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Topic: Discussion on 20th Century Silks
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 6, 2012 05:28PM)
I have been reading a lot about this Classic effect. Ade Duval, Keith Clark, and Tony Marks comes to mind. They of course added their own ideas to the effect with multiple silks appearing between silks, ending in a long line of silks.

My discussion is more on the "To Perfect" idea with this trick. I recently ran across an little different (to me) placement of the tied silks in a trick description.

I am sure most of you are aware that there are many different versions of this trick on the market. Mechanical using a device and the classic version just using the silks. For this discussion, I am discussing the "standard" version with the gimmicked silk.

Mostly this effect is discribed as the knotted silks being placed in a glass or on a table or even held by an assistant. Tony Marks just laid them over his box table and attached one silk to a hook.

To get to my question, I recently read Rice's description of placing the knotted silks behind the neck of the performer, leaving the silks hang down on his chest. After a silk is vanished, the silks are taken off the chest, and the knots are brought into view. As this is being done the vanished silk, from moments ago, appears tied between the exposed silks.

Now here is the the "To Perfect" theory. If the vanished silk was to be revealed while lifting the knotted silks upward, this would leave a question in the minds of the spectators, that the silk came from the performers collar. But if, the silks were raised above the performers head before the knotted silk made it appearance it would leave no clue to a method for the audience how the vanished silk became tied between the 2 knotted silks.

[b]So which handling would be preferred? The "To Perfect" handling or the one that will leave a possible solution for the spectators watching?[/b]

To my way of thinking there is a difference in the minds of the spectators, and how they would perceive the appearance of a silk being knotted between 2 previously knotted silk scarves.

Thanks for joining in the discussion.
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Sep 8, 2012 10:48PM)
My preference personally would be as it always is when it comes to the "To Perfect Theory". I'd rather do it in the air, leaving the audience nowhere to go. I never understood the point of this theory, and side with Tommy Wonder: we are magicians. I want what I'm doing to look as close to real magic as I can. If I do the trick in a way that gives the audience a hint of how I did it, regardless if it is correct or not, I'm doing weak magic. I'm not trying to display puzzles for my audience, I want to display mystery and magic. If you're going to leave a possible solution, and the audience picks up on it, they aren't going to be fooled, even if they are wrong. Just my two cents :)
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 10, 2012 12:29PM)
Seems to me that hanging the silks over one shoulder would accomplish the same end without the "from his collar" inference -- but that doesn't answer your question. I would side toward any method that does not leave a possible solution in their mind, even preferring to toss the silks into the air and have them fall with the third silk revealed. Methinks Rice was attempting to produce a "no skill" version of the effect with audience participation.
Message: Posted by: Hookem (May 5, 2019 06:55PM)
Re the "too perfect" way Harold Rice recommended, I have done it that way for over 50 years. It works fabulously every time. I can only conclude that it looks like real magic.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 5, 2019 10:36PM)
I've been doing MY routine for the 20th Century Silks for about 40+ years. My little boy assistant, ties the two silks, and they are placed in HIS pocket. While waiting for the knot to disappear, I then vanish a rainbow silk WITHOUT A RED VELVET BAG ON A STICK. I can't find the vanished silk! A string of silks is "found" in my pocket, but the rainbow is lost. Finally, we check to see if the knot has disappeared. VOILA! The rainbow, is found!

It's my "idea" of an "O. Henry" finish! You want to see it? Check out my DVD!

SURPRISE is an important element of ENTERTAINMENT!

The "classic" 20th Century Silk effect has no surprise. Check out the YOU TUBE! There are a "hundred" different "DEMONSTRATIONS" of 20th Century Silk, -Not one that I would consider a PERFORMANCE!

My 20th Century Silk is NEXT TO CLOSING! --because NOTHING can follow my MISERS DREAM.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 5, 2019 10:43PM)
P.S. Every time I pick up the silks, I silently thank T. Francis Fritz!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (May 6, 2019 04:44PM)
My magic friend Roger Sherman pointed out to me once that if a lay person _thinks_ they know how a trick is done, then as far as that lay person is concerned, they are right!

A classic example is card fan productions. A chemistry teacher saw my manipulation act at a school show and he was absolutely certain that the cards came out of my sleeve. I thought so myself before I began my study of magic.

The first time I saw Karson's Zombie performed back around 1962 on "International Showtime" I was convinced that it was done using a thread.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 21, 2019 07:58AM)
I love the flexibility of routines available with 20th Century Silks. I have about 20 different routines with them by changing colors, prints and patter. After just 58 years as a magician, I use 20th Century silks in about 1/3 of all my shows. (Today will be for the Red Hat Society.)

Message: Posted by: Hayre (Dec 21, 2020 08:59PM)
If you think too much about the too perfect theory. It changes the focus (incorrectly in my opinion) to method. The real focus here should be on effect first. When do you want the middle silk to have appeared...before your display, or during the display? And if the answer is 'during' the display, you have to deal with the visible nature of the appearance, which then leads to method.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 1, 2021 05:12AM)
Having 20th Century Silks in your magic tool box is as basic as having a TT.

There are several ways to judge the quality of a 20th Century Silk prop set.

#1. Props for Silk tricks should in fact be made of REAL SILK. Some offered today actually have NO SILK in them. Others have silk blends. There are still some sets actually made of 100% real SILK. Use them.

#2. ALL SILKS should be available to be shown SQUARE. Unfortunately, the poorer sets have the load silk that can only be shown as a triangle.

#3. The "middle Silk" has tab matching the end silks for tying to the free end silk.

#4. The load silk is not two silks sewn together. It is a double length silk folded over to form the load chamber. There is NO SEAM on the bottom edge of the load chamber. (Thus, in a 18" set the load chamber silk is 36" by 18" and folded over to appear to be an 18" square.) This helps to avoid confusion that comes with picking the load silk up by the WRONG corners and dumping out the hidden silk. Just look for the missing hem. (Inferior sets never seem to have this feature.)

#5. Fully extended the length should not exceed the "wing span" of the magician. (18" sets are the largest most magicians should use. ---- Yes, there are professional sets made with 24" silks. They are beautiful and do expose nearly twice the square feet of silk for visual effect. The magician must be tall.)

Routine Hint: An excellent way to vanish the center silk before reappearance tied in the center, is to combine 20th Century Silk with Silk to Egg. I have use that sequence in my shows for decades. It leaves me clean.

The possible routines using 20th Century Silks are unlimited. Go for it!
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Jan 1, 2021 12:53PM)
As usual, Bob and I are on the same page. I only use 100% 18" silks for this routine. While Bob mentioned combining the effect with Silk to Egg, I use Knots off silk. My silks are laying across my table with the ends hanging down. I pick up the first and do the Knots off Silk. The climax gives me the excuse to show the silk square, again as Bob mentions. I use the ungimmicked version of 20th century so there's no need to have a matching corner on the second silk. I pick this silk up, tie them together and put the tied ends in my top hat held by my assistant. Next I do Rose to silk which again gives me a reason to show the silk square before the vanish. Grasping the end of either silk in my hat and quickly pulling them up and forward, shows the vanished silk tied between the other two. There's enough cover that when I pull them out of the hat to show the finale, there's no way to figure out where that middle silk came from. To end the routine, I do either a single or double dove production with the silks.