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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The March 2003 entrée: Randy Wakeman » » A Story of Respect » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RandyWakeman
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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
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A Story of Respect

A longtime friend, who tells this tale with increasing fervor as the years go by, related the details of this event to me. Perhaps you will understand why the affect on him was so profound. The specifics of this event show a great deal about what respect and honor can seem to be in the tiny world of magic, and what they really are.

It was at an earlier Desert Magic seminar, and the “achievement award” was to be presented at Siegfried and Roy’s estate in Las Vegas. The attendees were transported via bus to the S & R compound from the convention, for the festivities and the award presentation. The day was hellishly hot; the ceremony was held inside the estate, outdoors.

All began as planned, with Siegfried finally hopping up to lavish praise on the older man to be honored. The words of thanks spewed forth: “Without this man, there would be no Magic. The gifts he has given us can never be properly repaid. No man has ever represented our Art for so long, for so well, in such an enduring way. This man is truly a god among magicians, there is no one that cannot be awed, humbled, and filled with joy at his presence. The work of this incredible man, this man of wonder, may never again be equaled in our lifetimes!”

Applause filled the reception area, and the frail little man, old and not in particularly good health, accepted his little plaque graciously. All seemed well. Suddenly, it was “time to leave.” All guests were escorted out of the estate, still in the searing heat, and the gates were closed and locked.

Unfortunately, the buses for transport back to the convention were not there. The weather was truly miserable, everyone was horribly uncomfortable, and- no transportation. A few folks had called for private cars, like Bill Larsen, and sped off. The bulk of the guests were left to bake in the heat.

Finally, the buses started to arrive. The cranky conventioneers pushed and shoved, getting on the first available bus as soon as they could. There were not enough buses, though, and it took a long time. Round after round of buses arrived and left, but still there were folks waiting.

That is when my friend looked over and saw the sight that bothers him to this day, a picture he will never forget. A riveting, appalling commentary of the true meaning of this specific “honor and respect.”

The honoree, the man praised moments before as this wondrous god of magic, was left behind. There, standing by the curb, was this frail man, drenched in sweat, pathetically clutching the lifetime achievement award he had just been ceremoniously given. An older man, so obviously in distress, shaking, sweating, trembling- yet still was grasping his little award just given to him moments before. Loudly was he praised, but the high “honor” had turned quickly into indifference that screamed much louder, and screams to this day.

The man was Tony Slydini.
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Unbelievable! Just goes to show that actions speak louder than words...
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Chrystal
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Canada/France
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Hi Randy,
I can certainly understand why this event had such a profound effect on your friend. As I was nearing the end of your story I experienced a horrible sinking feeling which left me feeling very sad. I wish it had ended differently. It's a shame that he wasn't shown the respect on that day as he so well deserved. Smile
RandyWakeman
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Hi Chrystal,

Great to see you, as always. I hope that this story affects people . . . it bewildered and saddened me. We really need to do a better job taking care of our own.
Eric Grossman
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Doesn't that just leave a pit in your stomach. What an awfull story. Here in St. Louis, there are veteran magicians, that I really look up to. I have great respect and admiration for these guys, particularly a gentleman named Harry Monti. The advice he offers me, and the example that he leads with are all priceless gems. He is beloved by the magic community here. I only hope he is aware of this, not only by the words of his fellow magi, but by their actions as well. Cheers to Harry, and those respected performers around the world.
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RandyStewart
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Randy Wakeman,

Thanks for your reminder:
"We really need to do a better job taking care of our own".

I responded to this very story when you initially posted it many months ago. Slydini will forever remain one of my few idols. I was engrossed by the details of your story and upon reading the last line: "The man was Tony Slydini" I was shocked and saddened. I sat here starring at my computer screen filled with sadness and reflecting on the great stories I’ve heard about him. I suddenly found myself submitting a page long post. I recall making it clear that I seriously doubt the Master wondered where the "respect" was! I found comfort in my belief. Slydini fully understood that showing respect or giving credit rarely occurs when it’s at the expense of those who owe it. I know that doesn't discount the horrible disregard for the Honoree. However, based on what I've read and been told about the man's grasp of human nature, I believe he thought nothing of it. I'm sure he was more concerned with how hot and uncomfortable he was waiting on the next bus. Don't confuse what I've just said with a promotion or acceptance of the shameless disregard by those present. What they did, in my opinion, is indefensible.
Part of Slydini’s enigmatic greatness was evident in his spirit of service, invention, and contribution to the magical fraternity. I've been told of his generosity and never-ending contribution by some who knew him well!
Slydini WASN'T there for the award or to fuel his ego. Slydini attended the ceremony out of respect for those wanting to honor him yet again. He had done it a thousand times before.
Had it not been for the fact that the Master was hot and weakened by weather conditions, he was the kind of man who would of helped everyone onto their bus and still taken the last ride home.

Long Live Tony Slydini!

Regards,

Randy Stewart
Eric Grossman
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Randy,
You may have restored the smile to my face. Great words, about a great legend.
Eric Grossman
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RandyWakeman
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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
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Eric,

As much as I delight in causing a smile; I would hope that this is not the posting that did it.
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