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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #1 

 

 

I’ve been asked to say a bit about some of my experiences as a student of Slydini.

 

When I started to study magic I learned that there were the three famous “ini’s.” There was of course Houdini and then there was Cardini, known as “The Suave Deceiver” and then there was Slydini. As was said in a book about Slydini published in 1976, “In America the uncontested and supreme master of close-up magic is Tony Slydini”.

 

I had heard much about Slydini and it wasn’t until my wife Linda and I attended a magic convention that I met this great magician. I attended a lecture that he gave and when I saw him perform his “One Coin Routine” where a single coin would vanish and appear again and again and then penetrate the table that he was sitting at that I decided that I would take lessons from this great magician and be one of his students. After all, Slydini’s magic was what I do – close up magic sitting at a table while having a meal or whatever.

 

Now Slydini invented most of his magic – that is he invented “moves” or “sleights” that fit his personality. He was a short Italian man with an Italian accent and he used that to cover his secret moves. (“Imma gona fool you”.  Once he performed for a convention of Attorney CPAs and after his performance the president came over to me and said, “Jerry, he was great. But does he really talk like that?”)

 

I learned that many of his students copied not only the moves but the gestures and motions  Slydini used and that was not natural for them. I discussed this with my teacher and he understood so while I learned the principles he taught me, I applied them to my own style and personality. As a matter of fact, using some of Slydini’s principles I came up with my own sleights and effects.  And Slydini was pleased with how I adapted his principles to my personality and style.

 

Slydini and I became close. At each weekly meeting he would cook me dinner. On occasion we would go out to a Chinese Restaurant – I think it was called “China Bowl” on 43rd street and while we ate we would do tricks for each other. On one occasion it was a slow night at the restaurant and all the waiters and busboys were seated at a table next to us as Slydini and I showed our “latest concepts” to each other. The staff watched us though we were not aware until one of them asked us to show them. Slydini got up, went to their table and for the next half hour did his entire act. Then he got up, pointed to me and said, “Now you.” Thanks a lot. I went over and did one trick.

 

I always tried to fool Slydini and I learned that if he had no expression when I finished then he knew what I did and would offer criticisms later but if he laughed then I knew I fooled him.

 

One evening I told him I had a new trick I wanted to show him and I took an ashtray from his table and I dropped a sugar cube into it and I told him I was going to make the sugar cube disappear. I covered the ashtray and the sugar cube with both hands, said “Abracadabra” and when I took my hands away the sugar cube was still there – but the ashtray was gone. “Darn!” I said pretending frustration (as is done with “Perverse Magic”) and Slydini laughed. I fooled him! (I contributed this effect to Harry Lorayne’s magazine Apocalypse and he published it in the May 1990 issue and it is also posted on the Perverse Magic thread of the Genii Forum on February 1, 2013.)

 

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
I had seen postings for Slydini at MOSTLY MAGIC in the village for a while.
Finally, one weekend I decided to go. I hopped on a bus into the city, make my down to Mostly Magic (my first time there) and buy tickets for the evening's performance.
As my girlfriend and I are waiting for the show to start we hear talk about Slydini not coming tonight; he's sick.
I asked and they confirmed that Slydini would not be there that night.
That's when he got sick and stopped performing.
I kept calling Mostly Magic for a while to see if Slydini would be appearing on his scheduled night.
Eventually his name no longer appeared.
I never got to see one of my close-up heroes live. I wish I had gone to see him sooner.
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Robert Parris

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Reply with quote  #3 
I know that you mean Dan. I didn't start getting seriously into magic until much too late to see a lot of my favorite magicians work their 'magic'. I started corresponding briefly with Dean Dill for awhile just before he passed. I was starting to make plans to head down and have a chat and a haircut in his barber shop, but I procrastinated and missed my chance. There are still a lot of the earlier generation magicians I'd like to see, like Harry Lorayne, or David Roth. I supposed I should stop procrastinating.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #4 
I do a fair bit of Slydini material. He was a great magician. Mind you, I have altered some things around a fair bit to suit my own needs. You have to do this I believe as it is not advisable to be a carbon copy of anyone. And Slydini had a lot of carbon copies from what I understand.
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Bob Sanders

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Reply with quote  #5 
Tony was a great mentor and made us use a metronome to a SET BEAT. (Mine was 66.) If you got off beat, he was on your case in a heartbeat. LOL

By trade, Tony was a tailor. He made many of his students' costumes.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #6 

    

     Tony Slydini and I were pretty close friends - but I never was a student of his. I used to go to see Tony with Dick Cavett, who was a student. Anyway, seeing this thread brought a vignette to mind. One that I've written before, but you may find it interesting. I had originally written it when the subject of "be yourself" was involved.

      I had just walked off stage after saying goodbye, doing my memory show. I was exhausted (I used to do 45 minutes to an hour, etc.) mentally and physically, breaking down my blackboards, when two gentlemen came to me dragging along a young boy, seemed to be about 15, also seemed embarrassed.

      He was introduced to me (his name was Isadore Liebowitz - I know I'm close; don't really want to search back a decade or so) and they said that he was a student of Tony Slydini and that he'd like to do a trick for me. I really couldn't have cared less; I just wanted to get out of there, but didn't want to hurt feelings, so I said "sure."

      Young Isadore held up a coin, looked me in the eye, and said, and I quote - "I'm agonna' fool ya!" (Heavy Italian accent.)



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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #7 
  Add an "a" sound to the first word - it came out:  "I'ma gonna fool ya!" (I don't know how to do an Italian accent, like Tony's, in writing!)
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #8 
    But you get the "picture"?
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Leo Kim

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Reply with quote  #9 
I get the "copy"...[smile]

Mikael Johansson
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Claudio

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Reply with quote  #10 
Priceless story  [smile] It made me laugh out loud. Thank you for posting it Harry.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Reviving this thread as it doesn't contain any performance video of the great magician.  I count myself lucky to have seen Slydini perform in person.  In fact, triple-blessed because he did his close-up performance, a stage performance and a lecture at the same convention.  What a treat.  I was able to meet him, introduce myself, shake his hand and get him to sign my copies of 'The Best of Slydini...and More' by Karl Fulves.  

Here is a video I recently stumbled upon.  It is one of his performances on the D. Cavett Show.  D. was a student of Slydini, as mentioned by Harry Lorayne above.



The remarkable thing about Slydini was that he could perform over an hour of magic with a couple of handkerchiefs, a few napkins, some coins, cigarettes and some cards.  And very little cards, BTW, for what that's worth.

In other words, except for the linking rings, he really didn't do any magic with magician's props.  He did a killer ball and cone routine, so I suppose that might qualify, but debatable.

The other thing is the sleights he created.  As Gerald points out, Slydini had mannerisms that were specific to him and he used those to fool the pants off of people.  Anyone that uses lapping technique should study Slydini's work.

I will share one memory from the lecture.  The evening lectures are generally well attended, depending upon who's lecturing, but it was literally standing room only.  He showed a number of his classic routines, but the one that sticks out was his performance of 'Professor's Nightmare'.  I thought, 'Professor's Nightmare', really?  I was wanting to see 'Coins Across' or one of his other specialties.  But it was the way he got into the routine that was so cool, so different.  He began not with three ropes but with one.  He did a few things with the single rope and then in the process, ended up cutting it into the requisite 3 pieces.  He just had a knack of approaching things a different way.  It was almost like he said to himself, 'How would a typical magician approach this?", and then he did the opposite.  At least it seems so.

I hope you take the time to look at the video.  It is a nice representation of his stand-up and close-up.  His 'Paper Napkins to Hat' in which he uses a bottomless box, is priceless.  Watching it now, I see where he could perhaps have done one thing a little differently and eliminated the last "faux vanish", but it is fine the way it is.  Notice too how when he lifts the box the napkins have expanded and it helps add to the seemingly-impossible nature of the effect.  Small details make for great impressions.

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kevinwisch

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi all,
Thought you might be interested to see the following two videos re: Tony Slydini and his only sponsored protege', Bill Wisch. In the first video, my father discusses his thoughts on who Tony Slydini was. In the second, for the first time ever he shows his original 1976 letter he received from Tony Slydini. This letter is the only letter that any Slydini student ever received from Slydini specifically endorsing him to lecture and teach Slydini's magic. Hope these videos are of interest to you and please feel free to subscribe to Bill's youtube channel! More great content to come. [smile]

"Tony Slydini- The Possessor" 


and 

"The Slydini Letter"
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #13 
I had Bill Wisch kill me with some one on one coin magic years ago at a convention.  I used to travel from MA to NJ to do martial arts years ago.  While we were taking a break and getting some water, on Jeff's table (he worked for a printing co.) there was a little poster of Slydini.  I asked him about it and he said the nursing home was a client and he was a patient.  So I called the place and put me in touch with Tony.  He said to come over so we did.  What a great time meeting Slydini.  He did a little magic show on Saturday nights for the others.  Saw him on every visit down to NJ.  Still had that twinkle in his eye and infectious smile.
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X

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sanders
Tony was a great mentor and made us use a metronome to a SET BEAT. (Mine was 66.) If you got off beat, he was on your case in a heartbeat. LOL

By trade, Tony was a tailor. He made many of his students' costumes.


extremely useful information, I have always practiced with music 

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kevinwisch

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Reply with quote  #15 
X- 
You might be interested in the fact that my father was the first to note that Tony's magic was performed at 72 BPM (the same as a heart beat). Slydini was extremely "surprised and happy" (quoting from my father) and that he had "no clue" that it was the same as the heart beat. My father was a professional drummer by trade before he became a sleight of hand artist (he won a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of music and was in the Navy Band from 1967-1971). 

The entire system, originally called "Timing Techniques System" by Bill Wisch is featured in his "Slydini- The Lecture" notes available for purchase on his website at http://www.billwisch.com/store
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinwisch
X- 
You might be interested in the fact that my father was the first to note that Tony's magic was performed at 72 BPM (the same as a heart beat). Slydini was extremely "surprised and happy" (quoting from my father) and that he had "no clue" that it was the same as the heart beat. My father was a professional drummer by trade before he became a sleight of hand artist (he won a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of music and was in the Navy Band from 1967-1971). 

The entire system, originally called "Timing Techniques System" by Bill Wisch is featured in his "Slydini- The Lecture" notes available for purchase on his website at http://www.billwisch.com/store


Glad you dropped in Kevin!
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kevinwisch

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Glad you dropped in Kevin!


Thank you Ray! Very kind of you! Now that I know about the forum, I will be sure to continue to drop in and offer updates or videos that I think you and others might be interested in. [smile]
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #18 
I wonder if Bill would consider doing a lecture on the forum for us?
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kevinwisch

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth
I wonder if Bill would consider doing a lecture on the forum for us?


Hi Gareth,
At present time we're only doing in-person lectures, nothing online. Sorry about that. If things change, we'd certainly let the community here know. This looks to be a wonderful forum and a great group of people- glad I found it! 
- Kevin
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #20 
Thsnks Kevin. Understood. Wonderful you are here. I’ve watched all of Bill’s reel magic magazine videos. Incredible stuff. The Red/Black shuffle. Wow!! Thanks again.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #21 
Stumbled upon this today.  About an hour-long video, but really fun.  Shows some incredible Slydini routines.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #22 
Thanks for posting the Slydini vid RayJ. I remember the first time I saw the Cavett video. I was so fried. I watched the coin item that occurs at 24 min over and over. I was so totally fooled. I didn't know any of Slydini's techniques at that time. What a master!

I got to take a group lesson with Slydini at the Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas in 1980. I think there were maybe 15 people. As I recall, the cost was $20. He taught sponge balls and coins for about an hour. He may have taught the pin routine too. The real goal was just to get to hang out with the master. Great memory. Vernon was there too. I can still picture him showing a bottom palming technique that was totally invisible. He did it over and over and I could never see a tell. The card just appeared in his left palm. 

That was my first magic convention.

M


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Thanks for posting the Slydini vid RayJ. I remember the first time I saw the Cavett video. I was so fried. I watched the coin item that occurs at 24 min over and over. I was so totally fooled. I didn't know any of Slydini's techniques at that time. What a master!

I got to take a group lesson with Slydini at the Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas in 1980. I think there were maybe 15 people. As I recall, the cost was $20. He taught sponge balls and coins for about an hour. He may have taught the pin routine too. The real goal was just to get to hang out with the master. Great memory. Vernon was there too. I can still picture him showing a bottom palming technique that was totally invisible. He did it over and over and I could never see a tell. The card just appeared in his left palm. 

That was my first magic convention.

M




Wow, what a great opportunity! I got to meet Slydini and saw him perform/lecture but no group lesson. I did shake his hand and he signed a book for me. He was amazing.

Even after studying his techniques he has the ability to fool. His work is so disarming. Never a suspicious move (unless on purpose).

BTW, $20 was a lot of money in those days.
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kevinwisch

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Reply with quote  #24 
Hi all,
Wanted to share this audio clip my father published today on Youtube. Hope you enjoy! - Kevin

Bill Wisch Tony Slydini Lesson Audio Clip- Basic Timing Technique - January 16, 1974



Video Description from Youtube:
This audio clip was recorded at Tony Slydini's Studio of Magic in NYC on January 16, 1974. Tony is instructing me on the basic "tense" and "relax" positions in his philosophy on timing and misdirection techniques.

The key to Slydini's whole timing techniques is having a slight hesitation after the "tense" (shoot) position. That gives a natural drop of the hands to the table, otherwise the drop of the hands happens too fast. This is why Tony's magic is so deceptive; everything looks natural and as it should look to the spectator. You will hear him discuss how I, at first, bring the hands up too high. At the end, Tony says the following about my learning: “You must have saw already something about my magic. You went the right way some they do, they don't do at all, they try to do but then nothing.” I was so proud to hear him say that when I reviewed the footage.

This clip represents just 1.5minutes of footage of over 38 hours of audio lessons that Slydini allowed me to take during my time spent studying with him. Please "like" and "share" this, and subscribe to my Youtube channel if you want me to share more of these priceless clips publicly on Youtube for all to enjoy. 

https://www.billwisch.com 

Audio Clip Copyright 2020 Bill Wisch and Wisch-Craft Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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