OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST ARCHIVE
Slydini Legacy 4/98-6/98
Tony Slydini and Bill Wisch shared a unique bond. It was an association that went beyond the normal student teacher relationship. Bill was the only student of Slydini that Tony actually entrusted much of his most valued secrets and philosophies. Much of this material has been withheld from the magical community to this day! To the students of I.C.O.M Online, a special feature and opportunity is presented. The inside secrets of Slydini. This is our way of preserving the brilliance of Tony for all time. Bill will be releasing bits and pieces monthly for all of I.C.O.M. Such material needs to be absorbed a bit at a time. It is priceless knowledge.
The Slydini Legacy
by Bill Wisch
I am honored to present this page as part of I.C.O.M Online each month.
This will be a short session, but I promise to give you some remarkable and valuable effects, routines, insights, tips, idea’s and approaches in the coming months that will absolutely please you with success.
I was fortunate to be able to study with the master for quite some time and when I say it was intense, I mean it was INTENSE!
It is exciting to share this information with you. Both beginners and seasoned pros will find “The Slydini Legacy” of great value. I will share items that were known only to me and will also go through the entire effect/routine formats of the Slydini books STEP BY STEP. This will give further insight, I believe, and add many ideas, tips and thoughts that were given to me while studying in person.
I am able to refer to literally hundreds of notes and many hours of audio tapes that Slydini was so gracious to to allow me to acquire. At first, he didn’t want any record of the sessions on tape and only allowed taping of patter for various effects and routines. I cheated a bit and used to keep the recorder running so I could remember more later on. He found out about that and at first wasn’t very happy, but he knew I was about as enthusiastic a student as he could have and mentioned to me that it would be alright to tape future lessons in their entirety. Needless to say, I was very happy and appreciative about that. To my knowledge that was the first and beginning of Slydini allowing any students to tape sessions on audio tape. Video tapes were never allowed. I asked him about it and he felt it would cheapen the quality and lesson the value to his personal students. Slydini had a very close relationship to his students he felt were sincere and eager to really learn his magic. He gave up huge sums of money from video tapes just because of his respect and concern for his students. Typical Slydini.
I will be covering many things in this monthly segment of I.C.O.M Online. Many times I have been approached to disclose this material in books or on tape but never felt it proper to do so. With the many disclosures of material by some past students, as well as the supposed “fictitious” disclosures by some Slydini “wanna-be’s” (not to mention names), I felt the time would be right for this undertaking, and also feel that if Slydini knew, he would probably give me his blessing.
So, this begins what I hope will be a major source of information and enjoyment for you as students of the International Conservatory of Magic. I ask you to refrain from letting this material out. Slydini used to tell me, as I’m sure his other students, to keep the information secret because others aren’t of the same interest level and also the value is diminished to you when the secrets are given away (NOTE SECRECY RULES GIVEN UPON ENTERING THE INNER SANCTUM OF THE CONSERVATORY). This is just common sense anyway, so enough about that.
Naturally any questions about The Slydini Legacy will be handled the same as other member services…e-mail…chats…etc. So don’t be afraid to ask. Slydini was astonished at the number of questions I always asked him. He used to call me the “Question Man” ( a title I accepted with pride), so the least I can do is be willing to answer any question I can.
I will attempt to make this monthly page as comprehensive as I can so don’t look for quick tricks and collections of vague and incomplete items. As I said, this opportunity is a long time coming so I plan to take my time and go over everything the proper way.
My thanks to my co-director, Bobby J. Gallo, for his enthusiasm and support and I own him and you, as serious students of the ART of magic, the best I can do with regards to this undertaking. It is an honor and privilege to begin my version of “The Slydini Legacy”.
Bobby J. Gallo
What in the world is Bobby J. Gallo doing writing a piece for the Slydini Legacy?
Well Folks, while it is true that I have never had the opportunity to study, or for
that matter, even “meet” Slydini, I have always been fascinated by his
work. Slydini had a bold, yet subtle approach that has rarely if ever been duplicated
by other magicians. Even those who profess to have been students of Slydini, all
seem to be cookie-cutter cutouts of each other and in reality all seem to be more
vernon-esque than Slydini emulators. To my experience, only Bill Wisch
has ever come close to Slydini’s level.
Looking back at Slydini’s routines, the one that has always piqued my interest was the “Helicopter Card” To see this is truly an entertaining experience. Personally, I have only seen Slydini perform this routine vicariously through Bill Wisch at lectures he and I did in the past year. Watching Bill and the “Helicopter Card” as well as Bill’s explanation of it is always a high point of the evening.
Upon thinking and then experimenting with the “Helicopter Card” myself, I did what I naturally do WITH ALL of my magic. I adapted the premise to my style of performing and developed something which is very practical for the working pro while trying to maintain the integrity of a routine that was originated by the greatest close-up magician of all time…Tony Slydini.
The original complete routine of the “Helicopter Card” is very long to explain and contains numerous moves. Bill may wish (no pun intended) to dissect the original routine in the future, but for this lesson I am going to Give you MY VERSION of the classic “Helicopter Card”. Though it can never compete with the original, It DOES work for most situations and has the added feature of being slightly more angle-proof than the original. For those wishing to see the complete routine, I refer them to “THE BEST OF SLYDINI AND MORE” BY KARL FULVES Pgs, 75-78. If copies are not available, they can be obtained through the I.C.O.M Online Catalog. They are a bit expensive, but are the best investment you could ever make in your magical career outside of your I.C.O.M membership.
The magician has a card selected from a half of the deck of cards that is held in a fan “I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery Fig#. 28, 29, & 30. and has the spectator show it to the audience. It is returned to the fan and again shown to the audience to prove that it is still there. It is then pushed all the way into the fan and the deck is cut several times.
Performer then asks the audience where the card is. They naturally say that it is in the half of the deck that the magician is holding. The magician then asks if they are sure that it is not on the table and then has the spectator check cards that the magician randomly selects on the table. When the spectators are finally at their wits end. The magician makes a whirling motion with his finger similar to a helicopter and points to a spot on the table. When the card at that spot is checked, it is the selected card. A transposition like no other!
I first performed this routine for my magic class students in my summer camp series. It not only blew them away, but is was extremely entertaining. The reason for this is because as I was performing it, I told them about Slydini and then proceeded to act like an old Italian Magician as I went through the routine! This is easy for me because that is exactly what I will be some day, “God willing!”
After the card is selected and returned to the half deck-fan that you are holding, Push the card all the way in maintaining a break using a Fan Control. “I.C.O.M Sleight-of Hand Gallery Fig#. 50-51.”
Perform a Double Under-Cut, which is done by cutting half of the bottom portion of the deck to the top, followed by the remainder of the bottom portion. This brings the selected card to the top of the deck.
Now, as you are pattering to the spectators, Palm off the top selected card and casually lap it. I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery Fig#. 35-36.
Leave the card on your lap as you go through the motions of having the spectator
check nearly all the cards on the table for the selection. Just when you think they
have had enough, go to the lap and re-palm the card. Bring the hand
up keeping the palmed card hidden and make a whirling motion with your fingers. Bring
the hand down slapping the card onto the table. Lift your hand and have the spectator
reveal the card.
The part of this routine that need the most rehearsal is acting like an old Italian Magician!
Slydini Legacy – May 1998
Slydini was never big on “show-off” moves or “finger-flinging”
He designed everything he did to be economical in motion and simplistic in execution. Due to his razor sharp deftness while carrying out necessary moves in an effect or routine, I believe he would have been one of the world’s premier manipulators if he had chosen to go that way. He did what he had to do to get the job done…if it meant an extremely difficult sleight then that’s what he created, mastered and used. But his simple, subtle gems of execution are what most magicians fell in love with when he performed them and then disclosed them at a lecture.
This subtle card mixing action is one of his simplest and yet most convincing. Also, anyone, at any level can do this, so you beginners can add this to your arsenal ASAP. And I can attest to the fact that it also works very well for the experienced performer in situations that are suitable…it is totally believable.
You spread out a deck of cards on a table top and proceed to mix them around like a tossed salad (not quite “tossing” the cards but mixing them vigorously and completely). The spectator can even help you mix them! When you’re done (and you can go as long as you want) you pick up the cards and assemble them together squaring them up. A known or force card will be at the top or bottom of the deck…or at any position you choose!
Believe me…I saw him do this quite a few times and the impression on the spectators is that there is no way any cards did not get totally mixed. It’s about as fair and dramatic (remember you’re an actor playing the part of a magician) a way to convince an audience that a bunch of cards are totally shuffled. Preceding any card discovery or force it is unsurpassed.
Let’s say you know the top card of the deck (could just as well be bottom) for a force or just to keep track of as needed.
As you sprawl the cards onto the table, face down, keep you eye on the card. Now whenever you mix you first place the tip
of the right little finger on top of the card. That’s it! As long as you keep contact of the card, whether it’s on top or somewhere in the middle of the mess of cards being mixed, you will not lose track of it. Try it! It’s an awesome way to keep track of a card under literally impossible conditions. There’s no way the audience can see you’re trying to control a card because the card goes in and out of view…besides they’re not even looking for such a thing at this point.
Naturally, when you’re done mixing you just sight the card once again. Now when you assemble the deck you just make sure this card goes where you want it to go…on top, bottom…so many from the top, or whatever.
I am sure some of you will experiment with this and try to embellish it using more than one card or both hands for two cards or something else but I have tried it and it doesn’t seem to be nonchalant unless you just focus on one card only. Slydini used it just the way I described.
This strategy can be used for any number of effects. It fills time…convinces the audience and, most of all, is easy so you can concentrate on the mixing instead of the card. It’s typical Slydini (he was one sly dude!).
A beauty coming next month!
Slydini Legacy-June 1998
Written by Bill Wisch
I call this “ridiculous” because it literally mystifies EVERYONE that
sees it. That’s ridiculous! It doesn’t matter how advanced…how knowledgeable…how
ANYTHING! It is probably the ONE effect I can bank on to literally FRY a crowd of
magicians (or laypeople) every single time…I know because out of the last ten years
of lectures (about 100) I’ve performed this (after the lecture because I never exposed
it) and EVERYONE “freaks out”! And…it’s ridiculously easy to do!
It’s time to give it to you Slydini “Legacarians”. Some will try it…some will use it…some will kill with it…some will never try it. Each of you reading this fits into one of those categories. Just don’t explain it or give it away. The “Slydini Curse” will heap unmerciful wrath upon you and your digits for the remainder of your years if you breathe a word of how this is done to anyone ( I can because you’re paying I.C.O.M. Online to teach you only the finest of the fine, and that’s what we do!).
Well, here is the best…it doesn’t get any better…
You openly separate the red and black cards. You turn the cards face down and table shuffle the red cards into the black cards.
You square up the deck, turn it face up and spread it out. The red cards are together and the blacks are together. None of the cards have been mixed!!! And…you can repeat it any number of times!
None before the effect begins. I usually just go through a deck and openly cull the reds and blacks, separating them into two face up stacks. Then I assemble the deck and do a table spread, face up, to show the fact that all the reds are separate from the blacks. There’s no rush and you’re not doing anything sneaky so take your time.
I’ll mention some patter ideas later but right now just follow the handling.
Assemble the deck and turn it over, face down, on the table. The reds or blacks are on top…it doesn’t matter which. But all the reds are together and all the blacks are together.
The hands carefully square up the deck and the right hand appears to cut the top half of the deck to the right and table it.
What actually happens is that the right hand cuts the “center half” to the right. Let me explain…if you consider the top quarter of the deck added to the bottom quarter of the deck as a half deck, then the “center half” would be all the cards below the top quarter and above the bottom quarter…in other words, cards #14 down to and including card #39 of the deck.
The left thumb holds back the top and bottom quarters while the center half goes to the right…that’s it! (Note: if a few cards of either color stay with the other half there’s absolutely no harm done. It will get straightened out automatically when you shuffle the halves together).
Now when you shuffle the two halves together you’re actually shuffling the reds into the reds and the blacks into the blacks. YOU ACTUALLY DO SHUFFLE THE CARDS but you just keep them in the same color sequence!
There are several subtleties added to complete the illusion. First of all, when you shuffle the two halves together you must “eyeball” the colors as they’re being shuffled. This is easy if you peer into the shuffle as if to make sure they’re being shuffled evenly (this was Slydini’s strategy). Just make sure that you stop letting cards go from the thumb when the color changes of that half, to allow for the rest of the similar color cards to drop from the other half until the color changes also.
Now carefully and slowly square up the cards into a deck. Turn the cards over and ribbon spread. The cards are separated red and black instead of being hopelessly mixed!
There have been a number of red/black shuffles using the same center-half method down through the years, but none I’ve seen compare with Slydini’s handling using his slow, methodical presentation. If the cards are shuffled in the hands it doesn’t seem to be as powerful and there is a certain amount of “extra motion” to get the center half over to the opposite hand.
There are three major things that make this the true miracle it is.
1) All the dirty work takes place during the initial cut at which time no attention is usually placed on the deck. If someone is “burning” your hands at the time you’re ready to strip-cut the center half, just look up and ask them a question, like, “Do you play cards?” or, “Have you been watching me closely?”. Just at the instant the spectator looks at your eyes you strip out the cards and it’s done. The rest is showbiz.
2) The spectators are looking intently for any kind of move or action while you’re shuffling or squaring the halves together…nothing happens.
3) When the cards are ribbon-spread face up at the end, no one notices that the cards REALLY ARE SHUFFLED despite being separated color-wise and they assume if the colors are separate the cards must be in the same order. No one has EVER called me on this. Is that cool!
A nice strategy Slydini used while doing this was to pretend he was going to do a “push-through, strip-out” move which most educated magicians or gamblers know can be done. Just at the moment he would normally cover the deck and do the “strip-out” move, he just simply and openly pushed the cards together without any cover at all with a defiant and sheepish look on his face! Talk about leaving them with their mouths hanging open!
Then you turn over the deck and show the colors separate?! You have to see the reaction to believe it.
I have had a number of TOP magicians tell me after I’ve done this that they never saw a better false shuffle in their lives. Needless to say I never argued with them (or showed them how it was done no matter how much they begged…and, believe me, they DID beg). Is that fun!
I usually patter about having one thing I do that fools all the dealers in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. You don’t have to say very nuch, in fact, a little goes a long way in this effect. Ater they witness what you’ve done several times, they tend to agree that you are unbelievable when it comes to handling a deck of cards.
Another way I use this shuffle is before Out Of This World, by Paul Curry. Think about it. I separate the colors. Openly shuffle the two halves together and then begin the effect. They SEE the cards shuffled! Naturally, I don’t expose the fact that the colors stay separate, and I certainly can’t perform the regular red/black miracle with the same audience, but it’s mega powerful doing it as a shuffle for OOTW.
What a scam! Where else can you get such credit for something you can’t do. That’s one of the major benefits of performing magic. The audience tends to credit you with all sorts of skill you really couldn’t ever do. Fun, fun, fun!
Another killer in July!