Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

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Richard Kaufman
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Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 28th, 2009, 10:01 am

Here:
http://cavett.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03 ... /?emc=eta1
There's also an embedded video of Slydini on the entire 30-minute Cavett show on which Slydini appears in 1977. It's vintage, and wonderful to be able to watch. (Note that where Cavett is sitting, he can see everything inside Slydini's right hand when he's palming.)

I once bummed a ride with Dick from the Tannen Jubilee in the Catskills back to New York with Slydini. It was quite an amusing ride.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Jim Martin » March 28th, 2009, 11:56 am

Thanks for the heads-up, Richard. Both the article and the blog comments are great.

The video is so elegant, in part because of the pace of the Cavett show; he let Slydini be himself.

He mentions posting the second show. Do you know if these are commercially available?
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Bob Baker » March 28th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:(Note that where Cavett is sitting, he can see everything inside Slydini's right hand when he's palming.)


Actually, Cavett is sitting exactly where Tony always placed the spectator when doing the cigarettes and coins through table. I don't think anyone who sat there ever saw anything. Cavett, of course, was studying with Slydini at the time, so he was in the know.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 28th, 2009, 10:16 pm

No Jim, there no DVDs of magicians on the Cavett Show. I'm sure many magicians would love to see a compilation. Watching Slydini perform is an amazing experience. It's devastating magic coupled with a humble but charismatic persona. Watching a master like that steers you back in the right direction.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 28th, 2009, 10:28 pm

I sat where Cavett was sitting on many occasions and as Slydini grew older he lost the sense of how far to tilt his right hand. You could clearly see any item palmed in his right hand from that side.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 28th, 2009, 11:25 pm

Thank you Richard for calling attention to Cavett's blog. If you hadn't done that, I would have missed it. I also thanked Cavett on his blog for sharing Slydini's appearance.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby A1exM » March 29th, 2009, 9:45 am

Superb! Thanks for posting this, made my day!

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Dick Christian » March 29th, 2009, 11:51 am

Was fortunate to have seen Slydini perform and lecture once at Al's (original) Magic Shop in DC in the 1970's. A thrill to be able to watch the master at work once again. Thanks for posting it!
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby the Larry » March 29th, 2009, 1:20 pm

Where can one read more about Slydini and his effects? I am aware of the Fulves books on Slydini. Anything else available from which one could study?

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Magiphile » March 29th, 2009, 2:14 pm

I was there that night. My date and I were backstage with Doug and Doug said he was waiting for Slydini and they were going out to dinner at Vesuvio. He asked if I had seen Tony and I said yes he was outfront of the theater. I told Doug I would get him and bring him backstage. As I was walking down the long alley way that let to the front I saw Cavett walking past....I knew it was going to be a long night. We all went to Vesuvio and while there were many cast members with us I don't recall (nor recognize) any other magicins as being there. To make a long story short my date was sitting next to Cavett while Doug and Tony were at the other end of block of tables they set up for us. Yes,as Cavett says,it was at least 2 hours of magic. Tony did so much magic in fact we never ordered dinner. That was the night Cavett first saw Tony perform and from there their close friendship began.... A wonderful time was had by all....
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby KHC » April 1st, 2009, 3:14 am

Thanks Rich for that post. I was fortunate enough to see Slydini in the 70's at least twice when he performed at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco. While he was milling about with the laity one night, he came up to me and my guest (my future wife) and vanished a cigarette a la "paper balls over the head". She was amazed to say the least. Watching that video brought back great memories of his gentle ways...and heck, who needs patter; his magic spoke for itself.

To "the Larry", you can also look up: "Slydini Encores" by Dr. Nathanson, and "The Magic of Slydini" by Ganson. The Fulves books are probably the most comprehesive though, and I would probably stick to those...in fact very innovative for the the time, that being 2 volume sets, one being all text, and the other, a companion book of photos. Forewarn your spouse, significant other, and especially your Mom, as you will probably be fidgeting around in your lap a lot during practice..."but Mom, I was doing the Imp Pass", really...

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » April 1st, 2009, 6:26 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:No Jim, there no DVDs of magicians on the Cavett Show. I'm sure many magicians would love to see a compilation. Watching Slydini perform is an amazing experience. It's devastating magic coupled with a humble but charismatic persona. Watching a master like that steers you back in the right direction.


It's my understanding that most of the archive tapes were destroyed in a fire, which included most if not all of the magic performances. This was from Cavetts agent.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Pete Biro » April 1st, 2009, 1:14 pm

I heard the same about the fire at Cavett's home.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Jim Martin » April 1st, 2009, 8:05 pm

If most of the archive tapes were destroyed, I wonder if the show posted by Mr. Cavett on the NY Times site was from another source.

He referenced making a second show available, if interest is shown.

I'm interested.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 1st, 2009, 10:10 pm

If you want to see more magicians, and have him write about it, then make a blog entry on Cavett's section of the New York Times website. Making your voice heard is the only way you can affect change.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby James » April 1st, 2009, 10:38 pm

Speaking of Slydini on video...

I know that Christian Fechner recenlty died, and he had a bunch of footage of Slydini which he had never released. Does anyone know what's happened with that film or if it will ever be released?

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby D. Andrus » April 1st, 2009, 10:45 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed the video footage of Slydini. It brought me back to my childhood when I really took interest in magic. I seem to remember a Cavett show where Slydini performed sponge ball magic with Cher sitting to his left. I have been unable to locate that particular footage. Am I remembering this performance correctly? I am going to be 44 years old this summer. I have this vivid memory of seeing this performance as a kid.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby John P » November 9th, 2009, 2:34 am

D. Andrus wrote:I thoroughly enjoyed the video footage of Slydini. It brought me back to my childhood when I really took interest in magic. I seem to remember a Cavett show where Slydini performed sponge ball magic with Cher sitting to his left. I have been unable to locate that particular footage. Am I remembering this performance correctly? I am going to be 44 years old this summer. I have this vivid memory of seeing this performance as a kid.


D Andrus - You are remembering that performance you saw with Slydini and Cher was one of his guests correctly - because I saw it too. My Dad had told me about it and we watched it together. I turned 45 in the summer. We were nearly the same age.

Slydini did many variations of Coins Through the Table on that one - including where the SIX silver dollars go through the table and his HAND IS IN SIGHT THE WHOLE TIME. Just fried me.

A Truly Magical Show. A Truly Magical Performer. Thanks Dick Cavett.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Mark.Lewis » November 9th, 2009, 8:25 am

I am afraid that I didn't like Slydini on the Cavett show. The technique was as good as ever but the presentation was awful. You see, I had the advantage of seeing Slydini work when he was much, much younger. He was one of the greatest magicians I had ever seen. The technique was there but to me that is always a secondary issue. However his presentation and personality came across in a much more dynamic way than it did on the Cavett show.

The Cavett show is better than nothing I suppose but I found it sad to see how Slydini had deteriorated with age. As David Berglas pointed out on a recent Magic Newswire interview magicians often go downhill when they get older. I have seen this many times.

I am a fan of Ganson but I think the Nathanson approach in writing up the material was far superior. Both Fulves and Ganson seemed to think that a million photographs were the way to go. Yet that method made the stuff far more difficult to learn and you ended up doing things in a Slydini style rather than putting your own personality into it.

The Nathanson book is far easier to read. Unfortunately he seemed to describe the left over material that Ganson and Fulves didn't publish. The classic material such as the silks, the helicopter card and the coins through table would have been better off in Nathanson's hands I think.

Interestingly enough Ganson published a version of the silk trick years before he wrote up the Slydini routine. And oddly enough that version was in many ways better than the Slydini sequence. Look up the Charlie Edwards version in Routined Manipulation and see what you think.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 9th, 2009, 11:32 am

Christian Fechner filmed (with a professional studio crew) Slydini's entire repertoire in the 1970s (I think). This was a huge secret and no one was supposed to know about it. Few did, and open conversation has only taken place in the past 10 years or so. Who knows why Fechner never did anything with it? Perhaps his agreement with Slydini precluded him from doing anything with it while Slydini was alive.

Either way, from what I hear it will be edited and made available within the next five years or so.
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Mark.Lewis » November 9th, 2009, 1:39 pm

In my youth I saw a wonderful television programme on BBC television featuring Slydini, Vernon and Cy Endfield. I am not 100% sure but I think Harry Stanley had something to do with it and it MAY have been entitled "Focus on Hocus" or something like that anyway. I have often wondered what happened to the footage. It was nearly 50 years ago and all the performers were at the top of their game although I found Cy Endfield a little boring. Regardless the techniques fascinated me (although nowadays they wouldn't interest me at all) and I was aware that I was watching a great programme.

I think Slydini was the best performer on the programme although Vernon was a very close second. I also say Slydini perform frequently on British television on the Max Jaffa show. I remember the host was Peter Haigh so I don't know what Max Jaffa had to do with it all.

Slydini WAS a great magician but as time goes by and as so often happens the greatness is not there any more. I may explain why if I am in the mood. It is my "dropped details" theory that even impertinent Munton approves of. I may explain it later.

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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Brandon Hall » November 10th, 2009, 2:21 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:I once bummed a ride with Dick from the Tannen Jubilee in the Catskills back to New York with Slydini. It was quite an amusing ride.

I would have loved to be in the car for THAT ride!
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Re: Dick Cavett Writes About Slydini in the New York Times

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 10th, 2009, 5:11 pm

I don't think we talked much about magic, though Tony did a bit of eye rolling while Dick and I complained about some of the bad magic we'd seen at the convention.
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