Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday Morning Magic

Dick Cavett and the magical Slydini

by Charlie Leck

Sunday morning, more than two hours before the sun will rise again, is a wonderful time. Just my black dog and I in my study, with only the desk lamp and the computer monitor throwing out any light. This creates a peacefulness that my soul just loves. I sometimes horripilate in moments like these.

Enter Dick Cavett and the morning becomes so special that one is tempted to call it holy. Cavett has something new on his blog [Dick Cavett’s blog, Talk Show]. This only happens every two or three weeks and that is the only thing I don’t like about his blogging.

On this particular dark and quiet Sunday morning, Cavett introduces me to the great Slydini. It was just the kind of encounter I needed on this morning. I didn’t want to read about Afghanistan or the ongoing, ongoing vote count for the Minnesota Senate seat.

Cavett fell in love with magic as a child and, eventually, Slydini became one of his great heroes. In his blog, he went on and on in introducing this great man as his friend, needing to conclude the introduction by apologizing if he had over-introduced him. I thought he had, until I watched the video of Slydini’s appearance on Cavett’s PBS show in 1977.

What a charming and wonderful man! What magic and gracefulness in his hands!

It’s a half-hour show. I thought I’d watch for five minutes or so. I sat transfixed by disappearing and reappearing cigarettes and silver dollars that smashed through tables and ropes and handkerchiefs that did all kinds of totally impossible things.

“This is real magic,” I thought. Slydini's audience sat immediately next to him. They could reach out and touch the great man. They could see everything, but they saw nothing.

“You knowa why?” He asked them in his stumbling Italian accent. “You noa watch right!”

Yet they watched so carefully that their eyes hurt and so did mine; yet, wonder of wonder, I saw nothing but glorious magical recreations of things that had been cut or tied so firmly together that they would never be single or separated again – except when they passed through the hands of the marvelous Slydini.

You lika magic? You-a-be sura to a-watcha d’clever Slydini.

No super electronics. No disappearing Tigers. No promises to make the World Trade Towers reappear. Just simple, elegant magic. Just amazing, transfixing hands.

Hold on to your bra as you do; for it will seem that Slydini is going to reach out through the years and through your monitor to swipe it from you.

Thanks again, Dick Cavett. No, you didn’t over-introduce your friend and mentor. You did just fine.

[Watch the Slydini/Cavett video ]

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