When we returned to Rome we had the pleasure of an evening with Sylvan and his gorgeous wife Irene.
Part of the evening was spent watching video tapes of his TV series past and present. This guy has to be one of the greatest magicians of all time. He does everything. On one of his spectaculars I watched him performing close-up, hands only, cards, cigarettes, billiard ball and coin manipulations behind the credit titles of the show and they were of such a standard that I doubt whether I have ever seen cleaner manipulations done on television in my life. In the shows themselves he will present anything from small object manipulation to big illusions.
There is nothing apologetic or ingratiating about his style. He doesn't hope you are going to like what he does, he tells you. He makes you like it. He insists on applause. He sells his magic so strongly that he commands attention. I never saw Dante, Kellar, Maskelyne or any of the real big old-timers but in the last 30 or so years I have seen most of the big-time illusion acts and this guy has got to be up there with the best of them.
Something special. Sylvan is currently performing one of the greatest ideas that I have ever seen a magician ever do on television. He does the 3 Card Monte at the beginning of his show. It's the classic effect — with a difference. During the performance he is actually operating a 'phone-in from the viewers at home! In other words the viewers are 'phoning in which one they think is the ace! But there's more, much more. Later at the end of the programme he does it again with a well-known personality standing alongside him. Remember this at the end of the programme. He throws the three cards out and leaves them. N^ 'phone-in at this point — the viewing public are invited to write in, and the first postcard out of the sack gets a prize, somewhere in the region of £4000! This really pulls in the viewers. He's up there in the ratings with best of the shows in Italy. For the record Sylvan throws the three cards onto a black surface which is actually a photocopying machine. A photocopy is taken of the actual position of the face down cards, sealed in an envelope and not opened until the following week when the winner is announced. Like I said, this guy has got to be the greatest!
Arrivederci, ftitrick Page
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