The Slydini Letter

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
Kevin Wisch
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Joined: February 24th, 2010, 3:28 am

The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » February 15th, 2022, 2:29 pm

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ3h_nz ... =BillWisch

Hi all,

In February of 2020, right after my father's 24 city lecture tour in 2019 in collaboration with Scott Wells, my father recorded the above video. I thought I had posted it here on the Genii Forum, but I was mistaken. For posterity sake, I thought I would post it here as I believe it would be of interest to the magic community.

In the video, my father for the first time ever showed and discussed the original copy of the letter that Slydini dictated to my dad in New York in 1976. The letter sponsored Bill to introduce Karl Fulves' classic books, "The Best of Slydini and More" and "The Magical World of Slydini" in 1976 and 1978. It is the only letter that Tony Slydini ever wrote sponsoring and endorsing a student to lecture his work.

A scan of the letter featured in the video is below.

All best,
Kevin

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Tarotist
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Tarotist » February 15th, 2022, 10:32 pm

Interestingly enough I went into a big bookstore in Toronto yesterday (Indigo) and saw on a back wall a ton of hard backed books without outside covers. All red inside covers. I saw one by Dick Cavett and there was an entire chapter on Slydini. Since the book was only marked $2 I decided to buy it. I figured the low price must be because it was second hand with no cover.

I waited ages and ages to be served but finally when I got to the end of the line the girl at the cash desk said, "This is not one of our books, There is no price marked." I showed her the sticker saying $2 whereupon she stared at me saying, "this is NOT one of our books!" I snorted "It must be one of your books ------it is on a shelf over there among a lot of other second hand books which are all marked $2". She demanded I showed her and had to walk over to the other side of the bloody shop to do so. When she saw all the red books there she said, "Oh, we don't sell those. They are just there for display" She refused to sell me the Cavett book with the Slydini chapter so I shall have to go without.

I wonder what the hell a bookshop thinks it is doing displaying a ton of books with price stickers inside and refusing to sell them. I do find Canadians a bit odd sometimes. It must be the winter weather I suppose.

Anyway for those interested in Slydini you will find an entire chapter about him in Dick Cavetts book.

Kevin Wisch
Posts: 53
Joined: February 24th, 2010, 3:28 am

Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » February 17th, 2022, 1:53 pm

Thank you, Tarotist for the information.

Those interested in Slydini may also be interested that from 1997 to 2005, my father was the co-founder of The International Conservatory of Magic (ICOM). One of his additions to ICOM was "Slydini - The Legacy"; a series of thirty-four monthly articles from September, 1997 to December 2000. Over the coming months, he will be posting selected installments for you to read on his newly created blog on his website, at no cost.

The blog has just been updated with its first installment entitled: Slydini- The Legacy: An Introduction. Its original publication date was September of 1997.

It is available at https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

Kevin Wisch
Posts: 53
Joined: February 24th, 2010, 3:28 am

Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » February 18th, 2022, 1:15 pm

For those interested, the blog has now been updated with the second article of the thirty-four volume series. It is entitled: Impossible Coin Vanish. It was originally published in September, 1997 and is also available at the "Slydini - The Legacy" blog at https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

Tarotist
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Tarotist » February 18th, 2022, 3:34 pm

I have always enjoyed Slydini's work and in fact I do a fair bit of it myself. I never liked his paper balls to hat and I spoke to Ken Brooke about it who told me that Slydini himself didn't go overboard about it either but the reason he included it in his book was that he thought it would be a good way to teach his principles of misdirection and the various techniques he used.

Anyway, despite my lukewarm feelings about the trick I went to work on it and put together a routine which suits me better. I dumped the idea of using a hat or a box and went on to using a paper bag laying on it's side instead which is better angle wise anyway. After all I work impromptu a lot so can't carry boxes or hats around with me. Paper bags and paper napkins torn into balls work out better for me since I am often sitting down at a coffee shop with someone so can do this impromptu. I also do the trick to patter since I don't carry music around with me either.

I never liked the daft idea of making an invisible ball disappear so I simply eliminated that aspect of the trick by adding another secret ball. Finally, after finishing the trick I am in a wonderful position to continue with a sort of sponge ball routine but using paper napkin balls instead.

Ken Brooke also told me a story about Slydini. Ken was well known and admired in his local pub because of all the tricks he showed to the regulars there. However, one day he told the regulars that he was going to bring in a world famous magician the next day and they said to him, "nobody is as good as you, Ken" whereupon Ken said "wait and see"

The next day Ken brought Slydini to the pub and he killed them! They were flabbergasted and entertained! I remarked to Ken," I would imagine the pub would be a very difficult enviroment to do lapping" Ken remarked, "Oh he wasn't sitting down! Instead of lapping he would ditch things by tossing them over people's shoulders and they just wouldn't detect it!

Tarotist
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Tarotist » February 18th, 2022, 4:33 pm

Oh, one more thing about the Paper Balls to Hat. Four balls is far too many. It makes the trick more boring than it has to be. I use three visible balls only and one secret ball. This is how I make and secrete the extra ball in an impromptu situation. I do make 4 balls in front of everyone. I absent mindedly say "this is the three ball trick" then either someone will mention that there are four balls or if they don't I mention it anyway. I offhandedly mumble, "Oh I only need three balls" and casually vanish/lap the extra ball in the usual manner. It gets a laugh and I can now say, "OK. I can now do the three ball trick" and continue as usual. I can assure you all that the extra ball will never register. They will forget it ever existed.

Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » March 3rd, 2022, 10:54 am

For those interested, the blog has now been updated with the third article of the thirty-four volume series. It is entitled: Slydini's Hindu Delay. It was originally published in January, 1998 and is also available at the "Slydini - The Legacy" blog at https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » March 17th, 2022, 9:16 am

Happy St. Patrick's Day! “Slydini – The Legacy” has just been updated with its fourth installment entitled, “Slydini's Handy-Work”. Excerpt below. For the full post, visit “Slydini – The Legacy” at https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy.

“Slydini had many things about him that people found fascinating. Much of his charisma was from the way he did things when he performed. Ordinary actions like casually moving an object from place to place or just looking at the audience, even though appearing innocent, were carried out in a specific, well-organized and pre-planned fashion. How Slydini used his hands to achieve this effect is what I will touch on briefly in this installment of The Legacy.”

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Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » March 31st, 2022, 6:05 pm

This week's entry into "Slydini - The Legacy"....."Simplicity". https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy


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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Tarotist » March 31st, 2022, 6:52 pm

The first time I saw Slydini I did not know he was Slydini! Naturally when I was a young magician I had heard of Slydini but did not know what he looked like because this is before his books came out. One day I switched the television on and saw him at work. It was the Max Jaffa show and it was in the days of black and white television. I think it would be interesting to record my impression of him when I did not know who he was. I think if you know someone is a legend it can influence your perception. I remember thinking "he is very good but I can't quite follow the effect" I just knew he was good but I couldn't quite follow what was supposed to be happening. Of course this may have been because I was interested in magic and was thinking in a different way and probably laymen would have been able to follow the effect.

I was wondering who he was but when the credits came on I remember thinking "Oh, THIS is Slydini!". I thought he was very good but somehow I didn't do backward somersaults over him. I think the best I ever saw him work was on a TV show called "Into Thin Air" where he appeared with Cy Enfield and Dai Vernon. I think he had a slight edge over Vernon. I tend to think that Cy Enfield may have been the weakest of the three but I was fascinated with his technical skill. Alas that TV show has vanished into obscurity never to be seen again. I think very few magicians have ever seen it which is a great pity. You have to have been a certain age to have witnessed it.

Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » April 18th, 2022, 8:58 am

Wonderful reminiscences, tarotist! I am sure you are not the only one who would love to see that TV show again! :)

"Slydini - The Legacy" has just been updated. The latest entry: Misdirection is an "Act", originally published in September 1997. For those of you following the magician as an actor thread, there is some great food for thought and a great Slydini story and illustration that might add some context to that discussion.

https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

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Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » May 6th, 2022, 9:54 am

"Slydini - The Legacy" has just been updated with a wonderful update on a very clever technique used regularly by Slydini. It is entitled "Mixed!" by Bill Wisch. Originally published in May 1998.
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https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

Also please don't miss the post I made in the "Buzz" section of the Genii Forums re: a FREE Bill Wisch on Slydini Virtual Lecture in partnership with Scott Wells on Tuesday, May 10 at 7pm EST (-5GMT). For more information, please see the post in "Buzz". Thank you all!
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Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » May 23rd, 2022, 7:42 am

Hi all,
"Slydini- The Legacy" has now been updated. This week, my father discusses the Slydini Books (The Best of Slydini... And More and The Magical World of Slydini), their background and his thoughts on what it was like to introduce them to the magic community in 1976 and 1978. https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Brad Jeffers » May 23rd, 2022, 5:29 pm

Bill Wisch wrote:I wanted to make mention that the original title of “The Best of Slydini and More” was “The Magic of Slydini and More”, but due to conflicting arrangements with Supreme in England who owned the rights to the original “Magic of Slydini” by Lewis Ganson, the title had to be altered. Only a very few copies were printed with the original title and copies of the two-volume set are already worth many hundreds of dollars and will undoubtedly increase greatly in value over the years.

Does anyone know exactly how many copies with the original title were made and sold? I cannot imagine Lou Tannen destroying even a single copy from the original run merely to comply with a copyright infringement or "conflicting arrangements" with Supreme.

Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » May 23rd, 2022, 6:40 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:
Bill Wisch wrote:I wanted to make mention that the original title of “The Best of Slydini and More” was “The Magic of Slydini and More”, but due to conflicting arrangements with Supreme in England who owned the rights to the original “Magic of Slydini” by Lewis Ganson, the title had to be altered. Only a very few copies were printed with the original title and copies of the two-volume set are already worth many hundreds of dollars and will undoubtedly increase greatly in value over the years.

Does anyone know exactly how many copies with the original title were made and sold? I cannot imagine Lou Tannen destroying even a single copy from the original run merely to comply with a copyright infringement or "conflicting arrangements" with Supreme.


When my father visited Tony Spina before he passed away, Spina told my dad that "a little over 100 sets" of the original "Magic of Slydini... And More" book (both text and photographs) made it into circulation.

Of those approximately 100 sets, the "Text" volume had some copies that were signed by Slydini and "numbered" after the fact by Karl. Karl told my Dad when he gave the books to him that he had numbered some copies and given those first copies to those who were involved in the production of the book. My father has copy #17. The book was signed by Slydini, and Karl added the "To Bill Wisch." and the "Copy #17" at the bottom. We do not know how many copies of the "Text" book were signed by Slydini and numbered by Karl.

The "Photographs" volume of the approximately 100 "sets" of "The Magic of Slydini... And More" was not numbered or signed. Slydini personally signed to my Dad my father's copy of the "Photographs" volume in-person at one of my Dad's lessons in Slydini's studio. The inscription reads, "To one of my best student, William Wisch- Best wishes and may this book remind you of the so many, many hours of practice to reach perfection -So one day you will show other how this beautiful magic should be done. Sincerely, Slydini July 30-76."

On his first tour in 1976, my dad remembers selling some copies of the original title that were not numbered to the magicians that attended the original lectures.

The "Text" volume: Front and inside cover
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The "Photographs" volume: Front and inside cover
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 23rd, 2022, 7:50 pm

I bought my set at Tannen's the day it came out and had Slydini sign it. No numbering, and Fulves was not there.
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Kevin Wisch
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Re: The Slydini Letter

Postby Kevin Wisch » June 15th, 2022, 7:44 am

My father spent many hours with his friend Karl Fulves during the 1970s while "The Best of Slydini... And More" was being written. Learn about one of Karl's thoughts on Slydini's Linking Rings in this update to "Slydini - The Legacy".
https://www.billwisch.com/slydinilegacy

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