Into thin air

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
performer
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Into thin air

Postby performer » November 17th, 2015, 11:04 pm

When I was about 15 years old I saw a programme on British television which had quite an impact on me. It featured Vernon, Slydini and Cy Endfield all on the one programme. It was called "Into Thin Air". I was entranced at all the wonderful technique that was on display. I had only been doing magic for about a couple of years or so and although I had heard about these people this was the first time I had seen Vernon and Endfield. I had actually seen Slydini before on British TV but had no idea who I was watching even though I already knew his name.

It was a terrific show and I remember quite a bit from it. Slydini doing the coin roll for example which is not something with which he is normally associated with. Vernon doing the cups and balls and his card stuff. I remember Slydini being the most effective of the three performers and Cy Endfield being the least effective. Vernon was pretty good too and his performance belies the fiction I have seen stated that he wasn't much of a performer for laymen. He certainly was on that particular programme.

I have never seen any evidence of the recording since that day until now. It is not much evidence but some of you historians may find it of interest. It would be wonderful if someone from the BBC could dig this up from the archives if it hasn't evaporated into the universe by now.

Anyway here is the sole reference I find regarding this show. At least it is proof that it did exist and I am not imagining the whole thing.

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/e163cbf0a3dc ... 377dbce830

Ian Kendall
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Re: Into thin air

Postby Ian Kendall » November 18th, 2015, 3:47 am

Sadly, back in the fifties the tape used to record the programmes was very expensive, and was frequently recycled to record new shows. It's likely that Into Thin Air suffered this fate, and is probably lost forever...

performer
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Re: Into thin air

Postby performer » November 18th, 2015, 4:20 am

Oh well, I saw it anyway. I wonder if anyone else of a certain age saw it too?

And ten years later I saw this one too. You will notice there was a most brilliant close up magician performing here too. I understand he was on the programme several times. I have been a fan of his my entire life.

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/6ecdfbf73b7e ... 7c82bf9d64

Leo Garet
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Re: Into thin air

Postby Leo Garet » November 18th, 2015, 1:03 pm

performer wrote:Oh well, I saw it anyway. I wonder if anyone else of a certain age saw it too?

And ten years later I saw this one too. You will notice there was a most brilliant close up magician performing here too. I understand he was on the programme several times. I have been a fan of his my entire life.

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/6ecdfbf73b7e ... 7c82bf9d64

I have some very vague recollection of seeing “Into Thin Air,” but details escape me altogether. And I don’t know exactly when.
According to the BBC Genome Project, the programme was shown three times:
13th April 1959 (the one you mention).
8th October 1959.
15th September 1960.

It likely has been wiped or otherwise destroyed, but at least it endured in the vaults for about 18 months.

Regarding “Crackerjack,” the site is asking for information, was it ever broadcast and suchlike. “Crackerjack” went on forever, so it will have been shown. Could you perhaps persuade Ronnie to supply them with any information he has on the show?

performer
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Re: Into thin air

Postby performer » November 18th, 2015, 2:01 pm

Ronnie already did. And he has made an application in a no doubt vain attempt to obtain a copy of said programme. There were three other similar appearances on said programme but he can't be bothered pursuing them. There were three appearances in 1969 and one in 1970.

BobH
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Re: Into thin air

Postby BobH » November 18th, 2015, 3:08 pm

I remember the programme well and have tried to locate a recording or film of the recording but as Ian pointed out many tapes were wiped and re-used so doubt that we will ever see it again!
I also have vague memories of Slydini and/or Cy Endfield appearing as guest(s) on a Max Jaffa TV programme in the '60's. Could Performer confirm or otherwise please.
Bob

performer
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Re: Into thin air

Postby performer » November 18th, 2015, 4:47 pm

I certainly saw Slydini with Max Jaffa and indeed did so several times. This was the occasion I referred to in my post when I said that I had seen Slydini before on British television.

I switched on the TV and there he was. I had of course heard about the legendary Slydini but I had no idea I was watching him. I remember thinking at the time "He is very good but I wish I could follow the effect" I found him confusing for some reason but I suspect this is because I have always had a very low attention span when watching magicians. It might have been worse once I took up magic myself.

And then I was quite surprised when the credits came up and it was revealed to me that I had been watching the legendary Slydini. One thing I do remember distinctly although I can't swear whether it was with Max Jaffa or Peter Haigh who was the host of the "Into Thin Air" thing. He had just done his famous handkerchief and said to the host who helped him, "Was it good? Don't tell me----I know it's good!"

Thus I learned from a very early age in magic that it was quite necessary in magic to praise oneself as much as possible. I have of course done so ever since.

I watched Slydini on the Max Jaffa thing several times after that and I thought he was nearly as wonderful as myself. I have always been a fan of his material and I do some of it to this day. Oddly enough I never saw Cy Endfield on the Max Jaffa show. Only on the Into Thin Air thing.

On another note and I may well be wrong but I have a vague feeling that Harry Stanley had something to do with that particular show.

performer
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Re: Into thin air

Postby performer » November 18th, 2015, 7:03 pm

It occurs to me that there is nothing to stop anyone asking for a copy of "Into Thin Air" from the BBC. They even have a form for it. The odds are that it will never be seen again as already stated but there is nothing to lose except a couple of minutes filling out the form.

I just did the same for Crackerjack. Nothing to lose and you never know.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Into thin air

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 18th, 2015, 7:21 pm

Not sure if it's been mentioned earlier in this thread, but the BBC engaged in a massive wiping of many of its archived videotapes at some point. The show is unlikely to have survived.
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Leo Garet
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Re: Into thin air

Postby Leo Garet » November 19th, 2015, 8:29 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Not sure if it's been mentioned earlier in this thread, but the BBC engaged in a massive wiping of many of its archived videotapes at some point. The show is unlikely to have survived.

True enough, but they also wiped programmes as a matter of course so they could reuse the tape. Other Magic “victims” include Al Koran, Robert Harbin and Chan Canasta.

One of the eternal mysteries is how they managed to be so selective. Perhaps I should say, “accidentally selective”. Canasta, for one and Tony Hancock, for another, suffered inasmuch as some of the stuff went, but other stuff somehow escaped the purge(s).

Good old Beeb.

JeremyRayner
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Re: Into thin air

Postby JeremyRayner » November 19th, 2015, 12:26 pm

The BBC don't generally let people have copies from the archives (unless the programme is already available commercially via BBC Worldwide or on http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/tv_archive.shtml ).

They do, however, have a process for 'contributor access' where the performer or a 'close relative of the performer' can obtain a copy from the archive. So the best chance would probably be for a close relative of one of the perfomers or producers of the show to apply, however the copy is strictly for their personal use. It would be interesting to know if it even exists in the archive though....

Here are the details of that process: http://www.bbc.co.uk/faqs/tv/contributor_access_process

I hope that helps,

Jez.

performer
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Re: Into thin air

Postby performer » November 19th, 2015, 2:00 pm

Oh just lie and say you are a close relative. They won't know the difference. Mind you I think the footage is gone but you never know. Since I AM very closely associated with the Crackerjack performer I was able to apply with a certain amount of truth I suppose.


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