 02:54AM)
Well, I found a series of articles in Genii Magazine, volume 22, 1957, in which Ray Muse and others give their opinions on the origins of this phrase. It seems that there was a battle going on between Kalanag and Dante as to who used it first. Kalanag claimed that he had heard a group of German school children singing the song, and realized that Sim Sala Bim sounded very magical. So he used it starting 1923.

Al Jansen, Dante's son, claimed that he had written Sim Sala Bim Polka and copyrighted it in 1933. He also claimed that Dante had taken the phrase Sim Sala Dim and converted it to Sim Sala Bim.

This would have been unnecessary if he had been using the German version as a reference, because the phrase already existed in the German version.

So who originated the phrase? Neither of the magicians actually. I would let the children take credit for it -- or the unknown author of the German folk song, which may have been around before Heiberg wrote his Danish version.

Which was the first illusionist to use it? It's hard to say. There was a fellow named Lou Lo Well who wrote a letter to Ray Muse claiming that he had heard Kalanag using it very early on, say the 1920's.

So, nobody can really say.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 14, 2009 10:05AM)
Very good research Bill. I was thinking about Kalanag when I started this thread. I always assumed that Dante said it first and Kalanag took it from him.

I remember as a kid, I use to hang out at a magic club near the LAX Airport. Bob Wagner and his sister (I can't remember her name) were talking about magicians in the past. They said that both Dante and Kalanag were not good magicians. But, they were of agreement on Blackstone. Everyone there liked him.

I don't know why they thought Dante wasn't any good. What I have read, he seemed like he had a great show. He was a master manipulator of cards and billiard balls which was their argument for liking Blackstone over him. I suppose it was something personal.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2009 11:32AM)
Some people liked Dante, others did not. It was a matter of personal taste. Kalanag was another story. Because of his position in the German regime during WW II, he had a rather odd reputation.

He had a big tour booked in the US during the late 1950's. He appeared on the Sullivan show and did a very good act. However, various groups, particularly those who had survived the Holocaust, protested his presence in the US, so he basically folded up his tent and went home.

He was very popular in Germany and is still remembered almost with reverence to this day.

As far as his tendency to pinch material is concerned, when he was awarded the Hofzinser ring, he kept it for the appropriate amount of time, then it was to pass to Punx. He refused to give the ring to Punx. Finally, under pressure to various magical groups in Germany, he did give it to Punx, as was supposed to happen, but not until he had a copy made. He continued to wear the ring long after he "gave it up."

Punx passed the ring to Werry, who died before he could award it to anyone else.
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (May 14, 2009 03:36PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-13 21:16, mtpascoe wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:10, mormonyoyoman wrote:
And on Jonny Quest, it is the most used magic phrase/word.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
[/quote]

[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:21, mumford wrote:
And Johnny Carson used to always open his Carnac the Magnificent routine with a hearty Sim Sala Bim.
[/quote]

This is all true which made me wonder about the phrase. No matter where Dante got it from, it seems he is the originator of it.
[/quote]

Evidently, it helps to have been named Johnny (or Jonny).

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 14, 2009 03:54PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-14 16:36, mormonyoyoman wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-05-13 21:16, mtpascoe wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:10, mormonyoyoman wrote:
And on Jonny Quest, it is the most used magic phrase/word.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
[/quote]

[quote]
On 2009-05-13 20:21, mumford wrote:
And Johnny Carson used to always open his Carnac the Magnificent routine with a hearty Sim Sala Bim.
[/quote]

This is all true which made me wonder about the phrase. No matter where Dante got it from, it seems he is the originator of it.
[/quote]

Evidently, it helps to have been named Johnny (or Jonny).

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
[/quote]

Well, actually it was Hadji that uttered Sim Sala Bim