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DVD Review: "As I Recall..." Slydini

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DVD Review:

This first rate DVD set presents a tribute to the great Slydini. You get to watch many of Slydini’s classic routines, performed by Slydini himself, which include Coins Through the Table, Paper Balls Over the Head, Knotted Silks and more, and learn them from Cellini, the noted street artist and Slydini student. Other students, which include: Charlie Cambra, Bill Brunelle and Bob Yorburg, perform their favorite Slydini effects and recall their experiences with the master. This is a worthwhile DVD.

The producers of this two-disc DVD set claim to have collected the most footage of Slydini that’s been released in a single production. It is indeed a joy to watch Slydini in action performing the effects that he is known for and are still being performed by many magicians today.

On the Table

In Slydini’s astounding Coins Through the Table, six coins mysteriously pass through a solid table. After watching Slydini perform the routine, Cellini demonstrates his version and offers a thorough explanation, teaching the Han Ping Chein move, as well as the Revolve Vanish, Imp Pass and more.

The DVD presents several cigarette effects. In Slydini’s Cigarette Miracle, he tears a lit cigarette in half and then restores it. In Two Cigarettes From One, Slydini takes a cigarette and tears it into two. And both halves are then stretched into full cigarettes. In these segments, Slydini is shown in old, grainy movie footage. Cellini also performs both effects and then explains them.

Another cigarette effect, Cellini performs Slydini’s Impossible Dream. Here he opens up a cigarette and dumps the contents into a spectator’s hand. The magician takes back the pile of tobacco and asks the spectator to crumple up the cigarette paper. With the paper and tobacco in his hand, the magician restores the cigarette. And at the end, the magician turns the cigarette back into the raw tobacco and paper. Cellini explains the effect.

Slydini's Students

Bill Brunelle performs Interlude...Paper Napkin, a torn and restored napkin effect, as well as Slydini’s Sponge Ball routine. In Paper Napkin, a napkin is torn into pieces and the pieces are formed into a flower. After this, the napkin is restored. Cellini provides the explanation.

In the sponge ball routine, sponge balls are first produced from a coin purse frame. Unlike conventional sponge ball routines, the ball is vanished before showing that it has joined another that’s already held by a spectator in her hand. This one is performance only.

Charlie Cambra performs Slydini’s The Illusive Four. In this bare-handed matrix-style routine, four half-dollars becomes the “illusive four” and assemble in different ways. At the end, the coins multiply. This one is performance only. Another Slydini student, Bob Yorburg, performs Slydini's Linking Pins-a series of links and unlinks using closed safety pins. Again, this is performance only.

Over Spectator's Heads

A true gem, it’s wonderful to watch Slydini himself present his Paper Balls Over the Head, an effect that is performed by lots of magicians. Something that I haven’t seen others do is make the ball end-up in the spectator’s shirt pocket. On stage, Slydini was an amazing and charismatic person.

In A Production of Silks, a stage effect, Slydini produces seemingly endless silks and ends the routine with a production of a large flag. Unfortunately, the grainy film footage seriously distracts from the effect.

I happen to know that far better footage exists from a televised variety show from the seventies, which does a far better job of presenting this routine. I don’t know if the producers missed this footage or couldn’t obtain the necessary rights to feature it. After watching Slydini perform the routine, Cellini explains the preparation and steps to perform it.

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