Slydini Silks

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Frank Starsinic » 01/21/03 03:03 PM

Anyone do the Slydini Silks as a stand-up effect?

How does it go over? How long is your routine?

Thanks,

Frank
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/21/03 05:03 PM

Good question, Frank. I thought it would make a great standup piece, and worked out one approach after another, but nothing really worked. I saw a clip online of some other fellow's standup routine, and it didn't really seem to work, either.

On the other hand, I have heard that Mike Rogers had a very effective standup routine to music, I think. Maybe Pete Biro can help on this.

The David Solomon clip (see his site) is close up, but it looks like it would play just as well onstage.

The Bill Malone routine may shed some light on this, even though it's done close up. I suspect it's a matter of approach and attitude, rather than audience proximity, though.

Anyone out there do this on the street, even?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 01/21/03 07:03 PM

If I remember correctly, Jamy Ian Swiss did this as part of his Honest Liar show a few years ago at the NYC Fringe Festival.

-Jim
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Postby Edward » 01/21/03 07:05 PM

The great Charlie Edwards, a famous London street magician made a speciality of this routine. In some ways his routine was actually better than Slydini's.
The whole routine was written up by Lewis Ganson in one of the Routined Manipulation series.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/21/03 11:43 PM

The "Unknotting Silks" popularized by Slydini, and the "Malini Egg bag" popularized by Charlie Miller are CLOSE UP TRICKS and really do not fare well on stage. Parlour at best. :p
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Postby Guest » 01/22/03 12:52 AM

The problem I find with the Slydini silks is that it can easily descend into a puzzle or a "look what I can do" trick if not performed in the right way.

I enjoyed Bill Malone's presentation.
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Postby Guest » 01/22/03 07:56 AM

I have done this trick stand up on the street and it kills. I do it while channeling the spirit of Elvis Presley complete with sunglasses, snarling lip, and Memphis twang. I refer to my audience member helpper as Charlie Hodge (Charlie Hodge was the guy who would bring Elvis his white scarves and water on stage. Elvis thanks Charlie on his live album and this is where the idea was born).

As you can imagine the routine revolves around Charlie handing The Kaaang his white scarves. Elvis sees that the scarves are knotted and accuses Charlie of trying to submarine his show.

Its a funny routine, Im stupid to post even this much of it here. But if you see someone else doing it after this please know they are ripping me off :)

Ive also played it for some pretty big rooms and it kills. I think Pete is right about the trick proper. It wont play on its own very big. Luckily, I play very big and I bring the trick along.

Surprisingly, People come up to me after the show and tell me that this trick fooled the hell out of them. That says to me I am presenting it well if they are still digging the magic and not just getting lost in the Elvis bit. Also, to the audience it appears as if Elvis is the one who cant untie the knots and Charlie is the one doing the magic.

Anyway, yeah. It can be done stand up and on the street. I had to build something else around it though to make it fly.

Best,

Dan-
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Postby Edward » 01/22/03 01:13 PM

I beg to differ with Mr. Biro.
Charlie Edwards did this on stage and it killed. He also did it on the street in a stand up situation and it was a masterpiece by all accounts.
I heard that Charlie was offered the London Palladium if he would do something about his teeth which were in a poor state. He refused saying he was happy on the street.
It was not a magician who told me this. It was one of his street friends.

Incidentally, Slydini himself featured this on stage.
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Postby Jon Allen » 01/22/03 06:19 PM

I couldn't find the clip on David Solomon's site. Is it on there somewhere???
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/03 11:12 AM

Edward... there are exceptions... a terrific PERFORMER can do a trick with a dime and penny on stage..., Paul Daniels with the Chop Cup is another example.

But, for the most part, in my observations, the untying silk is best as a close up effect, because you can have the spectators feel the knots, tie the knots, etc.

On stage, it is not so much the trick, but the presentation, etc. (see Danny Hustle's post).
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Postby Edward » 01/23/03 12:34 PM

I do agree with what you say here, Mr. Biro. No doubt you are referring to Emil Jarrow when you mention the Dime and Penny on stage.

A good performer can make almost anything work on stage. Nate Leipzig did very small thimble and card tricks and seemed to manage.

I do suspect however that the Charlie Edward routine can get excellent reaction on stage even when performed by lesser lights.Mind you I do think it is particularly suited to street work even more than stage. I suspect that it is a very strong street trick done to a very large crowd.

Mr Hustle's post seems to bear this out. I should say that the Edwards routine has a finish using the silks tied around the wrist and a rope penetration.
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Postby Edward » 01/23/03 12:39 PM

Oh, one more thing. You say that "on stage it is not so much the trick, but the presentation".

As we all know (or do we?-sometimes I wonder) this wise sentence of yours also applies to close up magic just as much as it does to the stage.

Regretfully, I think that a very shameful proportion of close up workers (particularly the more technically skillful ones)lack good presentational skills.

They seem to think that their technique can carry them through. It doesn't. In fact in some cases it can be a detriment.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/03 01:40 PM

Agreed... I have seen some technically amazing close uppers DIE when a lay audience watches them.
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Postby Ian Richards » 01/23/03 01:54 PM

For Jon Allen:
Steve Draun has a performance clip of "Slydini's Silks" from the Magic Castle on his website:
http://www.stevedraun.com/about.htm
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/23/03 07:39 PM

Sorry about that, Jon. My bad. But at least David Solomon's site was interesting, wasn't it. :D
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Postby Frank Starsinic » 01/24/03 04:11 PM

I love this effect. Even though I perform the effect, it is still so magical so see a couple grown men do a tug-o-war with knotted silks and watch them melt apart.

Every time I watch someone do it, there is that "magic moment".

I wonder what other effects offer the magical moment each time it's done.
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Postby Edward » 01/24/03 08:10 PM

The interesting thing is that although this is known as the Slydini silks it had nothing to do with Slydini at all.
It was a pretty old trick even when he was doing it 60 years ago.
He did have a masterly presentation though.I remember seeing him do it on Black and White TV over 40 years ago. He was showing it to Peter Haigh, a well known broadcaster at the time in England.
At the end he said to Peter "Was that good? Don't tell me. I know it's good!"
And it was.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/25/03 12:14 AM

I think when "Slydini Silks" is mentioned, it is not so much the untying knots, but the fact that Tony made (cut the squares and sewed them) the silks used for the trick.

He found surplus parachute material that is sooooo strong... and he used slightly colored thread for the seam along one edge so you could "Find" the corner to upset the knots.

His handling, however, was terrific. I used to "hurt" my forearm doing the tug and stretch move. :eek:
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Postby Guest » 02/17/03 03:52 PM

Can anyone help me with some information? I think at one point in Slydini's career he used a variation within the "Silks" routine where the knotted silks slowly untied themselves. It was very spooky looking, very magical! And I think either Charlie Miller or Vernon created that effect, but not even sure about that. If someone knows, could they point where it was published.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/17/03 04:23 PM

Charlie Miller taught me that handling using two silks made of parachute cloth. He whistled while the knot SLOWLY (almost like paint drying) SLOWLY untied itself. It was masterful. But, I don't think the effect is his. And, not sure if it's in Genii (the most likely place) or not.
There was a way to tie the knot (which I've long forgotten) so that it turned prior to the untying: very spooky!
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Postby Guest » 02/17/03 04:31 PM

Richard - thanks for the memories. :) Glad you know of it(even though you can't remember the handling) It is very spooky. I appreciate the reply; if your memory jolts, please post again on this topic.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/17/03 10:44 PM

Didn't Magic Inc. sell "Chuckles'" 7-cornered handkerchief with that biz? :confused:
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Postby Guest » 02/24/03 10:47 AM

Just found out that Steven's Magic, on their Vol 17(Greater Magic Video Library) with Charlie Miller, has the disovling knots. Could someone who has this please check if it's the same slow visual untie on it I'm talking about. Thanks in advance.
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Postby Guest » 03/05/03 05:40 PM

I have presented the Knotted Silks on stage, cabaret, Parlor and close-up. What I have learned in each case is that the effect becomes much bigger. I have found that the routine has some wonderful moments for comedy and th emagic is sensational.

I first saw Slydini present this on a Fred Kaps special in 1981. Simply brilliant.

Michael
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Postby Brad Henderson » 03/15/03 05:17 PM

Cellini used the silks on the street and relates a tale of how it saved one of his days.

He was having the darndest of times drawing a crowd before the Bank of England, I believe. People just didn't want to be engaged. He began tying the silks, silently, dropping them in his hat and then became very surprised when they had untied.

He repeated this a number of times.

He says he was very surprised to look up and see a very large crowd had gathered to contemplate his predicament.
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Postby Guest » 03/16/03 06:37 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
. . .
There was a way to tie the knot (which I've long forgotten) so that it turned prior to the untying: very spooky!
Years ago (1948?) I saw Blackstone, Sr., do this untying knot in an interlude of his stage show. It was a handling of the Fade-Away Double Knot in Tarbell, vol. 1, p. 368. If you tie the knot and then just pull the two silks slowly and imperceptably apart the knot first twists and then seems to untie itself. I remember being very pleased with myself when I got home after the show and was able to duplicate the effect.
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Postby Guest » 04/18/03 10:27 AM

I just watched a DVD "Bill Malone On The Loose 1" and he closed the DVD with the Slydini silks. It was very entertaining and I discovered because of Bill Malones video, that Slydini Silks are almost impossible to find. I spoke to someone at Tannens and they said they can't keep them on the shelf. They offered me "Tannens Slydini Silks" for $18.50 as compared to the orignal Slydini Silks (out of stock) for $30.00. The 18.50 silks cannot be found on their webpage, you will have to call to order them. I have their stock number at home if anyone is interested.
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Postby Stefan Sprenger » 04/19/03 04:22 AM

I Still consider the Silks sold by Steve Draun the best!

They can be purchased from his site!

Cheers

Stefan
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Postby Guest » 04/20/03 03:03 PM

That spooky untying effect can be found in Blackstone's book Secrets of Magic (1929) which was actually written by Walter Gibson. The first knot is not tied but simply twisted! Blackstone Sr. would borrow a handkerchief and do the spooky 'visible untying' and then had several knots tied in this handkerchief by members of the audience. The knots would magically become untied. He followed this with the dancing handkerchief. Blackstone Jr. followed in his fathers footsteps with pretty much the same routine. Horace Goldin also had members tie the ends of the handkerchief into several hard knots and would magically seperate them. This all predates Slydini.

I just compared the original Slydini silks to the ones currently made by Palmer Tilden. Tilden's are better than Slydini's! Slydini bought the material from Maxine's material store in New York in the 60's and 70's. If you knew Tony (Slydini), he was always looking for a "better price." I remember him complaining about the higher price of the parachute material and using a cheaper material (without the squares in the design) and selling them to Tannen's. Also..around the mid seventies, due to his failing eyesight, when he sewed the rolled hem, by the time he got to the end, the hem unraveled,and unknowingly sewed through this unraveled part. Al Faria, who coincidently lived in the same building, then took over the manufacturing for Tony.
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