Although I never met Tony Slydini, he had a significant influence on my work, as well as many other top magicians. I would say he is the reason my take on magic has strong psychological underpinnings.
There are a number of articles that discuss Slydini’s life. I’ll focus on what I learned from his lessons and watching his television performances.
Tony Slydini, so I am told, was obsessed with how his magic impacted the audience. Some say he felt many performances were illogical and often demeaning. He focused on psychology, misdirection techniques and audience interaction. The result was true wonder in the spectator’s eyes and mind. He became so good at magic that he continually fooled both laymen and magicians for whom he performed. The legendary magician, Dai Vernon, once remarked, “Slydini is the only magician who could ever fool me.”
I first learned of Slydini’s work when reading one of the great books of magic, Stars of Magic. It was like a great appitizer and I had to get to the main course. For me it was a series of books by Karl Fulves named The Best of Slydini. Within these pages were so many gems I’ve lost count. I wasn’t so much the actual tricks that captivated me, it was his teachings on motivation, subtitles and misdirection hidden on each page.
Obviously, in a public forum like my website, it would be inappropriate to go into the mechanics of his teachings. However, the videos included here are testament to his skill. I believe that the teachings of Slydini should be part of every magicians course of study. It just makes sense to study the best if you want to be the best.