Todays’s topics are: Beyond Belief; Remembering Salvano; Cat & Mouse, PDF-content for Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction
These are The Magic Memories 74, gone online Sunday, May 29th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.
Last week’s blog brought in quite a few reactions by happy readers who asked for more self-insights into my own books and anecdotes about magicians I have met.
I shall be happy to fulfill my reader’s wishes in upcoming posts, and will today tell you of my meeting with another of the Greats in the history of magic, Poland’s inimitable Salvano. Plus a few more bits and pieces…
I just spent an enjoyable long afternoon with my dear friend Claudio Viotto (one of the spectators you can see on the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction), and among other things we briefly discussed Pavel’s trick “Traveling Queen”, which I had described with some annotations of mine in The Magic Memories 69. This is the type of trick that in an impromptu performance for a small group of spectators will remain much longer in their memory than one of those involved “modern miracles”.
Look at the snippet below I found in my notebook (from: Pentagram Vol 7 No 11, Aug 1953). As a variation in handling I would suggest the following: Instead of handing the deck to the spectators behind their backs, give them the deck under the table. With very little practice you can hold a deck in each hand, in Dealing Position, and hand the cards to them at the same time, thereby reversing the respective top cards.
The first time I met Salvano – by his real name Tomasz Chelminski – was in Paris around 1980. I spent six weeks at the “Alliance Française” to perfect my French as part of my studies of literature and linguistics at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
In Paris I obviously spent every free minute chasing down magic shops, magic clubs and magicians, and I also had an American girl friend then, whom I had met at the school, and who like me was more interested in life matters than in French grammar. So, as far as I remember, I did improve a lot on my magic, a little on the understanding of feminine nature, and not so much in French, which to this day remains the language of the six I speak that gives me most trouble (but I can still do my performances and lectures in it, fortunately).
One evening, at a club meeting, Salvano attended, and in my usual juvenile enthusiasm and innocence, I had the courage to speak to him and even perform a few card tricks for him. He must somehow have liked them, because at some point in our conversation he invited me to attend his performance, which was then at one of Paris’s most prominent nights clubs, “Le Milliardaire”. It was much smaller than the world-renowned “Lido”, but similar to the equally prominent “Crazy Horse” (where years later I would meet Gaetan Bloom, Otto Wessely and Vic & Fabrini).
Of course I had never been to a “real” night club before in my life, let alone in such an exclusive etablissement in Paris. I don’t know what has become of this location nowadays, but at that time it certainly was considered one of the top clubs in Europe. Obviously, as a student, I couldn’t have afforded the entry fee, not even a drink, but through Salvano’s kindness I got in for free, and sat at the bar, from where I had an excellent view onto the tiny stage.
I certainly did not disregard the attractive ladies who performed their bits to a carefully composed choreography, and even though this was a premiere to me as far as Strip Tease goes, I recognized that this was, well, classy. However, my attention was definitely for Salvano, whom I had never seen before. Actually, when I met him a few days before, I didn’t even know that he was such a star. But now, within the first ten seconds, I knew that this gentleman had to be among the top magicians in the world.
What a class! What a skill, and what a degree of originality in effects, techniques and handling. I had never seen a “manipulation act” of this caliber that close. His technique was impeccable, and each effect astonished me, as I didn’t see it coming. He certainly exemplified Vernonesque naturalness, interpreted with a unique way of moving. Similar to Shimada or Fred Kaps, his body language was unique and recognizable, very much like the visual style of a painter or that of a musical composer. As a running gag he produced cocktail glasses, reminiscent to doves. The economy of movement was staggering, no visible gripping or pulling could be seen, the cocktail glasses just appeared: It was visual, surreal poetry in an aesthetically pleasing and distinctive way.
As you can see from the photograph above and the video, he was super-slender, but not the tiniest of bulge could be perceived, even if you knew what to look for. He later told me that his dress – he worked in classic tails – had been custom-tailored for him personally by Pierre Cardin (1922 – 2020), one of the top Parisian fashion designers. Nothing less!
From the very first seconds of his coming on stage, to his amazing finale, where a white shawl first stretches, and then transforms into a full-size cape, the act was flawless. He was, without the shadow of a doubt, the star of the evening.
There is no point of me describing his act, as below I’ve set a link for you to see four yourselves, just in case you haven’t seen this artist’s exceptional act before. Suffice it to say, that here was a symphony of magical effects presented by a virtuoso.
Afterwards we sat at the bar and had a long chat the details of which I cannot remember. But Tom and I became friends on this very special evening of my life, and he visited with me in Switzerland several times, where I also booked him to lecture for our club, the Zauberring Basel in 1988. Below is a dedication he left in the guest book of my dear friends Agi and Dieter Haldimann, who for years kindly provided their theatre for the lectures of our magic club – most unfortunately, on this occasion, their camera didn’t work, and we have no souvenir photo – no smartphones at that time 🙂
Fortunately, for all of us, Salvano has left us quite a bit of his work through his various lecture notes and videos, which I encourage you to find – you will thank me. His teachings on the handling of the thumb tip and effects with it are just the tip of an enormous iceberg built on pure genius.
As always, on the Internet you’ll find more biographical information as well as various film clips of his act – you can see a lovely one by CLICKING HERE. In the comment field Salvano’s son, Salvano Jr., who now capably performs his father’s act, leaves a short comment.
Trivia: Cat & Mouse
I have a novel configuration for the input tools of my computer: Whereas most people just use a keyboard and an iMouse, I have the newly released iCat 1.0 and can vouch for its effectiveness. Soon to be downloaded from your App Store…
PDF-Content for Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction
Some people have expressed concern about finding specific subjects within the 25 Lessons of the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction videos.
No worry, as at the beginning of each lesson there is a “Table of Content” giving you an overview (press the spacebar to pause and have a good look at it). Sliding your cursor on the time-bar to the right along the timeline will then find the section you’re looking for quickly, as each item is preceded by a sub-chapter heading.
I have added the PDF named “CCPI34 – Complete Content.pdf” with the combined content of volumes 3 and 4 to your link in your account, from where you can download it anytime, or simply CLICK HERE. The PDFs are also in the webshop as part of the description of the relative products.
And now I’ll release you into a hopefully successful and happy week,
PS: Remember that this blog is not automatically sent to you, in order to minimize spam, but that you have to proactively go to this webshop and click “News”, or click on the The Magic Memories icon displayed on the left of the webshop’s Home Screen.