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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Slydini (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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If you have a chance to meet up with J. P. Laramee in NYC... do so.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Green4magic hit it. I second his message.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Mr. Muggle
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Just ask magicians that you know to see if anyone has any old footage. I transferred mine onto DVD and archived my old VHS tapes. Some footage is degraded; but most all of it looks great for its age. After watching Slydini perform I found myself re-evaluating everything that I do in performance. If you can find a copy of the footage you will find much value by having it in your library, so keep looking.

My favorite segment on tape is Slydini's endless bare handed silk production. After producing numerous large silks (estimated about 14 or so), Slydini ends with a jumbo American flag production.

The American flag filled up the whole TV screen and was a great ending.

MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Back in 81 I took the opportunity to take group lessons with Tony Slydini.

It was money well spent. Of course one must use their own mannerism in emulating his work. A relative of his, writes in a column in the L.R. and occassionally post on the Café.

Be safe, well and creative.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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wally
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I will exchange Jeff McBride's Manipulation DVD for Tony Clark's Slydini Scarf DVD. I live in UK. I bought the Bill Malone DVD to learn Sly routine, but I want to learn the Travelling Knot.
Kozmo
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So who owsn the lewis ganson stuff...where isa it ...i have the cellini 8 mm stuff and it will be released on a future project

kozmo
Jonathan Brown
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Williamsburg, VA
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I have both of the Cavett appearances on DVD. I got these from a friend who had them on VHS. They are classic and I have most all of his books minus one set. Slydini is a master in every sense of the word. I mean look at it. Simple yet SO EXTREMELY complicated. He is one of my top 5 favorite magicians, and most everyting you need to know about performance, misdorection and technique can be learned from him. THROW THE SLEIGHTS OUT THE WINDOW! Learni his timing and technique for performance, and you will be armed with a powerful tool that can make any of your current magic SO much stronger.

Jonathan
Eric Jones
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Amen Brotha......lol Smile

who else wants to testify!!!!!!
“We're two tigers away from an act in Vegas.” Greg House M.D.
<BR>
<BR>http://www.ericjonesmagic.com
Jonathan Townsend
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It's one thing to imitate, another to have learned from him. The guy was special. He is gone. What's left are some books, a few video clips and lots of memories from folks who took lessons and knew the guy.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Jonathan Brown
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Very true Jonathan. Imitation is not what I nor many others I know who study his work are going for. I think most of us more or less just want to understand the principles that made his magic so memorable and so beautiful. It is a shame we don't have more footage of him so that we can see more of his talent. Hopefully out there is the "Holy Grail" maybe some old film of him performing privately etc...who knows. For now, I'm satisfied with what I have.

Jonathan
Gary Dayton
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I was another of those fortunate to have taken a couple of lessons from Slydini back in the early-1970s. I wasn't friends with him, just one of his occassional students. Encores is a great book and was also the text used -- I have notes from then on Tony's instructions written in the margins. Karl Fulves published two excellent volumes of much of Slydini's work. The first volume, The Best of Slydini ... And More, has exacting descriptions of Slydini's close-up methods on misdirection, body language and movement, timing, etc. I think (for whatever it's worth) this is the best material available on Slydini.

Someone mentioned the Helicopter Card -- this was the first effect I ask him to perform for me in his NYC studio. It was heaven. He wasn't really known for his card work, but he handled a deck just wonderfully. His "Invisible Pass" is truely that, and quite different in execution than most passes.

We had him for a few group lessons at our local SAM as well. And, it's true, we all mimiced him shamelessly, including the accent! But I think about what Whit Hayden has said about imitating the classics. You copy to learn from the master, as an apprentice would. Slydini had such a completely thought out method that strict imitation may very well be the best way to learn it.

My favorite trick from Slydini is perhaps one of his simplest, "Interlude with a Paper Knapkin." If ever there was a perfect trick, yielding tremendous impact for what has to be considered beauty in the sheer economy and efficiency of the method, the Interlude has got to be it.
Paul Chosse
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I first met Tony in 1976, at The House of Magic, in San Francisco. Tony was a good friend of Palmer Tilden's, the owner of Sterling Magic at the time. Whenever he came to SF he stayed with either Palmer, Bill Whittington, or Gene Matsuura. Gene became one of Tony's best friends ever, and has written the Annotated Magic of Slydini. In fact, he and Tony were working on several books when Tony died. Gene was one of the pallbearers at a very private burial ceremony for Tony.

Anyway, I was friends with all the guys from SF, so naturally, when Tony came to town they introduced us. Tony was one of the kindest, most gentle, men I have known, right up there with Jack McMillen. Over the years, everytime he was in SF, Tony stopped into the magic store, where I worked. We became good friends. Eventually, because I had a large apartment right in downtown SF, Tony would stay with me when he came to town. This was great for me. He insisted on teaching me his magic, and refused to take anything for the lessons!

Everything folks have said about Tony's teaching methods is correct. He was like a drill sargeant. He insisted that you copy him exactly, until you could do the magic as he did it. What most people don't understand, usually because they stopped taking lessons too soon, is that once you reached that level of understanding, Tony EXPECTED you to change things. His problem was that he didn't know how to communicate his magic in any way OTHER than to have you copy him. He didn't have the language skills to communicate the subtle nuances of his magic, the misdirection, the timing, the mental gymnastics. So, in order to help you "get it" he forced you to copy and hoped that once you could do the magic, you would figure out how to adapt it to your own personality. IF you stuck with him long enough, he would help you with that, too. I remember going to Tony after months of work on a trick. I had learned it as he wanted me to. Then, I had adapted. He watched the adaptation and told me what he thought...

We worked on it and worked on it. And what I learned was timing, timing timing. I also learned WHY Tony used SHORT phrases: (1.) Look, Watch (2.) Come close, Hold tight, (3.) Can you see? Did you feel? (4.) Come a lttle closer..., Don't look away..., (6.) If you don't watch, you can't see..., I'll do it again, don't look away!

Each of those phrases has a DIFFERENT number of words, different number of syllables. So each filled a different length of TIME. This is one of the secrets to Tony's magic. He picked those phrases carefully, to help him with the timing of his moves...

Another thing that few people realize is that Tony did the opposite of what many people think he did. You've heard, I'm sure, the idea that Tony made the magic fit his natural mannerisms. No! He did not do that. He STARTED doing that, finding things that suited him. But he soon realized that he didn't have ENOUGH natural mannerisms to cover all the things he needed to do to make the magic happen. So, Tony DEVELOPED mannerisms PURPOSELY. He made a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to change the way he sat, gestured, relaxed; he added things to his natural body language. And he practiced those things until they BECAME natural to him. Then he used them to cover the sleights!

There is MUCH more to the psychology of Slydini's magic, but that gives you an inkling of how very involved it really is, and why so few people can really do it justice. I have a lot of video of Tony. All the Cavett shows, most of the commercial stuff, and some home video that has never been released. I watch from time to time, and it is like seeing real magic again. He was a master. There were few as good, none better. I was blessed to spend time with Tony, and I'm grateful for the lessons, and the friendship.

I remember seeing him do the Linking Pins for the first time. I had known him for a while by then. Still, he fooled me so badly I thought he was, well, I didn't know what I thought! I knew the Andrus stuff, I knew Piff Paff Poof, I knew all kinds of things with Pins, but not this! And I thought I knew Tony. But again he fooled me. No matter what you read, no matter how well you knew him, if Tony could move your mind just an inch off center, then he had you! And he could ALWAYS move your mind that inch! At least he could always do it to me...

It would be nice to do a website with performance-only video of Tony. I would give up the footage I have, if someone could do the site. It would be a fitting memorial to the man - one of the geniuses of close-up magic, and one that he deserves. More importantly, I think, it would benefit SO many modern magicians, to see a master do the material you can only read now. It is impossible to visualize Tony's work from the written word. You really have to see it to fully appreciate it.

The Han Pien Chien is an example. I think the way Tony did it is an abomination. The original, in the air, method is far superior in terms of technique. But that is irrelevant when it come to the performance. With the Slydini handling his method comes alive. But you HAVE to see it to really understand it. It is just that simple...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Jonathan Brown
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Thank you Paul......Thank you....You talk like about your teacher like a true apprentice would. That shows the impact of his magic.

Jonathan
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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You're right about the HPC move ala Slydini... I wouldn't do it any other way`... because in the context of the routine IT IS PERFECT. I gave Tony Clark a bad time for showing a different way in his videos on Slydini's magic.

I too was part of that SF group that became close friends with Slydini and spent a lot of time with him there and on my trips to NY City... time in his studio, going to dinner, having Persi come in at the same time and sessioning with Tony and Persi... what great lessons and memories.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Paul Chosse
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1955 - 2010
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Here are a few more memories...

You know, the thing about Tony was - he liked people! And they knew it. His eyes would twinkle, if that's possible, everytime he started to perform. And he had an impish way about him, he loved a good "leg-pull". I remember him doing all kinds of jokes on people.

When he came into the magic store I worked in he would do magic with the "slum" sometimes. I remember his handling of Martin Sunshines' "Color Vision Box". I think it was finally published in "Pallbearer's Review". Tony took a $2.00 slum magic trick and made a miracle of it, the cube disappeaaring from the box as a finish! Seasoned magicians were suddenly buying "Color Vision". Imagine! His "Linking Rings" were beautiful, as was his "Fountain of Silks".

Once, while he was visiting in SF, I introduced him to a friend of mine, an amateur magician. The fellow was also the top eye surgeon in country, pioneering corneal transplants, a new surgery at the time. Well, Doc invited us to his home for dinner. After dinner he took Tony to his study, to show him some of the magic he had, as well as his library. He also had a new thing, he was using it in surgery. It was called a video recorder! This was about 1978, and home recorders were just coming out and cost a fortune, but Doc had the latest equipment, and knew how to use it.

Tony asked if we would like to see some magic. Of course all the guests, there were five of us, responded enthusiastically, and Doc asked Tony if he could record the show. Tony agreed, and then began the show. Wow! First off, he did the "Helicopter Card". Followed this with coins, then the silks. And then, a lesson! All unsolicited. Tony was having fun, enjoyed dinner, liked the company. So, he shared his magic with us, and let Doc record it for posterity. What a great night that turned out to be, and typical of the generosity that Tony displayed all the time I knew him.

Tony once told me to "watcha the eyes, it's ina the eyes..." He was telling me to make eye contact with the spectator, that not only could I see what they were thinking if I did that, but that I could KEEP them from seeing what I was doing! In that short phrase he'd conveyed another of the secrets to his magic...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Rob Johnston
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Utah
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I am not the one to ask about Slydini, but I can tell you that his Unpredictable Coin routine is absolutely amazing.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Larry Davidson
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PSC,

Thanks so much for the fascinating info. I had heard from a number of magicians who took lessons from Slydini that he insisted that they copy him exactly, which I found very odd. Now I understand why, and it's good to know that he expected students to eventually change things, something that the students I spoke with never told me, possibly because they didn't take lessons from him long enough.

Larry
Paul Chosse
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1955 - 2010
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Even more than me, Gene Matsuura understands Tony totally. If you ever have a chance, corner Gene at a convention and ask him to talk about Slydini. He spent literally HUNDREDS of hours with Tony, analysing and recording Tony's magic. The Annotated Magic of Slydini is just one of the results of that time...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Wizzard
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Paul,
You have a gift to understand the difference between those who make "Magic" and those who do tricks!
Mr. Slydini was a captivating person-'Drew you in' and had that special quality that made you feel like you were the only one he was performing for. The ability to 'capture' an audience as he did is truly a Learned Art, that unfortunatly is not taught enough today, if at all.
Thanks for the Memories!
Regards,
Wizzard
It's never the wand, it's always the magician
daffydoug
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Paul, I read your wonderful posts with tears in my eyes. Your generous sharing those little known facts about Slydini have fed a hungry soul...ME!!

Honest to God, I can't seem to get enough! The more I learn about Tony and his magic, the more my appetite grows. It's been this way for over twenty years.

I'm into veneration here...and I can't help it.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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