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As I Recall (2 DVD Set) Review

Official Review

March 29th, 2007 4:51pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
This product has been sitting on my shelves for quite awhile now. I've avoided it like the plague.

I'm guessing many of you find this behavior odd. Slydini was arguable one of the greatest magicians of our time. If this showed up in your mail box, I'm guessing many of you would have taken a entire day off work to vegetate in front of the TV with coins in hand.

My problem isn't Slydini. My problem is his students. Slydini was great because what he did matched his personality. To learn from Slydini, you learned to imitate him. That was his teaching style. The problem is that what works for a distinguished Italian gentleman born in 1900 isn't going to work for most people watching this DVD.

Well, dear readers, I fear I was an idiot. Once again I let my preconceptions get in my way. These DVDs belong on the shelf of every magician who's serious about producing a truly magical experience.

The DVD content can be broken into four categories. I'll cover each separately.

Slydini video footage
I had seen most of these video clips before, so it was nothing new to me. But if you've never seen Slydini, there's an excellent sample of his work provided on these DVDs. It always helps to see the master before watching the student.

Performances by students
This is the part I was concerned about. However, most of the work presented here was lovely to watch. It's obvious that the routines were learned move-by-move, but each performer added something of himself to the routine. Cellini, the main presenter and teacher, has a personality that actually lends itself to the "Slydini style". Though my favorite moments were when his street performer background shone through the memorization.

I think the modern student can learn just as much from the performances as the explanations. Slow, deliberate movements. Grace. Timing. These are the gems of Slydini's work.

Jim Cellini provided the explanations. They were clear and easy to follow, although there were times that I wish the explanations has been as well scripted as the routines. Cellini covers not only the moves, but the choreography and motivation that were Slydini's signature.

My only regret in this section is that they chose several of Slydini's cigarette routines to present. Cigarettes may have been glamorous in Slydini's heyday, but they're quickly becoming taboo in our modern society. With so much great material to choose from, I wish the producers has chosen more wisely.

Interviews with students
This was my favorite part. There are so many important lessons in these stories. I spend a lot of time with my friend Eugene Burger. His presence in my life has done just as much for me as a person as a magician (probably more). I wish everyone is blessed with a teacher that can touch us at such a deep level.

The one idea that sticks in my mind is that Slydini was a gentleman. Sadly, we don't see many gentlemen in magic anymore. They seem to be replaced with a bunch of smart-asses.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for As I Recall (2 DVD Set)

Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $70.00
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

Slydini's students pay tribute to the man, the mentor, and the magic. They recall some of their most cherished moments with the master and perform their favorite effects, keeping his legacy alive.

A note from the producers: We would like to boast that (to our knowledge, at the time of this DVD set's release) we have collected the most footage of Slydini, to be released anywhere in one production, for your viewing pleasure. We hope you enjoy learning from The Master!


Slydini Performs
"Coins Through the Table"
"Cigarette Miracle"
"Two Cigarettes From One"

Cellini Performs & Explains
"The Slydini Movement"
"Coins Through the Table
"Cigarette Miracle"
"Two Cigarettes From One"
"Impossible Dream"

Other effects performed by Slydini students:

Bill Brunelle
Slydini's "Interlude With a Paper Napkin"
Slydini's Sponge Ball Routine

Charlie Cambra
"The Illusive Four"

Bob Yorburg
"Slydini's Linking Pins"


Slydini Performs
"Paper Balls Over the Head"
"Production of Silks"
"Knotted Silks"
"Paper Balls to the Hat (Box)"

Cellini Performs & Explains
"Production of Silks"
"Knotted Silks"
"Paper Balls to the Hat (Box)"

"You can look at a book. You can read it. You can hope to understand what the principles are... but, to not see the creator perform it, there is something missing, until you have the opportunity to see the master perform. And then, you say to yourself 'Oh'! I understand something now,' something that you can't interpret or get from a book."
- Jim Cellini -

"What I adored about Slydini was not his ability to deceive people, but rather the magical feeling that he generated in people."
- Bill Brunelle -

"The Slydini magic, I loved. The Slydini philosophy - I thought was in a class by itself. That's where I got a special thrill!"
- Bob Yorburg -

Disc One Length: Approx. 1hr 45min
Disc Two Length: Approx. 2hrs

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